The 2013 ENnies nominations have been announced and voting is now open. I caught up with Steven Saus at Alliteration Ink, who produced the ENnie-nominated Eighth Day Genesis: A Worldbuilding Codex for Writers and Creatives for a Best RPG-related ENnie. Voting begins on Monday, July 22 and runs to Wednesday, July 31. The ceremony itself will be on Friday, August 16, in the Union Station Grand Hall at 8 pm with the cocktail reception beginning at 6:30 pm.
Michael Tresca (MT): Tell us about your your entry.
Seven Saus (SS): The product nominated is Eighth Day Genesis: A Worldbuilding Codex, edited by Sabrina Klein. While the book was also nominated for an Origins Award this year, this is Alliteration Ink’s first ENnie nomination.
MT: Who is Alliteration Ink?
SS: Alliteration Ink is, well, me. I focused on publishing fiction and anthologies; Eighth Day Genesis was a step in a new direction for me. I’m fairly certain it will not be the last step in that direction. I’ve been a gamer since the mid-eighties, so this is familiar territory for me. In fact, I really got started writing fiction professionally at GenCon’s Writer Symposium (aka “Get Literal”). I went to the panels to help improve my GM skills, and stayed for the storytelling.
Part of my goal with Alliteration Ink has been to behave ethically. I tend to play paladins (we can talk about how paladins aren’t boring at all), and that’s how I run my business. With the upheavals in all forms of publishing, part of my mission is to publicly set a standard for best practices that treat creators fairly. The feedback I’ve gotten from others seems to indicate that I’m doing an okay job at that.
MT: How did Eight Day Genesis come about?
SS: Eighth Day Genesis was originally born out of an idea from the Writer Symposium… and from caves.
Think about the first time you went into a cave after you played D&D. My whole gaming group went caving once when I was a teenager. While we were in that cool dark, cramped space, swinging a broadsword in a five foot wide corridor seemed really unrealistic.
That single detail completely changed the way our campaign.
But it’s not just the details – it’s how you tell them. And that’s where the authors in Eighth Day Genesis come in. These are all the things that we try to pass along in panels like those at the Writer Symposium. There’s a very limited amount of time in each panel, and there’s always stuff we wish we had time to say. So Sabrina and I approached our friends on these panels and asked them to tell us about all the things they never got to.
You can find other books on the mechanics of worldbuilding for your game. Eighth Day Genesis gives you that – and also helps you make your world come alive.
MT: What are your thoughts on today’s game industry?
SS: The gaming industry – like all parts of publishing – is experiencing a great deal of flux as it gets easier and easier for people to publish their adventures, games, and supplements. Just as we’ve seen with the self-publishing fiction market, that also means a lot of crap gets out there as well, which makes it harder and harder to be noticed in the sheer volume of products.
Yes, your reviews of what you bought matter – especially if you bought something from a small publisher.
One of the things I did to help ENnie voters was to put together an excerpt PDF for review. Perhaps in future years small publishers (and even the big ones) can make some kind of excerpt or “sample” PDF so that voters can find out more about what they’re voting for.
MT: Kickstarter seems to be part of this flux.
SS: I just completed my first Kickstarter for a fiction anthology – What Fates Impose. It did two things right off the bat – it gave me the money up front to pay contributors and it helped the book (and my company) get introduced to more people. That project was already put together, but I’ve started considering running crowdfunding programs for projects that are still in the planning stages, to see if they have enough support to be worth producing.
MT: What’s next for Alliteration Ink?
SS: As I mentioned above, What Fates Impose is going to be coming out in the next month or so. I’ll be running another Kickstarter for Steampunk World – if you’re interested at all in steampunk (and especially if you want to see something other than the same old same old) you’ll want to watch for that.
In regards to gaming-related material – yes, there’s projects in the works. I can’t tell you much about them yet, but I will tell you this: Eighth Day Genesis is a book that straddles genres. It’s useful – and enjoyable – for gamers, writers, and even casual readers. The projects we’re starting to work on will also appeal to gamers – but not just gamers.
MT: Will you be at Gen Con?
SS: Unfortunately, I will only be at GenCon on Friday for the ENnies. However, a full third of the authors in the Writers Symposium have worked with Alliteration Ink before, and a good number of them are contributors to Eighth Day Genesis.
MT: Where can fans find out more?
SS: You can find out more about Alliteration Ink at http://alliterationink.com and about Eighth Day Genesis (including getting a free sample) at http://bit.ly/8thdaygen
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