Monday, December 21, 2015

Sponsor Letter December 21st, 2015

Hello, everyone,

This is the last sponsor email of 2015, and what a year it has been.  Thanks to all of you, we're still here, and feeling very optimistic about 2016.  It's going to be pretty exciting, and I hope you'll come along for the ride!  Please forgive the lateness of this note.  I had been delaying sending it because I hoped to have some good news about preordering sponsorships (and, if you wish, giving them as gifts).  One delay added to another and here we are at the 21st of the month.  However, I do have that good news - as of now, our website is ready to accept renewals of sponsorships and preorders.  Check the information below for all the information.

High points (details below):

1)  Happy holidays and happy new year to all.

2)  Sponsorships for 2016 are available for preorder now.  The link to use is

3)  Plus One sponsorships available.  For an equal price you can have an extra sponsorship (or two or more) that can be "lent" to friends and family.

4)  Second Sponsor's Open Mic scheduled for January 22nd at 7 pm.  Please email Greg Roensch at if you would like to participate.

5)  Advance sale of a notable collection for sponsors.  Mostly hardcover first editions of 1970s and '80s SF, many signed.  Including a number of Gregg Press titles as well as works signed by Frank Herbert (sadly not including Dune), Fritz Leiber, Roger Zelazny and others.  Saturday, January 23rd from 10 am to noon.

6)  Schedule for upcoming Sponsor Socials: Thursday, January 28th, 2016; Saturday, April 2nd, 2016; Thursday, July 14th, 2016; Saturday, November 12th, 2016; and Thursday, January 26th, 2017.

7)  Sponsors' General Meeting, Thursday, March 31st, 2016 at 7:00 pm.

8)  Lots of cool sponsor-only events planned for 2016, including a month of The Business of Writing lectures, a perfumery demonstration, various tours.

The long version:

1)  Happy holidays and happy new year to everyone!  We wish you a joyful end of December, and we hope that 2016 brings peace and comfort to you.  The bookstore has been quite busy this year, so we're both happy and hopping around here.  We're so grateful for all of your support, and so happy to still be here.

2)  Sponsorships for 2016 are available for preorder now!  Just use this link: . You can use the link to buy a 2016 sponsorship for yourself, or to give one as a gift to someone else.  (If you have multiple sponsorships to purchase or if you're interested in a "Plus One", you can use the website, but it's probably easier to call at 888 893-4008 or email so you don't have to enter the same info repeatedly.)  A quick reminder that sponsorship benefits apply to a single person -- not a couple or organization.  Thanks again to everyone who was so patient while we worked out the quirks with the online form!

(You can also renew your sponsorship by mail, phone or in person.  If you're going to mail us a check however, please date it January 1st, 2016 so that we can stay in the tax-man's good graces.)

3)  We're trying out a Plus One (or more) sponsorship program this year.  Since our first obligation is to our sponsors, many of our events that have a limited number of attendees have been restricted to sponsors-only, and we have not been able to accommodate guests.  If you've found yourself in that position this year, we're trying a solution.  For the same amount as your sponsorship, you can get a "Plus One" sponsorship.  Rather than being associated with a specific person, that sponsorship is yours to lend to anyone you wish.  You can even arrange with us in advance for someone to use it even if you won't be attending the event.  Though we're calling it a "Plus One" membership, you can get any many as you would like.  There are only two catches; first, _all_ sponsor benefit do not accrue to that membership, specifically someone using a Plus One may not rent the cafe or bookstore for private events.  The other catch is that, if you want to order one using the form on the website, you'll need to specifically mention that in the "Notes" section of the on-line form.

4)  The last Sponsor's Open Mic was quite a success, and so we're doing it again on January 22nd at 7 pm in the Cafe.  If you just want to attend, you don't need to do anything except show up (although you might want to take advantage of your seat reservation privilege because it might be crowded).

However, if you want to read, you should get in touch with fellow sponsor Greg Roensch at  He suggested the idea and he's been kind enough to take care of organizing the event.  Participation will be open to writers of all levels (as long as they are sponsors), and also open to any type of writing, in any genre.  All we ask is that you keep the reading short -- five minutes max.  So, if you want to read, get in touch with Greg and he'll take care of the scheduling and so forth.

5)  One of the benefits of sponsorship is that you get first chance at new acquisitions when I buy large, interesting collections.  On Saturday, January 23rd, from ten in the morning to noon, you'll have the chance to be first to look over and purchase from a collection I just purchased. The collection is mostly 1970s and 1980s SF and fantasy with some later and earlier works included as well.  Some of the "big" books are not represented (no firsts of Dune, The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress, and so forth) but there are some very nice titles including a first of The Forever War by Haldeman, Gilden Fire by Donaldson, the Gregg Press edition of Leiber's Fafhrd and the Grey Mouser stories and more (please don't ask me for a complete list -- I don't have one and I won't until _after_ the sale).  There are also a number of neat but not hugely valuable titles (for example, I love Circus World by Longyear, but the hardcover first is not an expensive book, just uncommon).

