Archive for March, 2010

Support Urgently Needed!

As you all know by now, our personal income comes only out of donations. What it is likely that none of you know is that we last reached our donations goal in July of 2009, and we’ve been short every month since. Missing the goal one month here and there isn’t a huge deal, but it does add up, and because we haven’t made the goal since July, at this point we’re short by about $3,500, which means our savings has been used to make up the difference. Since we personally are also the ones who will have to pay the difference if we don’t get enough pre-orders for Volume Three, you can probably understand why right about now we’re extremely worried.

Right now, the thing we need most isn’t donations, it’s pre-orders for Volume Three. If that project can be made to pay for itself by meeting the pre-order goal, that takes most of the immediate pressure off because we won’t have to drain our emergency fund to cover the costs and make sure the books can still be delivered on time. However, please understand that paying for itself and actually making us any money are two different things, and that pre-order goal is pretty much just designed to pay for the project. It won’t fill in that $3500 that we didn’t make in the last seven months.

That’s where you guys, and donations, come in. We rely on donations because in effect you guys decided for us that they would be the primary means of supporting the comic. Wallpapers were and are offered in the store for sale, but many times more people donate for them than ever buy them, likewise original art and bookmarks. The only product that sells consistently for us is the books (and plushies, except those are much more expensive to make and less profitable in general), everything else we’ve ever offered does better as a gift for donors than it ever does as a product for sale. We don’t know why, but for this comic donations seem to be the rule. The thing is, we depend on that rule just as surely as other artists depend on their t-shirt sales, so when we don’t make the goal, it’s a problem. The only way we can solve that problem is with your help… if you love the comic, then please help support it, in whatever way seems most appropriate to you.

Bani Filler

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Still More Bani Filler

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Adventures in Publishing!

Yesterday morning, bright and early (at least by webcomic standards), Poe and I set off to the warehouse where we rent space for our extra inventory. We had recently arranged to rent a different area where we’d be able to store more books, so we needed to move our existing stock to the new area and arrange it to leave room for the copies of Volume Three that were to arrive later that day. There was just a LITTLE bit of a problem. The books were previously stored at a different level in the warehouse from the new storage room, and there was no way to get a pallet to that area. The shortest route between the books and their new home was a flight of stairs and a pair of long hallways. Each box weighed at least 50 pounds.

Forty-five minutes later, we were sweaty and exhausted, but the forty boxes of books we already had in the warehouse were in their new home. Poe went off to play ancient arcade tetris with the warehouse owner’s son, who had helped us move the boxes, while I stood outside and kept a lookout for the arrival of a truck bearing two additional pallets of boxes of books with decidedly mixed feelings. I knew we were going to have to move them by hand, which despite my anticipation of the books themselves was not a particularly enthralling thought.

Eventually the books arrived, and thinking to save some work I asked the delivery driver if he could deliver the books to the front of the building instead of the back where the loading dock was. He had a battery-powered pallet jack, and a hydraulic ramp, so said sure. It was then that we discovered the first problem: pallets did not fit on his hydraulic ramp. In order to lower them to the ground, we had to cantilever them over the edge by a bit while we all braced them from below. So, okay. We did that for both pallets, then eagerly opened up one of the boxes to get our first glimpse of the new books.

That turned out to be a very good thing, because the books were, well… obviously wrong. Somehow, the printer had mixed up the specifications, and the books that arrived had the wrong coating on the cover and a couple other less obvious oddities. So we couldn’t accept them, and had to put them back on the truck. Here is the part where I realize I’m occasionally an idiot… it took us twenty minutes of straining and sweating with the hydraulic lift and two pallet jacks before I remembered we had a perfectly good loading dock in the back of the building. So we trucked the pallets all the way around the building, up a truck ramp, through the warehouse, and to the loading dock, where it took less than two minutes to easily load them back on the truck. Had I been thinking about it, I’d have realized we could have done that in reverse with the pallet of forty boxes we’d already moved that morning, too.

Of course, discovering the books were wrong had greater consequences than simply acting like an idiot trying to get them back on the truck. What followed was twenty-four hours of fretting and phone calls trying to figure out exactly what was going to happen with the reprint, the upshot of which is this: The reprinted books are due to be delivered next Thursday, which you will note is our shipping deadline of April 1st.

We are going to do our damnedest to get the books signed, packed, and to the post office that same day they’re delivered, but even with all the pre-prep in the world and a small army of helpers (which, btw, we don’t have but are willing to acquire if there are any volunteers), we can’t meet the deadline on all of them, because five hours just isn’t enough time. Some of the orders won’t be able to go out until the second. Words cannot describe my frustration with that reality, but there’s absolutely nothing I can do about it except this: If you want to cancel your pre-order because we might miss the deadline on shipping your order, we will give you your money back.

I’m really sorry guys, I gave a guarantee and there’s just no way to meet it at this point. This is the best I can do.