Don’t Fuck it up for the Rest of Us

how-to-write-a-horror-story.WidePlayerAs an indie writer, game publisher and all-round amazing person I spend a lot of time talking to new writers and artists and – unfortunately – that means I run into a lot of horror stories. There are a lot, a LOT of budding artists, layout people and other freelancers upon whom us indie producers rely who are being put off from ever, ever, ever working with indie producers again. Needless to say, this is a bit of a problem for everyone.

This makes my job a lot harder, it makes forming a trust relationship with other freelancers hard and it reflects very poorly on indie/self publishing as a whole.

You want to publish? GREAT! The bar has never been lower which has its pluses and minuses, but if you’re going to invest money you should first invest a little time.

  • Images come in different resolutions, 72 dpi is typical screen/web while 300 dpi is the minimum for print. Make sure you know what you need and send the right files!
  • At LEAST read the help documents for the POD and other outlets you plan to use, and the software you use. That’ll give you a basic grounding and there’s plenty of free tutorials for just about anything online. Go look.
  • Paying someone to edit? Make sure their English is native to where you consider your main market or style to be. American, English and International English are NOT IDENTICAL! Even grammar varies surprisingly.
  • Don’t try and cop work for free. You want money out of this don’t you? Something is better than nothing. Publicity isn’t. The only people who might justifiably work for you for free are students needing to learn how briefs and projects work and they need money more than most!
  • Pay early, pay often. Cough up the dough, don’t sit on it. You don’t want people riding you for their bar all the time, it’s stressful as hell. Paying on time is also worth about the same money again in terms of reputation and goodwill. If you’re in a pinch later on, these people are more likely to help you out.
  • Be – fuckin’ – communicative. The moment that email pings you need to be ON IT! Even if it’s just to say ‘OK’. Artists and writers can’t get on until they know they’re on the right track and that you’re happy.
  • Do you have a deadline? DON’T FUCKING LIE! Yes you do! If you say ‘there’s no rush’ you’d better goddamn mean it because people are going to take you at your word and your project is sliding down the priority list. Make one up even if you don’t really have one! Nothing motivates freelancers like a deadline (other than horsewhips).

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