Friday, March 12, 2010

Being a Publisher Is Not All Fame and Willing Women

Walked to one printer this morning to pick up a few extra copies of Death Frost Doom (so the 2nd printing now has a 2a printing of 4 copies) that was a correction after they'd screwed up the job a couple days ago.

Then packing envelopes and walking to the post office to mail in my ENNIE Award submissions. Around the corner is a printer's office, so I went for a visit. All their salespeople were out to lunch. So, walk home. Walk back. Talk to someone. Oh, they only do books, not booklets. At least this person spoke English, which seems to be a great rarity in Finnish printing houses. But this person did recommend another press.

And I like to go to the printers in person, not call or email first. The lack of English skills that I've discovered so far makes calling a silly idea, and my emails are often not answered. Or if they are, they've misunderstood something I said, and I have to clarify, and then not hear back for days again. Pain in my ass. I'll be printing at the very least 4000 booklets in the coming months, plus a ton more stuff related to the project, and I can't get quotes from people unless I show up on their doorstep to bug them?


Oh, and the site for this recommended other printer is down right now, so I can't find their address. Lovely!

I need the exercise, so I probably shouldn't complain, but man oh man... this is not how I planned to spend my day.

The dogs next door never stop barking, so my dog-in-law (my wife's dog, and I claim no direct relationship to it) is barking continuously. Not to mention my wife bought a toy for one of her friend's children, and the dog thinks it should be his toy, so he sits outside the closet where it's kept and whines and whines and whines.

You can imagine what this does to my ability to sit down and write.


Artists. I think my interior art problems may be solved. I am trying out a new local artist here, but his first samples to me weren't what I was looking for. These are a couple of the nudes, and they're supposed to look appealing. They weren't.

So I went down and talked to him yesterday, showed him examples (which I hate doing, I want work that looks "realistic," not like other artists), and this morning I had a new version of one of the pieces in my inbox.

It so was different that my wife didn't recognize it as the same work. This guy can do what I want done. Yeessss...

Of course, I still have adjustments I wish him to make. But this is how bloody strange it is to be a publisher and deal with artists. When you are dealing with a nude piece... OK, let me not generalize. When dealing with a nude piece, my eyes go straight for the naughty bits. And I think they need some adjusting.

It's not unusual to ask for a touch-up or redo on a piece of art. I am a tyrant, an asshole boss, and I'm always sending work back. I don't know if other publishers just accept what an artist wants to deliver...

But when I sent this email right after posting this, I'm actually going to be sending an artist a note of how I want him to adjust his tits and pussy.

("Zak would have gotten it right the first time," I've keep thinking. Of course, Zak is expensive because he's an actual artist for art people and not just a guy slumming around doing RPG art. I've also been wishing that I could have my releases look like those early issues of Savage Sword of Conan, but you know, a lot of those guys are dead. Then again, others aren't...)

I am a tyrant because most art I see in old-school releases nowadays sucks. And I don't think my projects are good enough until I feel they can piss on similar types of releases from a great height. I'm not here to participate, I'm here to excel.

There, I said it.

Whether I can accomplish that, well, my budget is tight. Finnish subsidy yeah (ends next month), but also no actual job earning money and many thousands of euros just in printing bills looming ahead to make this project a reality. Art is important, but where's the money for it?

I've also approached an old school artist legend or two, and try to delicately say I'd like something that looks like their good work, not some of the not-so-great work I've seen from them recently. That goes over like a lead balloon, but I'm not after their names for publicity purposes, I'm after the quality that earned them a name in the first place.

String me up for caring about what I put my name on if you'd like.

(speaking of which, I guess I should find out who Otherworld plans on using for art on my level...)

It's crazy days. I tell you, Maria deserves a fucking medal for putting up with me lately.

OK, break's over. Time to hit "Publish Post," send that email to the artist, and hit the pavement again.

I've said it before, but I'll say it again, because I mean it.

Death or Glory.


  1. Just got back from another printer. That's over three hours walking around today. I smell like a toilet. Time for a shower and a nap.

  2. For the printer with a website down, you may want to give a try to the phone book (with yellow pages) or on the fonecte website...

  3. Business is business. There's a lot of non-fun things to do in publishing.

  4. You need some hirelings to do your dirty work for you. You also need to crank Holocaust's "Death or Glory" to drown out those damn dogs.

  5. All in all, its better then cleaning port-a-potty's for a living.

  6. Be happy - your work is recognized as good by a lot of people (not just you).

    You must be doing something right!

  7. "And I don't think my projects are good enough until I feel they can piss on similar types of releases from a great height. I'm not here to participate, I'm here to excel."

    And that is ultimately why you get much respect for what you do. If I weren't piss poor myself I'd buy more of your releases. Still have moneys on the side for lotf: rpg.

  8. Ernie Chan's rates seem reasonable although I'm not digging the overly camp/kitsch nature of some of the art for sale.

  9. Sometimes you need to draw a picture for the artist.

    No, I don't mean literally draw a picture. That's his/her job after all. But you need to give him/her the specifics of what you want in the picture, what kind of style, mood, medium, background, clothing, other details, etc. etc.

    And had you said earlier that you want art in the style of John Buscema's Savage Sword of Conan instead of the style you have in your earlier modules, I'd have submitted some stuff for you ages ago. ;)