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 Post subject: Writing and Publishing
PostPosted: Wed Nov 26, 2014 4:48 am 
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Joined: Sun Mar 24, 2013 5:01 am
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Location: Elko NV
As you mentioned earlier, I too worked in a grocery store (Paul's Market and lastly Albertsons), until 2012. I was also in the National Guard, 1986-1992.

Interesting similarities

I'll just start with our history.

Back in 2009 I founded Pathfinder Chronicler after a dismal attempt at RPG Superstar. I was very sad and considered I had no chops for going into RPG. I considered the mind it would require to know RPG backwards and forwards and quickly came to the conclusion that my experience lack of being able to play would kept me from ever being more than mediocre, and to be honest, I just wanted to be a writer anyway.

I knew Pathfinder hadn't had any official fiction other than in their Adventure Paths and felt I should create this site to prepare for the eventual transition Paizo would make towards their fiction line. I imagined a lot of things. I came to believe that Paizo would perhaps throw a contest for writing talent and by doing this undertaking (Pathfinder Chronicler), it would prepare me for such tests of my writing talent.

Very early though, I was confronted with the truth at my first PaizoCon. Their editing staff was pretty keen as to what was to come and they actually tried to dissuade me from writing Pathfinder related works. They basically said I was wasting my time. I was rather miffed by that but I wasn't going to stop preparing for my chance to prove myself in the Pathfinder world.

Their logic was thus:

"Why would you waste your time and energy writing about an Intellectual Property that isn't yours? As soon as you finish a story set in Pathfinder, it is no longer publishable and no longer yours..."

My response to that was to just keep writing in Pathfinder's IP and work within those confines to show what I could do. I stubbornly ignored James Sutter's advice and went on to write more stories around their IP. We did contests that brought attention to our group and even published a few books from many who contributed to the site or participated in our contests. I would call that an attempt to double down on what we were worth.

We garnered a lot of attention those days and we had a very solid group of talent that submitted to Wayfinder, the fanzine. At one point, Pathfinder Chronicler provided stories for Wayfinder with some exclusivity. Wayfinder was referring writers to us for vetting.

I was not really sure what we had at that time and probably never will.

Despite all these things, I began to see us as a false beacon for writers. In general, Paizo did not consider our writing to be anything more than fan fiction. It was even stated as such in Jame's Sutters intro within our first Anthology Volume. He says it pretty clearly, "Who would do this???" This confirmed without a doubt, Paizo had no intention or even a thought towards looking at anything we had accomplished. In fact, they would never accept unsolicited stories from the public, let alone us. Instead, they would mention us and send all unknown writers our way instead of their's.

Truth be told, Paizo needed a lot of people to produce RPG books. There is plenty of room to make a name for yourself in that way. Back then, Pathfinder Society scenarios had many open calls. Many RPGers, with a mind to make a name for themselves, took that avenue and later were garnered with real credits in Paizo books. Had I gone that way, I'm pretty certain I could have made the right connections and began the long arduous road of writing RPG material, simply by trial and error. Good enough or not, I would have eventually figured out what they wanted. Today I'm thinking that perhaps I should have done that.

When it came to their Pathfinder Tales and their online stories though, Paizo had a completely different plan. They would not look to the community of fans for their writers, as they had done with RPG Superstar. Instead, they had big authors and insiders biting at the bit for a chance to write a book for them. Paizo also knew that if they wrangled in some well known authors, their line would eventually soar. This is done by using an authors big seller name and having that name tied to their product via a computer system. Apparently, a well known author's name makes whatever project he is currently on into a high selling line, purely by association. Once that happens, the computers auto-order the newest from that author and...well...there you have it.

Once they had run enough well known authors and had the line established, they then turned to more of their insider friends. These people were RPG writers that had an interest in fiction writing. The numbers wanting to participate in that lined up out the door. Pathfinder Tales was at first an online story blog, but later became a trial ground for the RPG designers to have their "go" at writing instead of RPG work (which pays little). They also got works from people such as Ed Greenwood.

At that point, it was very clear to me that Pathfinder Chronicler meant nothing to Paizo. I'm not saying that they didn't appreciate it, but rather it was of no consequence to them from a business or PR standpoint, other than sending people away with less guilt, pointing them our direction.

