Okay. In order:
Blackwyrm will be parting company with the Algernon Files project. A number of things have happened over the last few months to complicate Blackwyrm’s ongoing business and they simply aren’t positioned to be able to support the product in a way that makes me and them both happy, either creatively or financially. No harm, no foul. All the IP returns to my grubby little hands. It doesn’t change my goals, but it does make me reassess a few choices I had earlier made. I’m sure Dave and Jason will make the details public that they want public about Blackwyrm’s side of it, when they want them public; I won’t be discussing that matter further, so please don’t ask questions related to it. Further products for TAF will be put out by me alone under the “Wordmonkey Studio” banner, which will be my own avenue for putting out personal work (i.e., stuff I’m not contracted to other companies to produce for them). I am committed to continuing this product line and will do so as long as it remains financially doable.
The format for future TAF volumes will be changing. The previous format was based around the publishing model Blackwyrm wanted (for a variety of their own logistical reasons) and as such it’s not one to which I feel bound. That means the page layout changes (page dressing and organization, statblock presentation, and such, even the font type and font size), the size changes (both in page size, which will be shifting more to the TPB size fans of Green Ronin and select 3P publishers already appreciate, and in page count, which can now increase substantially). The latter of the size changes means the number of volumes needed to encompass the material I’m planning gets to drop dramatically.
The art stays the same. Alex is staying around, at least until he manages to slip under the fence and run for the border while I’m not looking. Yes, that’s a joke. I make them occasionally. Many of the page layout suggestions we’re playing around with will be his babies. He’s also asked I add some intro by entry material, ala the agent emails I came up with working with Jon on the Threat Reports series. I liked the idea and you guys will soon get to delight to the interchange between ALGERNON (or a Sentinels member here and there) and Magnus Challenger from The Challenger Institute (or Colonel Alexander Steele from Group Zero, or some of the frazzled bureaucrats over at SIEGE [Special Investigations Executive for Government Enforcement] and ORB [Occult Research Bureau]) leading into each entry. Yeah, you can hardly wait. I know.
The first volume will go back and redo the first twenty entries from the previously released volumes in the new style and then add on the next 30 or so (we’re still playing with the layout, so the final number of entries isn’t official yet, but will be somewhere in the low 50s per new formatted volume). That way, everything is consistent on a go-forward basis. I’ll post previews as things get rolling.
Each new volume (let’s call this the “Deluxe” version of TAF 3.0) will likely be in the 200-250 page range and will, unfortunately, need to go through Kickstarter to get funded. First, I have to buy the art for all of the first volume’s entries off of Blackwyrm, who have already paid for it themselves. That ain’t going to be cheap. Then there’s the layout cost and a few other aggravating little real-world logistics costs and sundries. When the time comes to do a new Kickstarter, I will list everything – yes, I will be operating with complete transparency for my customers when it comes to why I’m asking for the price I’m asking and what it covers. That’s a model I will hopefully be able to repeat for the life of the line.
**This offering will include the Hero Lab files at a tier. I outsmarted myself first time around as I only used the software piecemeal to check certain costs and mechanics. Going back and making out complete and formal files to match everything already in print (which is proving bloody time consuming when every little thing has to match), while dealing with ongoing writing on other stuff, has been something I’ve let slide too often. Mea culpa – that’s entirely on me. I’m trying to get the last of of the few remaining entries from the second book done now so I can get those out through Dave to the backers. On a go-forward, I am making the the new files at the same time as I’m working on the entries so this backlog doesn’t happen ever again. Ever … ever.**
**I’m getting the email addresses and contact info for the various backers from Dave so that when the time comes for the new Kickstarter, I can offer special tiers to the (verifiable) backers from the previous round. Essentially, if you backed the previous Kickstarter, you won’t be paying for the % of content you already bought. For example: a backer who bought the pdf files for Vol I & II last time around, will be able to buy the new pdf file for the Deluxe edition at 60% the normal cost (since they already paid for 40% of the included entries in a different form). New customers who haven’t already paid for the material will, obviously, be limited to the tiers where they pay for everything they’re buying for the first time. Ongoing support is a very good thing and I want to take care of the people who have already shown their support and hopefully will continue to do so again and again. I will ask for everyone’s patience and assistance in making sure everything there works out.**
My goal will be two volumes of normal output a year under this format. The smaller products (like Juvenile Injustice) outside the handbook series proper will be no more than one a year. I just have to be realistic here. There’s really only one writer/developer – me (though some other writers contribute little bits here and there on the smaller products), only one artist (who has to do other work in order to eat and pay rent), only one editor, one layout person, and so on. Logistics are not our friend and my resources are far more constrained than even Green Ronin’s are and this is a part-time / available free time effort on all of our parts (i.e., we all have day jobs).
On that note, since it looks like Hero High 3e will be pushed further back than the Cosmic Handbook in GR’s own production, I’m going to be juggling around Juvenile Injustice and Sea of Stars, so that SoS comes out approximately in the same quarter as Cosmic Handbook and can enjoy some synchronized utility and audience interest. JI will still come out, it just gets pushed back in the production cycle to capitalize on the work other companies are doing that I can take advantage of for my own sales. Shameless, but necessary. Mea culpa again.