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Palladium Books® Weekly Update – April 21, 2011

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By Kevin Siembieda

Before I forget, let me wish those of you who celebrate it a very Happy Easter.

Future now

I mentioned some of this in a couple of recent Murmurs from the Megaverse®, but I wanted everyone to know about the many exciting ideas and projects we are working on behind the scenes. The plan: to take Palladium Books to the next level and new heights.

Phase One: The plan. Last year, after my father's death and my waking up from a fog, I spent weeks reviewing and reassessing Palladium Books and our potential. That led to my creation of a plan to bring the company back to a position of strength and growth. Months of research, discussion and additional planning followed. Heck, it is an ongoing process.

 

Phase Two: The Creators Conference. The Conference was a gathering of many of Palladium's core creators to discuss my plans for Palladium. Even though we had expected to run evenings of gaming and goofing around, most of us continued to talk about new projects, new ideas and honing our craft all night long. I tried to put things in perspective and set the stage for new development. We spent hours brainstorming. There were discussions and workshops about our craft and creating dynamic products, as well as ways to bring new people into the Palladium family. I must admit, I was surprised and pleased at the level of commitment almost everyone was willing to make. I was impressed by people who I already held in high regard. I think great things are coming from Palladium. And soon.

 

Phase Three: A strong foundation. Phase Three is in full swing. Before we take any giant leaps into the future, we must make sure our foundation is strong and secure.

  • Primary Objective: Make our RPG operations secure. That means releasing at least one new product every month.
  • Support all our game lines with an emphasis on Rifts®, Robotech®, Palladium Fantasy RPG®, Nightbane®, Heroes Unlimited™ and Dead Reign™, with a slower build-up to other lines including Splicers®, Beyond the Supernatural™, etc. Increased effort on the part of freelancers should make this a reality very soon.
  • Keep our products dynamic and push the envelope. We cannot simply "bang out" books. They must maintain Palladium's reputation for dynamic, quality products and strive to exceed the audience's expectations. We want to wow you with every new release.
  • Create games and sourcebooks that inflame your imaginations and never lose the quality you expect from us.
  • Set short-term and long-term goals, establish a realistic time table, set milestones, and establish creative teams.

Phase Four: Expanding our audience. Phase Four is just beginning. We need to reach more gamers and find new audiences. We know that most people who find and play our games love them and stay with us, but how do we reach a larger audience?

One way is to take full advantage of digital and social mediums. For months now, Alex, Wayne and I, along with Rex Barkdoll, Thom Bartold, and others, have been exploring the possibilities. And I mean ALL possibilities.

I hesitate to mention it all, because I don't know how quickly we'll be able to implement the many things we want to do, but here are some of what we have been talking about and will be working toward in the months to come.

  • Launch the new and improved Palladium website (we are only a week or two away from doing so).
  • Do more with Facebook.
  • Utilize Twitter, Flickr and more.
  • YouTube videos. Yep, you can expect to see a video interview (along the lines of the podcasts) every week from me, Kevin Siembieda (probably starting in May or June sometime), and maybe additional interviews from artists and others. We are also kicking around the idea of doing an ongoing Palladium book review series hosted by Carmen Bellaire, and other good stuff.
  • An increase in PDF and POD products.
  • E-books.

Phase Five: New frontiers. Role-playing games are our first love and will always be our primary focus; however, we are looking into new technology and new market areas to carry Palladium I.P.s (intellectual properties) into new areas of entertainment. The following are all being investigated. They are listed in no particular order.

  • Comic books based on Palladium RPG intellectual properties.
  • A web comic or two. Something short, fun and funny.
  • Flash games and apps for Facebook, the iPad, etc.
  • Finding licensing partners with the expertise to take Palladium I.P.s into new entertainment mediums.
  • Film and television. We are seeing a lot of interest from Hollywood and elsewhere in Palladium's intellectual properties, so it seems only a matter of time before something breaks in this area. We'd love to see films, TV shows, videogames, TCGs, board games, novels, toys and other products based on our I.P.s.

