The other turn of events is that we've also been in discussions with several distributors. Most of them have, thus far, been very positive but ultimately turned me down simply because 1) the economy blows, and 2) I'm an untested publisher with only a single book to offer. For most distributors this is a non-starter. But all these discussions were not without some benefit.
For example... I was put in touch with Mark Easterday, the VP of Purchasing at Alliance Games, and although they turned us down in the end, he provided me with some excellent advice on how I might "get the word out" for the anthology. He also put me in touch with Aldo Ghiozzi, the owner of Impressions Advertising. Impressions is a distribution consolidator -- basically they take small press publishers and bundle them up for larger distributors to purchase (such as Alliance). So I contacted Aldo, who had very supportive words, but also ultimately turned me down citing the fact that -- since Key20 (another consolidator) went out of business -- they have a warehouse full of new, untested, and small publishers they are trying to clear out. So, they too are not looking for any new material to stock at this time. He did, however, refer me to Steve Chenault at Troll Lord Games. Apparently, they own their own presses and, according to Aldo, occasionally do printing for other folks as well. I made a pitch to Steve a few days ago - and I'm just waiting to hear back.
I've also been in touch with a number of other small presses and distributors, but haven't heard back from most of them. Indie Press Revolution, a direct retail / distributor, is currently the best fit for Open Game Table. As far as they are concerned, I've exchanged a few emails with IPR and they seem to be very accommodating thus far. I'll be sending them a PDF galley proof for them to evaluate as soon as I have it ready. Hopefully they'll continue to be as positive once they receive it and I'll be able to announce an agreement has been reached.
Why do I need a distributor?
(IPR, by the way, has its own RPG industry blog at The Voice of Revolution)
Well, its simple really -- the whole point of Open Game Table, from Day One, was to bridge the gap between the gaming community and the RPG blogging community by placing a book on the shelves of game and book stores that showcased our best talent. By working with a distributor, with established retail channels, this will become a real possibility. Without the use of a distributor such as Indie Press Revolution, we will have to rely on Lulu Marketplace and Amazon.com, which sounds fine... but in reality will likely be somewhat lackluster in its execution. A specialty distributor would be able to target those retail outlets that share our audience: GAMERS. There's no telling, once listed on Amazon.com, how likely Open Game Table would be picked up by anyone or if any retailer would even think to order it for their stores.
Now for some new art spots that will be included in Open Game Table (click for bigger versions)...
illustrations by Hugo Solis
for Jonathan Drain's Invisible Dungeon...
for Scott Schimmel's 4E Monk Project