Hamsterprophecy: Prevision

It\’s All About Pen, Paper and People.

Archive for the ‘Publishing’ Category

Posts about the publishing process.

Annalise Interim Edition Available NOW!

Posted by Nathan P. on March 23, 2009

Finally, a print edition of Annalise is available. Please navigate to my lulu.com storefront in order to purchase.

The Interim Edition of Annalise is a 66-page perfectbound 9×7 landscape book. It comes in 4 flavors: there are two covers (red or white), and your choice of grayscale interior for $20.00 or full-color interior for $25.00. This edition of the game contains none of the fiction or art that was in the Unbidden Guests Edition released at Gen Con, but the game text is exactly the same. All of the fiction and art that has been made public so far for the game is available for download from the website.

The Eternal Tears PDF edition is also available for purchase from lulu.

Many thanks to everyone who has bought and played the game so far, and my most humble apologies for the egregious delay in making a print edition available.

Posted in Annalise, Promo, Publishing | Leave a Comment »


Posted by Nathan P. on March 13, 2009

There’s a substantial difference between gamers and designers, or at least designers who publish.

When you play, you’re making something for the consumption of the people who are playing. The whole audience/participant thing.

When you publish, you’re making something for an audience. Full stop.

The lines blur, because they are both acts of creation. But they are not the same.

(sorry Paul)

Posted in Artistry, Mission, Publishing | 4 Comments »

Some Truth About Audience

Posted by Nathan P. on December 6, 2008

There’s a really great thread at the Forge that’s currently active: Have we already reached everyone? People are talking some good stuff about the “audience” (you’ll see why there’s quotes there in a sec) for independently-published games, whether the market is saturated (answer: no), &tc. And then Malcolm Sheppard comes along and drops some serious truth.

Now, Malcolms a really smart guy who is really good at taking an, uh, adversarial tone with, well, everything. But this post is respectfully written and really one of the best breakdowns of one of the biggest issues I think self-publishers face. You should really read the whole thread, but you should really really read what Malcolm has to say if you’re interested in putting your game into the marketplace. But, this being the internets, here’s what I think is the most meaningful part:

Your challenge, as I see it, is to create avenues where customers can create places apart from you, develop their own ideas about your materials and run with them, turning the game into a medium for expression, instead of an affiliation with an entrenched scene. One way to do this is to get serious about building communities game by game, instead of by school of thought. Another is to provide extended support, even if informal, for existing games, and use email and other tools to get the word out about updates. I’ve already mentioned some more “hands-free” forms of social networking, but there are others, and they can be defined outside of your internal categories to jibe with a game’s content.

This intersects neatly with a lot of my personal evaluation of myself as a publisher and my goals for Annalise. Basically, the system of advertising and selling to the communities represented by boards I frequent and the online social groups I inhabit isn’t something I’m interested in. I’m starting there, because it’s safe and comfortable and, frankly, doesn’t involve that much effort on my part. But it’s not only a small community in terms of bodies and sales numbers, it’s also constantly taxing on me, personally, to deal with the expectations and assumptions made by individuals in it.

This isn’t to say that I don’t appreciate all of the positive responses and the material gain that I’ve had from these communities. I have nothing but love in my heart for that. But it’s time to go elsewhere, I think for everyone, in one way or another. For so long we’ve celebrated the close links between creator and audience (sorry Paul, but I do think there are differences, at least these days). But there’s something to be said about having distance between them.

I’m not beholden to you because I wrote something that you’re playing, just as you’re not beholden to me by playing something that I wrote.

Posted in Annalise, Mission, Publishing | 1 Comment »

Some Annalise-Related Content

Posted by Nathan P. on November 23, 2008

So I’m finally getting around to my backlog of stuff for findannalise.com. More examples of Claims and Secrets are up, and I’ll hopefully be sneaking in more images for the fiction-contest-that-will-be-happening-eventually. I like the Claims archives for illustrating different tones of games. I like the Secrets archives for giving me ideas to steal next time I play.

