Starting immediately, all of our packages will be shipped out of our Fishers, Ind., warehouse – aka my partner John Hoffman’s garage. This change has some good points and bad points for you, which is why I’m writing this blog entry.
First the good stuff.
Shipping and customer service will be much faster. During the last 18 months, my family has been shipping all of the orders from our Kentucky home. It worked OK, but it required me to juggle packing boxes, editing books, building furniture, blogging, writing freelance magazine articles and a somewhat crazy travel and teaching schedule.
So we would sometimes get behind. And when we made a mistake or a book was damaged in transit, it took us a few days to fix the problem.
Hoffman and his family have more space to warehouse the books and more time to deal with shipping and customer service.
So not only will your books ship faster, I’ll have more time to write and edit, which means more new books from Lost Art Press.
The bad news is that – for now – I won’t be able to directly autograph all of my books that we sell. Instead, each book will have a bookplate (the publishing world’s name for a sticker) affixed to the inside that I’ve signed. Yeah, I know it’s not ideal. But it’s the best solution we have right now. My 2013 travel schedule is the most brutal one yet, and adding monthly trips to Indiana to sign books just simply isn’t going to work.
These changes – good and bad – are the result of the growth of Lost Art Press. When we started five years ago, we mailed out three or four books a day on average. Now we’re shipping out more than 12,000 books a year to customers and our handful of retailers. And that’s a really low estimate – I am a bit afraid to do the math.
During the next few years, we plan to purchase a building and consolidate all of our operations – building, publishing and shipping – under one roof. We’re actively looking for an old building with a storefront, warehouse and living quarters. (The photo shown here is one we looked at last week.) But we are taking our time, and we refuse to borrow money and saddle the company with debt. Our accountant thinks we are nuts not to get a mortgage, by the way, but I’ve seen too many publishing companies drown in debt service.
So thanks for your support – that’s why we are growing. And apologies in advance for the temporary and poopy bookplate solution.
— Christopher Schwarz