An idea on error control

Elfman

Mongoose
Ok, this idea is a little off the wall, but I'd like to run it up the flagpole to see who salutes:

What if Mongoose releases a "pre-Release" version of the new book in question on PDF, with the following requirements/benefits:
1. The pre-release PDF is done in a limited, numbered run (say run of 100), where each PDF file gets its own number coded into it.
2. People who sign up for the pre-release PDF sign various non-disclosure agreements, with the knowledge that if their copy gets circulated, Mongoose can tell whose copy it was originally by the numbers and bring legal action.
3. They also sign a document stating that they will report all errors they find in the PDF to Mongoose.
4. Charge FULL RETAIL PRICE for the pre-release version, but include a coupon for a 80% discount when they order the final book directly through Mongoose.

Here's my thinking:
This keeps those casual readers from buying the PDF, as they will end up paying 120% of the cover price by the time they are done. If they decide that the pre-release is good enough and they don't want the final printed version, that's fine because Mongoose still gets the full retail price for the PDF.

Even with an NDA some people might show thier copy to friends, but I think this would end up being more like free publicity than piracy. With individually numbered copies, you'd have to *really* trust someone to give them your copy, and if they were that trustworthy they'd not want a free copy, would they? The threat of legal action would be enough to stop nearly all casual sharing.

If you keep the timetable short, say a two-month pre-release period before you gather all input and send the updated (and hopefully more error-free) copy to the printers, then competitors won't have time to rip off game information and ideas before your print version is released.

I'm not in the publishing business, so I have no idea about whether or not this is feasable. But Mongoose already has the structure in place to distribute PDFs, and this could significantly reduce the amount of errors in their new releases.

Plus, wouldn't it be cool to be one of those people with a pre-release copy? talk about prestige in teh gaming community... 8)

Anyone have thoughts on this? especially those in the publishing community?
 

slaughterj

Mongoose
I doubt you need so many, for one thing, as that many people probably will not be dutiful and it only makes for a greater likelihood of improper release. A smaller pool, much like playtester pools, could be assembled to help in this regard. An NDA is certainly a requirement (of course I'm biased, being an intellectual property attorney and having drafted and litigated such).
 

slaughterj

Mongoose
A side question for the Mongoose folks - someone from Mongoose responded on a site (here? rpg.net? ????) about a proofreader inquiry, and posted an email address - is Mongoose actually seeking such? Details?
 

Old Bear

Mongoose
slaughterj said:
A side question for the Mongoose folks - someone from Mongoose responded on a site (here? rpg.net? ????) about a proofreader inquiry, and posted an email address - is Mongoose actually seeking such? Details?

Since I took over as Studio manager towards the end of last year we have instituted a thorough review of proofreaders, who all have had to take a test, even the ones we already used.

Asa result I now have a team of 8 who are all up to a standard which I, as a professional proofreader myself, expect.

One thing of note though. I have proofed many of Mongoose's books in the past, and not one of them has been absolutely perfect. The horrid truth is that I turned out to be human, as are all my proofreaders (I hope) and the writers themselves. The same goes for the editorial staff at the Studio. Sometimes they are faced with 260+ pages of errata to deal with before a book can go out. take away the stuff that the proofreader missed, and add to that the fact that with all the distractions humanity has to offer, the ditors sometimes miss a note here and there.

Perfection? No, doesn't happen. From time to time we have a book delayed by a month or so. Often when this happens it is a development delay because we are working on making a book the best it can be, but the one thing of note is how impatient a lot of people become if a book is even a little late.

Publication is a delicate business, and here at Mongoose we like to think we get the balance as even as possible. Anybody who thinks this is an exact science though needs to do what my directors did and get a company of their own off the ground. A dose of reality can be sobering.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
M.O.B. after reading the book again, again, and yet again, I'm pretty convinced that ya (Mongoose) needs to have a lil talk with the printer. Most of the spacing errors look to be printer related and not proofreader related. I'm sure they do a good job for the price, but it is still comes out looking, well sloppy. I do have a question for you in regards to proofreading. Do Mongoose proofreaders do only spelling and grammer proofreading or do they also do content proofreading? It would appear the former is the case since the vast majority of the errors are in logic/content conflicts. If Mongoose feels there is a need for such content proofing, I'll send you some info, and I'm sure we can come to a mutually beneficial relationship. :wink:
 

Old Bear

Mongoose
Murte said:
M.O.B. after reading the book again, again, and yet again, I'm pretty convinced that ya (Mongoose) needs to have a lil talk with the printer. Most of the spacing errors look to be printer related and not proofreader related. I'm sure they do a good job for the price, but it is still comes out looking, well sloppy. I do have a question for you in regards to proofreading. Do Mongoose proofreaders do only spelling and grammer proofreading or do they also do content proofreading? It would appear the former is the case since the vast majority of the errors are in logic/content conflicts. If Mongoose feels there is a need for such content proofing, I'll send you some info, and I'm sure we can come to a mutually beneficial relationship. :wink:

All our proofers now check content as well as simple spelling, although sometimes alterations from writers can come in very late and only get added after the proof. As for printing, that's another story all by itself. Overheads vary enormously and with some of the print runs we do changing printer could increase the cost of books way out of proportion to what you lot would be prepared to pay. We have now stabilised our printing with one firm and overall we are very happy with the results they give us. Quite often the apparent spacing errors are actually not there, but are a result of full justification of text, which can on occasion jam up text rather closer than is optically comfortable. This is another trade off. We find that we can get several thousand more words in a 256 page book by using full justification rather than left aligning, which has to be good value for readers, hasn't it?
 

spydacarnage

Mongoose
As a recent addition to the list of the aforementioned 8 proof readers, I can assure you that content checking is certainly a part of my job that I take very seriously - to the point of checking / adding up all values in monster descriptions, etc.

I know how frustrating it can be to read a book with content that doesn't make rules-sense, so I do my very best to ensure it doesn't happen.

However, as Old Bear said, everyone in the process is human, so if errors do sneak through, I apologise in advance...
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
Thanks for the insight Bear. And spy, with you having to do spelling, grammer, and content, I know it can get hectic. Hopefully you have an "assistant" who's responsibilities include deep tissue massage, ale pouring, and mind clearing. :wink: Now ya say you're human, so I"ll take your word at that. After Skelos comes out ya might have to keep an eye on Ol' Bear's email though, if you're too human. :p

BTW, have ya noticed how FUN Conan RPG is to play? :D
 

Old Bear

Mongoose
On the subject of stats I regularly use a guy called Steve Mulhern, who you may recognise as the Statistical Analyst from S&P. I can't sing this guy's praises enough. On occasion he has given me 24 hour turnaround on stat blocks and he's practically 100%.
 
Hrmmm, he must not have been bought in on Conan. 1/4 of the monsters and a number of the animals have the wrong Attack and Full Attack stats. Some even have the wrong base. *shrug*
 
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