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*** Help Revise TAoA:M ***

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"My original vision was that we'd get 12 people and each would do a new tut and BANG we'd be done."


Here's my experience on that. I took on a project that's supposed to total six books. First book of twelve chapters, six had been submitted by various authors. They didn't track, they overlapped in some areas and failed to cover others, they contradicted each other. Most were badly written and the authors didn't stick to the topics assigned. Three other chapters had been assigned to authors who produced nothing. The last three were never assigned; the project manager had given up and decided to write those himself. He never wrote anything. This was a paying proposition, with the promise of royalties, and still the performance was abysmal.


So I rewrote six chapters, wrote the other six fresh, and wrote books two and three. I wrote most of book four, but there's one chapter where I didn't feel qualified, so I started asking around for another writer. After a long search, I found one who made promises but has given me nothing except something he previously wrote. That will be useful in book five, but I find my poorly qualified self writing the chapter in book four because it's the only way it will get done and it's the only thing holding up publication.


Timeline: when I was in Dallas I was finishing book 2. Now I'm finishing book 4. That's about one book every nine months. By that reckoning I'm still a year and a half from finishing the project, though I tell myself I just darn well better not be. I'm not discouraged yet - maybe by October I will be - because I still think this thing can make me some money. If I didn't, I wouldn't have started on it.


So, as I say - if the A:M community wants a new TAoA:M, the A:M community needs to figure out how some $$$ can come of it. My vote would be to simply raise the price of a subscription. Anybody who values his/her time would know that the shortened learning curve more than offsets the extra dollars.


Somebody must know the answer to the question I asked before: how many subscriptions to A:M are sold every year?


A few years ago, there was no printed version of the Technical Reference. Users continually clammored for it and were told "there's no need--it's all in the help file". So with permission from Hash (because they didn't think anyone would buy it), I went through the help file and formatted it for a printed book. In a few weeks it was ready on CafePress. I marked it up $10 and posted it here. I made about $4,000 in two months!

After that, Hash made a full-color Tech Reference available :)


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Yeah, I know, no discussing finances...maybe we can get special dispensation from the Big Guy. All I know is, nobody is going to go too far out on a limb without some idea of the numbers.


RC, there is no question whatever that it can be done better. But everyone who is thinking of becoming involved should be aware that doing it better is ten times harder than just doing it, and doing it really well is ten times harder yet. In my ebooks, I have often spent half a day pushing the wording of a single paragraph back and forth, trying to find that magic arrangement that will make the material not just understandable, but obvious.


Could a truly optimized ebook, with videos and, of course, animations, so light up A:M that it moves to the forefront for small and medium sized users? Sure. All it takes is money, people who know both A:M and writing, and about 20,000 man-hours.


Re: the tech ref, profitable to be sure, but that was in the rah-rah days. Writing a comprehensive study guide is a bigger project with a smaller potential audience.


I'm not trying to throw a wet blanket on this project, I'm trying to find a way to do it that's realistic enough to not collapse midstream. Even jacking up the purchase price $50 might not hurt volume if people understood the value proposition. But does A:M sell enough copies so $50 per study guide would bring the author/s enough money to compensate them for all that labor?


There is one other possibility, a monthly e-mag that's basically an electronic version of 3DWorld but devoted solely to A:M. Every A:M buyer would get, and be charged for, a 1-year subscription.

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I resisted posting this because the subject is a bit too near and dear to me (and the emphasis here in this topic is more about revising TaoA:M)

There are a number of points you raise that are well worth discussing but I'll focus on one; a dedicated magazine that focuses on A:M. Perhaps the others could be split into topics of their own. As the topic of this thread is 'Help Revise ToaA:M' this one probably should be split out as well. At any rate, it's an important subject so I submit the following for your consideration:


There is one other possibility, a monthly e-mag that's basically an electronic version of 3DWorld but devoted solely to A:M. Every A:M buyer would get, and be charged for, a 1-year subscription.


For a number of reasons I don't see this happening.

I could wish otherwise but that's the way it is.

The primary reason I am responding to this is that ever since purchasing A:M I hoped to get involved in the publishing of a magazine devoted to A:M. If nothing else, the history, ups and downs and such of it might prove to be an interesting study in how things do not get done. I suppose a short answer could be: We are entirely too rational to begin a project that is likely to fail. ;)


Let me deconstruct a little of your description so that I know we are talking about the same thing.


A monthly e-mag.

I think a one shot e-mag would prove the idea's viability and determine whether there is interest in an e-mag released more frequently. The problem is that I'm not sure at this point we have enough sustainable interest to support the production of even that one-shot e-magazine. Actually, we do... it's called 'The WIP Forum' but folks don't consider that an e-mag.


An e-mag that is basically an electronic version of 3DWorld but devoted solely to A:M.

I've stared at both printed magazines and electronic magazines and both have their pros and cons.

One issue that would need to be addressed is


Every A:M buyer would get, and be charged for, a 1-year subscription.

Connecting an e-mag to the purchase of A:M won't work for a number of reasons. I'm not sure how many of us are receptive to hearing them so I won't delve too deeply. From my perspective, why this wouldn't work can be summed up thusly:


- The success or failure of the e-mag would directly relate to the purchase of A:M.

- This is a bad connection considering an e-mag of any sort is a risky venture.

- Someone has to put the magazine together (suppliers of content and editors) and they have a reasonable expectation to get something in return for their effort.

- If every A:M buyer is automatically charged for a 1 year subscription to the A:M Mag could they get A:M at a higher discount if they don't want the mag?

- What happens if the magazine is late or skips a month, or two or goes on hiatus? How would the refunding of moneys paid for the magsub operate?

- Who would be responsible for producing the magazine? Who would fill in the gaps if they failed to deliver? What repercussions (if any) would they likely face?

- How would a failure effect the over all A:M user-base?

*added: - How would the publishers avoid conflict with content creators (i.e. clearing copyrights can be a real pain).


I'll stop there but as you can see there are some very real concerns that would have to be dealt with prior to proceeding and these concerns and more would have to me adjusted and maintained over the entire life cycle of the magazine.


Note that I am a big fan of the idea of a dedicated A:M Magazine and if I could have made it work we'd already that magazine. In hindsight I think it was wise that others didn't see it happening and while supportive didn't actually support the idea. It was a considerable risk to take with responsibilities that most only realize after they've taken the fateful step.


For the record: I want an A:M magazine.


My challenge to the community would be to produce just one isuue of an e-mag (a one shot, perhaps in PDF format). Then, if there is still interest, we can build on that success and finesse the frequency. Easy stuff right? New A:M content is flowing constantly. Old content is readily available. Now all we need are champions who will produce the magazine. If others are all in... I am all in as well. If the magazine is a success others will follow after.

Until such a time, I'll have to content myself with the A:M Forum serving as Hash Inc's official A:M magazine. (Every A:M User gets it free with (or without) their subscription!)


Thought I should hit this one as well:

Yeah, I know, no discussing finances...maybe we can get special dispensation from the Big Guy. All I know is, nobody is going to go too far out on a limb without some idea of the numbers.


We are encouraged to discuss finances here, just not Hash Inc internal policies and their internal finances. For the publication of a magazine you really must discuss and itemize all the particulars of it's financing. This to avoid the inevitable results of the old adage, "Those who fail to plan, plan to fail." If you are looking to finance a dedicated A:M Mag through seed money, perhaps the champions of such a product could start a Kickstarter campaign.

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