Monday, January 14, 2013

Postage and PDFs

Between working on #6, I've been busy making my zines screen friendly PDFs. This means adding covers, bookmarks and modifying some art to make the zines view-able in tablets and computer screens. It also means shrinking the art a bit so they're smaller, and thus reducing the size of the PDF. This will all make it easier to distribute over the internet. It's been an interesting exercise, because there were a few problems, it was more complicated than I thought, but I'm pretty happy with how I solved them. Particularly covers. They should look cool, just like the printed copies. Particularly the thumbnails. Now, how to distribute them. I want to make the PDFs free to anyone that has purchased the printed copies. But I don't know the best way to do this. So far I'm thinking of announcing it here, when they're ready, and having those that want a PDF copy to email directly with some sort of proof. Which is easy for those that bought them from me directly online. But what about those that bought them conventions, or retail outlets? I'm thinking any kind of proof at this time, since there really aren't that many of them. For those that don't own print copies, or those that want to help a little indie zine producer out, and buy them, I plan to sell them on RPGnow. The only thing I'm not sure about is the pricing. Right now I'm thinking of 25% off the cover price.

Speaking of cover price, it was inevitable, but prices are going to go up. I'm not sure when, but at the end of the month USPS are raising prices significantly for things over 1 oz. (I aim for the zine to be just shy of 2 oz. Including the envelope, stamp and mailing label.) Shipping overseas, is increasing a bunch, and Mexico and Canada going to cost the same to ship as Europe. Yep, my Canadian customers are getting a price hike of over $0.50 probably closer to $0.70. But it's going to reflect on all prices across the board, including new subscriptions. I know, this really sucks. But I'm committed to releasing the analog version, they're just going to go up in price a bit.

So this is a good time for me to start making PDFs available. I want to get every back issue ready to go on sale once number 6 is released. In addition to the PDF editions, I'm creating some free or cheap supplements to go with certain issues. I just finished the first one, which is the complete Van den Danderclanden patron in one package (pdf). It'll be in two formats, Booklet--which is web/screen friendly and perfect to read on your tablet devices and Letter--which is print friendly on standard paper. These will be a handier copy of the patron, instead of thumbing through two separate issues of the zine. It'll be free to anyone that owns or buys #1 or #3!

I'll let you all know when it's available. (See sample of the Letter formatted edition!)

Let me know what you think!


  1. Fair pricing and i think the RPGNow price is a good price point.

    Maybe offer the 6 issue bundle at and additional 15% off for the set.

    It will be nice to out the issue on my tablet.

    (that being said, if you release issues once a day, those on the OSR / D&D and related lists at RPGNow will get consecutive days of notifications, instead of all six issue put into the same email with a half dozen or more products from other publishers - just a thought)

  2. Sounds good Dak. PDFs of the Manor have done well and I bet you've run into some of the same headaches I have with transferring them to PDF. Good luck with them.

  3. Fair pricing, etc.

    But a bigger question--how do we know when we need to re-up for a subscription?

    1. Good question! I have a spreadsheet/database that I use to print out the labels for subscriptions, contributors and other comped issues. Most of your subscriptions end with Issue 6, including yours Mr. Schmeer. I'll be sending renewal emails after I send the 6th issue to those that are expiring, and probably notes of some sort in the envelope. I'd prefer to have new and renewing subscriptions to start with the "Current" issue, in yours and many others, that would be when I release #7, it's easier to keep track that way. But I'll take extensions that are carefully written, noted, etc, with explicit instructions. Typically, clicking the subscription link with start with the "current" issue (and that's currently #5.)

    2. Thank you sir, for publicly shaming me into resubscribing! (seriously--no snark there!). I will re-up when issue 7 is ready to go.

      And for the record, I prefer the physical booklet, but I'm glad that you are going PDF so that others will opt-in to this great resource.

  4. Huzzah for pdfs! Crawl being paper only has prevented me from partaking, and I'm especially eager to see the OSR spells -> DCC conversion article (was that crawl 1?)