Jude, Jeremy and I will be going through all the books prior to the sale and pricing them. However, before we enter them into our inventory and shelve them, you're going to have a chance at them.  Come down at ten Saturday morning, come in through the cafe, and you'll find them in rows on tables (and, probably, on the floor -- it's quite a lot of books).  Since buying them before we take the time to grade, inventory and shelve them saves us a bunch of work, I'm going to give you a discount of 10% off the marked price as well.  This is the first time we've done this and I think it'll be fun.

6)  We have set the schedule for upcoming 2016 Sponsor Socials -- we're optimistic that way. The dates are: Thursday, January 28th, 2016; Saturday, April 2nd, 2016; Thursday, July 14th, 2016; Saturday, November 12th, 2016; and Thursday, January 26th, 2017.  I hope you'll join us for one or all of these awesome parties.

(7)  We're having a Sponsors' General Meeting on Thursday, March 31st, 2016 at 7:00 pm. I hope that I'll be announcing that we've met our requirement to remain open through 2016.  Of course, if we haven't made it, I'll be making an announcement of a very different sort.

Assuming we make it, I'd really like to have a chance to talk with you about how things have gone through our first year as a sponsored store.  I'd like to know what we've done right, what we've done wrong, and what we can do better.  I'd also like to have a chance to talk to you about some ideas I have for the future as well as getting your ideas and suggestions.  What I have in mind is something much like the original meeting we had in February that was the genesis for what saved the store.  I'll outline where we're at and then ask for comments. You're welcome to bring a guest if you think that they'll have something constructive to contribute.  I hope to see as many of your there as possible because some of what we'll be discussing will shape how I'm going to move forward with the sponsorship program and the business as a whole.

8)  Lastly, we have lots of cool events planned for sponsors in 2016, including a perfumery demonstration with author (and sponsor) Megan E. O'Keefe, a month of The Business of Writing lectures in February, and tours of places of interest around town ranging from a brewery (we do like to take a drink now and then) to a real, old school book printer and bindery.  I'm also going to see if Mary Robinette Kowal will be in town at some point so we can have a re-do of the Scotch tasting she hosted.

-Alan Beatts

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Sponsor Letter October 29th, 2015

Hi Folks,

Someone suggested last month that these letters can be a bit dense and that starting off with a quick list of the high points would be a useful thing.  Since I'm nothing if not obliging (at least for our sponsors) and there doesn't seem to be a downside to it, I'll start that way henceforth.

1)  Tuesday cocktails on hold for the holidays.  Schedule change at work, low-ish turnout, plus start of busy holiday season reason for stopping.  Informal meeting continues but "official" one on hold 'til January.

2)  New code for ordering custom Rickshaw bags online.  Code is <call or email us for the code>.  Deadline extended to January 31st.  Discount is now 25% off. Ordering information -

3)  Pre-entry to Anniversary Sale for sponsors.  Sale is Sunday, November 8th.  18% discount. Sponsors get in starting at 10 am (enter through cafe), everyone else at noon.

4)  New Horizons presentation was a huge success.  Slide show will be available to sponsors next month.  Big thanks to Orkan Umurhan for making it possible.

5)  Sponsor social likewise a success.  Thanks to Rickshaw Bagworks <> and Cannella Spirits <> for their lovely support.

And now I'll stop talking like someone sending a telegraph in 1902.

Tuesday Cocktails on Hold - We've needed to switch around the schedule at the cafe, which means I'm now doing closedown there (ah, dishwashing, I love you so!).  That, added to some sort of light turnouts over the past month is making me think that it's time to give it a break. Plus, we're headed into the holidays, when we all want a drink but none of us have time to get one.  That said, if anyone feels like stopping by the Plisner for a drink, you certainly might find us there -- it is one of our favorite bars, after all.  I'll revisit the idea in January and see if it makes sense then.  I hope that I'm not disappointing people too much but, if I am, let me know and I'll see what I can come up with.  Oh, and don't worry about the schedule at the cafe; I just hired a very nice young man named James and I think he's going to work out really well (and take over my dishwashing).

New Code for Rickshaw Bags - As part of their second visit to Borderlands, Rickshaw has set up a new discount code for those of you who want to order a customer Sponsor's bag through their web site.  The code is <call or email us for the code>.  Please don't share it around.  For all the information on how to order on-line, go to the sponsor's blog < >.  But don't wait too long; they've extended the deadline to order until January 31st but, the holidays are coming and it's going to be 2016 before you know it.

