If you missed Kickstarter's most-funded nonfiction book in history, you can order it here!
The WoW Diary was written by the game's first level designer and covers the story behind making Vanilla WoW. With over 130 behind-the-scenes images and 336 full-color pages, it is the must-have book about game development.
Latest Updates from Our Project:
Big Time Delivery
8 months ago
– Tue, Dec 18, 2018 at 12:33:35 AM
Short Story: We're probably going to miss the Christmas delivery. The only customers that have a chance are US backers...and they might not receive theirs in December.
Long Story: Shipping is vastly more complicated than I originally thought. Shipping is so automated that every inventory detail needs to fit into every company's parameters.
I spent three days in the Amazon Marketplace interface trying to configure a shipping order to international customers NOT in the US, Canada or the EU. Amazon offers a shipping service for inventory not actually sold on Amazon, but the system is so complicated the details in the workflow aren't exposed until you're actually placing an shipping order...so it was very hard to prepare for. Our problem is that we're shipping books inside a "bumper mailer" which is a highly protective cardboard box. It's expensive, because it's put together by hand, but that's how I wanted to deliver the product.
In order to stop Amazon from automatically unpacking all of our boxes, there are a number of hoops my printer's shipping, labeling, and packaging departments need to jump through. You can't just tell them to NOT do open them, because there's no one to tell; everything is automated (at least on my end). I sent these instructions to my printer Friday, and I'm awaiting their response because it involves changing schedules of multiple departments.
Learning this took me three days of parsing Amazon's back end for shipping instructions that are scattered across many web pages. There are an unbelievable number of instructions, terms, and standards, and Amazon's customer support (for its shipping system) is spotty and slow.
Ordering a freight service that complies with both my printer (which is a $300M company) and Amazon's systems could be as complicated. I won't know until I'm actually placing the order and I can't do that until I know that the inventory is ready for pickup...and I'm waiting to hear back from my printer. For international delivery, this is gong to be a long, cumbersome educational process...but we'll get through it.
For US, EU, and Canadian backers, I expect my printer's shipping department has been fraught with the same issues, as each company does things its own way...and the shipping partners to Canada and the EU aren't the most communicative companies. We will not know when books are being sent out--until they're actually being sent out. It is a learning process to not only me, but my printer. Even though it's a giant company, they never directly ship books to customers, because they usually go use a distributor or a consolidator, or some other giant, industry entity.
8 months ago
– Mon, Dec 10, 2018 at 09:36:37 PM
After a long, period of signing books we are, at last, moving toward fulfillment!
I signed many showcase editions surrounded be some of the hardest workers I've ever seen. They not only worked fast, they walked fast. And they loved the company the worked for, there was no complaints or gossip about their managers. Their work ethic was refreshing and it sustained me throughout my marathon signing session.
I saw The WoW Diary for the first time last week. It came together beautifully, but I became alarmed by minor printing errors were some of the books. 95% were fine, but I worried so much about the errant copies, that a couple QA staffers joined our production line to filter out the rejects beforehand. The printer said they'd go through the rest to make sure you guys don't get books with mistakes.
I went through 13 gold markers to sign a total of 1500 books. I knew signing all of these books would make my hands ache, but by the halfway point, the constant contact with the paper had dried out the skin on my fingertips, which had cracked and started to peel! I'd never seen this before, and I didn't see any of the other workers wearing gloves, so I felt like someone with "soft, city-hands." The strangest thing about the signing was learning that my handwriting style always seemed to change...I suppose police profilers would have a hard time identifying me if I ever wrote a ransom note. At least I have that going for me.
In the mail, this morning, I received the signed press sheets. To send these, I will need get mailing tubes (of the proper size). They will be mailing separately from the showcase editions, so don't panic when one arrives without the other.
So what happens next? The printer fulfills our orders! When? We don't know. The printer needs to run the books through their QA staff (to pull out the problematic copies), and no one can know how long that will take until it's done. Lastly, the printer's shipping department is labeling everyone's address information (from Backerkit's database), and the only hitch we've discovered is non-English characters won't work with their labeling system, so they're going through every address, one-by-one, to do whatever they need to do to make it work.
