Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Just about there

Well, I should be ready to upload somethings tomorrow afternoon/evening for release on Thursday. The (slight) problem is that I'll be heading out of town with the family sometime on Thursday and won't be back until Saturday. I suppose this is good because it will prevent me from nervously checking to see if anything has been downloaded or sold but it will also keep me from responding to any message board posts or trying to solve any problems.

If I upload Wednesday evening the free intro release should automatically be pulled into the next OBS/Drivethru/RPGNow newsletter mentioning free releases. At least that is what I have been told. DS#3 has not been doing well so I have been focusing my time on having the .pdfs ready for release rather than the much needed website update. I really need to get that done as well. It should all come together during the next few days.

Monday, December 29, 2008

More Progress

Well, I have made some more progress on several different fronts. I really haven't started the "advertising" on message boards yet but I am probably going to start making posts tomorrow or on New Year's Eve day.

I feel like I am not completely on the ball with the advertising of the "opening" but I do have a list of ideas for other things to do throughout the year. Some will just be added pictures or little "comics" on certain holidays along with special prices and/or new product introductions.

I guess this is the news for now. I should have another update to the website done sometime tomorrow. This will include some new submission guidelines for those that might be interested. I am waiting on the updated 4e GSL that should come out sometime soon (um, right) before making some final decisions on some other product lines. I have some ideas that could be folded into the Sparks line or possibly be done as "4e compatible" products without needing the GSL. It would be much easier to make them 4e GSL products though. If the GSL info doesn't come soon I'll have to make a decision one way or the other.

Saturday, December 27, 2008


Well, I have been working a bit on the layout of some of the GreatCreators books. Particularly some Jules Verne. I find the history of his novels very interesting. His work started out in French and was published during a time when there was a big push to increase literacy in France. Well, even those people that were somewhat literate didn't have a complete mastery of reading so editors tended to include far more illustrations in their books than were seen in English or even Spanish books of that time. The more illustrations one had, the wider the appeal, and therefore, the greater the number of sales.

What does this mean? Well, the original French versions of Jules Verne's books are pretty heavily illustrated, sometimes having as many as one illustration every 5 pages. The English translations, well, some translations included some of the illustrations, but must didn't, or included only a few. Why? That is an interesting question. I am not certain of the "real" answer but I am guessing it had to do with ownership of the artwork/engravings at that point in time. You can find some of the illustrations online, but most of those scans are lower resolution and don't really compare with some of the original artwork. If your public library has a large, central branch with foreign language books you might be able to see some better illustrations. Some university libraries have copies as well. Often they are in archival sections of the library and you can look at them but not check them out. The first releases we do of Jules Verne won't have illustrations (sorry) due to the work scanning, doing the layout, etc. I hope to be able to offer the illustrated versions sometime as well. Those might cost a bit more due to the time and effort involved. I might even have those as print versions available through Amazon but that is a tale for another day.

One of the reasons I set up this company was to learn new things. Not only do I get to learn new things about doing layout, playing with photoshop and other programs, but I also get to learn about some of the earliest "science fiction" and "fantasy" authors and stories. I know, boring to some, but the history of some of these things is truly interesting to me.

Okay, so far we know that I'll be doing stories from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Jules Verne. Yes, there are more. Yes, I'll talk about some of them soon. The truth is, I have had some huge help with this product line, help that makes it even possible. I am hoping to have that help (JTJ) post to the message boards (JTJ) when they are up and going (JTJ) even though he refuses to post to message boards (JTJ) or blogs (JTJ). Hey, I didn't mention any names, exactly ...

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas everyone! More news should be up soon. Until then, I hope everyone enjoys the holidays.

Take care,

Monday, December 22, 2008

Looking good

Well, plans are indeed coming together. Steve Wieck got back to me with some information and it looks like right now I have much firmer plans as to when I am going to upload things and what release dates I'll be looking at. Basically, I'll be calling the release date January 1st but things might be uploaded before that.

As always, I am doing a few more touch-ups here and there but mostly I am stepping back and "giving in" on some things. I still have hesitations about my hand-drawn maps but several people that I showed them to liked them and said I should go with them. The maps look a little better on-screen than printed out (at least from my printers). I deliberately set the background light enough that it didn't really print out but still showed up on-screen. I am going to have to wait and see what people think. If I get a bunch of bad reviews based on the maps I will have to reconsider and possibly go back and have maps re-done.

The GreatCreators line is going to launch as well. I should have at least one title to start with, possibly more. The plan is to have a layout that can be easily read on laptop screens and I think that I have managed that. At least the layout looks good and is easy to read on this screen, my wife's laptop, and my neighbor's laptop (PC, ours are Macs so I wanted to test on a PC laptop). Now, I don't know that they'll look good on a screen smaller than 12 inches, but I guess we can only go ahead and put things up for sale in order to find out.

More news in a few days.

Friday, December 19, 2008


Well, I haven't heard back on some questions I had for people at several different online vendors. The main vendor I'll be using is OneBookShelf which is the combination of the RPGNow/DTRPG online vendors. There are other sites that allow one to sell straight .pdfs without having the layout set-up for print. I will probably be using several of those as well due to the GreatCreators line.