Anniversary Sale - Just in time for the elections, Borderlands is about to turn 18 (anyone want to guess who the store wants to be Mayor?).  In honor of that we're going to have a sale on Sunday, November 8th.  Everything in the store will be 18% off, plus there'll be cake and, perhaps, visits from the current crop of hairless Borderlands kitties.  Because our sponsors are the best people on the planet, we're going to open two hours early so you get first shot at the sale and cats.  Bring your card, patch or just be ready to identify yourself and come to the connecting door from the cafe between ten a.m. and noon (the bookstore door will stay locked 'til noon).  We'll let you in from there.  And, for you sponsors who live out of town, we'll give you the discount for mail-order purchases too.  If you want to take advantage of that, please drop Jude an email and she'll give you all the details -

New Horizons Presentation -  NASA Ames geologist (and Borderlands sponsor) Orkan Umurhan gave a great talk about the New Horizons Mission to Pluto.  We had such a big crowd that I had to rent a better projector and a huge screen so everyone could see.  There were about 45 people attending and everyone had so many questions (and Orkan is such an entertaining speaker) that the event went on for two hours.  The applause at the end was some of the most enthusiastic I've ever heard at the cafe.  If you weren't able to make it, I've got some good news; we're still working on the exact details but next month we should be able to make Orkan's "slides" available on-line.  Check my next letter for more info.

Sponsor Social - The party was as much fun as always.  About 100 people came and there was much hilarity.  The folks from Rickshaw <> were lovely as usual and had many conversations and placed many orders.  Joe Cannella from Cannella Spirits <>, along with his cohorts Gina and Vinny, made some wicked good cocktails.  So good that, in a rye-maddened attempt to quiet the crowd, I sang in public. I will admit that it worked -- the shocked and horrified silence was something to see -- but Tom Waits will never, ever forgive me.  If you want to try their tasty adult beverage for yourself and missed your chance, it can be ordered in many states from K&L Wine Merchants <>.  Thanks to everyone who came -- as usual, we bring our own party.

And that about wraps it up for this month.  As I close this, I noticed that this is the 10th note that I've sent out to you all.  It's been quite a trip since February and thank you all for coming along with me for the ride.  A few weeks ago I did an interview on Publisher's Weekly's radio show.  It ended up being a discussion about what we've done these last ten months and then led into a conversation about what I hope for the future.  If you're interested in hearing it, here's a link to it on PW's site - - or, if you prefer, you can get it as a podcast from the iTunes store - search for "PW Radio 144" and you'll find it.  Please forgive the monologue at the beginning; thank goodness that one of the hosts jumped in, otherwise I probably would have babbled all the way through (thank you, Rose).  Reviewing that interview, I'm struck all over again at what a remarkable thing we've managed to accomplish.  We should all be damn proud.  I know I am.

Friday, October 9, 2015

Sponsor Letter October 9th, 2015

Hi Sponsors,

Here we are, heading into the end of the year already.  At least, for business guys like me, this is the beginning of the end -- 4th quarter, here we go.  As you're probably aware, we're coming up on our last Sponsor Social for 2015.  It's on the 24th of this month and now-ish is a good time to RSVP.  As always, you don't have to let us know if you're coming, but it is nice to have an idea how many folks are going to show up.  You're welcome to bring a guest, and you'll find more details about the party near the end of this note.

Sponsorships for 2016 - Thank to you everyone who took the time to share their thoughts about when we should begin accepting sponsorships for next year.  The comments I received were all thoughtful, well-considered, and on point (in other words, pretty much the _exact_ opposite of the comments section on any given website).  After thinking about it, I've decided to wait to start accepting sponsorships until January 1st (or, more likely, the 2nd).  However, we may be able to accept payment information early and actually charge people's credit cards at the beginning of the year.  I'll have more information about that next month.  Anyway, mark your calendars and set your alarms for January 2nd.  But, if you forget, don't worry -- I'll remind you.

Looking forward into 2016, I've got some neat plans for the store in general and our sponsors in specific.  I haven't wanted to put much money into the business because I wanted to see how things work next year.  However, assuming that we meet our sponsorship goals (or even exceed them), I think it'll be time to make some long-term investments.  One of the things at the top of the list is dragging our event capacities into the 21st century.  I hope to get the hardware and systems in place so that we can live-stream our author events over the internet. At the same time, I'll be upgrading our sound system so that, regardless where you're sitting in the cafe (or even browsing in the bookstore), you'll be able to hear the author clearly.  I also should be able to make the long-planned expansion of the store space into a reality that will give us much, much more room for both new and used books.  Finally, if time allows, I may build out and open the backyard area of the cafe to give us some pleasant outdoor seating. Any and all of those things should be nice improvements, for everyone who visits the shop and cafe.

