Ypsi-Arbor D&D Gazette Issue 1 Recap And Announcement

TL;DR: It went well and there’s a big announcement about Issue 2 (spoiler: get ready, the rest of Michigan, it’s your time to shine)!

Go read the Ypsi-Arbor D&D Gazette Issue 1!

Want to make sure you hear about any news about the zine? Sign up here to get updates:

Issue 1 only happened because of people (like you!) submitting their excellent D&D stories and artwork! It was great seeing the D&D Gazette go from half-baked thought to a group coming together to make a thing.

The Numbers

Before publication, there were some soft numbers for what I’d consider a success for submissions and people actually reading it. All told, we hit them, which is heartening! The big banner number was “will 100 people read stories from Ypsilanti and Ann Arbor D&D players?” It looks like the answer is yes! In fact, we reached twice as many readers.

For actual traffic to the zine itself we got a big boost due to timely retweets by friends and by local sportswriter @mgoblog who said the nicest thing about it: “a new challenger for Most Ann Arbor Thing appears… “

Here’s the traffic pattern from May 7th-15th, which was about the only time there was active “marketing.” As soon as I stopped actively pushing it the traffic disappeared:

Note: For those of you who know about analytics I have high confidence that this is mostly legit traffic due to how the URL was shared.

Additional Note: Page value is $0.00. That should read “there is no greater reward than the friends we made along the way (and also pageviews).”

What went wrong?

Oh, so much. Mostly, though, it all comes down to getting the word out. There’s so much happening all the time. In addition to the country burning down, there are a million and one other creative things to pay attention to. Rising above that, even for a minute, is a gift.

The “marketing plan” consisted of a hastily constructed email list, a handful of blog posts, and a few tweets. An anemic plan at best. I did, however, want to see how far it could go with just that, and it went a lot further than expected. When it came time to “release” I did a catastrophically bad job of putting the tweets together. As I noted in the tweet that ended up actually getting shared around, I didn’t even attach the cover image to my initial tweet. So then the one that got shared contained an apology about the cover image. Not the best look.

Issue 2 Will Be Issue 1

Many, many people responded positively to the first issue and that is amazing! One submission has already come in for the next issue, and Hannah Davis reached out volunteering to copy-edit, which is so sorely needed! After launch there were a number of typos that were brought to my attention.

It’s really fun to go from an idea to finished and shipped work. It’s also very hard because when it’s not bringing in money and is entirely a non-mandatory side project, your other options for how to spend your time are “literally anything else.” But, collaborating and making something like this is tremendously fun. We’re going to give it another shot. I believe in me, and I believe in you. Together we can make this happen. Go Team!

So, without further ado: for the second issue we’re going to expand our geographic reach to the rest of the state with the:

Michigan D&D Gazette!

If you seek a pleasant peninsula, look about you, and roll initiative, because it was absolutely a trap.

I toyed with the idea of calling it “Ypsi-Arbor D&D Gazette Issue 2: The Michigan Edition,” but as funny as that is, it’s a mouthful. “Michigan D&D Gazette” will work.

Tell all of your friends across this great state that their stories, artwork, DM notes, one-liners, and ephemera are needed. If you have a submission already, send it on over to my email at csalzman@gmail.com. A more formal call will go out in a few weeks.

Thank you so much for following along so far! Sign up for more news, or watch this blog!

See you in in the Michigan D&D Gazette!

Ypsi-Arbor D&D Gazette: Follow Up

We’ve officially crossed over a threshold in which there are subscribers to the Gazette that I don’t recognize by their email addresses. That’s an incredible thing, and also a bit scary!

A few submissions have trickled in as well and they have exceeded expectations. Send yours in too! I promise it’s good enough.

Read more about it on the original post, or sign up to get this thing:

More ideas for submissions:

  • Contextless notes from your last session
  • Description of how your character casts their spells
  • Late Winter fashion for the discerning elf that finds itself shivering and/or sweating in Southeastern Michigan

The sky is the limit! Submit here by emailing me at csalzman@gmail.com

Ypsi-Arbor D&D Gazette: A Zine

TL;DR: The Ypsi-Arbor D&D Gazette is a zine for empherma, stories, art, and other whatnot from the tables of Dungeons & Dragons players in Ann Arbor, Ypsilanti, and surrounding cities.

You can sign up to hear more about it and get a digital copy when it comes out in April here:

Or, email your submissions to csalzman@gmail.com with the subject line “Ypsi-Arbor D&D Gazette”.

What a terrible idea

I know, right?

This started out as a joke between me and @mollerwa a few months ago:

David Moll on Twitter: “I am intrigued by your ideas and would like to subscribe to your newsletter.… “

And the idea wouldn’t go away so I asked about it on twitter and the tweet got more likes and retweets than expected, so here we are.

Never joke on twitter, kids.

Okay, but really, why are you doing this?

Every time I bring up D&D in polite conversation I’m surprised to learn just how many people have played or are currently playing or REALLY want to be playing. That’s a lovely thing and should be celebrated because–oh my goodness!–have you seen the world lately? Exuberance over something as small as a locality’s tabletop gaming scene is perhaps the least we can do to bring a small amount of joy to the world.

I’m acting as editor, which means that I have volunteered to do the work of sifting through submissions and laying it out and making a PDF accessible. I need you to do one or both of the following:

  • Sign up to read the thing
  • Submit to the thing

Sign Up to Read the Thing

I’m aiming for a free PDF. If you really want a paper copy you may print and staple it yourself! Here’s that signup form again:

Submit to the Thing

One to two page somethings that are D&D related and from people in or around Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti:

  • Your very cool character
  • Shoutouts to your DM
  • Very good NPCs who everyone loves or hates
  • Combat stories of astounding bravery or astonishing cowardice
  • Doodles of your character
  • Art of your favorite weapon
  • Really good one-liners from your last session
  • DM tips – care and feeding of players
  • Player Tips – care and feeding of DMs
  • Magical items that you dearly love
  • Recipes for easy-to-eat-at-the-table snacks
  • Pictures of your dice: the lucky ones, the unlucky ones, and/or the very pretty ones
  • Small dungeons filled with horrifying secrets

Or: surprise me! For I am a simple human who cannot categorize your contribution to this thing in a bullet pointed list.

Please, send in anything you have that you think would be fun to include. I have no idea what will come of this, but I do know it’s worth trying. Email your submissions to csalzman@gmail.com with the subject line “Ypsi-Arbor D&D Gazette”. Please include how you’d like your name displayed (anonymous, initials, full name, character name, whatever) if you are chosen for inclusion.

Cut off is March 31st. Aiming for an April 30th release.


What if I live in LOCATION X?

Look, if you have a thin connection to the area I’m not going to police some arbitrary geographic boundary. Trust your heart.

What about GAME Y?

Lie and tell me it’s for your D&D campaign.