Tag Archives: DriveThruRPG

DriveThruRPG Stuff

A lot of people have written a lot of words about what went down with DriveThruRPG recently. (Of particular note are Jessica Price and Tracy Hurley‘s pieces about it.) To recap, the publisher of the Black Tokyo line of hentai d20 supplements released a scenario called “Tournament of Rapists,” and many people quite naturally objected to it being on a site for elfgames. It didn’t help that it got released without the “Adult” tag, and with the Pathfinder tag, putting it in front of a lot of people who probably would’ve missed it otherwise. OBS took their time to work out what they wanted to do about the situation, but they finally did bring out a full blog post, outlining a new “Offensive Content Policy” that they would be implementing. Where companies like Amazon and Apple can afford to employ a staff of people who approve product submissions to their online storefronts, DTRPG is too small for that, so up until now they’ve had an approval process for publishers, but not for products per se. Their plan is to implement a reporting feature, and reports will in turn go to the senior staff for review. If they decide a product is a problem they’ll suspend it and work with the publisher, but otherwise it will not be affected by reports. Spamming a title you don’t like won’t do anything other than annoy the DTRPG guys, and won’t get anything automatically removed.

Over the past few months I’ve been working as a content moderator at a big tech company. My manager takes free speech very seriously, and we often have to stop and discuss things to figure out where the dividing line is based on our moderation policies, which themselves have gotten some revisions even in the short time I’ve been there. Which is a roundabout way of saying that I’m well aware that figuring this stuff out isn’t easy, and sometimes it can be agonizingly hard. On a purely legal level, OBS can allow or disallow whatever products they want, but obviously we want to talk about what’s morally right for them to do. In my view a company in their position–where they own a huge portion of a market–has an obligation to find the happy middle between permissiveness and responsibility. There’s a point at which even people who are relatively pro-censorship would find pulling products unfair and immoral (hypothetically, imagine them disallowing a product that satirized DTRPG), but also a point where something pushes boundaries to the point where we can legitimately make a case that it’s harmful and something they don’t want to be associated with.

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Adventures in Self-Publishing

ykz_cover_previewThe Yaruki Zero book is both a thing I wanted to write and kind of an experiment in learning self-publishing for other, more serious projects. The plan was to put the book up on just about every POD and ebook sales service around, and this is a rather long and detailed journal of what I went through to make it happen, both for my own reference and to help anyone else who’s thinking of trying this stuff out. Later on I’ll see about putting together a follow-up post on how things are working out 6 months or so down the line. If you’re interested in the actual book, check out the Yaruki Zero: The Book page for links to all of the places I have it available for purchase.

I started on the book in mid-January, and had the first draft more or less finished after about a month. That was mixture of copying over existing work and just plain putting most of my free time into writing. I got C. Ellis to do up artwork for the cover, Clay Gardner to do graphic design for the cover, and Ellen Marlow to edit the manuscript. (Also, about half a dozen other people read it over and offered feedback.) Each of these was pretty straightforward, especially since the people I was working with really get my general sensibility. I’ve collaborated on a bunch of stuff with C. Ellis before, Clay just has a way of not only reading my mind but coming up with the stuff I didn’t know I want, and Ellen’s fandom and writing sensibilities line up with mine quite well.

For this book’s interior I decided to keep the layout pretty simple, and just did it up in Word with some use of fonts and such to make it a little fancier. I’ve never been able to figure InDesign out myself, but while Word produces reasonably okay layouts, there are certain things where it just kind of loses its mind. Thankfully I wasn’t trying to do, say, multiple columns for this project. The big thing that I managed to fall afoul of was getting the margins right. Being inexperienced with doing stuff for actual books, it hadn’t occurred to me that the inside margin would need to be wider so that the printed material wouldn’t disappear into the binding. With POD you’re much more beholden to the printer’s specifications,[1] so it pays to read those carefully (though it wouldn’t hurt for them to make those a little clearer than they are). That was how the page count of the book jumped up to 217, and I wound up doing a bunch of small tweaks to fix things.
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