9 months ago
– Tue, Nov 27, 2018 at 01:16:56 AM
Great news! There were no major snags with the spot UV varnishing! The WoW Diary has moved from the ink/drying stage of production to the physical manufacturing of each hardcover. I'm flying again to the printing plant on December 6th to sign copies for the showcase editions. I haven't seen the spot UV sheets myself, but my printer says this job is looking so good that they're submitting The WoW Diary for their entry into trade contests and industry competitions for the year 2018. I suspect whomever spends the most money to print their book wins these contests, but that's just me being cynical about something I know nothing about. ;)
As you know, spot UV varnish wasn't part of our original plan, so adding it has set us behind schedule a bit, but that's fine since most people prefer superb quality to holiday deliveries. That said, we're still unsure when deliveries will happen, as we're shipping things all around the world, at the busiest time in the year, using multiple fulfillment companies my printer has never worked with before, so books will arrive as providence allows.
My next update will likely be December 8 or 9, and will include loads of pictures from my visit to the plant. Wish me luck on my trip. ;)
Hi-resolution PDFs and eBooks Have Been Distributed
10 months ago
– Mon, Nov 05, 2018 at 05:08:01 PM
Backerkit's staff informs me there was some weirdness going on with their digital distribution last week. We should be beyond these glitches, so I'm sending out our digital rewards.
We have a new, electronic version of The WoW Diary, put together after I returned from trip to the printer late last week. I've corrected a couple of misspelled words before going to press it it's reflected in this new file (e.g., correcting Scarlett Monastery to Scarlet Monastery), and I used a more recent photo of myself on the author page...but the big difference is I fixed the "invisible" images and increased the PDF picture resolution.
Because the new file size is 70 megabytes I cannot send it to anyone directly. Keep in mind, eBook images did not increase in resolution, since some eBook readers won't handle files over a 5 megabytes. For sharp images, check out the PDF.
Backerkit gave some suggestions for email problems. With backers logging into Kickstarter through Facebook and supporting projects across different machines (which might have different email addresses as account logins), wires get crossed...or so it's been explained to me. I don't understand the issues, but if you're one of the 4% who haven't filled in your survey (or aren't getting the new electronic file), contact Backerkit's reps through the link above.
Often users have old emails tied to their accounts (particularly if they authenticate through Facebook). To make sure that emails from your project creator don't get caught in your spam filter, add firstname.lastname@example.org to your address book.
Avoid marking BackerKit e-mails as spam. Check your spam filters/archived e-mails.
10 months ago
– Sun, Nov 04, 2018 at 01:14:20 AM
Printing News: I got back from my first trip to the printer. The facility I visited was enormous. The company is worth a quarter billion dollars and has been around for almost a century...yet The WoW Diary will be their largest job ever spot-varnished. We've completed the first stage of printing this week, and will soon begin applying spot varnish.
The pressworkers were wary of our December deadline, and cautioned that everything must be completely dry before binding...and they couldn't say exactly how long it would take. It's a wait and see process. When I originally made a December estimate, spot-varnishing wasn't an option, but the overwhelming backer enthusiasm for bells and whistles convinced me that spot-varnishing was worth the extra effort, money, and time. If the spot-varnish doesn't dry as fast as we expect, we are likely not going to get rewards by Christmas.
This warning about spot-varnishing was the only foreseeable hitch in delivering goods. The delivery professionals I talked to seem comfortable working with the other fulfillment companies (for worldwide distribution), even though they've never worked together before. At least, there are no other red flags on the horizon.
During the marathon session of giving press approvals, they gave me a tour of the plant.
Electronic news: I arrived home from the printer on Thursday and began converting the book into a PDF without buggy images. I finished the new version yesterday, and outputted the file into a higher resolution PDF, but I can't email it until Backerkit explains to me why their software won't distribute the new files. Their UI says the PDFs are ready to be sent, but nothing is happening. After spending 7 hours working on this problem last night, my only recourse it to wait until Backerkit's support staff can assist on Monday.