Sparks and Monsters: Girl Genius Graphic Novel and Kickstarter Extras

Created by Studio Foglio

Oh no, the Brassy Fobs are once again backordered. Probably for about 30 days, so we're looking at late April. Silvery fobs are still in stock. Shipping to Australia is commencing! We're creeping up on our next Kickstarter campaign! Hooray!

Latest Updates from Our Project:

Sparks and Monsters is winding down, and The Exorcism Engines has funded!
29 days ago – Thu, Apr 28, 2022 at 05:36:41 AM

The Kickstarter for Girl Genius Volume 20: The Exorcism Engines has now funded!

We're very happy! The Volume 20 Envelope of Madness is filling out well, it currently holds a bunch of nice things, including three signed bookplates, with the possibility to unlock a fourth. That's a lot of signing to do, but I really wanted to do a special book plate for each new Hardcover edition we'll be printing. At the moment we've unlocked the printing of Volume 20, as well as reprints of Volumes One and Two. We're getting close to a reprint of Volume Five, so we are hopeful! We're also doing some very nice special bookmarks for the new volumes. 


Our warmest thanks to everyone who has helped make our campaigns a success, both here with Sparks and Monsters, and in the new campaign!


BUT BACK TO SPARKS AND MONSTERS:

All the Backer rewards for Sparks and Monsters have shipped! (But you knew that, because I told you in the last update.)


The second shipment of brassy SCIENCE fobs has now arrived, so I'll be sending out the store pre-orders that were waiting on those this week. The SCIENCE fobs were very popular.


We are now sweeping up the inevitable problems with wandering packages and packing mistakes. (I'm sorry! It's very rare, I promise!) As always, if you have a problem, contact us with our handy form or write to us at customerservice@studiofoglio.com. Please don't use random social media or even the Kickstarter comments, which sometimes get so swamped that we miss things, especially as the campaigns age.


If you haven't completed your BackerKit pledge manager, you can do that here using the email address you backed with. Please do it soon, I'll be closing the Sparks and Monsters pledge manager on June 01, 2022. After that, you'll have to contact us directly and it's a lot more fuss, especially since shipping was collected in BackerKit this time. I'll post another reminder here before I shut things down.


Thanks again, everyone! I know I make a lot of mistakes, I try to learn more every time. I appreciate all your support, patience, and advice.

--Kaja

EVERYTHING HAS SHIPPED and VOLUME 20 KICKSTARTER IS LAUNCHING THIS WEEK IF IT'S THE LAST THING I DO
about 1 month ago – Thu, Apr 14, 2022 at 07:52:54 PM

Hello everyone!

EVERYTHING HAS SHIPPED

First off, I’m delighted to say that, as of last week, all our backer rewards have shipped. That includes everything for the Australians, and all the backer shipments waiting for a brassy SCIENCE! fob.

If you are a backer who has NOT done the BackerKit form, it's not too late, tell us where to ship your stuff here: https://girlgenius19.backerkit.com/ and if you have trouble, please use our handy customer service form or our customerservice@studiofoglio.com email. Please don't use random social media or even the Kickstarter comments, which sometimes get so swamped that we miss things, especially as the campaigns age. We don't want to miss things; we want to get you your rewards!

BRASSY SCIENCE! FOBS ARE BACKORDERED AGAIN

I am now awaiting more brassy SCIENCE! Fobs so I can fill the non-backer orders that have come in through our BackerKit shop since the campaign end. We sold through them FAR more quickly than we expected to. Backers, don't worry, all yours have shipped. (We do still have silvery SCIENCE! fobs, which are also quite lovely!)

VOLUME 20 KICKSTARTER IS LAUNCHING THIS WEEK IF IT'S THE LAST THING I DO

I’ve had to push our Volume 20 Kickstarter back more than I’d like, but now I mean to have it launched sometime this week, no matter what it takes. This time around, I’m planning a few nice “Early Bird” deals, so if you’re interested, please consider visiting the campaign’s pre-launch page and signing up to be notified when the campaign goes live.

For the Volume 20 campaign, in addition to the usual Envelope of Madness stretch goals, we have some major reprint goals. We need to reprint Volumes 1, 2 and 5, or we’ll have a hard time at our summer conventions. For these early volumes, we plan to release a new, plain hardcover edition. The premium puffy-cover editions of these books have been out of print for nearly twenty years, so I think it’s about time! We’ll still do the special puffy covers for the first editions of the new volumes, though, for ourselves and those of you who are collectors.

The Volume 20 campaign will just be books, because we’re trying to streamline our shipping. This will allow us to lower the shipping costs for our US backers, and possibly for our overseas backers, although that is likely to still be outrageous. We’ve now learned to wield the power of Harmonization Codes, though, so I hope that will help with duties and taxes. I hope you’ll be glad to know that I won’t be shipping it all by hand this time, I’m scouting fulfillment houses. That should help with speed.

As for pins and pointy things, I’ll be doing a separate campaign for those a bit later this year. Possibly through GoFundMe or something similar. For the Volume 20 campaign, I just want to get those books printed and shipped.

