Thursday, August 1, 2019

Catching up: A lot going on, so check this out.

Art by Brian Lee, colored by Rebecca Coulthart

It's been a while since I posted about my new adventure, so let's catch up a bit.

Two years and still going strong:

Hard to believe that I've now been publishing role playing game books for two years!  It has been a LOT of work and has been possible through the support of wonderful backers on KickStarter and from the remarkable work of the freelance art team.

From the beginning, I've tried to learn from every project and worked to make every book better than the one that came before.  It can be quite tiring but I'm happy to say that I'm very pleased with each book I've released.  That is a HUGE thing to be able to say and it's only because I know that I did my very best effort with each project that I can feel that way.

There is a stack of "to do" projects sitting next to my little desk now.  Throughout this blog I have recommended that self-publishing writers / game designers take notes of every project concept that blossoms in their mind.  I've been doing that and now have a little over 100 (seriously) projects that I've noted.  Many of these ideas are getting scheduled for development while others have to wait their turn.  Some projects garner more interest than others and the momentum that builds behind them gives rise to discussions with artists, to KickStarter campaigns and the calculations of how to make them a reality.  IT. IS. AWESOME!

There are a LOT of projects I'll be releasing over the coming years, but here is where I reiterate one of my biggest points I return to on this blog:  "No one can enjoy your book until you write it".  In other words, you just need to do it.  Please remember that a bad draft is still MUCH better than no draft at all. Hit the keys, pick up a pen and paper, write down your ideas.  Even if it's vague or strange, (Example:  'book about goblins getting murdered by evil heroes').  Come back to what excites you and get to work.

Cover of Tarot Adventures, Book Two: Comet over Echo Rock
Artist: Brian Lee

Work life balance:

Writing, game design, coordinating your release schedule, dealing with printers, running crowdfunding campaigns and all the various little tasks you do when you publish your own work take up considerable amounts of time.  I recommend that you DO NOT let your writing and publishing intrude to far into your personal life. 

I'm a single father.  I work a day job, one that I actually enjoy, then pick up my child from school and we head to the park or go home and play.  I make dinner, we eat, play time gives way to getting cleaned up for bedtime, we have reading time and then it's lights out for the little human.  Even though I love writing, I love my kids far more.  Even with deadlines fast approaching I make every effort to keep my time with the kids sacred.  Don't get me wrong, there have been a few times when I've had to compromise a few hours, but it bothers me to do so.  I don't want to miss anything from their lives while they're so little. So, I work after bedtime, often until two in the morning, then I'm back up at six to get breakfast made and get our day started.  It is tiring.

Speaking of tiring, I'm normally good on four to six hours of sleep.  This is just how I'm made, and is definitely not for everyone.  Don't let my schedule intrude on yours.  The key take-away here is, don't miss out on family time to get your writing done.  Find time outside of those moments, in the quiet hours when it's 'me time' to put your ideas down. 

From "Whispers of Persephone"
Artist: Christian Martinez

Is there money in it yet?

Friends and family ask this of me sometime.  I think they assume I'm making money because I have put out several books over these two years and when you look at my KickStarter campaigns you see dollar signs.  I can tell you honestly, that after expenses I'm still just about breaking even.  Extra revenue, what would be 'profit' gets used up for art on new projects.   My list of books, posters, merchandise items and art that I own rights to, continues to grow but like so many of us I keep working the day job to pay the bills.  To my thinking, there is nothing wrong with that. 

When I started, people actually told me that I should wait until I had a few thousand followers on social media before I tried launching a KickStarter campaign. Nope, I didn't wait.  I still, to this day, don't have numbers like that.  What I can say is that I'm slowly approaching 200 followers on my personal KickStarter account and that, to me, means a lot.  It means that people who are happy to support creators have taken the time to follow so that they will get notice when I put out a campaign.  It is a great feeling.

But is there money in writing, in designing game content, in being your own boss?  Yes, I firmly believe there is.  I'm building for the long term, so I can leave my company to my kids one day, but I am optimistic for the future.  Someday, maybe when I write about being three or four years into publishing, I'll be saying 'Yes, there is money to be made"... time will tell I suppose.

D'Inn, the veteran goblin mercenary
Art by the amazing: Alexia Veldhuisen

Monthly Releases and Patreon:

I have a simple ambition that has grown from producing books.  One day I would like to release a lot of content for subscribers each month.  Sounds simple, right?

The truth of the matter is that funding art becomes pricey very quickly.  Currently, I fund it out of pocket with help from subscribers (now on Patreon).  So, I realize that seems pretty standard, but what I'm wanting to grow to isn't.  I aspire to release a monthly comic, a dystopian rpg "news sheet", a monthly pair of pin-up illustrations (one male & one female), the monthly PDF detailing a character/companion/creature/monster that I'm currently releasing, and adventures and news for a living campaign.  I want to combine this with a live stream to provide fun, good quality content that I can enjoy and be proud of.  Is that too much to ask for? (hmm... maybe, lol).

