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  #1  
Old 06-01-2012, 08:33 AM
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Default Books & Boxed Sets, the future-past of the T2k hobby

Gentlemen (and possibly Ladies?),

A few years back I emailed the guys at farfuture.net just to say "thank you" for their efforts at keeping .PDFs of T2k materials in print.

At the time I half-jokingly asked what the cost of doing a print run of the 1e boxed set would be, and the response (sadly, I don't have the exact email) was "sure, send us $17,000 and we'll be happy to do a print run!"

Obviously I don't have seventeen grand lying around to spend on that...however, maybe I do. Or we do. Or something.

The reason I bring this up is I'm a huge fan of that other, more famous role-playing game (*cough*AD&D*cough*) - the community of guys who play original D&D and Advanced D&D is huge, and they have gotten in to Kickstarter in a huge way.

For those not in the know, Kickstarter is a way by which small investors can pitch financial support into a product or project that requires some capitalization to get published. For varying amounts on a scale, contributors can "buy in" and get certain perks (like, just blue skying, let's say you did a T2k kickstarter and said $25 donations got a Teeshirt, $100 donations got a copy of the boxed set, Ruins of Warsaw and a wall map of the Polish/German campaign area, etc. etc.)

All the heavy lifting for T2k is done. What needs to be done to get it back in print is to get any negatives, proofs, etc. to a print shop and have it printed and boxed.

Obviously, I'm not a GDW/FFE employee. But...I'm wondering if approached if they'd consider this?

The reason I bring it up is this: four of the last Kickstarter projects for home-brewed 1st edition AD&D fan-made products have brought in nearly $100,000. A hundred thousand bucks!

Surely there's enough fan support for Twilight:2000 to get whatever was needed to see at least some of it back in print, yeah?

So let's hear some infield chatter. What do you guys think? Should we approach FFE?
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  #2  
Old 06-01-2012, 01:55 PM
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If any of you are fans of the Steve Jackson wargame Ogre, some people got together and did a kickstarter campaign. Their goal was $20,000, but they raised over $900,000.

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/...igners-edition

I think there is talk of doing a kickstarter campaign to for Car Wars.

it would be interesting to see what interest is for T2k, not just on this board but the yahoo groups and other boards.

-bdd
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  #3  
Old 06-01-2012, 02:33 PM
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http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/inxile/wasteland-2

They raised over $2 million.

I wonder if maybe we can resurrect TWL2013 too.
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Old 06-01-2012, 02:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by boogiedowndonovan View Post
If any of you are fans of the Steve Jackson wargame Ogre, some people got together and did a kickstarter campaign. Their goal was $20,000, but they raised over $900,000.

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/...igners-edition

I think there is talk of doing a kickstarter campaign to for Car Wars.

it would be interesting to see what interest is for T2k, not just on this board but the yahoo groups and other boards.

-bdd
there are other T2K boards????

I think its a positive initiative - I am willing to pledge some dough.
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Old 06-01-2012, 04:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cdnwolf View Post
I wonder if maybe we can resurrect TWL2013 too.
Honestly, I'd rather not see that happen.

- C.
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  #6  
Old 06-02-2012, 01:27 PM
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Teg,
If you don't mind my asking, but why? If it's not something you want to discuss privately, PM me please. I promise not to share unless you clear me to do so.
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Old 06-02-2012, 02:17 PM
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Here's a Traveller one.

I'm currently going to school for Video Game Design and Development (Yeah, it's a real major, much to the shock of my parents ), and Kickstarter has been quite the big deal for a lot of Indie game companies (And Wasteland 2, which is a big deal IMO).

It's a great way to get a community together and really get some money rolling in for projects and whatnot. So I could see a T2k Kickstarter working.
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  #8  
Old 06-02-2012, 03:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jason Weiser View Post
Teg,
If you don't mind my asking, but why? If it's not something you want to discuss privately, PM me please. I promise not to share unless you clear me to do so.
Naah, there's nothing I can say in PM that I can't say here.