But, for our sponsors, I've got a couple other ideas.  February is a pretty slow month, for everyone it seems, and certainly for the bookstore, and it's a perfect time to start working on writing projects.  Since so many of our sponsors are writers, I'm thinking that doing a series of presentations geared towards both professional and beginning writers would be great.  I'm planning a month-long schedule of two-hour events including; an overview of how the publishing process works, from delivery of the manuscript to the book arriving on the shelves; a discussion of what makes a good (or bad) publishing contract; an explanation and demonstration of how to give a great reading of your work; a how-to presentation on podcasting; and, perhaps, a panel of experienced authors talking about the pitfalls of the business.

But, since not all sponsors are writers but they are all readers, I'm also working on a year-long series of chapbooks of original fiction, that will only be available to our sponsors.  I can't mention the names of any of the contributors yet but I think there will be some nice surprises on the list.  However, that's all in the future.  Here's what is going on in the present:

Tuesday Night Cocktails - We've been having quite a good time on Tuesdays nights at the Pilsner Inn, but a number of folks have pointed out to me that 9 pm is a little bit late for people who don't work bookseller's hours.  So, we're going to try getting together a bit earlier and see how that works for a couple of months.  Instead of 9 pm to midnight, you'll find us there starting at 7 pm every Tuesday and we'll be around 'til at least 10 pm.  You can find the Pilsner at 225 Church Street, near Market Street <>.  There's a nice backyard (where you'll usually find us), an excellent selection of beer on tap, good cocktails and a charming lack of pretension.  The staff have no problem with people bringing in outside food and there are several great places to eat near by (notably Chow (American), Miyabi (Japanese), and Sparky's (basic diner)) so you can even get dinner too, if you like.

Anniversary Sale - Just in time for the elections, Borderlands is about to turn 18 (anyone want to guess who the store wants to be Mayor?).  In honor of that we're going to have a sale on Sunday, November 8th.  Everything in the store will be 18% off, plus there'll be cake and, perhaps, visits from the current crop of hairless Borderlands kitties.  Because our sponsors are the best people on the planet, we're going to open two hours early so you get first shot at the sale and cats.  Bring your card, patch or just be ready to identify yourself and come to the connecting door from the cafe between ten am and noon (the bookstore door will stay locked 'til noon).  We'll let you in from there.  And, for your sponsors who live out of town, we'll give you the discount for mail order purchases too.  If you want to take advantage of that, please drop Jude an email and she'll give you all the details -

Sponsors' Open Mic - At the end of last month we hosted our first Sponsors' Open Mic.  Thanks to the outstanding organizational work of Greg Roensch, it was quite a success.  The turnout was good and all the readers said that they had a great time.  The upshot is that we'll be doing it again on January 22nd next year.  I'll give you specific details on how to sign up next month.  There will be a limited number of readers and, to give everyone a chance to participate, Greg will be giving preference to people who did not read last time.  But, that's not to suggest that you shouldn't sign-up if you did read last time -- we just wanted to give you fair warning that we may not be able to accommodate everyone.

Hiring for the Cafe - I'm looking for one more staff person to work at the cafe.  As Jude mentioned in the last store newsletter, "We're asking you because we always prefer to "keep it in the family," and hire our customers and associates (and our customers' associates) with whom we already have a rapport."  I primarily need someone who can work weekday mornings and afternoons.  If you know someone who might be interested, just ask them to send me a resume at

Upcoming Special Event - Join NASA Ames geologist (and Borderlands sponsor) Orkan Umurhan for an absolutely fascinating, sponsors-only presentation about the New Horizons mission to Pluto on Tuesday, October 27th at 6:30pm.  Orkan is a geologist on the New Horizon's team and he'll discuss several aspects of the mission, including the spacecraft design (it's only the size of a grand piano), the naming scheme for features (there's a black mass, originally called "the whale," that's now referred to as Cthulhu), and other amazing discoveries (there appear to be nitrogen ice glaciers on Pluto's surface!).  I've seen some of the pictures that he'll be showing at this event (he came by the Pilsner for a drink last week) and they are just unbelievable.  And the geology and physics are mind-blowing (imagine a "sea" of nitrogen ice with floating "bergs" of water ice that are slowly swallowed by the "currents" -- that's semi-theoretical a this point but . . . damn).  Seating will be limited so if you haven't RSVPed already, you might want to do so now.  (Space for this event is limited, so for this one we unfortunately will not be able to accommodate guests.)

And, last but not least --
The Fourth Sponsor Social
As I mentioned at the beginning of this note, the next social is coming up.  It will be on Saturday, October 24th, from 7 pm to 11 pm.  We'll have the usual elements (some nice books to give away courtesy of our friends in publishing, door prizes, endless chatting about books and so forth) as well as some special features.