Also, if you bought Annalise at some point over the summer and have not received an email from me, let me know.

Also also, if you are a game reviewer-type, I would like to talk to you.

Contact for both of these things: findannalise-at-gmail-dot-com.

Thanks, everyone. The response for the game over the last two weeks has been gratifying, both in terms of sales and comments on the interwebs. I hope some of you get to play soon!

Posted in Annalise, Promo, Publishing | Leave a Comment »

Annalise Eternal Tears PDF Now Available

Posted by Nathan P. on November 9, 2008

As the title says. The 70-page PDF is $12.00, and currently available direct from the website; from Indie Press Revolution; and from the indie rpgs un-store. As it gets up on various retailers, I’ll update that information.

Thanks for the patience from everyone. I’m happy to have it finally available.

Posted in Annalise, Promo, Publishing | 2 Comments »

My Response

Posted by Nathan P. on September 28, 2008

(to this)

Huh. That’s pretty cool.

Posted in Publishing | Leave a Comment »

My Thoughts on PDFs

Posted by Nathan P. on July 27, 2008

(context: here and here. Also, this turned into quite the ramble, so be warned)

PDFs are in interesting thing, aren’t they? I have very mixed feelings, as one may be able to extrapolate from my PDF versions of games that I’ve made available thus far. Also, I’ve had some very interesting conversations with people concerning both ends of the morality-vs-profit motive spectrum. My opinions on the matter gel along these lines:

First, sometimes a PDF isn’t appropriate to the artistic goal of a product. For example, there’s no PDF of carry because the physical, visceral experience of the book as an object is important to me. Now, I know for a fact that this is costing me sales. However, I am extremely sympathetic to those who would prefer the PDF, or who don’t have a good option for buying a physical book. I want to find some way to reconcile these two issues, and when I do I will make a PDF available, but until then, my artistic  goals are outweighing my profit motive.

Second, what are you paying for when you buy a PDF? There’s an almost-zero amount of infrastructure, and the rest goes direct to the author, for what? A digital, reproducible file that has infinite shelf life. My friend Andrew Morris is of the opinion that what you’re actually paying for is ideas, and that its immoral to charge for ideas. Again, I’m sympathetic to this argument (witness the idea that PDF sales are “free money” to a publisher, which is basically true), but I think that the profit from PDF sales can certainly be seen as paying for enabling the author to continue making their work available. By the same token, why should books be sold for more than cost + cuts from the middleman? Same answer. (Incidentally, if you’re not up on Jonathan Walton’s new business model, you should be).

But, with that in mind, what is “right” to charge for a PDF? For Timestream, I have a PDF at $8 and a more full-featured PDF at $12, which are basically price points that “feel right” to me. I think it only makes sense that a PDF cost less than a book, because I don’t need to pay anything to get you your copy, and I get more money out of the deal. But, if it’s the same content, should I charge the retail minus the print costs? How does that effect the perception of value? Does it feel right? Or, on the other hand, should I pursue PDF sales as a core part of the business model (they generate more profit, after all)? This is a valid pusuit, I think (witness Ronin Arts).

Or, should I only charge for PDFs until all of my costs for the game are covered, and then make it free?

I think the one thing I feel pretty strongly about is that I don’t have the energy to waste trying to keep pirated PDFs from happening. I don’t like DRM, I don’t have the tech savvy to engage in locking wars, and I honestly just don’t care if people pirate my PDFs. Anyone who downloads a pirated PDF of my stuff will either like it so much they buy something legit anyway, or they would have never bought it in the first place.

These are all really sticky questions that I don’t have stock answers to (except the uselessness of DRM thing). I think the only way I can navigate this territory is make sets of decisions based on my artistic goals for each individual game, and hope for the best.

Posted in Artistry, Mission, Publishing | 3 Comments »

DexCon 08: Home of the Gingerbread Mafia

Posted by Nathan P. on July 21, 2008

And thats how DexCon was over.