I think the Twilight: 2000 fan community's response to Twilight: 2013 has done a thorough and vigorous job of pointing out its many and varied flaws. With those in mind, and knowing that the game wasn't financially successful on its first go-round, I can't see it garnering any better reception or sales figures after a resurrection. While I appreciate the fact that a handful of fans still have enthusiasm and warm feelings toward it, well... I'll just repeat myself here:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tegyrius
It is an unfortunate geek tendency for individual fans or small local (or online) groups to project their own personal enthusiasm for a property onto the overall global population of potential customers, then make sweeping (and erroneous) generalizations about the commercial viability of their personal visions for said property. In some cases, this failed understanding goes so far as to drive catastrophically bad business decisions.
I have enough doubts about the ability of a resurrected Twilight: 2000 to turn a profit for a publisher, let alone do anything truly revolutionary in the "alternate Cold War post-apocalyptic military survival gaming" genre. I simply can't see Twilight: 2013 being any kind of success, and it'd tear me up to watch it fail again.

Having said all that, I think Twilight: 2013 did some things right, though not right enough. I still believe the removal of exclusive focus on military PCs and the military side of the global events is necessary for success in the survival RPG genre, especially if you want to position a rules system as a toolkit for gaming in different post-apocalyptic settings. It lends itself to a more inclusive game for players who don't (for whatever reason) want to engage in mil-spec gaming. I think there's enough Cold War grognardism in the fan base that a future timeline, rather than yet another rehashing of Fulda Gap fantasies, is a necessary dodge to keep from getting nitpicked to death over differing interpretations of historical minutiae (or over whatever historical liberties are necessary to achieve the desired setting). And I think some of Reflex's core mechanical concepts (particularly the concept of the team as an entity that's mechanically separate from the individual PCs) are worth revisiting in a more professionally-designed game engine.

- C.
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  #9  
Old 06-03-2012, 04:30 AM
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I thought that there was a lot to applaud about the TW2013 rules, the ones you have already mentioned being amongst the best. Nothing in the book was a gamebreaker for me and what I considered weak (the story) was no worse than any other piece of speculative fiction: it would have been the first thing I'd have tweaked anyway.

Given the way I have to play now, I would have liked help on a way to make it more PbP friendly but that was something the designer's couldn't have predicted and I am sure that something would have been possible.

However, your assessment of why the game failed is sadly also correct: small scale operations based more on love of a concept than on business models are often doomed to failure, especially in today's economic climate.

It is a shame and I still appreciate the work that you and the others did on the books. The games star didn't shine for a long time but it did leave the Gaming World (mine at least) the richer from its albeit short existence.

As for ressurecting a print run of V1., I don't have the financial nounce to understand if it would work but my gut instinct is that it wouldn't really help invigorate the game.

Sure, there are about 500 people on this forum and an average contribution of $50 should enable a print run of V1, but how many copies would that produce? I'd guess at best a thousand and that would amount to 2 copies for every contributor. I don't see that re-invigorating the hobby or really moving it forward.

If anyone was to spend time and creative effort on trying to move the game forward, I would rather see us creating a Fanzine that draws on the multiple creative talents that we have on this site. I believe that this would allow us to not only create a body of work that people could use in their own games, but also fuel the creative process that would help keep the game alive rather than re-printing copies of games we already all have.

I'm basing this somewhat on previous experience: I have played for several Brass Bands that have thought it was a good idea to produce and sell our own CDs. We spent about $1500 to produce something that sounded good and print about 2000 discs. I've still got several hundred in my attic as have many other people.

Vanity publishing tends not to make money in my experience so something cheap but tangible where we share our love of the hobby with others would be a better alternative than throwing money at something that might not generate any benefits for the contributors.
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Old 06-03-2012, 04:35 AM
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I recall that a while back someone posted on this forum seeking contributions for a resurrected version of the old Challenge Magazine. Anyone know if that ever got off the ground?
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  #11  
Old 06-03-2012, 07:09 AM
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Okay how about the fans of TWL2013 get together and try to buy the licensing rights to it?

