< Piro >
Thursday - December 30, 2004
[scroll down for important news about the Megagear store this weekend - piro]
It's been a few weeks since i've done a rant, and I apologize for that. It's been a busy month, a hellishly busy month, but I think i've managed to do ok. There weren't as many rants as i would like, i missed quite a few comics on account of finishing up book 2, and i still have not dealt with my email backlog, but chapter 6 is well on track and i feel pretty good about it. Not a bad way to end off the year, and certainly not as bad as some previous years. Honestly, I would like to spoil all of you next year. That's my goal. I want to produce as many comics, *good* comics, as possible, I want to have a more 'complete' site, I want to produce more material. I can't promise it (this is me we're talking about here) but that's my goal.
Before i start in on goals and stuff for 2005, i need to talk about the Megagear store. About this time last year Seraphim had pretty much decided that we wanted to branch off on our own and open our own online store to sell Megatokyo and other related merchandise. It was a risky idea, and certainly a reflection of our masochistic tendencies when it comes to overworking ourselves (especially since Seraphim still had two more terms of grad school ahead of her). When we started looking at what we would need to do to do it right, i have to say, it was daunting. Everything from finding and leasing warehouse space to figuring out what software and hardware we needed to run our store, to dealing with inventory to silly things like "what size box do we need to pack mugs in?"... It was quite an experience.
Yet here we are, almost six months after opening in late July and it looks like we actually managed to pull it off, and I'm dam proud of it. I know that some people might think that it would be more efficient if I concentrated on just doing comics and let others deal with things like helping with packing and shipping merchandise, but i dunno. There is something gratifying in helping to pack and ship packages to fans (if you get a poorly packed package, i probably did that -- Sarah is the one who most of the packing and shipping :P). Its the same kinda reason why i like doing drawings for people at cons. The less people there are between fans and people who create the work they enjoy, the less stratification you get, and i think that's a good thing. Megatokyo and Megagear are our little world, and we don't answer to anyone but you folks, and we kinda like it that way :) Sarah and I want to say a huge thank you to everyone who has ordered stuff from us. Like everything else we do, we couldn't do it with out you, and we feel honored by the level of your support. Oh, and we hope you've enjoyed the stuff, too. :)
Of course, it hasn't been entirely smooth sailing. Most of the stuff Seraphim set up has worked flawlessly, but many of the things that were my responsibility to do... er, well... (cough). I made some goofs. The biggest one was our software. Even before we opened, we were having problems with it. The software works, and works well enough for us to stay in business, but there are problems with it that are major enough that two months ago we decided that we had to scrap the entire thing and start over. One nice thing about doing this was that we could develop the new site and get that up and going while the old site stayed operational. Our original goal was to switch to the new site before thanksgiving (you know, Christmas rush and all that) and we didn't quite make it. We decided to push it off to the end of the month and do the switch then, and so, here we are.
I think we're ready to make the switch, so to accomplish this and to do end of year inventory stuffs the Megagear store close tonight (wednesday) at midnight, and we will re-open on Saturday, January 1st. Hopefully all the new stuff with work without a hitch and we can roll into the new year with a new system that doesn't give us migraines :) If you order stuff today and up to close, your order will go out tomorrow. If all goes well, you should see the new store on saturday. One of the biggest new features of the new store is that we will finally be able to do international shipping! Yay! (give us a week or so to make sure things are working right, then we'll enable it) Also, we'll have fun things like places for customer shots and stuff. Should be fun.
Speaking of websites, you may recall that last year i mentioned that the new version of the Megatokyo site was under development. The bad news has been that the reason it did not go up back in september was because i had not been able to design the sub pages or provide information larry needed to finish. The worse news is that i still haven't provided this info to Larry :) He's basically been on hold with the project till i could finish my part. The good news is, we're now scheduled to get this thing wrapped up and launched in January. Definitely looking forward to doing that.
Another thing coming in January is Megatokyo book 3. All the deadlines were hit, so according to tim they should have no problem hitting the January 15th ship date. This does NOT mean that you will be able to run out and buy the book on the 15th -- more than likely, most places will see it around the end of the month. We will be offering pre-orders for book 3 at the Megagear store soon after re-opening on Saturday. It may not be the fastest way to get a hold of the new book, but it will be as quick as we can manage.
A small note on pre-orders... these will NOT be anything like the way pre-orders were handled by my previous publisher. These orders will be managed through OUR store, and we will NOT be charging credit cards until the books ship (Paypal orders, unfortunately, do transfer the amounts immediately, but there is not much we can do about that - you will still be able to cancel your order and get a refund if you use paypal). As for when we will ship out the new books, you can pretty much count on the fact that we will start shipping things out the day we get our shipment of books. Seraphim and I are getting pretty good at this shipping and packing stuff, and you'd be surprised how many we can ship in a day, so i think i can say quite confidently that the books will go out pretty quick.
This is getting long, and all i've really talked about so far is next month. i want to seriously talk about my goals for next year, so i'll continue this on friday. (and i have not forgotten the fact that Friday is a big day, and i don't mean just the fact that it's New Years Eve :P)
Till then, enjoy the rest of your holiday (if indeed you got any time off this week) and i'll be back on friday. :)