Sunday, May 31, 2020

When will I receive my books?


Update 6/6/20/20 - Well, we got the rest of the books signed on Monday 6/1/20 and after 4 days of "official shipping" we are doing well. Here is a status:
  • 2,100 total orders (1,873 Kickstarter, 227 pre-orders on our website)
  • 997 orders shipped (47%)
  • 733 orders picked (meaning they are being packed up but no labels yet (35%)
  • 370 orders haven't been started (18%)
Click here to see a spreadsheet that will show all orders and what state each is in. I'll try to update it at the end of the day on Monday.  If the status has a number - that is your tracking ID and you can track it via the USPS site.  We'll also be uploading tracking information into Kickstarter.

NOTE: This data is only for US orders (except for website which has orders from all countries). We'll start preparing the pallets for Canada and Overseas on Monday.

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This is a question that we have been receiving a lot recently. And with COVID-19 it's even harder than usual.  But I will tell you what I know at this precise moment, and update this page as I learn more.

To answer when you'll get your book, the first question is where did you pre-order it from. There are a number of possibilities.

  • Direct from us - which means you backed our Kickstarter or you bought from our store
  • From an online retailer like Amazon or Barnes and Noble
  • From your local bookstore who is doing curbside pickup or mailing books
Okay, let's give just a bit of history.  The original release date for the book was May 5th (just like the ebook and the audio versions), and there are two printers involved in its production: one that does the dust jackets, and the other which takes care of the printing of the interior pages and does the binding and folding the dust jacket around the outside. In early March, it was anticipated that the books would come off the press by mid-March, and be in the retail stores warehouses by end of March so that date looked fine.  Then the middle of March came and things started getting pretty interesting.

Some printers were shut down completely, others were operational because they were doing things for medical suppliers or printing essential items like instructions for large corporations with many sites. In any case, our "on press" date was pushed back and we had to change the date. We pushed to May 26th.  But that turned out not to be enough cushion.

In late April, we still weren't on the press so another date needed to be set, and to make matters worse, Ingram (the warehouse that ships to the retail chain) was collapsing operations and we couldn't use the Pennsylvania warehouse. All shipments that would arrive after May 1st had to go to their Tenessee warehouse. Since the printer's updated "off press" date was moved to May 20th, we set June 23rd as the new retail date (giving the retail chain 4 weeks to "move the books around" from place to place. In other words to get the books from the printer to Ingram, then Ingram get the books to the Amazon and B&N warehouses.  There is an additional step of getting books out of B&N warehouses and to retail stores - which is a whole different can of worms. At this point, I'm concentrating on "online" orders rather than curbside pickup.

Okay, so our sights were set on the next milestone, having books ready to ship out from the printer.  as it turned out May 20th didn't happen but we got close and on May 22nd there were 10,200 books waiting to go somewhere.  Two shipments were prepared.
  • One for 2,688 books to go from Harrisburg VA to Madison VA for orders bought directly from us.
  • The other for 7,512 books to go from Harrison VA to Jackson TN
Usually, these shipments take 1 - 2 days, but with COVID-19 it took longer. The Madison shipment arrived late in the day on May 27, and the Jackson TN got theirs on May 29.

Now, books bought directly from me, need to be signed, and normally we come in the next day to do that and for the number of books to be signed it would take 3 - 4 days), but that couldn't happen this time. The warehouse where we sign has strict rules from the Governor of Virginia regarding under what circumstances visitors are allowed into their facility. It was a good thing that the printing took longer because for a while there was no ability for us to get at the books to sign, and we were contemplating options such as signing in the parking lot, or getting a UHaul van to move the books from Madison to Luray where we would sign in our garage.  Long story short, they were able to build a little isolation area for us within the warehouse and as long as we remained masked, brought plenty of disinfectants (Lysol, Clorox wipes, hand sanitizer (which we couldn't get but substituted gloves which we did have) and also brought our own table and chairs we could get permission to sign for two days Friday May 29th and Monday June 1st. 

