Friday, February 22, 2008

Keeping up With the Jones'

Its early Friday evening. I generally try to shut all things down by 5 p.m. (knowing that I'll be back at the comp in the late hours after all are asleep), but due to unusual circumstances I find myself still on the clock. So its a good time for a quick blog.

Many of you have heard me say, over and over again, that the company is undergoing near constant reorganization. Its true, and it continues to do so. Many of the problems TLG faces are due to personnel changes. People come and go as life's own schedules conflict with their work load. Peter, Davis and I are the only real consistent work hounds here, though that is changing as Mark Sandy gears up for full time employment.

These are good things, but I am very happy to note that the constant cleaning and re-organization is finally showing results. The past two weeks my desk has stayed largely clean and I've managed to react to issues quickly, so that they don't stack up. And that is a good thing as it keeps my mind clear of undone clutter and allows me to focus on projects that are both late (CKG) and projects that are almost finished (Shades of Mist). Also, the increased presence of Mark and Davis has allowed me to focus on marketing the game we have all come to love . . . er Castles & Crusades :) . . . and reconnect with retailers and distributors. This seems to be yielding some fruits as our orders have gone up slightly (though this may be a reflection of discontent with other RPGs on the part of retailers and is definitely impacted by the customers an fans who continue to push the game all over the place).

But as importantly and the gist of my post this eve is that I managed to write over 6000 words this week, both on Shades and, yes, the CKG. Not a massive achievement, but its more than I've been able to do in some time . . . this and not fall further behind.

So I say, guardedly, that perhaps things are going to improve and hopefully next week will see even more productivity.

Thanks for playing.
Steve

Friday, February 08, 2008

Save the Tar but Hold the Feathers!

Ahhhh The Castle Keeper’s Guide. It seems that the more I answer questions about this project the more I have to answer questions about this project. That is a good thing though, so no complaints from me.

But I would like to set the record straight a little bit and hopefully remove a little of the confusion.

The CKG has never actually been put on our release schedule, meaning to say that no hard and fast target dates were set for the book and resources devoted to it. To this day Peter has little more than a working cover and I think he’s changed the idea he wants to put on it. Davis posted a massive TOC last year to give folks an idea of what it would include. But the book was never actually announced and put on our release schedule. Other projects, as important to our financial well being, precluded this, as well as the 2nd and then 3rd printings of the PH and MT interrupting it. This is why you rarely see us talking about it, at least until of late, because now it IS on our release schedule. This means that it moves up in priority.

But how did it get on Amazon? Well, that’s my fault of course. In talking to one distributor about things that might be coming out in the summer (this was back in 2005/6) I sent over some info on a bunch of projects we were working on. The CKG was one of them. Either I did not understand him or he me, but he took the list as a hard and fast product release schedule for that summer whereas I thought it was supposed to be a blurb in a catalog. Amazon promptly announced it and we we’ve been looking like boneheads ever since.

So, technically, the book is not late. J I know no one is going to believe it, nor care about this technicality, but with as many projects as we have late, I would like you to know that the CKG isn’t one of them.

And before I go on the book will not be announced until the text is 100% complete and at the editor and the cover is 100% done and the interior shots are 50% complete. We spent 2007 trying to catch up with our releases and bring late products out so that 2008 would be on a more professional track. Though this doesn’t affect direct consumer sales so much it does retail sales. Retailers need to know that they can depend on a company to support a market. We have worked hard on that and are on track for weekly releases for some time. Many of these projects are on autodrive, meaning to say that they were completed or brought to near completion in 2007 and they can make release dates in 2008 on time. This is all a good thing. Check the boards and you can see our releases.

We are working on becoming more dependable.

But where are we on the CKG. It still is not announced for release. We are into our June releases and it is my hope that if Davis and Peter can draw their ends together we can announce it for August. This would be a coup of biblical proportions for us. I’ve had nauseatingly long talks with Davis about the book and tremendous progress has been made by him and he team. But if we are to meet the August release date the book will have to be brought into a formatable format by late March for Peter to have a go at it. It is my understanding that we are presently on track for that.

I hope that helps and we really do appreciate the continued interest in the project and we will get er done!