I bought the PDF and the hardcopy (hard to get in Canada) because I loved the system.
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Old 06-03-2012, 07:53 AM
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I think it would be a waste of money. Producing new material would only need the rights if you were to sell it rather than disseminate it for free. Selling it means you'll probably end up broke and heart broken. Fans don't usually mix with business.

My advice would be, keep things as a hobby and if you create materials you want to share, enjoy the act of sharing as a reward in itself. If you want to make money: pick a more popular product. If you don't want to make money, don't spend your own cash on things like rights.
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  #13  
Old 06-03-2012, 08:13 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cdnwolf View Post
Okay how about the fans of TWL2013 get together and try to buy the licensing rights to it?
That would be very complicated from a legal perspective. Twilight: 2013 was itself produced under a license agreement with Far Future Enterprises, which allowed use of the Twilight: 2000 name. That wasn't a "buy the licensing rights" deal - it was an annual fee, and all rights to the property reverted to FFE after 93GS stopped paying.

The Reflex System itself is still in 93GS' hands - or, more accurately, Keith Taylor's hands, as 93GS is no longer a registered business in Kentucky. However, Keith ceased all communication with his former writers and playtesters a year ago. I was in contact with multiple parties who were trying to buy the rights to the system from him. None succeeded.

Trust me: there weren't enough purchasers of Twilight: 2013 buying books and PDFs to allow 93GS to turn a profit on the game. Of the people who bought the material (X), those who actually liked it enough to want to see it continue are a limited subset (Y). If X customers didn't allow 93GS to turn a profit, what makes you think (X minus Y) fans are going to front the money for a restart?

- C.
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Old 06-03-2012, 08:31 AM
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Also, here's some financial data for anyone looking to obtain the rights to use the Twilight: 2000 brand identity. I haven't personally been involved in any negotiations with Far Future Enterprises, but the numbers I heard for 93GS' license were 15% of all revenue with a minimum $7,500/year payment.

Let's do the math based on the Twilight: 2013 core rulebook's PDF. It normally sells for $20 at DriveThruRPG - not a bad price for a core book of that size. DriveThruRPG takes roughly 30% of the cover price, leaving a cut to the publisher of $14. At $14/copy, you'd have to sell 536 copies a year just to make the minimum license fee - without paying your writers, artists, and production staff a cent or receiving any return on your investment yourself. And believe me, we writers like to get paid. It enables us to buy our wives nice things to apologize for spending months at a time ignoring them.

So you're thinking, "woo, 536 copies is cake." Not really, guys. The 2013 core book PDF was at "Gold" status on DriveThruRPG in December 2010. A Gold seller is one that moves between 501 and 1,000 copies. That means the core book's entire lifetime sales (between its release on 08 Nov 2008 and the cessation of operations on 31 December 2010) weren't enough to make the minimum payment on the license.

Now, granted, this excludes the sales of the hardcopy core rulebook, as well as the Shooter's Guide and Anytown PDFs (some of which hit the Gold sales bracket in their own right). Remember, though, that hardcopy sales are far less profitable because of printing and distribution costs - and the supplement PDFs were priced so low that profits on them were pretty negligible.

- C.
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Old 06-03-2012, 10:36 AM
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Thanks for the business lesson.
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Old 06-03-2012, 11:29 AM
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Dude, if you think you can pull together the team and cash to do it, go for it. I just want you to be more aware of the business challenges than I was when I signed on to write for 2013.

- C.
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Old 06-03-2012, 02:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tegyrius View Post
Dude, if you think you can pull together the team and cash to do it, go for it. I just want you to be more aware of the business challenges than I was when I signed on to write for 2013.

- C.
Hell no lol... but I am fascinated about the business side of doing something like this.
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Old 06-03-2012, 05:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by simonmark6 View Post
If anyone was to spend time and creative effort on trying to move the game forward, I would rather see us creating a Fanzine that draws on the multiple creative talents that we have on this site. I believe that this would allow us to not only create a body of work that people could use in their own games, but also fuel the creative process that would help keep the game alive rather than re-printing copies of games we already all have.
This...this is what would be great at attempting to build more interest in the game. That Challenge revitalization kind of fell flat on its face, from what I was able to determine. That doesn't mean we here couldn't put together a Twilight Fanzine so we can start spreading the gaming ideas of Twilight: 2000 around to a new crop of gamers.