Custom Bags from Rickshaw Bagworks - At the party in June the lovely folks from Rickshaw < > came down and took orders for custom messenger bags, backpacks, and laptop bags featuring the Borderlands Sponsor's logo.  Everyone had a great time coming up with designs in their own particular . . idiom.  And, moreso, the folks from Rickshaw had a great time too.  So much so that they said they'd like to come back again. So, we will again be giving you all a chance to order top-quality, locally-made bags to show your Sponsor pride.  The 30% discount off of the retail price is really just icing on the cake.  PS - If you already got a bag, please do bring it along to show off.  People made some . . . impressive . . . color choices last time (Yes, Seanan McGuire, I'm looking at you).

Cocktails from Cannella Spirits - Cannella Cinnamon Cordial is hand-crafted right here in San Francisco by Joe Cannella and his family <>.  If Fireball whisky is the Dark side, filled with high-fructose corn syrup and anti-freeze, then Cannella is the Light side, with all-natural ingredients and a commitment to civilized socializing.  Joe will be on hand making tasty adult beverages for you as well as talking about the history of his cordial.  With fall coming I think it's a perfect time for a warm, spicy cocktail so this is a perfect fit.

Costumes - Since the party is only one week before Halloween, it's a perfect chance to "road-test" your costume in a (notionally) controlled environment.  Though it's not required by any means, please do feel both free and encouraged to dress up.  We had considered doing an actual contest but today Scott, Jude and I came up with a couple of better ideas.  First off, we'll have a "photo booth" of sorts;  at the rear of the cafe there'll be an area with seating, decent lighting and a few "props" that will be perfect for photos.  You'll have to bring you own camera but hell, everyone's phone has one of the damn things now, right?

We're also going to give people with outstanding and notable costumes some small part of the recognition they deserve.  Every one in costume will be given a numbered badge and all the attendees will be given voting "tickets".  The attendees merely write the number of their favorite costume on the ticket, and drop it in the box at the counter.  Near the end of the evening we'll add up the votes and announce the top three costumes.

Food and Drink - As always, we'll be doing the usual BYOB and pot-luck refreshments.  You don't have to bring anything to eat or drink but, it is the fall cooking season so, much like the costumes, this is a great chance to field-test your recipes.  Remember, as is consistent with our goal of saving sponsorship funds for the support of the store, all the staff are volunteers, and the food and drink is brought by the attendees.

Thanks, as always for the time, attention and, most of all, the support.

Warmest Regards,

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Sponsor Letter September 8th, 2015

Hi Everyone,

You know, I aim to get these notes out to you on the first of each month.  The recent track record of that might suggest that I need better time management . . . or just a little less work and excitement.  Regardless, thanks for reading and, look on the bright side; at least this is going out before our newsletter.  See, I do put you all first.

I've got some neat stuff to announce regarding a bit of web-work that Jeremy and I have been plugging away at, but more about that in a bit. I'd like to start off by asking you for some advice.

Should we let people sign up for next year's sponsorships before the beginning of January, 2016?  I'm of two minds about it.  On one hand, why not?  We've got the website set up to process payments via credit card and there doesn't seem to be any obstacle to starting now (or at least at the beginning of October).

On the other hand, something is making me hesitate.  Part of it might be that my original idea was predicated on starting at the beginning of the year, both because it fit the situation we were in and had a nice symbolism.  Part of it might also be that having a narrower window to reach our goal underscores the continuing urgency of the situation.  And, of course, starting at the beginning of the year creates a clear distinction, since the sponsorship program runs from calendar year to calendar year.  And, finally, collecting sponsorships for, in essence, two years in the same calendar year makes for a much higher tax bill and an odd-looking profit-and-loss statement for the year.

I really can't decide and Jude's not sure either.  So, what do you think?  I can wait until January 1st or start sooner.  There's also the middle-of-the-road approach of letting existing sponsors sign up sooner, while everyone else has to wait.  I'll look forward to hearing your thoughts.

Sponsor Baseball Tees - They're finally here and they look great.  We sold a bunch at the last party and now, thanks to Jeremy's efforts, we've got them for sale at the website - .  We're shipping within the U.S. as well as internationally.  I'm really sorry that we couldn't get the shipping costs down, but the weight for the shirts put it just over the line for First Class mail.  Still though - only $22 including the shipping for a top-quality shirt made in the U.S. isn't a bad deal at all. International shipping is pretty high also (US$13) but, added to the cost of the shirt at US$18, it's still not too bad overall (US$31).

So, if you're interested in getting one, hit the website.  This is the first time that we're using our on-line credit card processing service.  It all seems to work perfectly but, we all know how much that means when a website is involved.  If you have any problems placing your order, please let me know what happened and we'll get it sorted out ASAP.