Fact is, it will take copious amounts of funding and I don't have that level of following, yet.  I say 'yet' not because I think it's inevitable (I certainly don't) but because I've watched an audience grow over the last few years.  It's a small, close knit audience certainly, but an audience I've been blessed with because they have been AMAZING!!!! So, I'm sticking to my guns on my opinion on the matter of growing your audience.  Creating the best quality content you can, being open and honest about missteps, and daring to put yourself out in front of folks to say "hey I made a thing!" is really a fantastic way to grow.  Is it slow?  Yes.  It's also what I'm comfortable with.

Now, last year I got some criticism for making comments on growing an audience when mine is so small.  There is a validity to that position in that conventional wisdom measures followers in the thousands as a minimum.  I just happen to disagree with that position.  I think an audience of five is just as important as an audience of five million (though not as financially beneficial).  Those five people following you think enough of your work to check it out so treasure them because they are important.

Shameless self-promotion warning:  As I write this entry the Patreon page has been active for three days.  So far, three of the subscribers from the Drip page have migrated over and I have three new subscribers who have arrived.  I invite you to subscribe as well to receive the monthly PDF and to be a part of what I hope will become a growing community.  (Subscribe Here) Or use the button at the top of the page.  Thank you.

Back to what's new:

                                                                Sinopa Omnibus

Collecting the monthly releases together into a biannual book proved to be a good idea.  From a formatting stand point, the book was simple to produce as the PDFs were already put together, so stitching them into one book was relatively easy.  This also appealed to KickStarter backers who are not fond of subscription formats and/or who prefer print over digital.  Bringing the Omnibus to KickStarter also allowed me the opportunity to release bonus content and to set up stretch goals to add even more.  The first volume funded fully and I'm cautiously optimistic about it as a recurring biannual title.  Volume Two will come to KickStarter in late September.

                                                          Break KickStarter!!!

As a subheading, 'Break KickStarter' is fun.  This a campaign theme being promoted by the folks at KickStarter as a sort of challenge to do things differently, shake up the status quo and to make things on KickStarter look different.  I'm rising to that challenge with the help of some very talented people as we work to fund Broken!

Title card designed and illustrated by: Zack ViolaClick on image to preview the KickStarter campaign

You can click on the title card image to preview the campaign page.

With this campaign we're working to create a new, never before seen role playing game.  But unlike the usual method, we're putting the choice of what is going into the game in the hands of the backers.  I've built the budget, assembled the art team and even lined up additional writers to help bring this game from nothing to play test in four months time. 

I'm very excited about creating Broken! and can't wait to see what the community chooses for it to become!

                                                        Fantasy Pin-Up Collection

Yes, you read that right.  We're putting together a fantasy pin-up collection.  These illustrations will be done in a tasteful manner reminiscent of the pin-ups of the 40s and 50s.  The pin-up girls for this first book will be from fantasy races straight out of tabletop role playing games and fantasy themed fiction.  This is going to be a beautiful little book and lots of fun to create.

                                   Tarot Adventures, Book Three: Death comes to Glenfallow

Several re-writes have gone by and now Death comes to Glenfallow is in its initial play test (the one I'm running).  After this adventure has been resolved, I'll make what corrections need be done, then send it on to the play test group for a good beating, err, I mean round of testing... yeah, that's it.  Art for this Tarot Adventure will be done by the remarkable Anthony Ojeda.  See the illustration below he did for Tarot Adventures, Book One: The Draw of Glenfallow!

Goblins ambush the group in 'The Draw of Glenfallow'
Art by Anthony Ojeda

                                                                  47 Furious Tails

With the successful funding and release of 47 Furious Tails, Issue One I am thrilled to say I have released my first comic book!  This was a labor of love, requiring two kickstarter campaigns to get it funded, and months of illustration work by Alexia Veldhuisen.  The comic is gorgeous!  I'm really excited to be working on a few re-writes for issue two before we come back to KickStarter to fund book two.

Cover by Alexia Veldhuisen

In 2019 we've released issue one of 47 Furious Tails, the first Volume of the Sinopa Omnibus and the regional map of Glenfallow (the setting of the Tarot Adventures).  As you can see, it's been a busy year indeed.

There are several books in development at this time, and the Sinopa Assemble comic anthology is currently live on KickStarter.  You can support that campaign (please do) by clicking on the link to it in the Featured Crowdfunding Campaign, link above. 


There is a lot going on in my new adventure.  I've had some successes, a few setbacks, some inspired ideas and some not-so-great.  KickStarter has been particularly kind to me and I look forward to breaking it with Broken!.  I'm enjoying the thrill of writing as well as the challenges of production. I've had the opportunity to share useful information with first time KickStarter creators and I'm very happy for their success.  I think the future is bright and I am looking forward to pushing my limits with each book.

Most importantly, I hope that the people who read my work, play in my games, and pick up my comics enjoy them every bit as much as I enjoy creating them.  Maybe then I am sharing some of my own joy with the world, and that just might make the world a little better.  I can hope so anyway.

Thank you for joining me on my adventure. I hope you'll join me for the next post as 'Adventure Awaits' and it's more fun to have such adventures with good company.

~ W.S. "Sam" Quinton