I had the best time at a convention that I’ve had in a long time. I think last years Origins is the next benchmark back, and this DexCon was at least equal to it, if not better. There was a lot of crapulance floating around, to be sure (the broken ATM, the general sense of low energy, the low sales, general crankiness, the list of things that there is too much of), but I personally managed to have an amazing productive, satisfying and just plain fun time.


Roanoke went well, despite some playstyle clash at the table that I wasn’t able to harmoniously deal with. The game was fun, overall, and it was really rewarding for me to run a game outside of my comfort zone. Though, sorry Dan & Clint, but I think next time I’ll have to use something like The Pool or Unistat. Wushu just isn’t my style.

InSpectres went awesomely, as always. I had a table of 7 players, and the game hummed right along with no problems. It also had some pretty dark turns (the S&M/Nazi-fetishist British aristocrat, the death of the last unicorn, the rotting ghost virgins). As always, though, tons of laughs and many hijinks. Damn but it’s my favorite game.

carry went very well, despite J.R. and Russell having to leave early. We had a squad chock-full of sexual tension, and all the players really stepped up and dug into their characters and the fiction of the game. It was one of the most emotionally satisfying and real-feeling games of carry I’ve run, and it really made me happy that it played out so well.

Annalise suffered from some poor decision-making on my part (I decided to try to simultaneously run two 3-player tables, and there was a lot of lagtime in the beginning stages of the game as I ran back and forth). However, the players all made really tragic characters that were headed towards intense confrontations with the Vampire, and a lot of disturbing and interested fiction was happening at each table. I think everyone got a good taste of the game, and I learned a ton about how to approach running it at conventions.


I sold out of the Seven Sins edition of the game within a day. Totally awesome. Everyone was very complimentary, and I think the custom versions were worth the price tag, and maybe even the stress of making them happen! I feel really validated in some of my artistic and marketing choices, and I feel totally recharged about making the next version happen. Also sold a copy or two of carry.


Always the best part. I made some awesome new friends (Hi Jared and J.R.and Eric and Kevin!), and I got to spend some real quality time with older friends, and got to shoot the shit with friendly acquaintances and get closer to being good friends. I’m already sad that I won’t be seeing any of you for awhile.


In the words of Mr. Allen Jr. “it made me cry butter.”

Much love to all of you, friends. See you next time!

Posted in Actual Play, Annalise, carry. a game about war., Conventions, Personal, Publishing | 8 Comments »

Annalise Movement

Posted by Nathan P. on July 2, 2008

I’m getting into that fluttery “holy crap am I really doing this” phase. Art is getting hashed out, text is off to the editor and readers, and I even have the website up.

The game is really good, and I’m really looking forwards to playing it with people. There will be a limited edition available (well, all the editions will be limited, but thats another post) at DexCon. That’s in, like, 2 weeks! Holy crap!

Also, here’s the website. Let me know if any egregious errors or painful formatting is happening.

Why do I keep doing this to myself again?

Posted in Annalise, Promo, Publishing | 2 Comments »

Carry Errata Is Go

Posted by Nathan P. on June 7, 2008

The second print run of carry. a game about war. is almost sold out! The third printing is currently heading out to fulfillment houses. While updating the text for the third printing, I ran into a number of issues, mostly small but some fairly large, with how I had explained some rules; in addition, I’ve garnered a fair amount of feedback from players of the game since it’s been out. These factors combined to mean that I actually made a substantial number of changes in the text for the third printing, mostly in the form of taking out small rules that never saw play and re-writing some portions of the rules to be clearer in how the rules are meant to be applied.

So, the purchasers of the third printing are getting the clearest and most accurate version of the rules. But what about everyone who already has the book? For you, I am providing a 13-page PDF of errata between printings. This document includes both an explanation of why each portion of the text was changed, and the complete text of both the old and new rules that have been edited.

You can download that document by clicking here. To check your printing, look at the bottom of the last page of your book.

Posted in Actual Play, carry. a game about war., Promo, Publishing | 2 Comments »