Friday, January 8, 2010

Percolating Ideas

So I spent some time at, because that was the first (and for a long time only) online shop that I came across. One of the features that I loved was the online preview. In fact, I think that I found more utility in the preview than in any reviews that I read. You can get a few pages from the document free and, at least, get a feel for its general quality and tone.

[This is something that I feel strongly about, and it is one area that has influenced what I do with material for The Fantasy Cartographic. I almost always create a separate pdf document for the preview, and I try to show broadly what each product is about. If someone is going to spend some of their hard earned money on a product that I sell, the least I can do is give them a taste of it.

Two important points:

1. I intensely dislike it when publishers at or other sites do not make use of the preview feature. And while does make use of the small, turn-the-pages, flash preview, I much prefer a full-size pdf preview for a product.

2. For all I know, providing a preview might actually descrease the number of possible customers, because by better informing people, they are better able to decide not to purchase my products. From the business perspective, this probably isn't the greatest idea, but I feel that it is the right way to do business.]

So I spent lots and lots of time looking at previews on It really gave you a sense of what was out there. At the time, I think that was in the final stages of its 'bubble' period, where there were still lots of little publishers putting out lots of material, some good, but a lot mediocre or worse. I think it's obvious, but those companies that were putting out good and better material during that time are the same companies that, for the most part, are well-established, still-around, and still putting out good material. Go figure.

I also learned, or at least believed, in my humble mind that:

1. I was a better writer than a good chunk of the people putting out material back then. [While this is certainly debatable and my own conceit certainly plays into this belief, I would say that the ones that were good writers are still in the business, and the ones that weren't, aren't.]

2. I could spell better than the average person publishing at the time. [Same comments as above.]

3. I knew the rules of modern grammar better than the average. [Again, same.]

So, after reviewing lots of material and coming to the above conclusions, I was pretty excited about the possibilities.

{I say these things with a bit of humor, knowing that I've now laid myself wide open for comment should I ever fail to maintain the highest standards in those areas.}

So what does all this mean? Since crunchy bits are not an option, maybe I can pursue some fluffy stuff. Mmmmmm.

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