Frequently asked questions

The Organization

What is Grim Oak Shield?

Grim Oak Shield is a non-profit organization that helps artists and authors who have suffered injury or illness and have accumulated so much debt they can no longer support themselves in their craft.

Why was Grim Oak Shield created?

In short: Bad things happen to good people. So when good things happen, well...we pay it forward..  When writer Shawn Speakman (co-founder) was diagnosed with cancer a second time while he was unable to get health insurance, the bills stacked up quickly.  When you fight cancer, you should be able to give it everything you have instead of worrying about a house payment or how much debt you are accumulating just trying to survive.  Through his community of artists and authors where he had established relationships, an idea was formulated to help pay off the massive amount of debt:  An anthology of short stories by the best in the Science Fiction and Fantasy world.  All submitted for one purpose, to pay off the debilitating debt and allow Shawn to continue to pursue his art.  But it left another kind of debt, a debt of gratitude, which could only be paid off by turning around and helping others in the same manner.  Hence, Grim Oak Shield, a non-profit organization benefiting those artists and authors with medical debt, was born.

How does Grim Oak Shield help others?

Grim Oak Shield sells books and merchandise that have been donated by authors, artists, publishing companies, and collectors.  All proceeds from those sales go directly to creating grants for qualified recipients and paying on their medical debt.  You don't want to buy a book or collector item?  We also take cash donations and sponsorship from anyone would like to give.  Keep reading below!

Can I donate to this cause?

Absolutely!  Click HERE to learn how! 

Can I be a sponsor for Grim Oak Shield?

Sponsors are extremely important to any non-profit organization.  Their contributions and voice help make the community stronger and allow us to give back even more.  If you are interested, please go HERE to learn more.

Are there rules about who can be helped?

There are some particulars about how an applicant for a grant can qualify.  Please review our guidelines page HERE for more information.

How can I apply for a grant?

Applying for a grant takes time and careful preparation to make sure you have the materials and information submitted that our Board of Directors requires for consideration.  We have created a step-by-step checklist for what needs to be done HERE.

Purchasing and orders

How do I buy a book that supports the Grim Oak Shield cause?

Very simple!  Grim Oak Shield has a web storefront where you can purchase books that are in stock or pre-order books that we will be printing and pay in a variety of ways.  Anything bought through our storefront will have all proceeds go directly to our grant pool. You can see all of our books for sale HERE.

How do the Auctions work?

When Grim Oak Shield runs into a very rare set or edition of a loved book or series, we will post that item up for auction.  This will give everyone a chance to own this very rare edition or collection by bidding on it.  Grim Oak Shield sets the start price with no reserve.  All auctions are hosted on eBay to take advantage of their platform but you can see any active item on our Auctions page HERE.

What payment options do I have?

Our Grim Oak Press storefront supports many options for payment including:  PayPal, Visa, Mastercard, American Express, and others  Taxes and shipping will be calculated based on the shipping address.

Can I donate an additional amount when I check out?

Yes, when you checkout and pay for your the current items in your cart you can add an additional dollar amount that will go straight into our grant pool.

Do you accept returns of purchased books or merchandise?

In general, no.  There are rare cases where we would accept a return and refund any money you spent but those are handled on a case by case basis.  Since this is a non-profit organization dealing with special items, the risk of use and damage from shipping and handling could severely impact the value of the merchandise.  We try to maximize the value based on condition and rareness in order to maximize the amount of proceeds that can be given to grant recipients.

Can I cancel an order that hasn't been shipped yet?

Yes, if your order has not been completed and shipped you may cancel.  Please send us a note through the contact form HERE.  Be sure to include your name, email address, phone, order #, and reason for cancellation.  We will issue a refund once processed.

How long does it take to fulfill an order and ship it?

If we have your book in stock (not a pre-order) then we attempt process and ship your order within 2 business days.  Remember, we are a family business and sometimes things may happen that delay the completion of an order.  Please be patient and if you have any questions or if something is an absolute rush, add a note to the order or contact us HERE.

Shipping & handling

What methods do you use for shipping domestically in the United States?

We use USPS Media Mail services as our standard for all  books and merchandise.  The rates are calculated based on the weight and size of the package.  The shipping amount is automatically added to your order at check out.

Can I choose a different shipping method for my purchase?

Yes.  At the time of check out you can choose to have your package shipped via USPS Priority Mail.  This will limit the time your package spends in the postal system.  This can reduce the risk of damage and loss.

How long will it take to receive my order once shipped?

For domestic packages in the United States, USPS Media Mail will usually take between 7-10 days.  Depending on your location and speed of your local postal system, these times can be much shorter or even longer.  By choosing USPS Priority Mail your package will generally arrive in 2-3 business days, again depending on you location and local service.

International orders can be much longer as the books must clear customs (up to 2-3 weeks).  We do everything we can in labeling the boxes as media/books with a low value in order to avoid being held up by customs.  However, we have seen books get held without notification to the recipient or sender.  In this case make sure you use your tracking information to see where it is.  You may have to call your local customs or postal delivery service to expedite.

I placed my order, why hasn't it been shipped yet?

There are times that we will put an order on hold so that we can package multiple items properly and ship all at one time.  In general, domestic US shipments will be split so we can ship you whatever we have in stock since USPS Media Mail is weight-driven.  This only costs us the materials for packaging and we don't mind doing that so you can have one of our beautiful books early.

For ALL international orders which contain multiple items, whereas one of the items is not yet in stock (pre-orders), we will hold in stock items until all merchandise for the order is ready to be shipped.  This is due to the high cost of shipping and handling internationally.  Splitting orders is generally too costly and most customers do not want to pay the difference.  If you want us to split the in stock items and partially fulfill the order you will need to contact us and arrange additional payment. 

Do you ship internationally?

Yes!  Science Fiction and Fantasy fans are spread all over the world.  We can ship to just about anywhere.  International shipping rates do apply. 

What do I do if my package shows delivered by USPS but I never received it?

Unfortunately, we have seen this happen before.  Sometimes an order can get lost by the postal service or delivered to the wrong place.  Other times, bad folks can steal your packages from your front door.  Once a package leaves our warehouse it is no longer in our control and there is not much we can do.  We will provide you a tracking number and you may reach out to your local postal service to attempt to track down the package.  Since these are rare and collector edition books and merchandise, there is no replacement for stolen or lost items.


Support your favorite writers by buying the Unfettered anthologies and keeping them safe from medical debt!