As we near the end of the month, it's time for another update! Like last time, I'll be peppering the text with new art from our talented freelancers.
I've been getting this question a lot, so I'm going to write an official response now.
We are still a long way from printing the book, but when we get closer to the shipping date, I'll be collecting shipping and handling through BackerKit. BackerKit charges for shipping and handling using the same system that it implements to charge for add-ons. As such, anyone wishing to get a physical copy of the book can purchase it once the backer surveys go out. Those that have already purchased physical copies of the book may purchase additional hardcovers, but hardcovers will be the only add-on available.
I'll be sure to announce when BackerKit surveys go out on Kickstarter, Reddit, Facebook, Twitter, and every other community we have running. LifeLines will hopefully be up by then, and we'll shout the news from our own rooftops as well. So if you missed the Kickstarter, please follow Red Markets on your preferred social media platforms and we will be sure to let you know.
The backer game at GenCon was a blast. I retooled some of the very first playtest contracts from the earliest draft of the game, and the job the crew selected worked great. Well, not great for the characters, mind you; we had a good time though.
Those that signed up for online games should have received a link for scheduling their date and time already. Over the next month, Ross or I will be running online contracts for those generous backers.
I've sent out instructions for backer commissions wanting to get their Taker or enclave in the book. As of now, I've only received three characters back and one enclave. I'm really happy with the work our artists have done already on these commissions, but keep in mind that it becomes harder and harder to place your art the longer it takes to get instructions from you. Please get me your enclaves and characters as soon as you are able.
Editing and Art Direction
The "Playing Red Markets" section has gone through a two complete editing passes. All of it's art has been contracted out to our freelancers and is currently in-progress. The whole 90K+ words have been sent along to Kyle and Kat for layout to begin.
The GM chapter, "Running Red Markets," has begun it's first editing pass. I've also gone through the entire manuscript and included art direction for an additional 36 pieces. Some of those contracts have gone out to freelancers already, and the rest are drafted, waiting for the first batch of illustrations to get finished up before starting the next round.
Printing and Distribution
I'm still in the process of collecting the widest variety of print quotes possible. I'm comparing the cost of printing different numbers of books with the cost of shipping those books to a fulfillment house and/or distributor. To sum it up, the question is this: how many eggs does Hebanon Games put into how many baskets? Do we go with a house that can do printing, fulfillment, and distribution all in one? It saves costs on shipping a massive pallet of books, but any problems cascade and print costs go up. Or do we risk piecemeal-ing the work out to multiple companies, and thus incur higher shipping? And what about the dice? How do we package them with the book without damaging the book?
BTW, if any of you own...say...a plastics factory that creates those little dice tubes, PM me :-)
I'm talking with accountants and industry veterans every day to ensure I make the most informed decision possible. As such, I'm not yet ready to make any announcements on the printing/distribution front. I want make sure we've made the best choice for consumer value and the longevity of Red Markets before stating a public commitment.
Though I'm proud of myself for making any headway at all, my own responsibilities writing the setting section, novella, and stretch goals has seen the least amount of progress. Between GenCon, project management duties, and the start of the school year (I teach high school, for those that don't know), this was always going to be the case. Thankfully, everyone else involved in RM already has plenty to do; no one is waiting around for me to finish my bits...yet. The mission for September is to normalize my grading and lesson planning schedule so I can sneak in some regular writing time in the off hours.
So that's it. We are burning right along, but making a triple-A quality RPG book takes a long time, especially when you have to do so on a garage band schedule. My hope for these updates (besides showing y'all the pretty pictures I'm so excited about) is that they make it clear why I selected delivery dates that were unusually pessimistic for an RPG Kickstarter. Doing it right when you can't afford to do it wrong requires care.
But new edits and art continue arriving in my inbox every couple of days, and it's safe to say things are currently on track!
Thank you again for backing and following Red Markets. Be sure to let me know if you have any questions.
Here's hoping y'all have a profitable month,