Announcing My Kickstarter

I finally got my licensing agreement with Blizzard. Apparently, they have agreements with fan websites that use their imagery, but getting one for a book took a little longer because Blizzard’s attorneys wanted to read it cover-to-cover before giving their blessing. At least they said they enjoyed it, and the only changes they suggested were minor corrections. Aside from the wait, getting a licensing agreement was a pretty painless process. So far, everyone who’s read it has asked, “What happened to John after WoW shipped?” The handful of people who’ve read it wanted to know what I was doing now–so I added a page-long epilogue. Originally, I wanted to focus on the project, but since I’d started the story on a personal note about who I was and my first impressions of the computer gaming industry, I figured adding some closure regarding my comings and goings wouldn’t be too gauche.

Regarding the book itself, I’m doing another re-read of The WoW Diary. It’s my 18th edit and I’m seriously tried of it. I haven’t found any typos but I did reorder a few paragraphs and sentences to polish the narrative. I also tightened some of my layouts to satisfy the finicky graphic designer in me. I’ve also decided on a printer and am getting a dummy book made. I want to make sure 336 pages of coated stock isn’t to “sharp” or annoying to turn pages. I’m hoping for something readable, not a coffee table dust gatherer. I’m also printing The WoW Diary on a sheet-fed press, which is a hella-expensive process, but it allows for more quality control over the ink.

I’m getting ready for the campaign now. A friend of mine, Stephen Glicker, is going to interview me about my upcoming book and Kickstarter campaign. Steve hosts a weekly podcast I participate in called Roll for Combat wherein my friends and I play through a Starfinder campaign. We argue and tease each other; we goof around and drop obscure movie references as Steve GM’s our way through the adventure. It’s a lot of fun, and we’ve got thousands of listeners already so it looks like this is going to remain a regular hobby. I mailed him an advance reader copy this morning, so hopefully we’ll get the interview out before I visit my relatives in Ohio for the holidays.

The Finishing Line Smells of Varnish and Solvents

The bad news: I learned a very important lesson: Don’t believe everything customer service reps say on the phone. If they don’t email you details, they might just be making stuff up to make you happy. I just discovered Amazon can only fulfill 5,000 units of Kickstarter inventory so I’m looking for a 3rd party to send my Kickstarter peeps their rewards. Amazon also limits how many books a publisher can store in their inventory at a time (5,000 copies). With a 2-3 week delivery/restocking process, I’m not even killing enough trees to make the NY Times Best-seller list (which I won’t qualify for anyway because my sales are online). Once sold out, I’m allowed to petition Amazon for an increase in my storage limit–from which they’ll decide how much more space to give (it’s always a fractional, at most a 0.6 increase). I’m not going to be setting any selling records, that’s for sure. It looks like the first volley of books from my Kickstarter campaign will be 30,000 copies + 5,000 more on Amazon.

The good news: I’m reminded how much fun it is to talk to printers. It means I’m nearing the end of a project.

The only time I ever missed a printing deadline was in 1992, after an earthquake wrecked the SoCal printer doing my job. Now and then, force majeure has its day.

Inside the Guts of Amazon

Talking to the printers confirms my suspicions about the size and complexity of The WoW Diary. The scope is well within our ability but it’s going to require careful preparation. Luckily, my Nevada isolation is fitting for such meticulous planning. They’re taking their time with their bids, I’m not rushing anything–which is good because I’m now resigned to shipping after the holiday season. I don’t need the extra pressure of Yuletide expectations.

Strangely enough, my shipping costs with Amazon go slightly up after the holidays, but it’s par for the course in learning how this company operates. While setting up all my account settings, I’ve learned Amazon allows a maximum inventory storage of 5,000 units; so it’s looking like The WoW Diary’s availability might be a bit spotty until I establish myself as an honorable merchant in their marketplace (the quaintness in this restriction seems somehow reassuring in today’s fast-money, Internet world).

Did you know “Yule” from Yuletide comes from the 900 A.D. Nordic cognate for Christmas? When the Danes and Vikings settled/conquered East England they brought their language with them. We can thank them as much as the French for bringing so many synonyms into our language. For instance: to be sick is English, to be ill is Danish, and to have a malady is French. Pig is English, Pork is French, and swine is Danish. Cool, eh?

The Canadian Heritage Act

I finally plugged in the shipping values into my Kickstarter campaign. I’m not overly impressed with their gizmo for calculating shipping costs. It seems like there’s a floating point error when you duplicate a reward because some of the countries drops out of the list of options–which is annoying. I’ve plugged in their values over and over, but random nations drop out the list of countries I can reach. It’s too much typing, I’m going to email them and call it a day.