Of course, if you'd like to order more than one shirt (or if you just like talking with us on the phone), it's completely alright to give us a call and place your order that way (or, for that matter, send me an email directly).  Coming in to pick up your shirt is even better, because then we get to say hi to you in person.  We've got plenty of all the sizes so I don't think we need to worry about selling out.  One final thought - if you'd like a shirt but the shipping charge is a little steep for you, we'd be happy to add one onto your next book order.  Just let us know and that should really help with the shipping cost (especially for international orders).

Sponsor Blog - Another little thing Jeremy and I set up last month was a blog especially for sponsors.  You'll find all of my past notes up there along with ordering information for things like T-shirts, bags and so forth.  It's also an excellent place to send your friends who want more information about Borderlands Sponsors.  You'll find it at .  Please let me know if there's information you'd like to see up there that is missing.

Watch Update - A while ago I asked you if you'd be interested in a specially designed watch for sponsors.  It's been a little while coming because I wanted to get one first and make sure that the quality was good enough.  I ordered the first one last week and, assuming that it passes my standards, you'll get the details about ordering in my note next month.

Satellite Events Delayed - Another update on something that I had discussed in the past.  We had kicked around the idea of "satellite" sponsor events in other cities.  Some of the ones we were looking at were Chicago, LA, New York, and Austin.  After thinking about it a bunch, I've decided to wait until next year to move forward on that.  I hate to disappoint, but planning something like that was going to take me a fair amount of time and effort.  In addition, the ways that it could go wrong are numerous and I wouldn't be around to sort it out -- which possibly means whoever was willing to put it together ends up holding the bag.  I'm still running short on time, which makes it hard for me to plan those events as well as increasing the chances of them going sideways.  So, I'm going to wait and work on that idea next year.  I hope that folks aren't too disappointed.  But, if you are, please let me know.  I'll try to do something to make up for it.

Sponsors' Open Mic Night - I mentioned in a previous update the possibility of putting together an open mic night for sponsors and there was a fair amount of interest.  The idea would be to invite our sponsors to read at the event while making it open to the general public.  Folks were interested in participating and so we're going to do it on Friday, September 25th at 7PM.  If you just want to attend, you don't need to do anything except show up (though you might want to take advantage of your seat reservation privilege because it might be crowded).

However, if you want to read, you should get in touch with fellow sponsor Greg Roensch at  He suggested the idea and he's been kind enough to take care of organizing the event.  Participation will be open to writers of all levels (as long as they are sponsors), and also open to any type of writing, in any genre.  All we ask is that you keep the reading short -- five minutes max.  So, if you want to read, get in touch with Greg and he'll take care of the scheduling and so forth.  Thanks for the interest. I think this is going to be a lot of fun.

Wine Has Arrived - If you ordered Borderlands' wine from Pat Paulson Vineyards at the last sponsor social, it is here for you to pick up!  Please let us know if you won't be able to pick it up before September 21st so we can make special arrangements.

And that is all this month.  If you haven't already, mark your calendars for Saturday, October 24th, which is the next sponsor social, and have a great September.


Thursday, August 13, 2015

Sponsor Letter August 13th, 2015

Hello Sponsors,

I hope that the end of the summer is treating you all well.  We've been busy here at the shop with one thing and another, but that's really nothing new.  I've got a bit of news for you but we're mostly in the process of completing a bunch of stuff on the "to-do" list.  We're quite close to having the on-line credit card payment system set up so, next year, we'll have the on-line option that many people have asked about.  I'm also finalizing the design for both the knife and watch that I've mentioned.  Finally, we should have t-shirts available for you by the social next week.

Speaking of the social, it's going to be a little bit more low-key than that last few and it's just next week (on Thursday, August 20th).  I'm looking forward to a quiet-er event since it will give me more time to say hi and chat with the folks attending.  But, we do have a few neat things planned.  You'll find information about that at the end of this note.  If you can't make this one, mark your calendar for the next (and last for the year), Saturday, October 24th.  Since it's right on top of Halloween, we're thinking that costumes will be very much in order.  There might even be a contest.

Sponsor Letter July 16th, 2015

Hello dear Sponsors!

Thanks to everyone who attended the last Sponsor Social.  The staff and I had a great time and I'm pretty sure everyone else did too.  If you missed it, the next one is coming up Thursday, August 20th.  After that, the Fall social will be Saturday, October 24th (costumes will be enthusiastically supported but not required), and then the first social of 2016 will be Thursday, January 28th.

Quite a few items of interest this month.

Bags for Sponsors from Rickshaw Bagworks - As I mentioned in my last note, all our sponsors can order custom messenger bags (along with several other types of bags, too) embroidered with the Borderlands sponsor logo.  And it's all thanks to our friends at Rickshaw Bagworks.  And, just in case that's not cool enough, the bags are 20% off regular price.  You can see a mockup of the logo on some bags here - .