Many of the points in Phases Four and Five are new things for Palladium Books, and boy are we excited about them. We've been talking to creators, lining up people and laying out projects and proposals.

Vote in our poll - Videogames 
- Facebook/iPhone/Flash Games (think Angry Birds and Farmville) 
- MMOGs 
- TCGs (Trading Card Games) 
- Board Games 
- Miniature Games 
- Novels (fiction) 
- Comic Books (printed) 
- Digital Comic Books 
- Web Comics 
- E-Books 
- PDFs of existing and new books 
- Other

We need your help too. Buying Palladium products is always helpful, but we need you to help in ways that don't cost you a penny. We need to hear from you. We want to know what you would like to see from us. As you know, Palladium Books has the best interests of our fans and supporters at heart in everything we do. We have always tried to create the high quality products YOU want. So help us now. Help us by giving us input about the social mediums you use most and where you'd like to see Palladium (Facebook, Twitter, etc.).

Please take a minute to participate in our poll. Indicate what products and areas you would like to see Palladium expand into. (see the inset on the Right)

What is the category for "Other"? We don't know. You tell us what we're missing. What else would you like to see?

Make some noise. Talk about the Palladium games and sourcebooks you enjoy. Tell people about the RPG hobby you love. YOU are our best ambassadors and advertising medium. Seriously. Never underestimate the power and value of word of mouth.

Palladium is on Facebook now. Go there and talk about us and the things you enjoy about role-playing games. Answer the questions that have been raised recently about favorite characters, cover art, and much more.

Don't stop there. Don't just talk about Palladium on our website and Facebook page. These are great places to start. They are your home and Palladium community, but talk about Palladium and RPGs everywhere. Let people know why you like the game systems, setting, stories, art, etc. so much. Spread the word. Be an active part of Phases Four and Five. Be part of the process to help us create the products you desire.

Of course, you won't be seeing all of this immediately, and some may not be feasible for us, but we want to do a great number of the things outlined above. Many were discussed at the Creators Conference and are being investigated, and in some cases, being developed, as you read this.

Other news and information

UPDATE: Online sales. I'm happy to report online sales have continued to slowly pick up for the second week in a row. They are not at the level we need to see, but they're getting there. Pre-orders for Rifts® Thundercloud Galaxy™, Robotech® New Generation™ Sourcebook and the two Rifts® Vampire titles are increasing. Here, behind the scenes is growing excitement about Rifts® Lemuria and Rifts® Megaverse® in Flames, as well as a number of yet-to-be-revealed projects.

UPDATE: Rifts® Thundercloud Galaxy™ – Ships Monday, April 25. This book has characters, new races, gear, adventures and ideas that can be dropped into Rifts®, Phase World® and any number of settings to spice up ongoing campaigns. For an advance preview of the book, go to DriveThruRPG.com to get the free PDF download. It is easy to create a free account and only takes a couple of minutes. The preview shows the Trensik Mercenaries R.C.C. as well as a brief overview piece, a map of the galaxy and the Contents pages. The free Armageddon Unlimited™ Sneak Preview is also available.

Remember, DriveThruRPG.com is a good resource for getting The Rifter® numbers #1-48 and to fill in your RPG library with first edition copies of Rifts®, Palladium Fantasy®, Heroes Unlimited™, and other game lines as well as books such as Nightbane® Book Four: Shadows of Light™ and both versions of the The Mechanoids® RPG (1985) and The Collected Mechanoid Invasion® Trilogy (1981-1983).

UPDATE: Rifts® Vampire Kingdoms. I've been writing down ideas and writing bits and pieces of the book here and there all week. The vampire information is rewritten from the perspective of Doc Reid and offers a wealth of new information and insight about vampires. TheRifts® Vampires Sourcebook will offer ways to travel through and adventure in the Vampire Kingdoms — and live to tell the tale.

