Monday, September 28, 2009


Well, I have a bug and I am dealing with family that also have the bug so work is pretty much not going anywhere.

I hope to at least upload the changes I made to the website over the weekend later today. I have a few more changes to make though, so I'll just have to fight through the headache and try to get them done.

The Sparks Primer/Intro change has been more time consuming than I thought, but that always seems to be the case when making changes. I hope the change works out well. I am thinking about "opening" up the Sparks Primer for use by other publishers but honestly don't know if anyone would bother using it.

Thursday, September 24, 2009


Well, no excuses here, I just simply haven't been getting anything done. Okay, at least not anything for GU. While I expect that to change today and tomorrow now that I have a few things out of the way, I will not have anything ready to release this weekend.

In other news, I have decided (95%) that I will pull the Sparks Introduction from the already released .pdfs. This is easy enough for the RPGNow (OBS) releases but it looks like I'll probably need to send the new files to Paizo and ask them to put them up. We'll see how that goes.

The compilations (such as the Summer Tavern Special) will probably still include the Sparks Intro, but now I will be substituting in the Sparks Primer. This is partly because I am trying to do the layout on those as if they will go to print.

My list of things to do is very long right now. Many of the things on the list are pretty minor (or sound minor) but are very time-consuming. I'll try to post a progress report this weekend.

Friday, September 18, 2009


Okay, another whoopsie! I am signed up to automatically enter the promotions at RPGNow (and all of the OBS stores) and they ARE running a "Talk Like a Pirate Day" promotion and I DO have products offered at a discount there. The following products are 20% off from now through the weekend.
Brandy's by the Bay
Tavern Denizens-Book I: The Dives
The Mug and Bottle

These are exactly the books I would have offered at a discount anyway. Odd how that works ;).

Talk Like a Pirate Day

Well, I had hoped to run some sort of promotion or discount this weekend for "Talk Like a Pirate Day." According to several other publishers despite the internet postings, etc. about "TLPD" it isn't much for sales or promotions. I guess I'll be waiting until next year to find out.

I am revamping the Sparks Primer and that is taking time. I have had long term plans to introduce other "generic" products with slight variations on the Sparks introduction but it would be much easier to simply expand what I have now to cover all of the potential planned products and make that the Sparks Primer.

Essentially, I am backing up a step and taking time to redesign a few things and alter a few plans. I like to think that this is a good thing for the long term. Honestly, I can't say that it is going to hit sales as I have had numerous delays lately. What it does is slow down having a series of regular releases. Regular releases DO drive sales of "backstock" -which in electronic terms simply means older books. This means having a release every 2 weeks helps even out sales.

I would love to say that I'll be getting lots of work done this weekend with my mother here to help out but the reality is that I'll be spending most of the weekend either AT a soccer game or DRIVING to a soccer game. I want to have another release for September. My goal is to have 20+ RPG releases during 2009 so I'll really need to get cracking if I am going to make that.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Cover Trials

Okay, I love getting feedback on the cover(s). Special thanks to Mark, Vicki and her son B., and JT. If anyone else has cover comments please comment on the blog or email me.

I am still working on some other variations but everything is still based on the same main cover I showed before. If you guys have a chance to look at these two and give me some comments I certainly appreciate it.

Thanks again!

Woes and Whining

Well, okay, I'll try not to whine. Making the changes I would really like to the Sparks Introduction and releasing that as a free product are going, well, slowly. I do have a cover mock-up made. Okay, let's be honest, I have 4 different covers made, but this cover or a variation of it will likely be the final effort. The title right now is "Sparks Primer."

Along with the new cover I want to have a new layout, and I am making some minor editing changes to the text to make it a bit more generic. Some have noticed I used a different, edited down version of the introduction in Tavern Denizens and the "new" introduction will be a bit more general and apply to everything (I hope).

This process has definitely been slowing down other projects and I am actually pretty frustrated with that fact. I really want to have something ready for "Talk Like a Pirate Day" even though several publishers say that sales for that day have never really done much. If nothing else I will run some sort of promotion.

Once I have the Sparks Primer finished I will have to decide if I will go back and remove the Sparks Introduction from all of the CS releases that are already published. I think that would be an unpleasant amount of work for fairly low return.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Release Schedule(s)

Okay, I need to stop even trying to publish a release schedule. Normally, I would say that I should still be able to nail my planned release for this weekend but, due in part to some changes I made, this is unlikely to happen.

