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D&D 3E
Adventure Writing Competition 
7th-Apr-2009 01:01 pm
6d6 Fireball (run by myself and Rob (WINOLJ)) are having an adventure writing competition. Full details are on the web site but the headlines are:

Write a D&D 3.5 or System Neutral adventure and send it in.

We publish the best ones in a module and sell it

100% of the profits goes back to the published writers as payment

The competition is aimed at writers who have never been published before so this offers a real chance to be published and start your career as an RPG writer. Who knows, you might be the next Monte Cook (not that there is anything wrong with the one old).

To help new writers, we are offering a feedback service. Send us you outlines or draft versions and we will provide feedback and ideas on how to improve the adventure.

The deadline is short (less than six weeks away).

A parallel competition is open for previously published / semi-pro writers.

7th-Apr-2009 02:30 pm (UTC)
Hmmm... don't see any writing/formatting guidelines. No real pay rates, or publication rights either. As a writer, that makes me a little more than wary.
7th-Apr-2009 03:45 pm (UTC)
From the announcement

"All adventures must be supplied in plain text (no html, word documents or similar) and be a minimum of 2000 words long. There is no maximum length. Maps (if needed) must be supplied but these will be re-drawn by our pet artist. So as long as you can make them readable, there is no need for any artistic talent."

Pay Rates:
"Winners get their name and adventure in print, a copy of the module and the prize money (but we don’t know how much money). 6d6 Fireball is run by Rob & I and we do it on a shoestring budget because we love gaming. We don’t have piles of cash to award as prizes which is why we came up with the idea that the winners get 100% of the profits instead.

As we are up-front guys, we have to warn you that this could be nothing, nada, zilch.

But it could be several hundred dollars.

The more we sell, the more the winners make." - Note see the "small print" section for more details

Publication rights:
"By entering the competition, winning entries are granting 6d6 Fireball exclusive copyright in print and digital forms on the adventure for 6 months from date of publication."

I appreciate some of these are vague if you are already a semi-pro/free lance writer. This is partly because we don't want to put 1st time writers with unnecessary complexity and partly because it is a competition.

If you need more details or anything else clarify you can contact me directly: Chris [at] 6d6Fireball [dot] com

7th-Apr-2009 04:31 pm (UTC)
Missed that bit. Mea culpa. Still, no guarantee of compensation/prize other then a sub-pro "credit" really isn't much incentive.

Edited at 2009-04-07 04:32 pm (UTC)
7th-Apr-2009 05:01 pm (UTC)
There is no guarantee of a prize because it is an adventure writing competition.

But, if you write a good adventure, you are almost guaranteed to get in.

We can't make any promises about how much that will be worth. I hope it will be more than you would get paid for the same adventure at an industry standard per word rate.

Ultimately whether it is worth entering depends on your personal circumstances. If you have publishers banging at your door wanting your adventures then you should ignore us.

On the other hand, if your work schedule is looking pretty empty and you want to earn some money and improve your reputation, why not enter?

7th-Apr-2009 05:20 pm (UTC)
Competitions typically award a prize to the winners. Just publication alone hardly looks worth it for the effort that goes into writing, testing, editing, and ensuring OGL compliance before submitting it to the contest. Suggesting a range zero to "several hundred dollars" doesn't look good. You need to offer something definite.

Also, what's your customer/subscriber base like? How many hits does your store get? What other modules of your own are available? If you only sell five copies of this compilation, how will that improve my reputation?

If I were writing for the RPG markets I'd want to see if it was worth my effort to make something marketable in such a short time. Publishers don't bang at people's doors for this sort of thing...

Nevertheless, I'm not sure whether this is the right forum to be making a call for submissions such as this, but that's a mod's call, not mine.
7th-Apr-2009 05:48 pm (UTC)
The variable winnings do make it an unusual competition I agree but we are upfront with the reasons and our situation. We have no problem with people deciding it is not for them.

It is a gamble, both for the writers and us. If we only sell five copies, you get nothing back for your time and effort. This would leave us several hundred pounds out of pocket and with a lot of egg on our faces so it not a good result for anyone.

On the plus side. Because of our low overheads, once we have shifted about 30 copies, the profit margin is significant and all of it goes back to the writers. Our rough estimates are that if we can shift around 100 modules, the pay check will be around industry rates.

We hope to repeat this process sometime in June / July for our Autumn release. By then we will have sales data on this model available and be able to give a more definite prediction on the prize money.

If this competition is too much of a gamble for you then keep an eye on our web site. I'm hoping that the next competition will more appealing to you

7th-Apr-2009 05:57 pm (UTC)
I don't think of it as a gamble -- I don't write for the game industry -- I think of it as not worth the time and effort. You need to pay your writers, plain and simple, and not make it a variable whether it's a contest or standard publication.
7th-Apr-2009 07:45 pm (UTC)
Uhm. There are lots of competitions put on by small/smaller publishers looking to drum up content where publishing is the only prize. I have several writer friends who participate in these because publishing in a small venue is better than a manuscript on the shelf. And really, how ridiculous is the proposition of a percentage share in the profit? If it's unacceptable stakes for you, that's fine, but they're being completely upfront about it and it might be more than worth it to others. Your questions seem completely logical for a professional writer, but irrationally critical for what amounts to an amateur weekend-writing contest.

Considering this is a D&D-oriented contest, I really think this is the most appropriate forum for this, outside of a sponsored community or something.
7th-Apr-2009 08:00 pm (UTC)
"...because publishing in a small venue is better than a manuscript on the shelf."

And if the venue doesn't pay or has a miniscule readership, you're better off leaving that manuscript on the shelf. Publishing for "exposure," whether it's for fiction or gaming, isn't worth it 99.9% of the time, no matter how well intentioned the market it.

"And really, how ridiculous is the proposition of a percentage share in the profit?"

Utterly. Offering a share of profits isn't worth the paper the contract is printed on if the profits total up to zero
"...irrationally critical for what amounts to an amateur weekend-writing contest."

I beg to differ. This company is selling wares on its website, and plans on publishing and selling the adventures it acquires. That makes it a business.

7th-Apr-2009 07:46 pm (UTC)
I'm not much of a writer, but I'd be interested in the module once it comes out. You'll be posting here when it gets published, I hope?
8th-Apr-2009 09:11 am (UTC)
Yes we will let you know when the module is out.

But don't put yourself down as a writer.

This is a competition for new writers and we offer a helpline service.

Send us your ideas / rough drafts and we will give you feed back and guidance. You can do this as often as you want during the writing process.

8th-Apr-2009 07:38 am (UTC)
Do you have any examples of the layout/cartography/presentation that would be expected in the final product?
8th-Apr-2009 09:07 am (UTC)
The short answer is no we don't.

This is our first module so we will be defining our house style and format as we develop the product. We have some very rough layouts but nothing that would be meaningful to show people.

As a general rule, we are going to a very simple, lightweight layout.

I'm not a big fan of modules where pretty artwork is used to disguise poor adventures. Or where the clip cart clutters up the page, making it hard to actually read the adventure.

So expect to see a lot of white space.

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