Friday November 28, 2014

Shipping Update!

The trucks* full of Massively Parallel and Munitions Canister 1 & 2 slipcases will arrive on Monday, and we've got the volunteers we need. Meanwhile, the calendars have already arrived, and the ones that can be sketched and shipped without books are queued up for me to work on. They'll get packaged Saturday, and will go out the door on Monday. We're still basically on track with this schedule I posted.

I've finished one week of comics this week, and need to finish a second before Saturday night. Today's schedule: Blog (almost done!), pencil five rows of strips, take a ten minute break, then sketch 50 calendars. That gets me to about 1pm. From there, the schedule looks a lot like draw comics, breathe, sketch calendars, breathe, repeat. Maaaybe I'll leave the house for treat food, but it's far more likely that Sandra will forbid such distraction (she can't get HER work done until I've finished MINE), and simply drop something delicious and paper-wrapped in front of me. Along with napkins, so I don't get food on anybody's calendars.

I'll probably post a running count of completed sketches on Twitter. The next time THIS page gets updated it'll probably have pictures of giant stacks of merchandise.

(*Note: Yes, more than one truck.)

Interested in Dimensional Travel?

Thirty-two pallets of merchandise are arriving at the Hypernode Media warehouse on Friday. Or maybe on Monday. The warehouse currently has floor space for fifteen pallets. This presents us with an interesting problem, and the obvious solution is some form of dimensional travel.

Because we have a ladder, but no tesseract, our plan is to shift boxes through the 3rd dimension, and while this is simple enough on paper, it requires some heavy lifting.

Are you interested in helping? Are you local to us, and fit for a couple of hours of heavy lifting? Sandra has the rest of the details here (and her post was written without the attempt at dimensional humor, so it's probably a lot clearer than mine.) 

(Safety note: The slipcases will stack high with no danger of crushing, and we have pallet-wrap to keep the towers stable. The books will only be stacked to a height of about six feet, which is roughly twice the height of the pallets they're on. So, no, we won't be killing anyone under a cascade of Massively Parallel.)

The Shipping Schedule (Alternatively: "Why We're Not Doing NaNoWriMo This Year")

The calendars are arriving here at Chez Tayler tomorrow (Wednesday, November 19th.) I have a few hundred sketches to do, and those will be queued up on my game table so I have stuff to do when I want to take a break from working on the comic itself.
 
(Yes, I take a break from work by doing different work. No, I do not have a workaholism problem. I work, I fall down, no problem.)
 
The books and slipcases will be arriving at the Hypernode Media warehouse sometime the following week, hopefully on a day where they do not collide head-on with Thanksgiving plans. Regardless, as soon as they're in hand, the hundreds of to-be-sketched books will get queued up on my game table, and I'll go straight through on those as quickly as possible.
 
This sequence of events, which features me as the prominent bottleneck (which in turn means that no, this operation does not feature enough processes running in parallel [and certainly not massively so]), means that the contents of the box you ordered will dictate when that box ships.
 
Here's the schedule: 
 
  • Unsketched calendars (but no Massively Parallel books or slipcases) will go out starting on Wednesday, November 19th.
  • Orders with sketched calendars (but no Massively Parallel books or slipcases) will go out starting on Thursday, November 20th. The last of them should be out by Monday, November 24th.
  • Unsketched Massively Parallel orders (including those with slipcases, calendars, and book bundles) will start shipping sometime between November 25th and December 1st, depending on when the merchandise arrives. All non-sketched orders should be out the door by December 2nd.
  • Orders that include Massively Parallel sketch editions (including those with slipcases, book bundles, and sketched and unsketched calendars) will go out as soon as there are sketched books to go in them. They should start shipping by December 2nd, and the last of them should be out the door by December 9th
 
What does this mean for delivery in time for Christmas?
 
Per the USPS site, Domestic Priority-Mail orders will all arrive in time. We plan to ship them by the 9th, and USPS says we need to have them out the door by the 20th. No problem. The 11-book bundles will ship in two packages, though, so don't panic if only half the books arrive. The rest are probably right behind them.
 
International Priority Mail: We're going to attempt to fill these orders first, and according to USPS we should hit the delivery-by-Christmas dates for all packages except those going to Central and South America, and Africa. We'll do what we can to move those to the very top of my sketch pile, but they have to be out the door by December 2nd.
 
This will be our biggest and most complex shipping event ever. The amount of material arriving at the warehouse, if stacked precariously upon a single, indestructible pallet, would be about 10cm lower than an Olympic high-dive (10 meters [forty-ish feet.]). Most orders contain at least two things, and across all orders there are exactly 80 separate inventory items to be queued up for inclusion.
 
We'll get pictures. Also, we're not going to build an Olympic high-dive in our warehouse.
 

 
 
Are we two weeks behind our original schedule? Yes. Yes we are. Funny story...
 
Both the calendars and the books were delayed by errors we caught and fixed in the proofs. The calendar error wasn't that big a deal. The printer's software munged four pages of the file, and they fixed it. It only cost us four days.
 
The book error, however, was a hair's breadth away from disaster. One of the page images slid down during a copy-edit (totally our fault) and we didn't catch it until after the pages were printed. Fortunately, we caught it before they'd glued bindings on any of the 5,000 bundles of pages, and we were able to have them reprint the final signature (16-page section) of Massively Parallel. It cost us about $1000, plus two weeks and three anxiety attacks.
 
We caught that one on the Friday night (Eastern Time) before the Monday morning (Hong Kong time) when 5,000 covers were scheduled to be attached. Which means the breadth of a hair is about 44 hours, or zero business days, and please please pick up the phone before you pick up the glue.
 
"Funny story" indeed.
 
And speaking of stories, as much as Sandra and I both love to write, NaNoWriMo hasn't worked out for us in the past, so we didn't even consider it this year. Those of you who are doing NaNoWriMo can lord it up over us all you want.
 
(cross-posted from howardtayler.com)
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