February 24, 2009

UPDATE - Open Game Table

Like a train headed towards frontier country, work on Open Game Table: The Anthology of Roleplaying Game Blogs continues unabated. Yes, my blogging frequency has dropped precipitously to near zero posts -- but I'm not "going dark". There's lots going on behind the scenes. New artwork continues to flow in from our dedicated team of artists and the cover design is coming along VERY nicely. Once it is done, I'll be sure to give you a sneak peak here (hopefully by next week).

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


  1. Wow. Those are some fantastic illustrations!

    Thank you for your continued efforts. Is there anything that I can/should be working on to help you out?

  2. Matt - thanks for dropping by! You've already made a great addition to the book with the illustrations you have contributed thus far -- I think at this point we are pretty much full up. The more art I add in, the more I have to fiddle with the layout. Every time I add a new illo, its like a domino effect, and the rest of the chapter layout gets whacked. We are very close to finishing up.

    There is one thing though... I asked all the illustrators to send in an illo for the Goblins article -- you can never have too many of those. So, I'm hoping to have a mini goblin gallery in association with that blog article.

    here's the link to the post: GOBLINS!

    -- if you want to contribute to that, and can get me something by the end of the week... feel free; I'd welcome it.

  3. Good news that update is. I'm glad to see you're trying to work with a distributor; I think the project could only benefit from a wider scope and high ambitions, the latter of which you have in spades.

    Just curious... how are you typesetting the book? I've been using LaTeX recently for doing homework since grad school is a bit mathy, but it seems something like Quark would do the job of a more "traditional" book.

  4. if I had the money, I would have loved to have used InDesign -- but unfortunately the person I know with a working version was not able to lend me their Mac for this... so, I upgraded to the latest version of MS Word 2008 for OSX, which has a publishing layout view. It's working "ok"... some odd quirks, but for the most part it does the job. If there's ever a Volume II (2009 - 2010 edition), I'll definitely push to get a more powerful app to do it with.

  5. I was actually talking to my girl about the idea of the Anthology becoming a recurring thing. I know - easy thing for me to say since I did one small part in the work, but it seemed an interesting idea.

    The thing we held up as an example when we talked about it was something that you may be familiar with: Spectrum

    If you're not familiar, I highly recommend it - could be very inspirational for future articles.

    With regards to the Goblins Gallery? I'm on it. :)


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