Amazon and Beyond

I’m happy to say The WoW Diary is finally available on Amazon and as a PDF on my online store. It was no small matter shipping my Kickstarter rewards, 99.99% of which have been delivered. Month-long waits for Canadian customers will soon be eliminated after my inventory reaches the fulfillment center in Calgary. I’ve learned so much about fulfillment and inventory management that I could write quite a lengthy article on the subject; although I suspect the average reader would find such an essay to be of little interest.

I’ve made barely any effort (or progress) in retail distribution, but retail margins are so thin, it’s unlikely I’ll lose sleep over it.

As I move forward promoting my book, I’m making myself available for podcasts again (checkout my appearances on Countdown to Classic), and I’m publishing a number of excerpts from the book for promotion. I realize now that The WoW Diary is ideal for this, since its essays are mostly bite-sized. I could have used them during my Kickstarter, but that’s only a hindsight realization.

I’m hoping to translate my book into Chinese, but the costs are insane, and the Chinese audience can’t afford hardcover prices. I’m even toying with the idea of a Chinese crowdfunding campaign, but it’s questionable whether the expenditure on such a campaign will be justified.

Board Game Progress

I’ve passed a couple milestones for my board game (my second project), although much of it is being redone from scratch. Even with years of research and prototypes, playtests often reveals flaws that require major changes. I expected this from the onset, and what I’m working on is more exciting than I originally imagined, a dungeon crawl for the casual audience. I hope to open up the genre the way Diablo did. If anyone can remember video games in the 1990s, RPGs were niche titles until Diablo conquered the market. I want to make something that features tactical combat, loot, and boss fights with simple rules, short set-up times, and 90-minute play sessions.

To meet these goals, I’m actively playtesting my game with other designers in the Cleveland area. My fulfillment experience with The WoW Diary has influenced my manufacturing plans: I’m pricing components to deliver the most bang for the buck with possibilities like ceramic pieces and plastic injection molds. I’m also learning from publishers about the industry, especially during cons (Pax Unplugged in Philly, Origins in Columbus, and GenCon in Indianapolis). So far, it’s already been an interesting ride.

After the Kickstarter

If you missed The WoW Diary Kickstarter you can get a copy until mid-October. We could only get enough paper for 10,000 copies. But we’ll be printing the non-Kickstarter version soon after, and it will be made available on Amazon in early 2019.

I was so blitzed by my Kickstarter, I didn’t even attempt to make a coherent update on my homepage, although many things transpire and were covered in my Kickstarter updates. The coolest news was we shattered Kickstarter’s fund-raising record for our category, nonfiction publishing. The WoW Diary raised roughly 33% more than its previous record-holder, and placed in the top-five over all publishing, behind three podcast-driven projects and, well, The Bible.

The success was borne on the wings of my backers and advisers, both of whom were many. I’m already on day-two of my pre-press production schedule. I’m updating my backers as I move forward, so check out my Kickstarter page for whenitsready’s many, many goings-on. 

The WoW Diary Kickstarter is #7

Despite my DSL dying Kickstarter Eve, The WoW Diary Kickstarter is very much alive. I spent the first eight hours hunched over the Ask Me Anything about Developing Vanilla WoW Event on reddit/wow/. I didn’t even look at the Kickstarter campaign during the 8-hour AMA, although reddit peeps posted news when it funded (it took about 8 minutes). This is all old news, but good news.

I’ve collected some of my interviews and promotional materials for anyone interested in a preview of The WoW Diary’s level of detail. Feedback is very positive for my Scholomance article. I’ll have a second promotional article available next Monday on Wowhead.

The WoW Diary is the seventh largest non-fiction Kickstarter in history! The sheer number of the Kickstarter backers has changed logistics; increasing the preparation I need to do for the post-campaign fulfillment and data management. I’m also looking into ways to alleviate shipping costs for overseas, but I am dubious.

Of Links and Gratitude

The Kickstarter campaign for The WoW Diary will launch August 28th at 2 PM EST. I got helpful advice from lots of people, the most recent of which was board game maker named Gerald King III of Ultimate Team Up. It was Gerald’s idea to tweet quotes from my book, and my followers seem very receptive. He’s in the center of the Midwest’s board game development community, and is incredibly proactive and supportive. He has vast networking skills. He’s connected me to the editor-in-chief of Source Point Press, Travis McIntire (who also runs Deepwater Games) and Jacob Way of KrakenPrint. Their advice convinced me to scale back my Kickstarter text from sounding all professional and shit, so my campaign has lot more personality to it–and I’m no longer referring to myself in (gag) third-person. When I talked to an old WoW teammate, Mark Kern, he said basically the same thing, although Mark was the first person to point me in the right direction.

