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275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4285 Members Latest Member: - Jason DAngelo Most online today: 241 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
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Author Topic: [Dread: The First Book of Pandemonium] New edition, lessons learned  (Read 1490 times)

Posts: 174

Writer/Designer, the Books of Pandemonium

« on: September 15, 2007, 05:47:38 AM »

The first edition of Dread (Pandemonium) was published in 2002. The printer that I used charged me $1300 to print 100 copies, which I sold through my web site (mostly using PayPal). I sold the books for $30 each, though I later dropped the price to $20.

In the end, because of all the costs associated with the project, I just barely broke even. This time around, I'm using Lulu.com, so all of the costs are related to artwork or marketing. The upshot is, I was able to spend more on art and marketing, since printing costs were nil. This resuled in a higher-quality book.

Lulu has worked out pretty well. The softcovers are durable, good-looking, and satisfyingly heavy. The wait time is kind of a hassle -- after you place your order, it's a few days before the book is printed, and then they mail it to you, so it can take a week to get your book. But it's not that big a deal.

I waited five years between editions mainly because my day job was pretty intense. After I quit my job and went freelance in 2006, I started thinking about the new edition of Dread. I'd been playtesting it for a while, coming up with new ideas and refinements. This, coupled with a development cycle of over a year (for the new edition), resulted in a better game overall. I think.

The book was supposed to come out on Valentine's Day. But there was a problem. I didn't know much about Photoshop, and was having trouble with the wraparound cover design. I had this great cover art image, courtesy of a guy named Adam Chowles, but I didn't know how to turn that into a PDF. So I turned to someone I know, a guy who does book covers professionally. He quoted me an extremely reasonable price, and said that he could get it done by January.

He delivered it several weeks late, and charged me ten times what we'd agreed to. I explained that this was unacceptable, and talked him down to something more reasonable (which was still more than he had quoted me in the beginning). Frankly, I should have just told him to take a walk, considering how late he was, but I couldn't bring myself to do it. Then he sent the invoice, which was more than he said it would be. I was furious, but I ground my teeth and I paid it. Bitter admission: because I knew the guy personally, I agreed when he said that a contract wasn't necessary. STUPID MISTAKE. Always get a contract, always stick to your guns.

Interestingly enough, the cover design fiasco was a stroke of luck. Because of the delays that it caused, I hooked up with two friends of mine who had decided to start their own graphic design studio. They took my incredibly ugly two-column layout and turned it into something that's really cool to look at. Then they added all kinds of interior illustrations and created new cover art for me. So it all worked out okay.

Questions or comments are welcome.

Rafael Chandler, Neoplastic Press
The Books of Pandemonium
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