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UPDATE: Errant Story Store, Book Collection, etc.

Okay, folks, I’ve been getting a lot of e-mails on this general range of subjects, so I thought I’d take a moment to go over where we’re at right now and hopefully answer your questions.

First and foremost…

When is the store going to reopen?

Well, the short answer is, I don’t exactly know.  When we closed the store the idea was to change cart systems and redesign the store to make it more efficient and more user-friendly (as in, no having to register for an account in order to purchase, a shorter checkout process, and no having to specify gender with an order, which one customer quite rightly pointed out was a bad thing to require).  However, the idea was also to do those things last fall, and because I was busy not dying and Poe was busy making Important Decisions about my not dying, NONE of our to-do list even got touched, and we’re only just now being able to start on it.

Additionally, in order to open the store again, I need to be reasonably confident that I can be counted on to fill orders, OR I need to have reliable help doing so.  Right now, I’m not in a place to do the fulfillment myself, and our home/offices are completely buggered from all the chaos, so I wouldn’t bring in an employee even if the temp agencies would send people to a home office (they won’t for the few hours a week we’d actually need, I checked).  It’d be nice to have a bigger webcomic store company take over our store for us, such as Topatoco or Blind Ferret, but honestly we’ve been so screwed by my illness that I don’t think they’d benefit from it right now.  Maybe if we successfully rebuild, then we can see about putting the store in the hands of people who have people to do shipping.

Meanwhile, back in the immediate future, the store will reopen when I’ve had a chance to find a site designer, get a new design, move to a new cart system (I’m thinking shopify), redo our entire inventory, and find someone to fill the orders on a regular basis because I really don’t want to wait the year it’s going to be before I’m seriously up to it.  If anyone wants to help me check off a few of those items, I have now realized the futility of trying to do it all myself, and I’d welcome the help.

What about an Errant Story book collection?

This would be another complication.  Errant Story is seven volumes, of which only three have ever been published.  Those three volumes are not consistent in terms of printing, they include errors, and we’re already going to be reprinting a corrected Volume One no matter what.  So, what we’d ideally like to do is just sortof start over and print the entire collection, all seven volumes, at the same time with all of the errors corrected and any other changes that Poe feels would be appropriate as well.  However, this requires that all seven volumes be made print-ready, which means I need to edit every single page Poe has ever done. 

Now, I have already made some progress on that, but here’s the thing… we finally managed to set aside the money for Exploitation Now:  Done With It All last year, just before I went under.  I promised you guys that book, and now to print it the way it should be printed I have to redo a lot of the work that went into it.  For the curious, that means correcting panel layouts for the new book dimensions, redoing the color in a way that preserves as much of RMG’s work as possible, and relettering every page.  I am going to do that and have that thing sent to the printer before I touch any other book projects whatsoever.  It is my number one priority, but that means that Errant Story, well… can’t be.

So… I will put together the Errant Story collection after Exploitation Now:  Done With It All is actually done. That, uh, that isn’t going to be soon.  I’m a lot slower than I used to be, and this is a lot more work than I originally planned for, and because it was my promise and my screw-up that delayed the project, I don’t feel comfortable turning that work over to anyone else. 

In order to let you all know when the books are ready to go to print, so that we can get the necessary orders to pay for the Errant Story collection printing (I’m thinking of running it through Kickstarter because it’s a large project and I don’t want it to run into the same pre-order delays as the EN collection did), I’m putting together a mailing list.  It will be used to notify everyone when the store has opened, notify everyone when Exploitation Now:  Done With It All is complete and in our hands, ready to be ordered, and to notify everyone when the complete Errant Story book collection is available to order.  That’s it, no other e-mails.  If you would like to be put on that list, click here and fill out the form.

If you’d rather not be on a mailing list, I understand, and suggest that our forum is also an EXCELLENT way to keep track of what’s going on.  We often post stuff there that never even sees the news box, and it has the added benefit of stimulating conversation to tide you over through the long and bitter wait.  Of course, I’ll also be posting the store announcements on twitter and the comic Facebook pages, as well.

What happened to Errant Tales?

Put bluntly, it got screwed.  Hard.  I was just too sick to keep up with it, even before I wound up in a coma for a couple months, and now I’m so busy trying to get us caught up on everything else that I’ve had no time to work on it, and neither has Poe.  Plus, the budget for it evaporated into all the down time when the business had to stay alive but wasn’t able to be generating anything in terms of income.  Scripts are still being made, there are still amazing stories that we do in fact plan to tell, but until all of the other projects are done and dealt with, we will have no time or money to hire artists to work on it.  Once we do have time and money, it will still be six months before we have anything to publish, because we’re completely starting over.

So, here’s what I’ll do about that.  If you want a refund, as always, I will cancel your order and give you one (there are a few of you who asked for one already that didn’t get one because I was sick, I will get to you by the end of April, I promise).  If you subscribed or pre-ordered and you want to wait, you will get extra presents when we can finally send you the first issue, and I will arrange for you to get previews of interesting things along the way.  We will not take any more pre-orders or subscriptions until this project is back on track, by which I mean new artists hired and pencils approved for all of the first six issues.  We’re running on fumes, so aside from offering a humble apology and doing my best to prove that when I promise a project nothing short of death will stop me from eventually finishing it, that’s about all I can do.  I’m really sorry, of all the projects this is actually the one I’m most excited about, but it can’t be helped.

I heard rumors of an Errant Roads RPG book?

Ahahahaha… Yes, we’re working on one, if by working on one, you mean “poking it with a sharp stick during those moments when our brains cannot possibly do any of the other things that are higher on the priority list,” that is.  It is not even remotely in the works enough to offer up a deadline for completion, yet.  Right now, Jim and I are at the stage of doing research and developing a system that we like and feel reflects the attitude of the Errant Universe, plus I’m fleshing out data based on Poe’s master timeline.  This is really less a project of Poe’s and more a long-term side project for the studio, but there will be no data, world-building, or mechanics involved that are not approved by Poe and based on Poe’s original world building.  He may even be the one to do some of the illustrations, but we’re nowhere near far enough along to know, yet.

So, that’s what we’re up to.  Poe is making that new comic now, I’m trying to both work diligently on the EN book and keep myself physically active enough to continue healing, Jim has a three year old and his own projects and a full-time job but is helping when he can, and we’re looking at getting some more help wherever we can.  We got massively, majorly screwed by my illness and the timing, and in all honesty it would be a much smarter decision at this point to just give up and shut the business down and go try to find any horrible soul-sucking labor that even CAN be found in this economy, but well… we love this job.  There’s nothing in the world we would rather do, so even though we don’t have the resources to do it as well as we would like, and even though I personally am now trying to balance my efforts with a lot more down time, this is still what we want to wake up to every morning er, afternoon.  We’re just glad that so many of you still want us to be doing it.  Thank you all for your patience.