Strange fact: Apparently Canada is protecting their heritage by stopping American booksellers from shipping books to its citizens. Seriously? Is the American literary industry really a negative influence? Not our stupid Hollywood films, DVDs, or video games? They’re keeping books from being exported into Canada?

I solicit printers tomorrow! I’m looking at my notes for this books printing, hoo-boy, it’s a complicated job.

No more typing today. My hands hurt. I need to get a heavy vase so I can fill it up with hot water and soak my widdle paws.

On Businessy Things Clicking into Place

Lots of progress with the business. I’m done with the technical parts of my website. A backend bug with the Caldera plugin that was plaguing me for two weeks is no more. I’ve also finished my Kickstarter campaign page, but I haven’t submitted it for approval yet. I just started my Seller’s Account and am watching and reading all of Amazon’s videos and PDFs about their labyrinthine marketplace functionality. I applied for integration Amazon Associate functionality into this website, my Facebook page, and (eventually) my goodreads page. I’m also preparing a request for printing bids. Soon I’ll poke the top 8-10 printers in the US for samples of their work. Next week I hope to get their bids. I’m not entirely sure if bids come before or after samples. Regardless, today is all Amazon, Amazon, Amazon.

I’m using Oxford commas now. After enough run-ins with editors, you’d use them too. There’s all sorts of things you learn dealing with editors. Did you know that the word myriad refers to numbers greater than 10,000? If you had dozens of choices, it would be mathematically incorrect to say either, “I had a myriad of options,” or, “I had a myriad options.” It’s like the common misuse of the term decimate.

I also learned the minus symbol was thicker than the hyphen. Did I just blow your mind?

My first test post

This is a test post to see if I like the look of my news page. This site details my company’s comings and goings so forgive the stream of consciousness I’m about to spill (unless you’re into James Joyce-like ramblings, I never was).

I’ve recently moved to Nevada because it’s less expensive than Orange County, and I’ll have a longer runway to get things done. I’ve found everything with this book seems to take four times longer than originally planned–so there’s no reason to think producing webpages and printing will be any faster than eighteen rounds of editing. Living and working by myself (I’m the only person who’s moved to Vegas to avoid distractions) will be helpful, because I’m managing many of non-creative tasks like fundraising, making a video, learning WordPress, managing an email list, handling printing, distribution, using Amazon’s marketplace, and all the legal issues in running an Amazon seller’s account. No matter how cheap the rent in CA, there’s no way I could do all that with roommates. Besides, having more than one room for all my stuff feels like a luxury.

I love Vegas because, like NYC, it’s a city grid, and I’ve never seen more stores and restaurants. I’m surprised the population can support them all. I think I mentioned this city was inexpensive. Dig this: I bought a used living room set for $650 but I’m beginning to think the $180 used mattress wasn’t a genuine Sealy. I knew the risks of Craiglist going into the purchase. I just wished I didn’t wake up with a backache but hopefully I’ll get used to it. A downside to my move was I had to upgrade my iPhone 5c to get calls over WiFi because my neighborhood has poor cellphone reception. That a chunk of change I didn’t want to spend, but after missing critical calls, I splurged on a iPhone 7 over a 30-month plan. I missed a call from the movers and so they warehoused my belongings so I’m waiting four days to get my things. Right now, I’m living somewhat like a caveman squatter (except, not really). BTW, isn’t it great that a moving company isn’t open on weekends and doesn’t have a message machine?  My 2000 Ford Explorer didn’t like the trip across the desert. Semis were passing me on long, uphill grades, whereupon my top speed reached only 50 mph. The vehicle’s air conditioning doesn’t fare well in Nevada heat either. Half the time on the road, I just roll the windows down and let the 100 degree winds blow away the 110+ degree interior. If I drive back to CA I’ll need to rent a car. There’s NO way that truck will survive another caravan trek to the coast. Infrequent visits to OC will be especially disappointing because the worst thing about moving to Nevada wasn’t leaving my friends, but rather my [adopted] doggy behind. She’s technically not my pet, but I took care of her half the time. She’s going to be so bummed out that I’m not there, but her mommy stills play ball with her, so I am hopeful that she won’t miss me too much. Now I’m depressed. I think my future posts will be less personal.

This is gray text, although I’m not sure what HTML format it’s using. Maybe it’s just paragraph bold and colored gray. Seems to read well but I’m not entirely sure what I’d use it for. Possibly a caption? 

This is a picture of Marigolds. It’s a beauty, eh? Someone I know posted on Facebook about getting a HAM radio license and it made me think of the apocalyptic lyrics of a Steely Dan song: “Hello, one and all. Was it you I used to know? Can you hear me call on this old HAM radio?” Anyway there was a mention of marigolds so I thought this would work well for a placeholder picture. Not a bad way to end a test post–aside that it has nothing to do with publishing.

Check it out, we have captions!