I'd support something like this.
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Old 06-03-2012, 05:36 PM
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Despite what appears to be a significant buyer base for something like Twilight: 2000, the harsh reality is that military RPGs (of any sort) are too much of a niche market. Post-apocalyptic games appear to sell better but putting the two genres together doesn't guarantee any success for a military themed RPG.
From what Tegyrius said, being a niche market these days comes with a significant commercial risk for anyone trying to cater to that market.


P.S. I said it before and I'll say it again - this community SHOULD produce a Twilight: 2000 ezine.
Yes there are some things to be sorted if you want to take it to a wider audience (such as how many issues per year, who will edit/produce the ezine, who has the software to produce it, who would host it for download purposes and so on) but this community certainly has enough material to produce issues for many years.
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Old 06-03-2012, 05:59 PM
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Despite my happy experiences with running games at Origins this weekend, I will echo the pessimism about reprinting a box set.

BUT I will put up some enthusiasm for a webzine. As an example, two of my favorites are Star Frontiersman http://starfrontiersman.com/ and Freelance Traveller http://www.freelancetraveller.com/. The first is published irregularly, the latter is monthly. Both have been running a few years.

With all I've seen around here, I'm certain some of the documents generated here can be used for articles.
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Old 06-03-2012, 07:23 PM
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Hell no lol... but I am fascinated about the business side of doing something like this.
I'm really hoping Scott Glancy pokes his head in here and offers some insight. Dude has a lot more pro cred than I'll ever accrue.

Quote:
Originally Posted by StainlessSteelCynic View Post
P.S. I said it before and I'll say it again - this community SHOULD produce a Twilight: 2000 ezine.
Yes there are some things to be sorted if you want to take it to a wider audience (such as how many issues per year, who will edit/produce the ezine, who has the software to produce it, who would host it for download purposes and so on) but this community certainly has enough material to produce issues for many years.
Concur. What you really need is someone with project management experience, leadership skills that come across well in email, and a buttload of patience to wrangle all the other talent into producing quality work on time. A lot of the rest of the pieces would fall into place with effective leadership.

(With sufficient success and widespread awareness, an e-zine might - might - convince an established publishing company that they could find sufficient demand to turn a profit on a fourth edition.)

- C.
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  #22  
Old 06-03-2012, 07:50 PM
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I submitted some things for the Challenge relaunch...never heard anything. I am willing to submit for any new project.
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Old 06-04-2012, 03:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by simonmark6 View Post
If anyone was to spend time and creative effort on trying to move the game forward, I would rather see us creating a Fanzine that draws on the multiple creative talents that we have on this site. I believe that this would allow us to not only create a body of work that people could use in their own games, but also fuel the creative process that would help keep the game alive rather than re-printing copies of games we already all have.
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P.S. I said it before and I'll say it again - this community SHOULD produce a Twilight: 2000 ezine.
Sounds like a good idea to me.
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Old 06-04-2012, 04:12 PM
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Seems there's enough interest for a Twilight Fanzine, now we just need to find people to honcho it, help put it together, and people to submit material to it.
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Old 06-04-2012, 04:17 PM
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http://davidj.richardson.name/rants/...fanzine_0.html

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EEq32...eature=related
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Old 06-04-2012, 09:43 PM
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Yeah, it ain't easy doing a fanzine, so the person who decides to honcho it better have a good idea of the magnitude of what they're getting into. No half-assing it. And people who agree to help out (editors, layout, artists, etc.) also should have a good idea what is entailed. It's not gonna be an easy street, cake walk. There may not be any blood (unless you get a paper cut or sharpen your pencils with a knife) but there could very well be sweat and tears involved for something that lasts more than 1 or 2 issues.
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Old 06-04-2012, 10:34 PM
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Start out Bi-Annual or Quarterly.

