If first you don’t succeed….
If you’ve been following the SULLIVAN’S SLUGGERS controversy—catch up here and here—you know that writer Mark Andrew Smith has gotten a lot of criticism over his handling of the fulfillment of last year’s $97k Kickstarter for the story about a minor league baseball team going up against a monster invasion. Among the problems: stores got copies before paying customers, international customers still hadn’t gotten theirs, and artist James Stokoe has disavowed the book, prompting writer Smith to accuse him of ending his marriage via stress among other things.
Last month Smith started a second Kickstarter for SULLIVAN’S SLUGGERS, with the stated goal of raising money to pay for international shipping on the first kickstarter. The mechanism for this was simply selling MORE copies of SULLIVAN’S SLUGGERS, which goes against the general rules of Kickstarter. Amid outcry, the campaign was suspended a few days in.
But now Smith is back with an Indiegogo campaignto raise the international shipping money
The book grew in size/uprgrades to an omnibus edition and the costs of shipping (3.5 lbs) jumped up a lot with the extra weight. International shipping prices from the USPS skyrocketed this year as well.
I didn't freight directly from China to the UK, EU, and AU which would have saved a lot of time and money and now I have to freight the books from California to these destinations. All of these factors added up to a huge price jump.
I need to raise more funds to get the book to international backers. That's where you come in.
The campaign is asking for $16,000—just how many international copies did he sell anyway? Well, let’s do some spitballing. Admittedly, it is expensive to ship a 3.5 lb book overseas—perhaps as much as $40. So $16,000 would ship 400 books, and if you look at the original Kickstarter under “International edition” there are 387 orders—so that kinda checks out. Except that in the same price bracket are people who chose to get a print with their copy of the book, so we’ll never know just how many of those 387 are international and how many are orders for a print.
It’s clear that the new campaign is also geared towards selling more copies of the book: Smith’s Indiegogo includes the same level of retailer orders as the last Kickstarter—$500 gets you 24 copies of the book, $1000 gets you a 60-pack.
Meanwhile, some purchasers took to Twitter to complain:
Woke up to another email from Mark A Smith about Sullivan’s Sluggers, now he will only ship my order if his Indigogo campaign succeeds (?)
— Oliver P (@mysterypickles) March 22, 2013
Just got an email from Amazon telling me sullivan’s sluggers graphic novel will not be shipped? WTF? Why no graphic novel for me?
— James D White (@TheRealJimmyJam) March 20, 2013
According to his Twitter feed, White is from Newfoundland, so this would come under the dreaded international orders.
This whole matter doesn’t seem to be getting cleaned up any time soon. After Smith’s mishandling of the earlier campaign, at the very least he could be more transparent about how much money he needs to raise for international shipping. And those customers who paid for their books should get them, regardless.
More to come, we’re sure….
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.