Monday, February 25, 2008

Be Wary of Setting Precedents

Here we are again on a rather beautiful day in Houston--we get about ten of them a year and so it's difficult to resist the temptation to go sit on the deck for a few hours. Alas.

All of the refunds have been sent out as of Friday and should be arriving within the next two days. I abhor doing mass mailings; we're not really set up to do them and, due to some bastardized offspring of Murphy's Law and the Peter Principle, our machines all seem to seize up when I ask them to start printing mailing labels. Nonetheless! those are complete.

We have an ETA of between April 14th and 18th for the first set of VE books--Volumes 1-7. In addition, the second set of books--Volumes 8-19--are beginning to hit second pass proofing, so things are moving along nicely.

I checked on what kind of leather "Taratan II" is meant to be and received the following description from Transcontinental:

Taratan II is a bonded leather. Lido grain is one of the embossing patterns available in the Taratan II bonded leather. It is made by a company named Cromwell. The thickness is 0.35mm.

I've received an acceptable number of initial responses concerning a Virginia Edition version of Variable Star, all of whom also seemed interested in getting Bill Patterson's Biography of Heinlein as well. In a month or so, I'll start putting out feelers on the status of those and do a more formal inquiry to the subscribers about whether or not they'd want the volumes.

Until next time

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

I want it known, if you are responsible for working on the HP 8100DN, your job is as incomplete as the infernal machine currently jutting out behind my chair.

Monday, February 18, 2008

The wheel keeps turning...

...but that only matters to the ones on the rim.

Frabjous joy (Have I already used that line? Alas.) Okay, I've got a basic printing timeline from Transcontinental. Everything will be ready to be bound as of March 19th. The time between March 19th and completion of the first books depends on a few options I confirmed this morning and so we should have a final date for that in the next couple of days.

Beyond that, volumes 8-13 and 15-19--Stranger in a Strange Land, How to be a Politician, Rocket Ship Galileo, Space Cadet, Farmer in the Sky, Between Planets, The Rolling Stones, Starman Jones, and the Star Beast--have been scanned and will be moving to the proofreading part of the process. Volume 14 (Red Planet) was delayed due to shipping problems. Uncountable, unspeakable, unholy shipping problems. Books will be moved along and completed at the rate of 3 to 4 a month. If we assume a bare minimum, we'll be seeing the next twelve completed in four months--about June--and at flat-out rates, we'll have 'em in May or so.

We'd originally planned to do volumes 1-10, 11-22, 23-34, 35-46 (roughly). The original volume 8 was lost to redistribution, volumes 9 and 10 needed more work done, and two volumes of screenplays have been added. Now our first two print runs will be volumes 1-7 and then 8-19. I'll double-check, of course, but I believe the best course of action hereafter will be to print 20-33 and 34-47 together. (I'm also open to all of your thoughts on the matter.)

Due to clerical and administrative delay, the refunds did not go out last week. I have everything I need now, however, and will be sending them out today and Wednesday. Frankh, don't worry, I'll make sure your leaves with the first batch.

More than a few have asked me whether or not Variable Star would be included with the Virginia Edition. Our plan is not to include it as, though it is based on Heinlein's outlines, it is not Heinlein's writing. Nonetheless, given what appears to be reasonable interest, I *might* be able to start talking with a few people to see if we can get the rights to print a copy of it in the same format as the rest of the Virginia Edition.

If we did do this, it would be an add-on you could choose to purchase. Before I do any of this, however, I'd need to know how many of you would actually be interested in purchasing the volume. (It'll likely be a little while before I find the time to make inquiries, but go ahead and either respond to this post or to my email.)

Also, Donato has completed his work on the painting and is just awaiting an address to which he should send the plate. I'll keep you posted on the status of that as it develops.

I believe that's all for today.

Ad Astra

Monday, February 11, 2008

To those who have requested to receive money in lieu of books, we will begin sending those out starting Wednesday. If, for some reason, there is a delay in a person's account, I will contact them directly and let them know what's happened.

I may have mistaken the type of leather being used--I copied the exact name from the Transcontinental quotes, it may well be an in-house name--so, when we're uploading all the files, I'll ask for a common name.

We're currently waiting for somebody to finish rechecking the reflow of Time Enough for Loved--ETA for completion being today or tomorrow--and I'm double-checking to see if there's any reason we can't have the higher-res version of the VE logo on the book's title page. I am not currently aware of any other obstacles to going to print.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Today's title is blank in honor of transparencies, the unsung heroes of the classroom.

The website is now nearly completely functional. We've had transactions run successfully and I've been able to add a basic ordering option, but I'm apparently not nearly as technically brilliant as I thought and thus need our beloved webmistress's* help to set up options for people who need to make multiple payments.

I don't know if I've mentioned this before, but a number of Heinlein's screenplays were found and will be published as a two-volume set by Shadow Press. These volumes will also be included in the Virginia Edition.

One side of this is that all the material for Volume 8: Destination Moon will be included elsewhere in the edition. As such, we're going to get rid of it as a discrete volume, move them all up a stage, and move from there. We're going to send Shadow Press all the pictures we have from Destination: Moon so that they can create a much nicer production than might otherwise have been the case.

Talk to you all Monday (though it may be a bit of a quickie).

Monday, February 4, 2008

A society that gets rid of all its troublemakers goes downhill.

I would like to apologize to Zarf--tentatively termed My Number 1 Fan--for the lack of updates last week. There's been a whole lot of work without a whole lot of tangible results. (The intangibles, however, are off the charts.) Nonetheless, in all seriousness, sorry Zarf. And everybody else.

Our current status isn't especially different now than it was last week--when I asked Nancy to put together the layouts, I must, rather sheepishly, admit that I forgot to send her the graphic files we'll be using. This delay's rather entirely on me.

Of course, I realize I should also mention, while this business is being taken care of, progress is still continuing on future volumes--I need to get a status update and then I'll be able to post with the current progress on said volumes. Just so you know, we're not ramming our head into a brick wall.

The offer deadline came and went. I spent a lot of last week contacting those people who hadn't yet responded to make sure that nobody got left in the cold. (On a tangential note: I was unaware that Texas A&M had a science-fiction collection. I'm going to have to make a trip up to see it some weekend or another.)

As of this point, I've run an offer by the Exclusive Edition subscribers as to what we want to do for them and everybody seemed amenable to that solution--if you're an Exclusive Edition subscriber and *didn't* get the offer, please email me at sean (dot) thompson (at) dula (dot) com--and so all that really remains is for us to write a more formal agreement to mail to those subscribers.

I need to check with Donato to find out about where he is with the painting, I don't believe he expects to take too much longer to finish it. I'd like to take a moment to voice my appreciation for the complementary work he's doing on the piece. I believe it indicative of a dedication to one's art and work that's too often lacking.

In addition, my major task for the day: Getting the bloody shopping cart on the website to be fully functional. At this point, I believe, our beloved webmistress--long may she reign--has done all she can towards setting things up and we're at the point where I have to sort through the last of it. But sort I will! And now I'm rambling because I despise setting these galvano-mechanical monstrosities up.

Once again, I apologize for not updating last week. I will try (emphasis on 'try') to post again Friday to make up for it.