View Full Version : Suspense & Decision

06-14-2014, 02:55 PM

Suspense & Decision is a magazine that I publish. It is published in PDF format, and it's primary focus is upon play by mail (PBM) and other forms of turn-based gaming. It isn't a comic book, but I do utilize comic book style art for the magazine's front covers.

Initially conceived as a zero-budget publication, Suspense & Decision is billed as a PBM magazine for the 21st Century. If you don't know what PBM gaming is, the don't feel bad, because you're certainly not alone. PBM gaming is a hobby of mine, and for some insane reason, I apparently thought that it would be a good idea to try and start a new magazine to cover the hobby and the industry of play by mail.

The artist that does the front covers for me, I found after posting an ad here in the Digital Webbing forum. Several artists responded to the ad, and I ended up choosing Anand "Kav" Kaviraj to create the front cover for Issue # 1. As things happen to have worked out, Kav continued to graciously create artwork for the subsequent issues' front covers.

Why comic book art for a non-comic magazine? For the very simple reason that I like comic books, and I have always found comic book art to be amongst the most imaginative of art.

Why black and white front covers for the magazine? As PBM gaming is often viewed by many to be a retro form of gaming, and because I am a fan of black and white inked artwork, I feel that the black and white front covers help to lend the magazine a bit of a retro feel.

Publishing a zero-budget magazine has its challenges, to be sure - and they are many. But, likewise, this approach also has its advantages.

My initial commitment was to a publication run of at least twelve issues - one complete year's worth. Having passed the halfway point, now, I find myself debating with myself over whether to continue past twelve issues, or to conclude the publication's run with that 12th issue.

The magazine is free for the downloading, by one and all. Making it free was the best way, I felt, to maximize reach and to grow a core base of regular readers who would gravitate towards these types of games.

Thus far, advertising has been free, as well. This allows small, independent game companies and game moderators a mechanism whereby they can get word out about their game, although established game companies benefit from the same mechanism, also. Historically and traditionally, advertising costs have provided obstacles and impediments for companies and moderators just starting out, particularly if they have no dedicated advertising budget allocated for trying to grow awareness about their games or their brand.

The current readership of the magazine is fairly small, but I look at it as pretty much a niche publication. This undertaking has been a learning experience, to say the least. I have tried to continually refine it, with each issue, although some changes and improvements are of the subtle variety.

Pursuant to this desire to continually improve the magazine going forward, I would also like to utilize it as a mechanism to increase awareness of individual artists. I would be glad to incorporate either image ads or text ads for artists who frequent the Digital Webbing forum, toward this end, on a space available basis. Being that the magazine is published in PDF format, it's always easy to just add more pages, but because it is a magazine that some might choose to print out for themselves, I try to make sure that it is published in 4-page increments. The first issue didn't, but live and learn, as they say.

The magazine has a monthly rate of publication, and each issue tends to publish on or about the very last day of each month. If you want an ad included, to advertise your skills and talents as an artist, just send me a private message here on the Digital Webbing forum, or you can post me a link to your ad that you create (whether image ad or just a text ad with a URL address linked to it) in this thread, if that's acceptable to the moderators here.

I really enjoy the Digital Webbing forum, and in earnest truth, I probably spend way more time here than I should.

I conceived of using a zero-budget approach for creating and publishing the magazine, simply as a test bed demonstration, of sorts. My thinking was that, if I could do it, then pretty much anyone else could, also. This, I felt, was in the best interest of the PBM hobby, if others began to take it upon themselves to create their own zines, magazines, or newsletters about play by mail gaming. Plus, any knowledge or expertise that I gained along the way of this journey in learning, I could simply share with anyone else who developed an itch to try their hand at creating something similar.

Anyway, this is my little creation, such that it is, and I wanted to wait a bit, before creating this Creator's Thread about it, so that no one would think that it was a one-shot Johnny.

Even after seven issues, the magazine is still a fairly rough publication. Free ads may seem like a one-sided deal, but ads serve to add visual interest to the magazine, and help to break up the masses of text that the articles form.

