Its a rocky road sometimes- The trials of getting 2nd edition printed and where we are now
Hello my kittens! (that's your new nickname by the way if you are reading this blog. I don't know why, it just seems to fit. You are soft and adorable and I want to feed you warm (oat) milk.)
If you follow me over on Instagram and watch my stories, you have seen in real time the stresses and obstacles I have experienced when it comes to getting this 2nd edition deck printed.
But If you are new to the Earth Bones Tarot Community (Welcome!) you may not know all the details behind getting this edition made.
Buckle up kiddo, this is going to be a wild ride, and I am giving you a first hand peek into the multitude of mistakes I made so don't judge me too hard, okay?
So lets start at the beginning of it all. The kick starter for 1st edition had just finished and all of the decks had sold out. I swore up and down to all of my friends and family " NO MORE! At LEAST a year until I do this again for the 2nd edition."
I knew from the start that I would likely end up making a second edition once the first edition kick starter campaign hadn't hit the funding goal I had hoped for.
While the cards for the first edition were beautiful, I wanted to be able to have a guidebook that fit into the box with the cards as well as having a nicer and sturdier box. Add gilding to that equation and I just didn't have the funds to make it happen the first time around. (Turns out the whole producing and making a tarot deck thing is super expensive!)
A few months after the 1st ed had sold out, I was contacted by a magazine asking if I would send them a copy of EBT for their upcoming fall edition. (At this time it was about 4 months away.)
Now one thing that we should keep in mind here, one of my BIGGEST goals since I was a child was to have my work featured in a magazine. To me, that was the sign that I had "made it". When this opportunity presented itself I was instantly excited, and if we are being honest here my logic flew completely out of the window. I let them know that the 1st edition had sold out, but maybe I could push production of the 2nd edition up a little bit and they could feature THAT deck. It seemed to make sense to me in a way- they would promote the pre-orders of the bulk of the deck and I could just send the company one of the hard proof copies because of course most companies offer those right?
I took this idea and began to formulate a plan for having the printing done for this 2nd edition. After all, all of the design work was DONE, so the most difficult part would be raising money for the printing and then shipping them, right?
(Lets just insert some laughter here at how naive I was.)
I reached out to a company that had messaged me on kick-starter way back during my first campaign. They printed tarot decks and lots of other companies had used them, so it seemed like it was meant to be.
I purchased a big sample pack of their card finishes, styles, boxes and booklets and was VERY impressed by the quality of everything when it arrived.
I had done a *minimal* amount of shopping around, but it was a little challenging to find information about deck printing in the first place, let alone how to contact different makers and choose one. I liked the quality of the items, it was *sort of* within the budget I had set, so it made sense to me at the time to simply move forward with this company.
I began to set a timeline for the printing process-
I wanted the decks to begin printing in September, which would set their arrival to me in Mid October.
This would give me plenty of time to market and ship out decks before Christmas, and there was enough of a buffer there that even if stuff took a little longer than planned I would still be able to have people receive their decks by Christmas.
This seemed to me a great marketing strategy, everything I had read encouraged pushing sales for gifts for the holiday season. I didn't really know much about sales (still don't.) but it seemed to make sense to me, plus if I were a buyer I would like to pre-order something and receive it by Christmas, right?
We began e-mailing back and forth, the company and I.
It was July, so in my mind I had plenty of time. Foolishly I wasn't saving nearly enough of my income as I should have-My Etsy was booming and I assumed "hey if it is doing this well now it will likely do even better around Christmas time! Paying for all of this will be easy."
I was tweaking the files slowly, not anticipating that there would be any issues with the card designs or formatting since I was following the template they gave me.
This lack of urgency, lack of saving, and overall 'chill' attitude in the early stages really effed me up later, Looking back, I would have simply waited to produce the 2nd edition. I was burnt out from the stress of making the 1st ed and in reality didn't have enough motivation to move quickly enough. It never occurred to me that time would move so so so much faster as it got closer to the deadline that I had mistakenly given myself.
Fast forward to end of August.
I emailed all of my files over to the printing company, and this is when the first of many delays happened.
I was notified that the card files were the incorrect size. I fixed them all and sent them back. It was now the second week of September. Pre-orders had opened and orders for the decks were coming in. I wasn't nervous about any of this, I had put plenty of time in my buffer to handle any delays.