SOMETHING will be released next week before "Talk Like a Pirate" day, exactly which release might still be a question for a few days.

I will be releasing a separate "Sparks Introduction" for all of my generic lines as a free release. To do so, I want to have a different, hopefully nicer, layout and some better artwork. I simply haven't had the time to nail this down the way I want to and it has taken time from completing actual products. This will only pertain to electronic releases, if I do anything for print or POD (Print-On-Demand) it will include the introduction. This means I want a print-ready layout and that has been more of a task than I want to think about.

Add in a few kids' activities, my wife's call schedule, and a quick trip to Houston this weekend and I just don't think I can have the separate, new, Sparks Intro ready and have the next release ready for the weekend. If I can get a few things nailed down tomorrow I might still have a chance, but I am definitely not counting on it.

If I have to remain with the intro I have in order to get product(s) out next week I will. I really would like to find a way to finish the changes that I outlined for myself. I think it will be a "slicker" look that will do better for both print and electronic media. We'll have to see how it goes.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Weekend Sale and Bad Reviews

First, the 20% discount at RPGNow and the store is still in effect through the end of tomorrow (September 7th). The sale is actually going very well for me as sales on the site have been particularly good. I am sure this is partly due to the fact that my products are still very new there and largely due to the inclusion of the sale in the store blog.

The second thing is that I had a bad review for one of the products on the store. Now, I am not going to complain about it (much) as one of the comments in this one is actually a bit helpful in a decision I have been struggling with.

The City Streets locations all use the "Sparks" introduction, a system I used to provide generic information that GMs can more easily turn into game statistics for their game system. I have been considering removing that introduction (it is available as part of Gior's Glassworks, a free download) and providing it as a free download (in addition to Gior's) for quite a while now. Two publishers have told me NOT to do this, that I should have the generic info available for each location.

I now have several reviews and comments that really seem to indicate that I do not need this for the electronic products. I will still need to put the introduction into any products I print or sell through a Print-on-Demand (POD) service. The publishers that were adamant about me including it were largely print publishers before selling products online so they'll have a very different perspective than true electronic book customers.

So, the short of it is, even bad reviews can be helpful with decision-making. Some of the other comments (not enough crunch, and the price point) are probably not going to change things much. I am considering adding some prices to products and services (being sold in a particular CS location) in the future, but then it gets difficult to decide what system to use. While the "standard" RPG fare uses copper, silver, and gold pieces, there are a number of games out there that use different systems. When you get an email thanking you for not having that information you have to balance that against a review saying it should be there.

I do have a few products planned that will have prices in, because I think they should be there, I still haven't decided how to price those items though.

All of these ideas are bouncing around in my head as I look at making some significant changes to the layout that I use for the CS products. I am thinking about trying to move to a somewhat "slicker" look and this process is undoubtedly chewing up a lot of the time I could be using to actually make more products!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Labor Day Weekend

I hope to labor more during the Labor Day weekend. Allergies and some issues with DS#3 are almost certain to prevent the release of the next book. The fact that I decided to add more to it is not terribly helpful either.

Right now all GU products are discounted 20% at and RPGNow (and all OBS sites). This sale ends on September 7th (Labor Day in the US) so it is a great time to pick up any of the City Streets locations you might have missed.

I am planning for 2 releases per month through the end of the year but some of these releases are planned to include several locations so we'll have to see how it all works out.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Mixed News

Well, some mixed news. I am not sure I am going to hit the planned release for my next CS release, fortunately, I put the whole "tentative dates" and "subject to change" bit on the "upcoming" page of the website. The beginning of school has been very hectic and the soccer tournament both of the older boys played in this past weekend really killed my writing schedule. More importantly for the next release (Alchemists and Healers), it has killed my ability to get some of the maps done and a few other things ready. Tomorrow my dear wife is home from work (she was on-call this past Saturday) so I might get enough work done to get everything through layout on Thursday. Then again, it might be a nice day and I might just go have fun with her and DS#3.

On the "good news" side, Paizo mentioned GU on the main blog page of the Paizo Store tonight in regards to a 20% off sale. Basically, I am on the RPGNow/OBS list of publishers participating in promotions and they have a promotion going this week (20% off) and I wanted to match that at Paizo so I emailed them. Well, it appears Paizo must like me at least a little bit. I am hoping that the mention will drive a few sales on their store.

Honestly, I have to work a lot more on promoting products but I guess I tend to spend the "spare" time I have writing or working on something else. We'll see if I can turn the advertising/promotion bit around a little this fall.