Here's how it works -

1)  Go to Rickshaw's site -
2)  At the top of the page click on the word "Bags" (it's on the left, right next to their logo)
3)  Pick the sort of bag you're interested in and click on the picture.  You can choose any of the types in the top row (Commuter Laptop, Zero Messenger, iPad bag (makes a great purse), and Sutro Backpack)
3a)  If you're getting a Zero Messenger bag, choose the size (medium is the most popular; I have a large)
4)  Click on the top right picture that reads "Customize Yours".
5)  Then follow the steps to choose fabric, liner, trim and label colors plus any options (FYI, the "Borderlands Standard" bag is black fabric, XPac grey liner, and barn red trim)
6)   In order to apply your 20% discount toward your bag, you will have to enter the following discount code: <code redacted - email for code>,  into the box labeled "Promo Code" when you reach the checkout page. This promo code box is located just about in the middle of the page.  (The box is just about in the middle of the page.)
7)  IMPORTANT - to get the logo embroidered on the bag you MUST put the following text in the "Comments" box, "Please embroider with Borderlands sponsor logo." (The Comments box is in the lower left corner of the page.)  Note - the standard version of the logo is in red.  If you would prefer black, please state by putting "Please embroider with Borderlands sponsor logo in black" in the "Comments" box.

After that it's just a matter of completing the order as one usually would (i.e. mailing address, credit card number, and so forth).  Rickshaw ships world-wide, so don't worry if you're in the UK or farther afield.

Sponsor Letter June 14th, 2015

Hello Sponsors,

I've got a few updates about ongoing projects this month, plus more details about the Sponsor Social coming up on the 27th.

Sponsor T-shirts - We've got almost everything set for our T-shirt order but it's been slightly delayed because we've had a hard time finding the right shirt.  We got as far as ordering a sample but it was not at all up to our standards (it was cut, and looked like, a black potato sack with red sleeves stitched on).  We're waiting on another sample now but that delay means we won't have them ready until next month.  But, thank you all for giving me your sizes.  It's made it much easier to make an accurate order.

Credit Card Processing on-line - We've gotten our ecommerce service set up and Jeremy is working on setting up the payment pages.  I anticipate that we'll be able to accept sponsorship payments on-line within a month or two.  I also think we should have a system in place that will allow you to make automatic monthly payments for the next sponsor cycle.  A number of people have asked about that and it looks like it will be easy to do.  Another, slightly longer-term, result of this credit-card processing service is that we should be able to start offering a subscription service, which is something else that a number of you have asked about.

One-Note Ordering - The final piece of the credit card service is our answer to Amazon's "One-Click Ordering".  Once we have our system in place, we'll be able to securely store your credit card number.  Combined with your address (which we already have), we can make book ordering as simple as you can imagine.  All you'll need to do is call, email, or even text us with your name (or sponsor number) and the author and title.  We'll take the order and send the book right out to you, if we have it in stock.  If we don't have it, we'll order it and ship it to you as soon as it gets in. And that offer stands for _any_ book, not just books within our specialty.  How's that for easy? No passwords, no need to enter your email address, and you don't even need to use a web page. I'll be sending out more information about this as we work out the details.

Sponsor Letter May 5th, 2015

Hi Everyone,

Here's the month's news for Borderlands Sponsors.  Not too much this time but, I think, one or two things of interest.  Starting with a job offer.

"Notable local author is looking for a personal assistant. The position is part-time and primarily work from home, but must get to East Bay once a week and have own car, computer, and internet access. Please send resume to"

The author in question also happens to be a Sponsor, which is why I'm sending this out to you all.  And, please, don't ask me who it is -- I ain't gonna tell.  But I will say that I think they'll be a fun employer and that the job could include trips to genre conventions.

As I mentioned in my last note, the next Sponsor Social will be on Saturday, June 27th, from 7 pm to 11 pm in the Cafe.  You're welcome to bring a guest and RSVPs are appreciated.  Like the last one, this Social will be pot luck and BYOB, but don't feel pressured to bring anything -- there will definitely be enough to go around.  I'm working on a few things by way of special treats.  As of now, they include more behind-the-scenes tours of the shop, a wine tasting with our friends at Pat Paulson Vineyards <>, and advance reading copies of forthcoming books from our publishing friends.  I'm also betting we'll have our sponsor-only baseball T-shirts for sale that evening as well.

Sponsor Letter April 21st, 2015

Hi Everyone,

I wanted to give you all an update on how the first Sponsor's Social went, give you the date for the next one (look at us, planning in advance and stuff), and tell you how the replies shook out on the shirt, bag, knife question.