We signed 1,512 books on Friday and will finish up the 1,176 on Monday. Since no one took the signed books out of our area by end of day Friday, I suspect the shipping of our direct orders will start on Monday.  We have the following backorders:
  • 1,859 orders consisting of 3,045 books (Kickstarter)
  • 152 orders consisting of 280 books (bought directly through our website.
As the books start shipping, I'll report the number shipped and the backorder remaining on this page.

As for the retail chain, I mentioned before that the "official" release date is June 23, but I suspect they will start shipping pre-orders as soon as books arrive in their warehouses from the Ingram warehouse. Because Grim Oak Press is our distribution partner I have no insight to their online systems so I can't see when books have moved out, and I don't want to bug Shawn constantly with requests for updates, but I will ask him for snapshots mid-month and end of the month and post them here. 

I should note, that some people are reporting that their pre-orders have been canceled, probably because the retailers didn't know when they could expect books. So, if your order was affected, you can do the per-order again or buy directly from our site.  I suspect that new orders to our site will be processed within 48 hours of receiving as that is our terms and conditions when not dealing with backorders.

I have my own pre-order through Amazon, and I'll report here when it arrives as that will give people some indication of when the books are shipping through the retail chains.

As for brick-and-mortar stores, some are open for curbside delivery, but that varies from state to state. Keep in mind the books have to get from Ingram to the Indie bookstore or from Ingram to B&N warehouse to the B&N local store, so it may take 2 - 3 weeks before all those books get to their respective locations, which would make them "just in time" for the new June 23rd release date.

Non US Shipments
Okay, one last thing. All of the above was for US copies of books. I have no idea at this point how long it takes Amazon to move books from the US to their distribution centers in Europe or elsewhere.  I suspect that BookDepository (free shipping worldwide) will have the same delivery schedule as Amazon and there are some countries that can't be shipped to at all right now.

As for non-US books purchased through the Kickstarter or our Foreign Sale, those require pallets to be created and then mailed to freight forwarders. I've asked the people at our local warehouse when we can access to non-Age of Empyre books so we can prepare those shipments, and they are working on a plan for that.  I suspect we'll know something more in about a week or so, and I'll keep this page updated.

Bare with us people, we are doing all we can to get the books to you as soon as humanly possible, but most of this relies on other people and so it is outside our control. But we'll keep you as updated as possible.

38 comments:

  1. My son (14) and I have fallen in love with your books and can’t wait for this one! I work in the laboratory at our local hospital and am happy to wait a little longer if it can keep people safe.
    P.S. I think you should pitch a screenplay to Netflix, Amazon, or Apple TV. would love to see Royce and Hadrian in a mini series!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm so glad you and your son are excited to get your copy. As for television/film, we have an option on both Legends and Riyria, but that is a LONG, LONG, way from having anything produced.

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  2. After reading this saga, I’m amazed that you haven’t lost your minds over the sheer logistics of getting a book out during a pandemic. Thanks for hanging in there.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Although I only buy ebooks and not paper books, I do wanted to mention my appreciation of not only you literally moving mountains to sign and ship your books out during this trying times, but also your efforts to keep us readers informed of your progress.

    Surely you could have just chalked it up to "coronavirus" but I feel that getting a full explanation shows how deep your commitment to your readers is.

    So thank you for writing such great books and thank you for keeping us updated.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I thank you for the update, and for all the work you've done to get the books moving. Here in Canada, my order was just cancelled, so I'll have to wait. Which would've been fine if book 5 hadn't ended in such a literal cliffhanger...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Go ahead and reorder. I'm guessing they will ship as soon as they receive copies.

      Delete
  5. Amazon is saying it will be available on June 23rd

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That is the "official" new release date, but if past history is any indication, they'll start shipping as soon as they get copies.

      Delete
  6. The fun part of this mess is that I think my son has already forgotten that we ordered these books....so it should be a real surprise when he gets them. Thanks for the update and stay safe!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Haha - well something to keep him busy while on lock-down.

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  8. My copy came in today. Cheers!

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  17. Any word yet as to when the UK Kickstarters will get their copies?

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