Wednesday, October 1:
Another day, another crisis of some sort… On the GOOD NEWS front, I have been informed that the shipment of Playing Gods has arrived in port; on BAD NEWS front, I have been informed that the shipment has been on “manifest hold” at Customs and will be delayed a week. This will not necessarily jeopardize my official street date of October 15, but it will make it much more tricky to get everything out.
I may need to pull an all-nighter to open the boxes, check to make sure everything is okay, and re-box them and send them out ASAP. In the GOOD NEWS category, I got my first official distributor order: 165 boxes! Not too shabby! Of course, like books they are subject to return, so one mustn’t count one’s fowl before they have emerged from their ovular prison, but still good news nonetheless. Of course, packing 27 cases into big-ass 2 X 2 X 2, 75-lb. boxes to ship across the country won’t be a walk in the park, but such is the price of “success,” yes with the scare quotes.
Oh, and today I got two exciting things in the mail: my Official Certificate of Registration from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (complete with official-looking raised-lettered gold foil sticker); and a scam letter postmarked from the Slovak Republic asking me to pay $2,298 to register my trademark with something called the “Register of International Patents and Trademarks,” (or RIPT, as in “ripped off.”) As I noted in an earlier blog posting, I had previously gotten one of these official-looking letters, hoping to snare naive or unsuspecting inventors and small businesspeople into sending a few thousand dollars. The contact person is listed as a Mr. Pri Vinohradoch; I think I got an e-mail from his cousin Mr. Jim Obsabwe of Nigeria, offering me a chance to be rich.
My other mini-crisis is trying to get some games to Essen, Germany, for Germany’s big board game convention. You may or may not know it, but Germans are known for more than just their strudel, hardcore porn, and alcohol tolerance. They are also big-time gamers, and take their board games uber-seriously. Thus I really want Playing Gods to be available at the Essen convention; the problem is the shipping. Normally I’d try to go ocean freight, but I’m told the ships are constantly delayed because of the market uncertainties. Thus in order to make sure I can get 24 games there on time, I may need to go air freight. Do you have any idea what it costs to send an 80-pound box to Berlin? I do, because I’ve spent much of the last three days finding out, and the answer ain’t pretty: FedEx says $482, not including taxes and misc customs fees. My freight consolidator is saying about $430, give or take. I need to get the games there, and get the ball rolling ASAP, but I can’t afford $500 in shipping. With the distributor ddiscount, I’m only being paid about $350. So if i’m eating the shipping, I’m actually losing $200 right off the top. Argh.