This, I predict, is going to be a long one.
So, the week I unveiled the 'zine and put it available for order, I sent it to the printer. Upon getting my proof copy back, well, I had to revise it, yadda, yadda, and expected to have it out soon, as it goes.
Another copy came back with cover problems. Fixed that. Sent it out.
On the day I gave the final version off to the printer (around the 14th), I was told I'd only be able to get half the order printed because they were taking the week off for Thanksgiving. Well, imagine my surprise. I told 'em to get as many printed as possible since it had taken so long to get the proofs printed in the first place (that, yes, is something I should have done earlier...remember, I'm learning as I go) and I'd get them all finished and out that week.
Here's where things get MORE frustrating.
On that Saturday (about the 17th), I called around trying to find a place that could bulk cut the pages -- since the 'zine's tabloid sized, it's printed on 12" x 18" and cut down to the 11" x 17". Most places said they could only take paper up to 15" long.
Side note: I never, EVER expected to have this many people interested. When I started, I expected 15 people to read the 'zine as my first 'zine (not related to this one) only sold about 10 copies. I got around 50 for the first issue, which was awesome and exciting and manageable. With as many order as I got this time, I couldn't really do things the same way (entirely by hand, including the cutting), hence the calling around.
I work near Staples, the only place who said they could cut the paper, so I dropped in on Monday to pick my order up.
They said it wasn't done yet.
Befuddled as to what could take so long, I called again on Wednesday. Again, not finished.
Thursday was a holiday. Friday, I went in and asked what the hold up was. When I saw my order, the receipt said $144.
"Umm, I can't pay this!" I told them.
Apparently, when I asked, the guy thought I wanted each one cut by hand by THEM, which is why it was so expensive. I couldn't believe they'd think I came in there with over 1,000 sheets of paper to be cut by hand....no one asked me anything, really, and I even had a voice mail asking me what I needed, again.
Side Note #2: Printer's layouts have notches at the corners to use as guidelines to cut the page. I clearly explained this. This isn't brain surgury!
I had to take what they'd done -- the ends -- which was considerably less (thank GOD).
I worked Saturday.
Sunday, I pulled the papers out. Despite the massive amount of paper, I had to go back to how I'd done everything before -- completely by hand. When I looked at the covers, I swore -- they were cut crooked!! I'd PAID them to cut them and they weren't even right. At this point, I had several emails inquirering where the 'zine was and I HAVE to get it out, so, after a fit of crying, I started collating and folding and stapling and cutting. I even went out to get one of those guillotine-style paper cutters....it couldn't cut through all the pages! I tried a free-form cutter. No luck.
The good news is there's a growing stack of FINISHED copies on my table. And I'll start sending copies out tomorrow. My finger's all sore from the cutting...poor thing! And tomorrow's my day off this week from my other job, so I'll be finishing them all and getting everything packed up for shipment. They'll be tipped-in the mail Thursday.
A lot of the delay came from, yes, myself. And my naivety that I knew how things worked and how long things would take because I'd done it before. But once before wasn't enough, and I've REALLY learned my lesson.
All I can do is apologize for the delays. I do know I've shot myself in the foot here, and many won't be ordering another issue -- I have to live with that. And honestly, I wouldn't blame you. As a consumer myself, I'd be frustrated as heck. For those on the fence, I give you this:
I swear to GOD, to all of you, and to myself I WILL NOT put the 'zine up for order until I have 100 copies COMPLETED and sitting next to me READY TO SHIP.
I can't let my excitement get to me and jump the gun. And I can't let my real life get in the way of business.
I really love writing for and publishing this 'zine and hope to continue doing so for as long as you'll have me.
And, in order to keep my promise, I'll post a picture of the COMPLETED 'zines with the order information. Just to prove to you how much you all mean to me, how much this 'zine means to me, and, you know, so you can call bullshit if need be.