If it weren't for the Digital Webbing forum having connected me to the cover artist, I really don't know if we would have made it as far as we have, thus far. Regardless of the content inside, I find myself looking forward to seeing what the next issue's front cover will look like.

I do feel that the magazine could benefit greatly from incorporating art more into its interior pages. But, a zero-budget approach makes it inherently more difficult to accomplish such. I could begin charging for ad space, to off-set the cost associated with such, but that would entail tax issues. Honestly, I really don't know if I want to bother with that headache, when PBM gaming is just a hobby for me to begin with.

Ah, the dilemmas of creating something!

Regardless, I wanted to take a few moments out, today, to share this with my fellow Digital Webbing users.

- Charles -

paul brian deberry
06-14-2014, 05:08 PM
Hey, thanks.

i'm gonna check it.

06-30-2014, 01:13 AM
Issue # 8 of Suspense & Decision magazine will be published a little less than 24 hours from now.

I do have a few gaps to fill, so if any artist on this site wants some free ad space, whether for an image ad or for a text ad that links to your site, feel free to post it in this thread or send it to me in a private message. There's no charge for the ad space. Each issue publishes on the last day of the month.

I have to make sure that the magazine publishes in 4-page increments. Sometimes, there's some space left over, or a page or two here or there left to fill. The ad, itself, can be artistic or plain text, whichever your personal preference is for.

I post this as a reminder, on the off chance that any artists that happen across this thread might be interested.

07-01-2014, 03:51 PM
Well, we missed our publication deadline by about six hours and fifty-nine minutes, but Issue # 8 finally made it out the door.

Suspense & Decision magazine is not an art-centered publication. In fact, its pages are largely bereft of art, aside from what is contained in various advertisements that make their way into the pages, from issue to issue. But, the front covers of all eight issues, to date, have featured artwork of the inked variety.

The magazine's primary focus is upon play by mail and other forms of turn-based gaming. My personal focus tends to be on PBM gaming. Even though it incorporates art on a relatively minor scale, about as minimal as one can get, in fact, art still plays a disproportional role in helping the magazine to achieve an identity of its own in a world full of publications.

One of the main things that art has in common with PBM games is that both are heavily oriented around imagination. That is the core nexus which links the two, and which provides a foundation to build a magazine around - even around a genre of gaming that many felt died out long ago. I suspect that many Digital Webbing users have no familiarity with PBM games, as it has always enjoyed a degree of obscurity in gaming circles.

Having art on the front cover has proven to be useful in helping me to retain - and grow - interest in keeping this project ongoing, although my choice of wording in various articles that I author for this publication may often seem to be at odds with that statement.

So, in a nutshell, art adds not just visual interest to a publication, but rather, art has a way of becoming a positive driving force for publications in ways that may not always be obvious on their face.

http://playbymail.net/pbmwiki/images/2/22/Front-Cover-Issue-8.png (http://playbymail.net/SuspenseAndDecision/Issue-8-Suspense&Decision-PBM-Magazine.pdf)

07-23-2014, 06:58 PM
Issue # 9 of Suspense & Decision magazine will be published on July 31st, 2014.

If any Digital Webbing artists, letterers, colorists, or writers would like some free ad space, whether a text ad or an image ad, just drop me a line. This space is offered on a first come, first-served basis, as space considerations allow. There is no charge for this ad space.

I do need your ads ahead of the actual publication date, though, just so that I have time to compile them into the issue.

I offer this service as a courtesy to my fellow Digital Webbing users, simply because I'm a fan of this site and use it regularly.

08-05-2014, 05:22 PM
http://playbymail.net/pbmwiki/images/7/7b/Front-Cover-Suspense-And-Decision-Issue-9.png (http://playbymail.net/SuspenseAndDecision/Issue-9-Suspense&Decision-PBM-Magazine.pdf)

NOTE: Click on the image above, in order to download Issue # 9 of Suspense & Decision magazine, a PBM magazine for the 21st Century!

This was the last issue, before we head into the double-digit range.