< Piro >
Saturday - January 25, 2003
First off, regarding everyone who pre-ordered a book from IC Entertainment and has not yet received it. Every single pre-order shipped as of January 14th - every single last one. If you ordered once since then, most of them have shipped or are in the process of being shipped. If you have not received it yet, that is because it is en route - most were shipped USPS. If my recent experience with a book order from Barnes & Noble is any guide, that order two 12 days to get here. I am hearing that the people at IC Entertainment are getting a lot of very nasty emails and calls regarding their books.
Please consider several things. IC Entertainment is NOT a huge company - they aren't DarkHorse, they aren't Marvel. We are talking about a staff of seven people. The demand for the Megatokyo book FAR exceeded ANYONE's expectations. When we started the project, we figured that we would print around 5,000 books. If we had NOT done preorders, there would have been a HUGE shortage of MT books - most people would not have been able to get them. Usually when they pre-order a book, they get a few hundred, and they get shipped right from the printer. No one was prepared for 4,718 preorders. It was clear that a 5,000 print run was not going to do. So, as a result of the pre-orders, and the real and visible demand for MT books, the total amount of orders thru distributors and others came to over 8,000 books. Another 1008 orders came in the first week of January That is a LOT of books. As a result, IC did a print run of 11,000 books.
Right now, the tally for books sold is 9,548. The rest are in inventory, and not expected to last very long. We have to do a second printing. Yikes.
Shipping all 4000 of the preorders, by a relatively small staff was NOT easy. It took a week to get them all out. The Post Office would only take so many per day. Add to this, the fact that I delayed things at the production end, which delayed the books being finished till the 4th of January - yeah, the book is late, no question. Every single MT book that was preordered was out the door and in the hands of the USPS by the 14th. Kei tells me that they have had quite a few books come back with the wrong address, so that could be part of the problem for some people. For everyone else, there is nothing else that can be done - its in the hands of the USPS.
My point is, the print runs and the demand for this were FAR bigger than anyone anticipated. This put a lot of pressure on a very small company to make things happen. Frankly, i think that IC Entertainment has done a great job of working hard to make this all happen. I know that if you are a person who preordered, and still don't have your book, that doesn't make you feel better, and in the end you need to feel happy about things. If this explanation as to what's up doesn't make you feel any better, email me with [preorder issues] in the subject line and i will see what i can do to help. Thanks. :)
Part of doing business is learning from it. We have learned a lot from this, and because you guys are so damn important to it all of this, IC Entertainment has worked out a different plan for getting things to you faster - every single preorder for the second MT book will be drop shipped directly from the printer, who will have the framework in place to deal with the numbers of books that need to go out. It doesnt help for the delays this time, but it will next time.
Ok, back to my regularly scheduled rant...
There always seems to be something to panic over. Sometimes small things, sometimes big things. This morning's adventure involved my relatively new Canon D1250U2F scanner. If for some reason my scanner stops working, I think that warrant some panic. My first course of action was to reboot my computer (usually solves most problems in windoze) but when that didn't work either, then i started to worry.
I checked the USB cable for chew marks - luckily there were none. I unplugged the power cord in the back of the scanner and plugged it in again to reset it. Nothing. Rebooted again. Nothing. After about 15 minutes of rising panic, i checked the plugstrip...
As you may know, Seraphim and I have three cats - Momo, Hime, and Mufie. The first is a laid back long hair that has an obsession with food. The second is a short hair female with a propensity for chewing cables (seriously chewing them - she destroyed a $500 wacom tablet 4 years ago, and has done an estimated $1800 in damage to appliances and computers over the years). Mufie is a relatively new addition, and is built like a pro wrestler - big, strong, and playful. It's not usual for a computer component to suddenly stop working because Hime has finally chewed on its cable enough to prevent it from working. I've gone thru 7 printer cables, 2 SCSI cables, 3 USB cables, one network cable, about 4 powerstrips... you get the idea. It wont be long before i have to get some new Coax cable for the cable modem that goes into the wall. She's been casually chewing on that for a few months.
Oh, before you email me about applying sprays, goo, jells, bitters and duct tape to cords to keep her away from them, trust me, we have tried everything. The only thing that works is to physically protect the cables. Hime is not a real cat, she's a demonic spawn from one of the multiple layers of hell, i think. People wonder where i get some of my 'evil cute' concepts from...
In futile effort to protect my computers and the exposed cableage, i have a remarkable network of boards, covers, boxes and other things covering cables. Next to the power strip on the floor, i have several clipboards that cover the loose cables. It seems that the culprit in the case of the non-working scanner wasn't Hime at all... it was probably Mufie.
What appears to have happened is that mufie, who is not a fat cat, but a *big* cat, while walking thru the area behind my desk, pushed down on the boards protecting my cables which slipped under one of the transformer plugs (the one for my scanner) and lifted it right out of the plugstrip.
The goddamn cats have learned how to unplug stuff.
I hope you'll pardon the little foray into the life of me and my three cats, but its a good example of life in the FredArt compound. Most of my panic situations have to do with getting things done or not being able to do all the things i've set up for myself to do. Right now, I'm not worried about having enough projects or earning enough to support myself. December was a good month for MT, and January is also looking very good. Like i've said before, the overwhelming support of the MT community, and the success of the Megatokyo/ThinkGeek store as well as the rather remarkable sales numbers for the Megatokyo book has even a pessimist like me believing that this all might work out. Thank you.
I hope everyone has been fairly happy with the progress of Megatokyo itself lately. I didn't want 'warmth' to interfere with the progress of Megatokyo, especially with the current directions of the story. As with everything I do, things aren't perfect, things could be better, but overall I'm pretty happy with MT right now. I am also pretty happy with where 'warmth' is going. I am behind schedule on its production (big suprise, huh) and i am actually quite worried about making my February 10th deadline, but i still have 16 days, and I'm doing the best I can. Things feel good, i'm happy with the art and the story, and the reaction from my friends and people who have seen what i'm working on so far has been positive.
Like I said before, things are looking good for MT right now, which is good because i can concentrate on just working, not figuring out what i need to do to make ends meet. This, of course, not only requires successful sales and stuff, but a lot of planning. Just dealing with things like budgets, taxes, health insurance, copyright issues, contract issues, etc takes a lot more effort (and money) than most people might realize. Megatokyo, or more correctly, FredArt Studios LLC, is a real business. It's grown together gradually over the past two and a half years, with a lot of learning, trial, errors, problems and successes. Why talk about it here? Because MT, at least the rant end of it here, is as much about the real life side of MT, with all the good, the bad, the whining and the bitching that come with it. From the beginning, you have known pretty much what's been going thru our heads, and I don't ever intend to change that.
I find it highly amusing that Gabe thinks that i'm " about three sad girl drawings away from a complete breakdown"... (chuckle) he's so damn right right, actually. I whine too much. No one really should have to hear it. His advice about doing a webcomic is excellent. Be yourself. Do it for yourself. Who cares what others say.
Unfortunately, me being me does involve a *lot* of whining. Sorry about that, but to act any different would be hypocrisy. This is me, the good, and the bad, such as it is. :P
Besides, if MT was perfect, it's suckage wouldn't be so entertaining.