Cussedness Corner

"My work may be garbage but it's good garbage." Mickey Spillane

Small press, rpg, and other ruminations



A series of technical glitches has delayed the books we had planned to have out last year, but we are very close now.  I put a 2008 copyright notice on them, and now find that I will need to redo that.  I need to have the books actually in print before getting them copyrighted.

This is going to be especially annoying with Angie’s collection.  Tim appears to have it fixed, but I will be phoning the LSI tech today to make certain that all is well.

After a midnight discussion with Owen Kuhn, Tim willard, and Phil Smith, I have decided to have the cover of Fireborn Law redone.

In order to reduce cost and get some cash coming in, I’m going to release the next batch of books as ebooks first.  Then gradually bring all of them out as print books.

The Daverana and Flashing Swords sites are in the process of getting an overhaul.


The final revision of  If Truth Dies is close to finished.

I am going over the new version of Mother Damnation and looking for decent places to break it into smaller books for e-pub and looking for a new artist to do the covers.

Publishing Facts.

ODD Thoughts.

Owen and Tim were surprised at what small budgets the small press world has per title.  Having been published mainly by the RPG markets, they are used to seeing much larger budgets for art.  The main problem with RPG is that it has a very small number of companies and there are far more artists than publication opportunities for artists.

Many ebook companies don’t pay for covers.  They locate pre-existing artwork and talk the artist into letting them use it free.  This has also been the case with many PoD publishers, such as Wildside.  Again, it’s a situation of more artists than opportunities.

There are more opportunities to “sell” (and I use the term loosely) art to the small press than there is to the RPG markets.


11 comments on “Small press, rpg, and other ruminations

  1. 50footant
    January 6, 2009

    Still boggles my mind. I’ve been trying to wrap my head around it all night. Production and art budgets are so much smaller. I *wish* we could do the ebooks to the production values we’re used to. LOL

  2. khazar
    January 7, 2009

    Put out a call on Deviant Art for young/apprentice artists to illustrate things. I’ve been sending people your way every chance i get.

    Yes, the budgets are small, but that will change as the market matures. If RPGers, for example, begin buying Flashing Swords you’ll see more & better art.

    For years Barnes & Noble & Penguin have used classic art for their covers. Many museums will consent to the use of an image for a very small fee. In other cases the artist’s estate will do so. Knowing it’s to be the cover or an ebook or in a magazine usually helps.

  3. 50footant
    January 7, 2009

    If you use public domain or previously existing art, you get hammered something serious. Sure, Barnes & Noble and Penguin might have done it, but those RPG products that used clip art, public domain art, and stuff like that (unless it was a specific picture for a specific purpose) gets panned in the reviews, and customer reviews will talk about how the product uses clip art/public domain art.

    And trying to do the Deviant Art thing is another way to get slaughtered, since they have to produce multiple pictures to the publisher’s standards and demands, and a lot of times it takes artists too long to do the picture correctly, or they insist on illustrating “their vision” of what you wanted, not what you specifically wanted.

    Plus, the amount of art required is a lot different, and that’s not including cartography (if you need it) and other factors.

  4. Wolvorine
    January 7, 2009

    Every time I think about it, the gaping differences between the RPG circuit an the small press pub. circuit just… It just blows my mind. I never realized before that compared to other publishing circuits, the RPG circuit is like a pack of wild hyenas fighting over the carcass of a wildebeast a lion took down. You have to fight each other, and the lion, to get a bite off.

    Khazar, Deviant Art? I avoid it when I can. Deviant Art is just gushing with some of the worst made-for-a-refrigerator-door art. If I have to, I’ll call in favors to get artists I know are good for the price we can pay. But, I openly admit to being an elitist ass over art. 🙂

  5. Johaha
    January 7, 2009

    That’s okay.
    I’m an elitist ass over fiction.
    So are we all. Dagstine said so many times.

  6. khazar
    January 10, 2009

    We have a tiny budget.

    There are thousands of young artists out there wanting a chance to be seen.

    A contest for student artists/amateurs won’t raise hackles or eyebrows. Deviant Art came to mind because I know a few talented folks who post there. Sure, Nickypoo does too, but I don’t see anyone suggesting we not publish because he tries to.

    There’s an entire universe of difference between what’s acceptable in RPGs & publishing. If I put a piece by Klimt, Monet, Beaugerou or Dore on the cover of a book, it says “classic”. I understand that doing the same in gaming says “cheap”.

    What really blows my mind about RPGs is how sloppy & slipshod a lot of the programming is. But that’s another issue.

  7. Wolvorine
    January 10, 2009

    Programming? Are you talking computer RPG games, or tabletop RPG games?
    As for Deviant Art… I have seen the rare good art there, but it’s mostly just painful to look at. On the other hand, a slushpile is easy to go through for the most part, and I have no trouble finding reasonably polite ways to say “sorry, you suck” when I need to. I’m not the type to be pushed into accepting anything I don’t want, so I don’t really mind whatever comes through. Some of it gives me a chuckle. 🙂

  8. khazar
    January 11, 2009

    Computer games. Specifically, the shitfest that is the programming behind “Neverwinter Nights”. Oh, they have other issues too, like a team of “writers” who have NO clue about what makes a romance, and people who don’t seem to grasp that players might actually, you know, *care* about their characters.

    My husband loves the modules people make, and makes his own, which means he spends days fighting the computer. For reasons associated with his work we have to be very cautious about MMORPGs. Which sux, but there it is.

    Now, Deviant Art. I mentioned it, as I said, because I know some of the kids who post there. If I never see another crappy anime ripoff again I’ll die happy, but I already know that ain’t gonna happen. But there is some wheat among the chaff, which is why we have is a Slush Pile.

    Hey, I like crushing dreams as much as anybody. So why not an art slushie? 😉

  9. Wolvorine
    January 11, 2009

    Aha… Ant and I don’t come from computer games, we come from RPG publishing/epublishing. Not tired old programmers, tired writers/artist who rules game rules & mechanics. 🙂 I’d agree that NWN wasn’t the godsend it could have been (although I refuse to go to the effort to get NWN2 just to see if it’s incrementally better).

  10. khazar
    January 12, 2009

    NWN 2 has better animation, but you only get a very limited set of portraits(as opposed to NWN where you could put up libraries of images to pick from). All the radial stuff is gone, along with how the crafting works. You can still craft but it can be a major PITA to do so.

    What really blows is the latest update: you have to build a merchant empire. It plays like a 3rd rate copy of a 2nd rate strategy game.

    It is several times harder to make a module of your own, so there are relatively few player-created modules out there.

    Dan is swearing at it right now. If you see it on sale somewhere it might be worthwhile.

  11. 50footant
    January 12, 2009

    It’s better to get a copy of NWN1-Diamond than to even bother getting a copy of NWN 2.

    Atari, as usual, dropped the ball and smashed their balls.

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This entry was posted on January 6, 2009 by in Daverana Enterprises, Flashing Swords Magazine, Janrae Frank, Owen Kuhn, RPG, small press, Tim Willard.

Janrae Frank

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