First off, the next Sponsor Social will be on Saturday, June 27th at seven in the evening.  That is the Saturday of Gay Pride Weekend, which could be a good thing or a bad thing, depending on how you look at it.  Certainly parking will be just as much of a nightmare as it always is on Saturday night.  However, I'm hoping that the Mission district will be a bit calmer than usual since all the attention will be in the Castro and Downtown.  Just like last time, you're welcome to bring a guest and RSVPs are appreciated but not required.  I'll have more details next month about what we'll be doing in terms of special stuff but you can expect that there'll be another door-prize drawing, new releases from our publisher partners, and probably a wine-tasting from our friends at Pat Paulsen Vineyards <>.  There might even be some live music.  Feel free to RSVP to anytime but there isn't a rush.

Second, the Social last week was a huge success.  Everyone that I talked to had a great time and certainly the staff had fun.  In fact, Cary said that she thought it was the best party we're ever thrown.  The company was lovely, the conversation non-stop, and it was even more fun than we had hoped.  The backstage tours were very popular (I took over 50 people during the evening) and the drawing for door prizes garnered laughs and more than a few exclamations of, "Oh! That's cool".

Some of the publishers we work with were kind enough to send some advance reading copies of upcoming titles (The Girl With All the Gifts by M. R. Cary (Orbit Books) and The Dangerous Type by Loren Rhoads (Night Shade Books)).  The lovely folks at Orbit also sent along finished copies of Crown For Cold Silver by Alex Marshall and Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie (with a signed bookplate, no less).  And, our friends at Tor Books were also wonderful by sending a full case of Harrison Squared by Daryl Gregory since they were all out of advance reading copies.  However, despite the generosity of publishers, all the books were gone by nine.  I guess that just means we'll have to get more for the next time.

Sponsor Letter April 15th, 2015

Hi Lovely Sponsors,

I've got a few things that I wanted to let you know about.  I hope that this note, coming right on the heels of our newsletter, isn't crossing the line into spamming territory.  However, things are still moving along with the sponsor program and so I've got some news about more benefits, sponsor events and, of course, I'm also looking for more advice.


The First Sponsor Social - This Thursday, April 16th at 7:00 pm at Borderlands Cafe and Bookstore.
I'm very excited about our first get-together and having a chance to see so many of you in person.  We've already gotten over 50 RSVPs so I think it'll be a great party.  Here are a few of the neat things we'll be doing:

- Publisher Treats.  Our friends at Tor, Orbit and Nightshade Books have sent some books for you.  It's a bunch of great titles, several of which are highly recommended by us.  One per sponsor and first come, first served, while supplies last.

- Cocktails.  Our friend Nate Taylor, sponsor and mixologist, will be making Manhattans and Negronis for the first part of the evening, as well as offering some fizzy alternatives for those of you who fizz.  That will be in addition to some beer, courtesy of Borderlands, whatever you all bring for drinks and at least one nice bottle of Scotch, courtesy of yours truly.

- Raffle.  I've been looking around the store for cool stuff and I've found a few things.  We'll be giving out tickets at the door for a raffle that will take place later in the evening.  And, don't worry, at Jude's request I'm not going to be including random tools from my disorganized workshop.

- Behind the Scenes Tour.  As time allows, we'll be showing people around the rarely seen "backstage" parts of the shop.  SEE the "napping couch". THRILL at the charred brick and foundation from the pre-1906, pre-fire building that once sat where we are now.  STAY far, far, far away from the spirit house of the previous tenant's Santeria Temple, abandoned in place and touched only once by Borderlands' staff.

- plus lots of pleasant people, good conversation, and so forth.

Sponsor Letter March 22nd, 2015

Dear Sponsor,

What a remarkable month and a half we've had here at Borderlands.  It has probably been the weirdest, busiest, most up-and-down chunk of time I've experienced since I opened the store in 1997.  At the beginning of February we were all set to close.  I was expecting that by now I'd be selling off all the bookshelves and getting ready to move cafe seating in.  But you and the other people like you changed all that.

If you've missed any part of the story, you can read our initial announcement about closing here:

Then about the plan to stay open here:

Obviously, we made it.

From the bottom of our hearts, I and all the staff thank you.  You have changed the course of Borderlands and, in some fundamental ways, changed how we run our business.

One way that you can find out who your friends really are is, for example, to get evicted from your apartment.  You get a three-day notice and you have the choice of moving everything you own or losing it.  Your real friends will show up to help pack and load the truck.  Often they'll also bring the beer and pizza. Sometimes they'll even bring the truck.

Now we know who Borderlands' friends are.  They're the people who put their money where their mouth is.  They're the people who understand that truly, "there ain't no such thing as a free lunch".  As I write this, there are 740 of them out there, including you.