WE’RE ON WEBTOONS.COM!

I’ve started retooling our early volumes for release on webtoons! It’s a fun design challenge and reminds me of editing film. I haven’t got a lot posted there yet, because I was busy packing shipments, but I have a start and I’m excited to play with it more. You can follow us here!


And, until I get that next campaign launched, that’s all I have to tell! Have a wonderful month everyone, and thank you all for your patience and readership.

--Kaja

March 2020 Girl Genius Sparks and Monsters Update
about 2 months ago – Fri, Apr 08, 2022 at 04:45:26 PM

Hello again!

THE FOBS ARE HERE!

If you ordered a fob from the BackerKit store, I’ll be sending it out to you soon! Please LET US KNOW IF YOUR ADDRESS HAS CHANGED! I’ll probably start shipping them out on Monday, so you have until then to let us know. If you’re one of our International backers who is getting a fob, you should still be able to change your address in BackerKit. I haven’t locked those addresses yet.

New Zealanders getting fobs, yours are already on the way, I used my samples from the factory when I packed your shipments because there were only a couple of you.


You can watch me open the boxes of fobs here, in this short, terrible YouTube video that I made as practice!


INTERNATIONAL SHIPPING ADVENTURES:

I’m getting the Australian rewards ready to ship. I’m waiting to hear back from ShipStation about a technical issue, and then we should be good to go.

I’ve got everything customs wants entered into ShipStation, including the Harmonization Codes. The duties might still be atrocious, because apparently the EU is getting really cranky about imports, but I will have done all I can as an independent shipper and I hope it helps. I’ll keep studying to see if I can learn better ways to ship to the EU. Maybe opening an Amazon seller’s account would help, I don’t yet know.


WHAT ABOUT THE NEXT CAMPAIGN?

I can’t run a a new campaign yet! Our last printer has gone out of business, so we must now find someone new. Fortunately, there are other printers out there, and this isn’t the first time we’ve had to find a new one. We’re waiting to hear back with price quotes. It’s a very bad idea to offer a book for sale before you know how much it’s going to cost. Still, I’m working on getting all the Kickstarter ducks in a row so I can go live as soon as I can. Quack.

This time around, I’m planning a few “Early Bird” offers (those ducks again), so if you’re interested, please consider visiting the campaign’s pre-launch page and signing up to be notified when the campaign goes live.


Thank you, everyone!

--Kaja

An update mostly for our International backers, especially the Australians and New Zealanders
about 2 months ago – Wed, Apr 06, 2022 at 12:24:27 AM

Hello everyone!

I’m hoping to launch our next Kickstarter campaign in the next couple of weeks. This time around, I’m planning a few “Early Bird” offers, so if you’re interested, please consider visiting the campaign’s pre-launch page and signing up to be notified when the campaign goes live.


And now, the rest of this update will likely only be of interest to our International Backers, so thank you very much to everyone who leaves us here, we’ll “see” you in the next update, which will be in early March unless anything happens before that! --Kaja


For the ones who stay:

An Update for our Backers in Australia and New Zealand:

Australians: If you have moved, please update your address in BackerKit asap!

You can access your BackerKit account here. You will need to use the email address you backed with to log in. 

I’ll be spamming you with a couple of emails warning you that your address is about to be locked, and I apologize for bothering you with more than one email, but the different steps in the address locking procedure send out emails, and I’m doing it the very careful way. I know shipping was expensive, but it’s costing me anywhere from a couple of dollars extra to nearly twice as much as y’all paid to ship, so I don’t want to do it twice! (I wasn’t lying when I said we often absorb some of the cost. We’re happy to do it.)

If you are in Australia and ordered a SCIENCE fob as part of your order, you’ll have a little more time to correct your address since I don’t expect the fobs to arrive until late February/early March. I’ll ship those packages out right away when I can.

If you have trouble, you can use our Customer Service Contact Form and we can change your address for you.  Just let us know right away please.


New Zealanders: Your stuff is on the way!

BackerKit postage recently started letting me buy postage to New Zealand again, so I packed up all the New Zealand shipments and took them to the post office. I am nervously watching my test tracking number to see what happens. I’m afraid that they might all come back as “undeliverable” but I hope not. I live in fear.


What’s Going on with the Australian Shipping Anyway?

BackerKit postage still won’t sell me postage to Australia because of the United States Post Office ban on mail service to Australia. When I go to the post office and ask, they helpfully show me a printout of the same page I’ve been looking at since November. Here’s the link if you're curious, and I’ll attach a recent screenshot below this section. Also, here's an article from the Sydney Morning Herald for further reading on this fascinating subject. I don't know if I've been "fuming" but I've certainly been worried.

Some of you told me that you’ve been getting mail from the US, and I looked into that. As I understand it, companies like Amazon and Ebay have special deals with third party shippers, and so are mostly unaffected by the Post Office ban. 

