Saturday 16 April 2016

How we've done so far

 Chariot is in layout now.

The thing about being a freelance is, you often have to develop skills.

You get hired as a tech writer. You have a decent eye and a competent hand as a writer. You get told you have to design the website and write, illustrate and layout the publicity brochure. You learn Flash. You learn Frontpage (remember Frontpage?)

Then you get told you have to put a flowchart on the cover and "make it look like a breast" and endure comments from the boss like "can't you make it a bit more pert?" and shortly afterwards you go freelance, which although I assure you is entirely hypothetical is not entirely without some autobiographical force.

A charity hires you to edit their termly magazine, and they tell you it's up to you to get it ready for print. So you learn InDesign. And the learning curve is pretty sharp and probably doesn't help your work, but that's another skill under your belt.

Someone hires you to make 3d models of horns that they can 3d print and screw to barrettes and sell on Etsy as upscale fancy dress things and there's another skill you learned.

Jack of all trades, me.

I'm competent, not a savant. I made some stiff, formal images, most of which are Tarot cards and yeah, one day I'll art direct a second edition where I can afford to hire artists who are far more skilled. In the meantime, here I am. It's all handmade and I'm treating that as a virtue.
It's not finished yet. 
Take the map, which my son drew for me. He took bits of coastlines and shapes of existing lands and stitched them together in improbable ways (he hid Wales there. See if you can spot it). Which suits the source material, perfectly. He's a good kid. His talent outstrips mine.

I'm learning new stuff all the time.

Managing funds is something I've done before though. For the sake of transparency, I'll be publishing the numbers fully, but the estimate of how I did works out like this:

Total of funding and post campaign contributions so far (hi, Colonials! You should remember that £1 is about $1.42US): £1203

Indiegogo is a harsh mistress and takes a cut. After that I'm left about £1080.

Shipping and printing books (either black and white or premium colour) I estimated is going to be about £470.

Malcolm Sheppard is being paid to write 10,000 words of content at £0.05 a word, which is about half what professional writers are advised to charge for this in the UK, and about one and a half times the best regular rate in the RPG industry, which says a lot about the sort of field we're stuck in here but that's another discussion entirely. Anyway. That's £500.

So for my own fee, and comp copies to sell at that convention I'm speaking at next month... That leaves about £110.

Those aren't exact. I have a slow sinking feeling the printing may be more, since Chariot I imagined would be a slim little thing but it's looking quite fat now. We'll have to see.

This is OK! I was never expecting to make a retirement fund out of this. It was never the goal. Being able to afford a writer like Malcolm on board, who's more in tune with how I write games than anyone else, and pay him a rate that is (almost) fair. Getting it done. Labours of love, see.

I've written a game that's an autobiography of my imagination and some of the people who have contributed are really invested in it. Someone asked me yesterday about one of the places I mention and I was able to tell them it was a recurring dream I had as a boy. My boyhood imagination, interrogated, is in print. I made a thing people can share.

That matters.