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.