Tightening Belts and Another Update

Blue Moon Aurora, LLC is being financed by our frugality. I am primarily focused on managing most of the day-to-day responsibilities in-between watching the kids, while Michelle helps on weekends and evenings as it is her job that supports the family.  Michelle is a Federal employee and lately there has been some uncertainty about her job.  A pay reduction seems very likely as might a furlough or even having to work without pay if the government shuts down.  It’s not just the debt ceiling debacle but also pending appropriations bills that are coming up and are likely to be another major political fight.  It is very unlikely the situation is going to stabilize anytime soon so we are saving more money to prepare for emergencies.  For Blue Moon Aurora, this all means that we’ll probably cut our investment in the company in 2012 and thus have a more modest agenda for publishing unless one of our books takes off and allows us to recoup some of our investment.

What follows is where we currently stand on our various products in development:

Duet Sagas Handbook (2011)

We expect to have this free PDF written and published by the end of the year.  Basically, it will be a synthesis of all my writings on duet campaigns as well as the foundation for our entire Duet Sagas line.  This frees us from having to fill each Duet Saga with basic information and allows us to include more campaign material.  We have all the art already done for this product and some of the writing completed.

Duet Saga: Knight of Curidan (2012)

This will be a complete duet campaign, compatible with the Pathfinder RPG,focused on a knight as the player character with an emphasis on dominion governance, quests, and tournaments. We have all the art and a lot of writing done for this, but I expect I’m going to want to do a significant rewrite after we finish the Duet Sagas Handbook.  I also still have to do all the cartography, which saves us money but will require a lot of my time.  Thus I don’t expect this to be published till 2012 but we are also planning to make this our first book with an actual print run.

Duet Saga: Ghost of Arbastil (TBD)

This will be a complete duet campaign, compatible with the Pathfinder RPG,focused on a more intrigue based campaign in a cursed kingdom. We only have a little of the art and some writing done, but this is a project we were thinking of finishing in 2012 but might push back to 2013.

West Pacific Supers: Victory at Any Cost (2012)

We are done with 15 chapters of the first draft of the second e-book in the West Pacific Supers line and it is going very well.  It’s a lot simpler writing a second book than a first book so that has been very reassuring. We know our characters better, have a good feel for what works plot-wise, and, most importantly, have the confidence of knowing that we can write a novel together. We expect to have this e-book released by May 2012.

West Pacific Supers: The Roleplaying Game (TBD)

This is arguably the whole reason we founded Blue Moon Aurora, LLC and 2013 was always the year when we wanted to publish it as that is the date when West Pacific Supers: Rising Tide takes place. It’s a big project and we’re pretty ambitious with what we want to do, which will entail a bit of art and probably the services of few freelancers on the writing side of things.  Once we finalized Duet Saga: Knight of Curidan this project is going to get a lot of our attention and we hope to make a lot of progress with it next year.

West Pacific Supers: Free Novella!  (TBD)

After we finish Victory at Any Cost, we’re going to write a 10,000 word e-book set in the West Pacific Supers world that we will distribute as a free product.  We are looking for opinions on what we should write about.  So what do you want a story about the West Pacific Trio (Cupid, Goalie, and Samurai), West Pacific Supers from before Rising Tide, previous adventures of some of the team members, or something else? If you have an opinion put it in a comment to this blog.

So that’s where we stand right now.

Thanks for reading,

Kirk

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7 thoughts on “Tightening Belts and Another Update

  1. If I may offer a bit of blunt advice…you’re not going fast enough. What I mean by that, is that you have a few big projects in the works, but you’re currently not generating any income and not “known.”

    Start smaller…get some 16 page PDFs out there for a couple of bucks each. Get known and then build.

  2. One can only write so fast. 🙂

    On the fiction front we’re exactly where we expected to be at this point, which is basically nowhere. We’re trying to secure reviews and doing some minor advertising but with only one book in a series out there this is to be expected. Next year we should have two more books in the series done as well as a few free short stories to drum up interest. E-book publishing just takes a lot of effort and patience, but we’re definitely on track on that front.

    As for the RPG products – we haven’t even published a book so I don’t expect to be known. That said we will do some small PDFs (under 25 pages) like the Duet Saga Handbook that will be free and our first release, but the focus will be on books we intend to release in print as well as PDF. Larger books are the norm in the print arena of RPGs not smaller ones.

    Basically, with fiction we are focusing on e-publishing and with RPGs we are focusing on print publishing. In both cases we are really producing the books we would want to buy. I’m just not interested in producing 101 Barroom Brawl Feats or other micro-products, because they wouldn’t be profitable for us in both a monetary and fulfillment sense. I’m totally fine with small PDFs that we offer as free products and we have some planned, but there is no point doing that till we are closer to having a product we can sell for actual money available. That’s the one thing we’ve learned with Rising Tide, it’s best if you have several books ready for release in quick succession. We’re going to try to do better with that with RPGs.

    As for pacing, we’ve always viewed 2011 and 2012 as just building up products for a more aggressive push in 2013. That said we are behind from where I would like to be with RPGs. It takes me about 2-3 times as much time to write material for an RPG as fiction. It’s also proven harder for us to effectively divide up the work with RPGs. A lot of this is due to real world distractions this year, but my plan after our first Duet Saga book is to use more freelance writers. Once we have the first one done and a model then it will be possible to use other writers handle a lot of the grunt work.

    At the end, we’re very focused on quality. Even with fiction we could have broken up WPS: Rising tide into three 50,000 word novellas and have more product, but that would have just been a cheap marketing ploy. I believe very firmly that quality is the key to long-term success.

    Also, our first book was only published about three weeks ago so we’re still early in the game. 🙂

  3. Yes, but that takes time and money. I mean WotC supposedly spent seven figures just developing 4e, with that sort of money we could have a hundred RPG products in development. 🙂

    Slow and steady is the way to make it work if you don’t have lots of cash upfront, which we don’t. 🙂

  4. Churning out publications may take time and resources that the BMA team doesn’t have. I think building a catalog of publications at a rate that maintains high quality makes good sense, then you can ramp up the marketing when the free novella is ready. So my advice: A Rising Tide prequel! As a free product you have a better chance of reaching a wide audience, and a prequel that leaves your readers wanting more can be a good on-ramp to more sales of Rising Tide and Victory at Any Cost (and potentially the WPS RPG).

    If I were an author trying to start today, I’d pay close attention to the example set by Cory Doctorow when he published Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom (an awesome post-humanist novel cited as a reference in Eclipse Phase) as the first novel released for *free* to everyone (here: http://goo.gl/aOLJT) under a Creative Commons license. On point is this quote from a Locus Magazine article from a few years ago (http://goo.gl/CSgkw):

    “I’ve discovered what many authors have also discovered: releasing electronic texts of books drives sales of the print editions. An SF writer’s biggest problem is obscurity, not piracy. Of all the people who chose not to spend their discretionary time and cash on our works today, the great bulk of them did so because they didn’t know they existed, not because someone handed them a free e-book version.”

    His free book, by the way, has sold paid copies into the six figures now.

  5. We’ve been kicking around some ideas, such as Z’s suggestions, and got some more feedback from another person on Rising Tide. Basically, we’ve decided to try some serials with characters from Rising Tide. Start the serial with a free novella and then follow it up with $0.99 issues. Will provide background and supplementary material for Rising Tide and Victory at any Cost. It’s the advantage of our plan to really experiment the next few years – we can try a lot of different things to see what works best.

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