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 Post subject: Getting published
PostPosted: Thu Sep 29, 2005 2:35 pm 
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Far-Sighted Wanderer

Joined: Mon Oct 18, 2004 1:13 am
Posts: 29
For over a year now I've been working on a number of different projects, the majority of which are campaign settings or one-shot modules, and I think I've reached a point where I'm ready to start looking into trying to get some of it published.

I was hoping maybe some of the other authors around here could give me some insight as to how they got started, what to expect from companies (like Goodman Games) who accept unsolicited submissions, and just any other general advice you guys might have to give.

Anyways, thanks much to anyone who can help me out.


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 29, 2005 5:22 pm 
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Far-Sighted Wanderer

Joined: Fri Sep 10, 2004 5:36 pm
Posts: 43
That's a lot of questions, 1628. Let's see if I can cover most of them.

I suppose the first thing is to make sure your stuff is as polished as you can get it. Don't just assume spellchecker gets everything; check it yourself. After that is to know the company you're submitting to. Make certain your stuff is submitted according to their guidelines. Each company has its own way of handling these things and deviation from the guidelines could mean the difference between choosing your work over someone else's.

I personally got started by watching for open calls (ENWorld and rpg.net are good places) and the like. Personally, I got my break by winning a contest. That company liked my stuff so much that I went on to write for many of their books. As I wrote for that company, I answered other open calls and got more work (and so on).

Since you've mentioned having stuff ready to go, I'll caution you not to force those ideas on to the companies you're interested in writing for. For example, if the company isn't looking for settings, don't try and sell them yours. When you are ready to approach companies, be sure to have snippets of your work in a sample document to send them (if asked for).

If you're serious about getting your foot in the industry door, it would behoove you to attend a convention (GenCon preferably). My sole visit to GenCon in '03 brought me into contact with our very own Joseph Goodman. I'm certain that meeting him in person helped me to land my gig for Complete Guide to Dragonkin.

Above all, don't get discouraged! There's a lot of fish in the publisher sea and one of them is waiting for you. ;)

_________________
Bret Boyd
Freelance Writer
------------------------
Tricky Owlbear Publishing
Freelancer's Rest (my blog)


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Nov 27, 2005 7:18 pm 
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Deft-Handed Cutpurse
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Joined: Wed Dec 08, 2004 8:12 pm
Posts: 222
Location: Vancouver BC Canada
Try to get jobs freelancing with d20 companies to start with. The en-world forums are a great place to look for work (http://www.enworld.org/forumdisplay.php?f=68) and RPGnet can be good but it's mostly art related (http://forum.rpg.net/forumdisplay.php?f=12) but also google search and watch the forums on company websites. There may be other good places to look - if you find one, by all means write me about.

Getting someone to publish your work is difficult. Each d20 publisher is pretty much self-made and they have their own ideas they have worked very hard to get going. They may or may not like a submitted product. Even if they do, it'll have to be edited, chances are the format will have to be reworked. Art has to be paid for plus e-publishing or printing costs which can be pretty stiff. It's a major investment, especially for smaller companies which can make it or break it on a single product.

I have written four books that have not been published, one because the company I wrote it for vanished. Over the last three years I have submitted them a number of times but I have been turned down each time. At first there were virtually no responces. Once I published a few magazine articles and got my first book out and got my webpage set up - people started replying.

Things are clearly getting better but my dreams of getting my books published have been put on hold while I freelance which has been a great experience. Publishers tend to give freelancers almost total freedom in terms of what they write. They are more concerned with format. You get almost as much freedom as working on your own and the book is probably going to get published. I figure that once I get enough publishing credits, bang on enough doors and get noticed enough, I will reach a position where people will publish my work, or I'll go crazy and become a publisher.

The difficulties in getting someone else to publish what you have written is what makes people start their own companies. Just about every company out there has a campaign setting designed by the founder that he or she wanted to see published.

Smaller work is much more likely to get accepted. I have published a number of magazine articles. It is my longer books, 30 000 words or more, that are difficult to get published. First, a publisher is only going to look at 10 pages, or so, from the book. It's frustrating trying to explain to a publisher how positively amazing your material is, from that but you make do. Someone buying the product is going to have less information than that before they pick it up.

Don't give up. When I started into freelance, I wrote 75 companies asking for work and only 5 responded. The first told me not to write them such letters! The other four offered me work which was fantastic.

One of the problems is that the d20 market is flooded. If you can imagine it, it has probably been done, twice. It's a good idea to start learning non-d20 systems and expand what you can do. I'm looking at Battletech and I want to be a novel writer. This way you will be better ready when a job offer comes along.

When 4th edition comes along there will be many new opportunities for work, so hang onto anything that hasn't been published and get ready to update it! 4th edition scares the heck out of me. I wonder how the RPG market can handle all this massive flooding of books - however, book shelves have always been full of books. There will always be a call for new books.

Well there is my advice all mixed up in that.

Mark Charke

_________________
www.Charke.ca
Thinking Outside the Box
It's Here: www.BrokenSolaris.Com
Experience www.Goodman-Games.com, www.TheLeGames.com, www.DarkFuries.com and www.GreyHavenHobbies.com


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Nov 30, 2005 5:47 pm 
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Far-Sighted Wanderer

Joined: Sat May 28, 2005 7:11 am
Posts: 13
Definitely keep an eye out for "open calls". Especially stuff along the lines of "contributing author", look out for companies working on books of feats, spells, monsters, etc. That gives you a chance to get your feet wet without requiring publishers to take a big risk on you. As you build your resume, you learn more about what publishers expect, better ways to present your work, and people will be more likely to take a chance on you. Write write write and submit submit submit. Works for me... :wink:


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Feb 16, 2006 9:47 am 
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Far-Sighted Wanderer

Joined: Mon Oct 18, 2004 1:13 am
Posts: 29
y'know, i really should've said this a long time ago, but my computer pooped out not long after i started this thread and i've been a long time in getting back here.

that said...

man, thanks a lot guys. *grin* that's exactly the kind of information i was looking for. i had a feeling it was one of those "keep plugging away" kind of endeavors, i just wasn't sure what the right kind of plugging was, i guess. for a long time i'd been locked on the idea of having a full-fledged thing ready to go...the idea being that i'd impress "them" with stuff they probably wouldn't even have time to read all of, much less inclination to. *grin* now i'm working on smaller stuff, which has been nice, actually, because it feels a lot better to be able to say "here, look at what i have that's -done-" rather than say "here, look at this thing i'm working on!"

anyways, thanks again.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Feb 16, 2006 3:39 pm 
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Deft-Handed Cutpurse
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Joined: Wed Dec 08, 2004 8:12 pm
Posts: 222
Location: Vancouver BC Canada
I've been doing this writing thing serriously for about three years now. In that time I've had about a dozen publications and made about as much money as about 2-3 months of full-time work at a "real" job. Things are picking up but unless I get a full time gig or gain enough crazy to risk starting my own company I'm going to hang onto my day job. The thing about writing is that is just so damned satisfying to get it done.

Mark Charke

_________________
www.Charke.ca
Thinking Outside the Box
It's Here: www.BrokenSolaris.Com
Experience www.Goodman-Games.com, www.TheLeGames.com, www.DarkFuries.com and www.GreyHavenHobbies.com


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