Right now I am in one of those phases where I am really itching to get things released. I am sure the various Christmas parties at the kids' school and various guests over the next week will slow me down. I think I am just going to stick with the January 1st release date. I can pre-upload files and set release dates that way but I have an annoying tendency to keep touching things up until the very end.

I'll probably go ahead and upload a drawing or two sometime this weekend as added news.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Website Update

Okay, for the 2-3 of you still paying attention, the GU website has been updated. Not all updates are up, but there is an announcement about the Great Creators line of .pdfs. I decided to go ahead and layout some of the old classics of sci-fi/fantasy and even mysteries. They are all public domain works and most of the one's I have picked so far are already available online at places like Gutenberg.org. Why bother? First, the easier it is for people to access some of these stories and get their kids to read them (or to read themselves) the better. Second, most of the files you can find online are simple text files that aren't all that friendly for screen reading. I spent a lot of time reviewing research on reading things from computer screens and on formats for .pdfs for easier on-screen reading and I think that the layout plan I have chosen will make it easy for people to read these books on-screen. Pages look good and are easy to read even on a 12-inch laptop screen.

I don't know if I will really recoup much for the time I have spent on some of these books, but I have enjoyed re-reading some of these and I particularly enjoy getting DS#1 to help a bit (thus getting him to read these books). I got into this line of thinking after talking to some university students that are involved in the scanning and compilation of books and diaries of some of the early missionaries to Texas. Some of the public domain efforts that are going on are truly aimed at preserving bits of knowledge that are slowly becoming lost. Some of the money earned from the Great Creators line is going to be used to support some of those efforts.

I still don't have new submissions guidelines up yet, nor do I have dates on the few releases I have announced. Right now I am pretty sure that I am simply going to go with January 1st. I might move to Dec 26th or something like that. It is going to depend on what sort of promotions OBS might be running. The last thing I'll be doing before bed tonight is emailing them about that very thing.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

More Writing

Well, I didn't really have time to get some of the advertising outlined, designed, and arranged but this was partly due to being out of the house a bit for some of the kids' events. However, I have been able to get some writing done and a few other things. This would make for good progress if I already had the advertising ready to go and a real plan as to exactly what and where I am going to advertise. I do know what the first releases are going to be and what order they are going to be released in. I am not exactly sure what the schedule is going to be but I think the City Streets line is probably going to be every 2-3 weeks.

I hope to have more news up soon.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Minor Progress

Well, lower back pain and sick children are slowing me down a bit, but things are indeed moving along (slowly).

Looks like the slowing economy has killed a deal that was looking promising last week. I guess I should have expected that. I have gotten a few more sketches done and more layout. I hope to be working on the website tonight with plans of getting an update up this weekend. I have been marking dates in the calendar lately, meaning that I am just about ready to "go live."

When I get that update up you'll be able to see a few new planned product lines and one possible product line. The possible line is a 4e line. Still not sure if I am going to go the "GSL" route and I am probably going to be advertising on ENWorld and rpg.net for someone willing to do 4e stats/stat-blocks. Two local groups are willing to test any 4e stuff I do decide to work on so the play-testing end should go okay.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Holding Action

Well, to the few of you looking in once in a while it has to appear that I am in some sort of holding action. I haven't uploaded updates to the webpage, nor have I started releases yet even though I could, quite admittedly, start tomorrow.

There are a few reasons for the delays that probably won't make much sense right now but I am hoping they'll make more sense in a few weeks.
First, I am trying to decide how to advertise finally starting releases. Do I just advertise through the OneBookShelf site(s) banner ads and newsletter or should I be paying to run some banner ads on some other sites? Speaking of banner ads, I need to have one in order to try to advertise. These shouldn't really be difficult questions but somehow I get hung up on them sometimes.
Second, the website delay is completely my fault. The update includes some information and logos for some other possible products that I haven't talked about yet. Why haven't I talked about them? Well...
-in one case it is because I might sell that "idea" to someone else. In other words, do the work and have them pay me for it rather than sell it myself. This is in a holding pattern at least until next week when I find out what the interested party is willing to pay.
-in another it is because it involves 4th edition compatible products and I have been reviewing what other publishers have done with respect to the GSL/ going the "copyright" route/and using the OGL to make a compatible product. In one sense I don't know if I want to mess with 4e products, in another, none of the other product plans are really OGL products so the GSL doesn't pose the same risks to me as it does to others.

So many different ideas, so little time. I have to do something about that.
Basically, I have to finalize a few decisions on my part, an agreement with another publisher, and touch up the website update and get the thing uploaded. Then I need to advertise and start releases.
Again, I am really hoping to make everything much more clear within another week or so. I have thought that before, but I have 4 fully completed .pdfs waiting to go on sale, 2 more that are 98% done and could easily be ready with another 2-4 hours of work, 3 more that are 70% done or more, and half a dozen + in various stages of completion. --and this is just for the City Streets product line. Basically, I am itching to finally get things going.