UPDATE: Robotech® New Generation™ Sourcebook. I still plan to work on this sourcebook in between work on the vampire titles.

UPDATE: Rifts® Lemuria. I spoke to John Zeleznik yesterday and he tells me the cover is almost finished. I can hardly wait. Author Greg Diaczyk also provided a few pages of tweaks and additions to the book.

UPDATE: Rifts® Megaverse® in Flames. I don't know why, but I've been thinking a lot about this book and can't wait to get into Carl's manuscript.

UPDATE: Dead Reign™ Sourcebook Three. I have two ideas for the theme of the next Dead Reign sourcebook. Now I have to decide which one to run with.

UPDATE: Alex. Alex's house has been stripped of debris. This afternoon he got the permits to start the physical reconstruction on the home. The house where Alex lived with his 88 year old mother, sister and two nieces suffered serious damage from a fire in January. They are looking forward to quick repairs and having their home back in a few weeks. Damage is extensive, but everyone is optimistic.

BACK IN PRINT: Two popular Rifts® titles will be ready to ship the same time as Rifts® Dimension Book™ 14: Thundercloud Galaxy™ – Monday, April 25, 2011. 
Rifts® World Book 8: Rifts® Japan™ – Ships April 25 
Rifts® World Book 13: Lone Star™ – Ships April 25

Available now: These items came back in print recently. 
Rifts® Dimension Book™ 6: Three Galaxies™
Rifts® Black Vault™
Rifts® Mercenaries™
Aliens Unlimited™ – A Heroes Unlimited™ sourcebook
Rifts® Baseball Caps

Murmurs from the Megaverse®. As promised, I've been posting much more in the Murmurs from the Megaverse® as well as Facebook. Twitter is coming soon along with other social media.

Palladium Presence at A-Kon – June 10-12, Dallas, Texas. Fan and Megaversal Ambassador, Kenneth Haun, has been doing such a great job running games at A-Kon, that Palladium was given a full page of events in the program. Fans in the area should check out this event. We've heard nothing but good things about A-Kon and Kenneth's events. We'll post more details in the next Weekly Update.

Palladium to attend Gen Con Indy – August 4-7. We don't want anyone to forget we'll be at Gen Con this year. Please stop by the Palladium booth to chat and get autographs, pick up new books and back stock titles, and have some fun. Palladium people you'll get to meet include: 
- Kevin Siembieda 
- Wayne Smith 
- Nick Bradshaw (artist; tentative) 
- Michael Mumah (artist) 
- Brandon Aten (writer) 
- Matthew Clements (writer; tentative) 
- And others to be announced.

QueenofGhouls.com – Kathy Simmons sold a zombie and scary nurse this week. Many other wonderfully creepy, new life-sized Halloween props are being constructed in her dungeon. They be appearing in her online store in the weeks to come. Ah, it is never too early to enjoy Halloween. The lady who purchased the zombie and nurse already has a Queen of Ghouls Mad Doctor displayed in her dining room. Now that's Halloween spirit. And a tribute to how awesome Kathy's creations are that someone would want one of her creations to be displayed all year long. Then again, Kathy is the "Queen" of Ghouls.

Birthday celebrations. We are finally taking time tomorrow to relax a bit and celebrate Julius' and my birthdays. Looking forward to some good eating, cake, ice cream and laughs with friends. I just hope Kathy doesn't put the actual number of candles on the cake to reflect our combined ages or there'll be another house fire for sure! ;)

Whew, that was a lot to talk about. I hope you are excited about these things as we are. Keep the faith and game on.

– Kevin Siembieda, Publisher

Read more about the April 21 Weekly Update

Palladium Books® Weekly Update – April 14, 2011

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Kevin Sembeida

By Kevin Siembieda

Hello, everyone. I hope it's sunny and spring-like wherever you are. I hope you are feeling alive, positive and motivated. That's how we're feeling at Palladium Books.

I know I had to keep things short in the last Weekly Update because of the Creators Conference (which was awesome), so I'm making up for it with a lot of news this week.

