Tuesday, September 20, 2011

How to publish this module? Please advise!

I'm faced with this question for the first time. I have a sequence of two modules, one of which looks like it will be about 35 or so pages with maps, and the other one looks like it could weigh in at around 60 pages.

Here's the question. Do a mega-module of almost 100 pages, or do it (as originally planned) as two separate modules?

Here are the various considerations:
In favor of mega-module:
- A single book will have a lower price per page, since it means only one set-up fee at lulu.
- A big megamodule is cool.
- The first adventure is stand-alone, but it contains so many links to the second adventure that they are like D1 and D2.
-I wouldn't have to paint another cover. My painting skills are unpredictable -- it can take me several attempts before it comes out right.

Against mega-module (or, in favor of two modules):
-I am concerned -- and this might be a deal-breaker -- that a large book with two sets of maps might be cumbersome for use at the gaming table. In a book format, where you can't make a separate booklet of maps, the only place to put them is at the end. This means that either (1) your maps are in the middle of the book for the first module (because they're at the end of the first module, but there's a second one after that) or they are grouped in with the maps of the second module at the back. Neither one of those is ideal. At least with a single module, there's only one set of maps at the back of the book.

- While mega-modules have a nicely "significant" or "epic" feel to them, it's also nice to have the different phases more compartmentalized. D1 and D2 are highly linked, but the kuo-toa are totally different from the previous flavor/challenges of D1. This is a bit how these two modules work as well; the separate adventures are highly distinct from each other in their flavor, tactical challenges, and overall nature.

-Lower cost per book, even though the per-page cost is higher. Buy part one in October, don't buy part two until December, when you need it.

I can't be totally certain about the price information until I've polished the second module out into its full page-count; the price difference is measurable, but not huge. We'd probably be looking at two modules for $11-12 each or a big book at about $18-20. So it would be something like $4 or so in savings to purchase a one-book format.

Right now, I am leaning toward doing two books for the sole reason that I don't want the maps to be hard to find. I realize that most people make a copy of map pages for use in play (and I strongly recommend this if you don't -- separate maps are much easier). Nevertheless, the less paging around while reading a module, the better. With the old TSR modules, you just glanced at the separate map while you were reading. Can't do that with a book unless you're really on the ball and print a copy of the map before you even start reading.

Anyway, any suggestions are welcome. My first priority is making sure that the module format is optimal for use at a gaming table -- real-time usability in a game is the priority issue, even if it means that lulu gets a bigger piece of the money.


  1. mega module. I'd rather have them in one book personally. If I were to order them I'd prefer one "heftier" tome to two slim ones. The slightly lower price point would be nice too... :)

  2. I'd go with two modules. For me utility in play trumps any other consideration, and is well worth a couple of extra dollars. I can't stand flipping around hunting for things in a module, and if I have to do it, I generally won't play it.

  3. Oh definitely mega-module, there is something to be said for a meatier, more value-laden product.

  4. I vote mega-module, mostly because part 1 is heavily linked to part 2, but also because I personally find it more convenient to have everything bundled in one volume. The maps-at-the-end doesn't really bother me--as you say, I'd make separate copies. Besides, you could always make the maps available as stand-alone PDF downloads.

  5. Can't you move all the maps the the back and have them properly labeled Module A and Module B. Or provide a link for the maps only PDF so they can be printed out by the consumer?

    This would not be a problem for us that just by the PDF version in the first place.

  6. I'd go separate. If it's cumbersome, I won't be using it as a rule.

  7. How did you envision the project(s) in the first place?

    Do that. You're the creator, you're driving this train.

    It costs what it costs.

  8. I offered the maps for ASE1 as a free download, so they could be printed out separately by print customers. Flipping around does stink.

  9. Setup fee at lulu? Since when Lulu start charging to list a book?