For that I am sincerely sorry. I want to make a public apology to all of my readers who paid for a calendar and have not received one.
I am several thousand miles removed from where the Dabel Brothers are based, in Georgia, so I can't speak with any authority about the causes of these difficulties, but over the past six weeks or so, since the calendars first began to ship, I have been getting a steady stream of emails from fans and readers complaining that they paid for calendars but have never received any, or that they received the wrong calendar, or fewer copies than ordered.
Most of those writing also say that their emails to the Dabel Brothers have gone unanswered. I want to apologize for that as well. Les Dabel still answers MY emails, for what it is worth, and when I forward a complaint to him he seems to get on it right away and resolve the situation. He and his brothers and the rest of the folks at DBPro should also be answering emails sent to them directly, obviously... but as it seems they are not, I guess you should keep on sending your calendar complaints to me. The LAST thing I need right now is to be embroiled in this mess, but embroiled I am, so I'll do my best to help.
However, there's a limit to what I can do. I have no stock of calendars here in New Mexico; I can't fill any orders myself. I can and have forwarded these emails to Les and Ernst Dabel, and asked them to take care of the problems ASAP. I know that Les has satisfied a number of the complainants... but the emails keep coming. For every complaint resolved, three more pop up. Les tells me that some of these calendars are being re-sent for a second and even third time; he has shipping dates and confirmation numbers. And yet the calendars continue not to arrive. Order fulfillment at DBPro is obviously not what it should be, and it may be that the post office is also at fault to some degree. I have no way of knowing.
I have asked Les to address some of these issues here on LiveJournal, on the Westeros bulletin board, and on their own DBPro forums, and to some extent that has been done... but the problems continue. There are a lot of unhappy people out there.
Again, I'm sorry. I'm going to do everything in my power to see that all of get what you paid for by the time all of this is done.
A number of you paid extra for autographed calendars, I know. As of this writing, none of those have been shipped. As of this writing, I have not received any calendars for signing. I promise, as soon as I receive a box of calendars to be autographed, I will sit down, sign them all, and send them back to DBPro the same day... but I cannot sign calendars that I do not have. Les, if you reading this, SEND ME THE GODDAMNED CALENDARS!!!
A number of you have also said that you will never do business with the Dabel Brothers again. That, of course, is your choice. Some of you have urged me not to do business with the Dabel Brothers again. That's MY choice. For the record, though, the calendar license is a three-year deal, so regardless of how this resolves, DBPro will also be publishing the Ice & Fire calendars for 2010 and 2011. In fact, artist Mike Kaluta is already hard at work on the illustrations for the 2010 calendar. It is my devout hope that all of us will have learned valuable lessons from this year's experience, and that next year things will run more smoothly... starting with the calendar coming out in September, like every other calendar in the world, instead of in December.
There's no excuse for any of the things that have happened here (though there are some partial explanations, at least, which I've mentioned in earlier blogs), but it should be said in defense of DBPro that they do at least put out a quality product. The HEDGE KNIGHT and SWORN SWORD comics were Dabel Brothers productions, and I love both of them, and the calendar is beautiful as well, as those who have actually received it will attest. Next year's Kaluta calendar promises to be equally spectacular.
And for those of you are urging me to find another licensee/ publisher... guys, you know, it's actually not that simple. I don't have a queue of calendar companies lined up outside my door waiting to buy rights. Truth be told, I did have a calendar deal previous to this one, with another of my long-time license holders, but it broke down over creative issues. I wanted to do the sort of calendar we have just done: all original artwork by a top artist hired specifically to do twelve original, never-before-seen Ice & Fire illustrations. My previous partner wanted to do a calendar made up entirely of existing Ice & Fire artwork, by a variety of artists, to which they held all rights. We could not resolve that impasse, so we cancelled the contract. It was then that I turned to the Dabel Brothers. Without them, it's fair to say, there would be no Ice & Fire calendar... and certainly not the gorgeous Michael Komarck calendar that we have.
None of which excuses the things that have happened, or haven't happened, as regards to order fulfillment.
So... let me say once again that I am heartily sorry about all of this, and I will try and keep hammering from my end to make certain that all of you get your calendars. If