The Editorial Staff needs to layout what articles are requested. Preferably this happens in the preceding Quarter or Half Year. A writer should know what types of articles are requested for the next Q or Half as sometimes research for one can run concurrently with another.

Such as 1Q (AK Variants of the Soviet Satellite Republics, Soviet Bridgehead Tactics, Allied Far Deployed Airfields) 2Q (NATO Combat Hospitals, Civilian Aid Agencies, Gypsy Caravans) 3Q (Fate of the Allied Refugees, 155mm Shell Variants of NATO, Where and who are the terrorists?,) 4Q (Harvest totals NATO/WP, Gun Trucks and Homebrew armor).

That gives the writers 60-120 days to research and write their article and 30-60 days for the Editors to Revise, include Artwork, and do the lay out.
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Old 06-05-2012, 10:35 AM
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As much as I like the enthusiasm this idea is generating, don't over-think it and don't over-plan it.

We're talking about a fan made magazine that most likely will be in PDF (to get the easiest and largest distribution), so it's not going to be a professionally made or set-out magazine and it's not going to be a nice glossy production with expensive graphics. Fans will forgive this as they aren't paying anything for it and many will be happy just to see new ideas in print.

Being a fan made magazine means you'll be relying on the fans to submit material. Yes you need to set some standards and yes it can be good to have a focus for each issue (but it isn't a necessity) and it doesn't hurt to request certain types of article.
But if you make it a hard and fast rule to plan out specifically what you want for each quarter or each issue and you tell people that you want only those articles, the fans who are actually creating the material are more likely to say it's too much work or they haven't got the time and they won't bother to submit anything - they like to write articles but they don't necessarily like being told what articles to write (unless it's some 'special' issue like for Halloween or April Fool's Day and so on).

A fanzine simply cannot afford to be as demanding as a professional publication - you're not paying these writers anything for their work so you can't place too many demands on them. People will want to submit articles that interest them, not articles they're being told to write.

One of the most important things was mentioned by Tegyrius, that is, to have effective editors/managers. People who are motivated to make the magazine work and have the management ability to realize it's production. This is much more important than having someone with all the magazine production credentials in the world because these people will be making the fanzine out of love of the subject nor for love of the dollar. It really does not need to be a big, fancy, over-organized production with a large staff planning every little thing.

The second is to decide how you're going to produce it, e.g. for a pdf fanzine, what software you're going to use to produce the magazine (some of it is stupidly expensive for something as small scale as a fanzine that isn't being made for profit), if you're going to accept only open source images etc. etc. If it is to be a pdf then the other need is for a hosting site so people can download it.

There have been a number of successful fanzines that have thrived on nothing much more than the motivation and enthusiasm of the fans and the editors. Some of those fanzines were made by three or four people and sometimes only one or two. Examples include Demonground that had a staff of only three then later four (they were from Australia, the US and New Zealand) and ran for 15 issues over several years (before some health problems prevented two of the staff from continuing), the other is Protodimension with a staff of three (one from the UK and the other two from the US). Protodimension is now up to issue 12 with submissions being requested only one month before production deadline.

The bottom line - it can and does work if fans put the work in but it doesn't need to be organized like a military operation.
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Old 06-05-2012, 10:55 AM
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Exactly and well said. No more analyzing and lets get our ass in gear.

Good luck. You are on your own!
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Old 06-05-2012, 12:11 PM
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Failure to plan is a plan to fail.

What I am suggesting is not a hard and fast rule. It does make the job of editing and producing something possible in the short period of 30 days, even if it is on the scale of a 4-6 page fanzine. On this scale that is two full page articles and 4 half page articles. Six writers a Quarter.

If you have worked on a project then you know how important deadlines are. Usually you have more than the required number of writers and artists as people for any number of reasons don't turn in their work on time.

Telling the writers what you want up front goes a long way toward good relationships. Stops that "He said, He said" finger pointing. Let's face it if you have a writer that turns in good work, but only on their schedule and only when they want to, that just does not work out in the long wrong. If all your writers are like that then your fanzine is not going to be around long.

As for publishing? MS Word will save as a .pdf and can be formatted in two columns like a magazine with pictures embedded.
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