James also said I should not even bother submitting stories to Paizo until I had publishing credits of my own. He said self-publishing wouldn't count either and was generally frowned upon. His stance was that Paizo was only interested in people who had been published by an independent "publishing house." In other words, prove yourself first by being successful (away from us) and then we'll maybe talk. My thought about this however was, "When I am successful in something of my own, why would I want to talk to you?"

So yeah, there really isn't anything here that will get you published by Paizo.

I can also honestly say that I have never been officially recognized by Paizo for anything I've done here. For a time they recognized people within the Paizo Community for their outstanding achievements. Tim, Liz and Mark were all given those "achievement awards."

Without fail, I spent months working on this site and the people within it with little time for my family. At one of the banquets at PaizoCon, they were again going to announce their recognition awards. My son gave me some pretty dirty looks. Perhaps he felt that all the times I had missed being with him might be rewarded, and he resented that I had spent so much time away from him...just for this. You can't imagine his shock when he discovered that the award didn't go to me. The expression on his face was unmistakable. I was a complete failure and this was all for nothing. Not to fault him, but he does comes from a generation of school children where everyone get's their turn for an award, even if they did little to nothing to earn it. He somehow thought I really deserved it because I was so closed off from him and hard working, not these awards though, not ever. After that last ceremony, Paizo never gave it to a fan again. Instead, the awards went to Pathfinder Society Venture Captains.

So Wayfinder....
It get's all the accolades, and rightfully so since there are quite a lot of people working on it. I might also add that Pathfinder is an RPG, and Wayfinder best mimics the company that it celebrates. Writing for Pathfinder Tales, at its best, is only ornamenting their world of RPG, and in the end, that is not a very big slice of their total sales pie.

So you might ask, "Why do you keep doing this???"

Well, not everything is as it appears. I know of a man named Boomer. He has written many stories for us and has some RPG chops himself. He really wants to be a writer at his heart though. He even self-published and peddled his book around every convention he attended. This all flies in the face of what I was told, but despite that he approached Paizo with his zany ideas at a convention, and they told him to submit. they did this not so much because he is a very good writer (which he certainly is), but because they know him.

Paizo knows me too. I know many of them before they were even hired. They had read my stories in Wayfinder and also respected me. Every convention I attend is talk and socializing. I have a reputation. The books I produced keep their eyes looking towards Pathfinder Chronicler. I suppose they see me as a diehard Paizo fanatic and if you saw my bookshelf, you might think the same.

I can honestly say that I have been approached more than once for opportunities to have our works published "by the professionals" only for them to discover that the IP isn't mine, but Paizo's. Once they realize they are looking at a fan-made source, they then turn and ask for what else I got. Embarrassing to admit, I tell them I have nothing at that time because I must maintain the website and edit stories. I feel that to be the most difficult thing about all this. It is all there to be taken, but I have to build our booth. Edit those stories. Sell them books.

So, I do have their attention through the books and our group, but I have no way to exploit it, or act on requests. Naturally, I wouldn't be standing there in front of all these people if there was no Pathfinder Chronicler, but perhaps I would be having my books published by now without all this hoopla to keep the lights on.

So, if it is connections you are looking for, this is certainly the right place. You would have to attend the conventions to make yourself known, but of course you'd be standing next to me at our booth, having these people's ears.


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 26, 2014 7:07 am 

Joined: Fri Nov 21, 2014 4:09 am
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Well, today being one of the two days I work this week, I don't have time for a long reply.

I'm not looking for name recognition, connections, or an opportunity to publish. I just want to write. I am willing to read other's work, comment, offer suggestions and even edit.

I have briefly checked out "Paizo Inc. Pathfinder® Roleplaying Game Compatibility License" and may look at it further.


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 27, 2014 6:27 am 
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Ok KM, I'm open to ideas and suggestions.

I prefer to not work in a vacuum and do things whenever they happen.

I think we all wish to entertain and have our writing impact others. I would love to do that. Given that fairly simplistic thought, I have been wondering how to get there.

Is there something this site can do to reach an objective, whatever that may be.

I want to be part of something exciting and more to my tastes. Pathfinder leads to great tales, but it is just a place to visit. In that case, I'm wondering how is my time best spent when it comes to recognition and moving yourself forward in being a writer.

Have you seen our Anthologies on Paizo?


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 28, 2018 3:35 am 

Joined: Wed Jan 17, 2018 4:09 am
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From what I understand, and that might be very limited, you just need to write and consciously try to better yourself as a writer. You know what they say, you need to write a million words to find your voice, or something to that extent. I don't think the subject matters per se.


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