I’m doing a live stream tonight with Countdown to Classic at 7 PM EST. I dunno when Danger Dolan’s interview get’s posted but I’ve got a couple more shows (I’m recording tomorrow with Soupa Soka and Monday with Patrick Beja of’s podcast). I’ve more interviews down the pipe, but overall the streamers are focusing on covering Battle for Azeroth (go figure!), so if you know anyone hosting a channel, who can get the word out about my book, have their people call my people. I enjoy interviews. 😉

My promotional articles will be hosted by on Monday the 27th. Much props go to Perculia for helping me get that together.

I’ve also a couple Facebook group AMAs (ask me anythings) scheduled, but we’ll see how that goes…it’s all a learning process.

Ohio Time

I’ve been quiet because updates are counterproductive when legal matters are involved: You’re either signed or you’re not, there’s no such thing as “almost there.” The good news is I am signed and moving forward again. Blizzard and I have amended the licensing agreement to allow for electronic distribution, and four months isn’t terribly long for legal agreements, so everybody just quitcher bitchin.

My new Kickstarter has been updated to include PDFs, eBooks, and signed copies, although you’ll still get the best bang for your buck with the book, the whole book, and nothing but the book. My new campaign will also have some promotion (which will be nice). Said promotion will include, but not be limited to: Tweeting quotes from The WoW Diary, (follow me on @JohnStaats_WIR or my facebook page if you’re interested), interviews, promotional articles with post-launch WoW stories, podcast and YouTube appearances. The arrow isn’t in flight quite yet, but I’m hoping to launch my Kickstarter on Tuesday, August 28th.

I’m now in Akron, Ohio. I didn’t realize my home state had turned into such an active community for board game development. I’ve made some design milestones (cutting, cutting, cutting) in my tabletop game, so after this WoW Diary storm blows over, I’ll be more focused on board game development in 2019.

3% funded–and we’re coming in hot!

The WoW Diary will happen, just not in this recent Kickstarter campaign. I’m guessing the least obnoxious thing is to let it run its course before I put it out of its misery. I figure there’s no sense in creating broken links for the people supportive enough to post them. Sorry about all the confusion.

I will launch another Kickstarter for this project. Let’s review the things I learned:

First off, my funding goal will be less totally insane. The next goal will be ~$40,000 and run for 30 days (not 14). If I sell out 1,000 copies early, I’ll just add more goals. Secondly, I’ll reach more people around the globe, assuming the bug that dropped availability to random countries has been fixed. If not, copies will be available on Amazon a month or so later. I’m also eschewing the dubious Canadian Heritage Act. If they deport me for selling books with intent to educate, then so be it.

The next Kickstarter will include an eBook version. It will be without my fancy layouts and images because they break the dynamic formatting of eBooks. I can’t distribute Blizzard’s images in eBooks anyway, so there it is. I am on the fence about using a lower quality printing press and paper stock to reduce costs. I’m not yet ready to pull the trigger on this. Quality matters. Lastly, I will be much better prepared to market this book. I was woefully naive about getting the word out and better understand the mechanics behind PR. The WoW Diary’s next campaign will begin probably start between 1-4 months. Timing will almost wholly depend on marketing costs and schedules. I need to learn the business behind eBook formatting and distribution but it should be easier compared to print.

The most important thing for anyone who wants to know when the next Kickstarter will begin, is to include their email on my spam-free preview list. I only will send messages for major updates (once or twice a year). Thank you for your patience!

Announcements from the Spin Zone

If I knew how to track the visitors to my page, I’d probably see that I was the only person checking it out. That’s fine. With all the HTMLing and WordPressing involved, it’s good to iron out the mistakes outside the reach of a spotlight. But a spotlight is what I soon shall be under. With the slowly turning wheels of legal agreements behind me, I’m planning on revealing my Kickstarter campaign on a podcast I participate in, called Roll For Combat. Let’s call this post “Announcing an Announcement about an Pre-sales for my book.” My pal Steve runs the podcast, and he records my friends and I playing Pazio’s Starfinder campaign, called Dead Suns. Starfinder is a new tabletop RPG system, similar to Pathfinder, but it’s rules are slightly more elegant in a Next Gen sort of way. Steve is treating our group to a vacation in Seattle for the PaizoCon, and he’s running a contest on for a free trip the the con. If you endorse this sort of behavior, feel free to support our efforts on Roll For Combat’s Patreon page.

Anyhoo, I’ll be at the PaizoCon. Steve signed us up for an interview about my book and we’ll probably do a panel for our podcast. It’ll fun seeing my podcast friends again, Steve, Jason, Chris, and Bob. I’m so lonely here in Nevada, I even want to hang out with Bob! Cray-cray, right?

So look for all this good stuff! We also have a podcast preview about my book on, heralding The World of Warcraft Diary’s crowd-funding campaign. There’s probably an Inception-like trick using a totem; one that prevents these announcements within announcements from inverting our reality–but so far it’s not working. My totem still spins.

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 am integrating 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 was 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!