Then the files I had sent back were also "wrong". Each time the files were wrong it required me re-working all 78 cards to match the new specs. I was confused and frustrated, after all, I followed the template they had given me! Conversations between the company and I moved at a glacial pace- each e-mail taking a day to be answered because of the differing time zones.
Eventually, we were able to move past the communication barrier and the cards were correctly formatted- after re-doing them FIVE times.
Once we had all of the cards fixed, then it was onto the booklet which ALSO needed to be fixed. And once that was fixed, I learned that the box and the card backs were wrong and I needed to learn a complete new program to be able to turn the proper pieces of the cards into vector format for them to be gilded.
Thankfully, my sister in law swooped in to the rescue and helped me out with the vectoring process, but after it was all said and done the files were not approved to print until mid October.
At this point I was sweating. December was rapidly approaching and I was regretting the fact that I had set this deadline way back before I knew this whole process would be so difficult.
Things were quiet until mid November. I knew the cards were being produced and that there really wasn't anything I could do to hurry it along.
On November 21st, I got an email that the decks had shipped and would be there that Friday! I was THRILLED. Even though the timeline was so tight it was still plenty of time to get the decks packed out and shipped to everyone before Christmas.
Friday rolled around and I waited.
Monday came and went.
"Sometimes the post is slow." I told myself.
I emailed the company.
Come to find out that the decks haven't actually shipped to me at all.
it was now early December. The chances of all of the decks getting to me in time for me to turn and ship them to my customer seemed slim. I was anxious and felt like I had failed everyone by not being able to fulfill the original promise of the decks being there by Christmas.
Against my better judgement, I agreed to hire an outside fulfillment company to ship out the decks directly from china. It would save me money short term, plus single decks could move so much quicker than an entire pallet of 500!
I wanted those decks to move as quickly as possible and was told it would only take 7-10 business days for the decks to arrive to my individual customers once they shipped out.
Hiring the fulfillment company was another massive mistake. My sense of urgency to have these decks shipped was completely lost on them, days would pass before they would respond to my e-mails asking for an update.
FINALLY, on December 13th the decks all shipped out.
I was a little more relaxed, after all it seemed like most people would get their decks right after Christmas, maybe the week after if things moved slowly according to the timeline projections given by the fulfillment center. It wasn't IDEAL, but it was all I could do so I had to be okay with it.
Well, turns out the timeline projections were a whole bunch of fancy numbers not based on anything real.
Weeks passed and no one had received their decks. I didn't even have a physical copy of the deck myself at this point! I was just hoping that it would turn out beautiful and be worth everything.
It wasn't until the last week of January that the final deck was delivered from the fulfillment center. In all, most decks took approximately 6 weeks to arrive, during that time they had no tracking that would show until they were delivered. Those 6 weeks were spent stressing about how blind I felt by the lack of information about what was going on.
I felt guilty, I hadn't been able to keep my promise. I was overwhelmed and upset and regretted the whole process. There were a lot of tears shed.
Finally finally, I got my own copy and I could rest easy for a moment before having to turn my attention to- How the heck am I going to get the rest of the decks here so I can sell the rest of them?
So I contacted the printing company who still had 200 count of my decks within their warehouse. I paid for the shipping for the decks from them, and then I turned and ordered 50 more decks from the fulfillment center to myself. Since the fulfillment center's shipping is more expensive for bulk decks, I plan to order 50 decks at a time as I can afford them until I have all the rest here in my hands.
The printing company only shipped out 100 decks, and this was roughly two weeks ago.
They still charged me for shipping 200 decks, and they still have 100, so I am trying to get in contact with them to find out when they are shipping the rest.
(I do not know why only 100 were sent....)
Along with this happening though, the coronavirus outbreak in China has everyone afraid, so the company that is shipping the decks to me is working with a skeleton crew and my normal contact person is not in the office to check on things.
I have no idea when the first 100 decks will arrive to me, and I have no idea when the other decks from the printing and fulfillment company will arrive.
I REFUSE to offer earth bones 2nd ed for sale until I can personally ship them, I want the decks to be packed with love and care and by golly I want to be able to update the customer on every step of whats happening for shipping and the fulfillment center simply cannot offer that to me.
So now we are all caught up.
Earth bones 2nd edition will be available for purchase once I receive the bulk of the decks in the mail. :) We don't have a day, its going to be a suprise for EVERYONE. Including me.