I looked into things a little more and discovered that by enrolling in the Global Advantage Program with Stamps.com, I can use Stamps.com or ShipStation to get you your packages. They send all the international packages to a consolidation point within the US and then use carriers that they have special deals with to get the packages where they’re going. It took a lot of phone calls and emails back and forth with ShipStation customer service, but I believe that, tomorrow morning (Monday) it will be all set up and ready to go.  They were absolutely wonderful. I am so relieved, and very, very sorry for all the fuss. The Post Office ban went into effect right around the time I started to ship, and I thought “well, ok, I’ll ship everything else and when I get to the end, surely the ban won’t still be on?” and it was. So now I’m learning more about shipping, and an end is in sight. Yay.

Here's that screenshot:

Hooray for the USPS

An Update for Our Other International Backers

I’ve heard from a couple of our international backers that the duty this time around was quite high. I am very sorry about that. We’ve been shipping internationally for years, and it has always been understood that various country’s duties and taxes are the responsibility of the buyers—every country has different laws about imports. We do our best to fill out the customs forms legally. Companies like Amazon, Etsy and Ebay have deals in place that people like us simply can’t get, and they are able to subsidize these duties and taxes in many countries (I did some research and that’s what I learned!) Although we very much appreciate everyone’s support, larger sellers like these might be better places to buy our work in the future if you know your country charges a lot on imported goods.

Another thing I discovered while looking into all this: apparently the EU changed some laws in 2021 that may have affected the way the taxes were calculated. I am now learning as much as I can about harmonization codes, an arcane number that the EU is now requiring on packages. I think that using the specific and proper harmonization codes will help in the future. But maybe not. I live in hope, as well as fear.

Our main Kickstarter page does mention that extra taxes and duties might apply to certain countries, we will put a stronger warning on our future campaigns. Steve Jackson Games had some very good language on their most recent Girl Genius Kickstarter, and I’m going to ask to borrow that.

Again, to those of you who had an unpleasant surprise with customs, I am very sorry. I am no expert with all of this, but I’m trying to learn more to make international selling as smooth as possible. 


And, until those SCIENCE fobs arrive, there really isn't much else to tell you. Thank you, everyone. I look forward to doing a better job next time, armed with all my new lessons.


--Kaja

January 2022 Girl Genius Sparks and Monsters Update!
about 2 months ago – Tue, Apr 05, 2022 at 03:47:10 PM

Hello everyone, and Happy New Year!

As of the first week of December, we are now in the stage of the campaign where all but a few troublesome items have shipped. More on that below under “CRUNCHY SHIPPING INFORMATION.” Now is the time that I take care of shipments that have gone astray or been damaged, and handle the usual small problems that arise in the wake of a big shipment like this.


THE BACKERKIT STORE

I’ve finally got the BackerKit store opened to the general public, which is a huge relief.  I wanted to do it sooner, but things kept getting in my way. (Emerald City ComicCon and Christmas being two big ones.) I also wanted to wait and make sure that anything coming in from the BK store wouldn't interfere with shipping to our actual backers, so there's that.


HARDCOVER ADVENTURES

We went through and counted all the HC books to make sure that we have enough set aside for all our backers, plus a bunch in case of damaged or lost shipments. This set had a LOT of damage for some reason, so we had to pull out a lot of unsellables, but we found that we have about 35 good volumes left over. We’re kind of surprised, we didn’t expect to be able to offer any on the BK store at all. The demand for hardcovers was surprisingly huge this time!


THE EXORCISM ENGINES

As for the next campaign, for Girl Genius Volume 20: The Exorcism Engines, I suspect that will be going live in early February. I’m always thinking about how to improve the Kickstarter campaigns, and this time, I’m getting all the artwork and extras planned out, drawn, colored, and in a few cases, printed, ahead of time. This should speed me up a lot.  I’m also limiting this one to printed flat things, which should help with shipping costs. Later in the year, I’ll do another Kickstarter campaign with the medals, patches, and extras. I suspect that splitting things like this will bring in less money than usual, but it will have a huge advantage in that it will make the shipping process a LOT more manageable! (And, as I said, will hopefully improve speed and cut down on shipping costs.)


Thanks, everyone! I’ll be back with more later! 

--Kaja


CRUNCHY SHIPPING INFORMATION

Here are the Shipping trouble spots:

The SCIENCE fobs are still on their way from the factory. I am expecting final samples this week. Once I’ve approved those I expect the full shipment to arrive a few weeks later. The fobs have been nothing but revisions and re-dos, but I think they’ll get it this time. I’ll ship those out right away when they come in, and I’ll post about it here.

Domestic orders that included fobs were sent out with a note that the fobs are backordered. International orders, I’m waiting to ship the whole thing, because shipping is so crashingly expensive that I only want to do it once. I’m sorry for the wait.

The other problem is…Australia. I still can’t ship stuff to Australia.  Or New Zealand, apparently. This can’t last. Here’s the error text: “Unable to complete shipment purchase: deliveries are currently suspended and not available for purchase.” I’m checking every day, and I promise I will ship those out as soon as World events let me.  Thank you for being so patient with us.