Thursday, October 28, 2010

Small-Time Publishing Advice from Ben Clark @ Paper Money

In the most recent Paper Money podcast, Ben Clark discusses small-time independent publishing, specifically self-publishing.  An interesting bunch of advice; it starts just before the eight minute mark, although the rest of the show is worth a listen too.

The takeaways - I've tried to separate these into sections, but they're my rough notes as I listened.  I hope they're useful.

Ben says it's possible to do a very small RPG book run - single copies or tens of copies - but self-assembled boardgames are pretty much impossible.  Even if you have the time to sit on your couch and assemble the pieces, it's not going to be worth it. That day has passed.

Printing overseas is risky and dangerous, but potentially worth it if you can avoid the risks and go with a good company.

Plusses for stateside:
  • Same time zone
  • They speak English
  • Shipping costs low
  • Hassles fewer
  • Process goes faster
  • No customs
  • Can sue them if it goes bad
Plusses for overseas:
  • Cheaper, sometimes way cheaper

U.S. options - he listed several
  • Carta Mundi USA - Ben says not below 3000 copies; I tried them and got a reply requesting a phone conversation; I responded with my phone info and never got called back.
  • Sierra Packaging - I got a very reasonable quote from them
  • EPI Delano - I made initial contact and filled out their quote form; never got a reply or quote
  • Package Right - I haven't tried them
  • Ludofact USA - I haven't tried them; seems to be a German-centered website
Obviously, I should try the ones I haven't tried here and try harder to get a quote back from the others.

Digital press - slow, better for small runs, more expensive - a couple hundred games
Offset press - more setup, better for big runs, cheaper for big runs - 1000+ games

Do it yourself vs. turnkey - turnkey solutions are mostly good now; probably totally worth it compared to the hassle and limited quality of do-it-yourself stuff.

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