UPDATE: The Rifter® #54 – shipped this week. Subscriber copies went out on April 12. Distributor copies went out on April 13. PR copies went out today. This is another great issue with a wealth of fun information. A Heroes Unlimited™ adventure, Palladium Fantasy RPG® monsters and races, the Rifts® city of New Chillicothe, a Nightbane® story and the final chapter of The Hammer of the Forge, plus news and other good stuff.

UPDATE: Rifts® Thundercloud Galaxy™ – Ships April 25. The book is at the printer. I approved the pre-press digital proof on Monday. Tuesday the printer contacted me to confirm the ship date of Monday, April 25.

Roughly 30 freelancers got to see Thundercloud Galaxy™ over the weekend (our proofreader copy is dog-eared) and EVERYBODY loved it. We heard comments like, "it's great," "it's not what I expected, it is awesome," and which characters people wanted to play. Carmen Bellaire is dying to play the Shing™, the Trensik Mercenaries™ was another favorite. One of my faves is the Kasaro™ cannibals. People loved the new info on the Dominators™ and Gene-Tech™ too, and I can't even begin to tell you the fun everyone had with theThunder Duck™.

The Thundercloud Galaxy™ is a playground. Your playground. An environment filled with the bizarre and amazing, and chock-full of adventure. But don't take my word for it. Take a peek at the Thundercloud Galaxy™ Sneak Preview. Just a reminder, the Aliens Unlimited™and Aliens Unlimited™ Galaxy Guide books also offer many alien races that can be dropped into any space campaign. They are S.D.C. races, which fits for the Three Galaxies, and some can be easily adjusted for M.D.C., such as beings made of silicon or plant matter. There are Rifts® conversion notes included in both books.

UPDATE: Rifts® Thundercloud Galaxy™ Sneak Preview. The preview is available as a free PDF download from DriveThruRPG.com. It is easy to create a free account and only takes a couple of minutes. The preview shows the Trensik Mercenaries R.C.C. as well as a brief overview piece, a map of the galaxy and the Contents pages. The free Armageddon™ Unlimited Sneak Preview is also available. Remember, DriveThruRPG.com is a good resource for getting The Rifter® numbers #1-48 and to fill in your RPG library with first edition copies of Rifts®, Palladium Fantasy®, Heroes Unlimited™, and other game lines as well as books such as Nightbane® Book Four: Shadows of Light™ and both versions of the The Mechanoids® RPG (1985) and The Collected Mechanoid Invasion® Trilogy (1981-1983).

UPDATE: Rifts® Vampire Kingdoms. I've already started prep work for this title. I've reviewed new artwork and fielded a couple of emails on the subject from contributors. I may work on it and the Rifts® Vampires Sourcebook simultaneously.

UPDATE: Robotech® New Generation™ Sourcebook. I plan to switch from vampires to Invid and power armor, so I can get this title into production and assign artwork.

UPDATE: Rifts® Megaverse® in Flames has also been put into pre-production mode. The cover was assigned last week and I'm looking to start assigning art for it in the next week or two.

UPDATE: Rifts® Movie Option. It looks like the film option is going to be renewed for one more year by Disney for development by JB Films. Fingers crossed that a Rifts® movie is in our future.

UPDATE: Alex. After much discussion and numerous quotes on parts of the work, Alex and family have decided to repair the house that caught fire rather than rent or buy a new home. It will be less expensive in the long run, and preserves memories of the home. This is only possible because some friends have stepped in to do the work on the cheap (and it's still costing plenty!). Our thanks to those good souls. We have everything in place and the work should begin this weekend. With any luck, the place will be ready to inhabit within 5-8 weeks. There is a lot to be done, but everyone is excited.

BACK IN PRINT: Two popular Rifts® titles will be ready to ship the same time as Rifts® Dimension Book™ 14: Thundercloud Galaxy™. See full descriptions below. 
Rifts® World Book 8: Rifts® Japan™ – Ships April 25 
Rifts® World Book 13: Lone Star™ – Ships April 25

Available now: These items came back in print recently. 
Rifts® Dimension Book™ 6: Three Galaxies™
Rifts® Black Vault™
Rifts® Mercenaries™
Aliens Unlimited™ – A Heroes Unlimited™ sourcebook
Rifts® Baseball Caps

Palladium Creators Conference, a complete success. Last weekend, Palladium Books hosted a Creators Conference. Freelance writers and artists from across the United States and Canada attended. The goal: To take Palladium Books to the next level. We are done treading water in the aftermath of the Crisis of Treachery. For a few months now, I have been putting things in motion to make Palladium Books strong again. The Creators Conference was one big step in that direction.

It was part seminars and workshops and part brainstorming session. We discussed current projects, new projects, future goals, and processes for getting new releases out on time. The excitement was electric. The event was everything I hoped it would be. It has helped to focus and center us as a team. We have our goals set, projects (new and old) lined up and priorities straight. With a little luck, hard work and determination, you'll be seeing new releases coming from Palladium Books every single month. Titles you've been waiting for and new titles that will surprise and please you. All of them will be top quality and inflame your imaginations.

What did we talk about at the Conference? Everything. The rocket science behind making role-playing games and sourcebooks, writing, storytelling, marketing, and finding ways to unleash our imaginations in new ways in new mediums. We talked about current projects and plotted new ones. We dared to consider all possibilities and challenged what we know to find new ways to create fun. There was a bit of role-playing, and we talked, shouted, laughed and goofed around. I took my basketball machine, foozeball table and Star Trek pinball machine out of mothballs so people could play in between and have some fun. There was a real synergy – a connection and sense of purpose. No subject was off the table. Everybody shared from the heart. Everybody showed passion for their craft and for Palladium. The ideas ran unchecked. The energy level was high. Throughout the Conference I could see the lightbulbs going on above people's heads as ideas clicked over and over again. We talked for hours. I think everyone walked away with their heads filled with information and ideas, and their hearts pumping adrenaline. I know mine was.

Good things shall come from the Creators Conference. More than you may imagine possible.

Murmurs from the Megaverse®. I'll be posting more information, thoughts and information about the Creators Conference in Murmurs from the Megaverse®. You may be seeing more Murmurs from other Palladium staff and creators as well.

More positive movement. The new Palladium website should go live by the end of April. The new look and function of Palladium's website is just one of many things we are doing to promote Palladium Books and increase our presence. We'll also be doing more with Facebook, Twitter and other social media.

UPDATE: Online sales. I'm happy to report online sales have picked up this week. They aren't stellar, but better than the last few weeks. We're getting lots of pre-orders for Rifts® Thundercloud Galaxy™ and the two Rifts® Vampire titles, which are good to see. The momentum is building.

UPDATE: Birthday celebrations. Man, oh man, we've been so busy, I only got my birthday list done this week. We'll be celebrating Julius' and my birthdays on April 22 (they were April 7 and April 2, respectively). Wayne's is only a week later. Before the Creators Conference started, Carl Gleba gave me an awesome painted miniature of a Splugorth. Wow, it is gorgeous! Um . . . er . . . you know what I mean, as gorgeous as a Splugorth Intelligence can be. Anyway, I love it. Thank you, Carl.

Palladium to attend Gen Con Indy – August 4-7. We'll be there. We hope you will be too. Stop by the Palladium booth to chat and get autographs, pick up new books and back stock titles, and have some fun. Palladium people you'll get to meet include: 
- Kevin Siembieda 
- Wayne Smith 
- Nick Bradshaw (artist; tentative) 
- Michael Mumah (artist) 
- Brandon Aten (writer) 
- Matthew Clements (writer; tentative) 
- And others to be announced.

Keep those imaginations burning bright. Ours are working overtime.

– Kevin Siembieda, Publisher

Read more about the April 14th Weekly Update

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