I'm finally at the end, both of this project and of the year (and the decade)! There are dozens of teeny steps I've taken with my final text, and I still have more to do, but I wanted to lay them out for you to answer the question: "I've written an entire adventure path, now what?"

Now, it's got to get into a publishable product people can buy and use and play. If you're freelancing for another company, you just send it in and your job is done. If you're publishing it yourself--like I'm doing--you have to do some more work ahead of you. Here's what I did, grouped by type of task.

Get a Layout Program. I know people who layout in Adobe InDesign or fancy programs like that. I use Scribus. It's free, and I've been teaching myself how to use it as I go along over the past few years. It lays out text and images just fine, incorporates images easily, and converts to pdf just fine.

Get a Background. I've talked about using cheap stock art, and one that I've started using is a stock art background image. I've been using the same one for all my Pathfinder Second Edition products, so I just used the same template for this one.

Decide on Fonts and Text Appearance. I dropped the text into a layout program, and decided on some fonts and spacing and such. What does my main body font look like? What do my headers look like? What items will I bold, or underline, or italicize, or some combination of all of those? I've made some decisions, and you'll see what I decided to go with in the image at the end of this blog post. I'll note also that fonts are a bit tricky, because lots of programs (like Word and Scribus) come with oodles of fonts, but most of these aren't legally permitted for commercial use. I research the fonts I use to make sure I can use them commercially, and I occasionally buy a font I think is really neat.

Drop in Art (Including Maps). I've purchased a piece of art for the cover of this adventure path, and I'm in the process of selecting and tagging all the maps I want to use (I discussed the awesome Dyson Logos maps in an earlier blog). Those will be inserted right into the file as well. This has proven to be the longest of these steps I'm listing for the Skaldwood Blight Adventure Path, if only because I've already taught myself other layout stuff with practice over many products.

Handle Legal Stuff. I'm using the OGL, and so must reproduce it, and I've got some Pathfinder Second Edition compatibility language and logos to include as well. These aren't too hard for me, as I've been doing them with all my products so far and I've got a lot of legal training. But these steps can't be skipped.

Edit. Again. When I put the text into my layout program, I'll see all sorts of strange nits. Orphaned words by themselves on a line (or on a whole page). Text that looks really wonky when flowing around an image, even a square one. So I'll go through my whole project another time and fix all these, which requires some further edits to fill a line, delete text from a line, or so on. I can't count the number of errors I've caught doing this, so the extra edit pass really helps me. People often call this work "copyfitting," as it's literally ensuring the text copy fits the page.

Decide How to Market It. I'm fortunate to have Owen K.C. Stephens as a friend. Run Amok Games did well enough with Pathfinder First Edition products, but I knew his reach could really connect to a lot more people. So I teamed up with his company, Rogue Genius Games, to push a greater reach. And it's really worked! I'm discussing with him now about how best to release the entire Skaldwood Blight Adventure Path. Although everything up until now has been entirely free--and it's enough to run the whole campaign from start to end--all the work I've just described here takes some time and has some cost. I'll therefore be charging for the collected campaign document, although just how much and in what final form remain to be seen. That's a whole other blog series, probably!

And that brings me to the end of this project, and to the end of the year. It's been a lot of fun! I'll leave with with an image of the layout I've chosen, one of hundred or so pages this whole endeavor will span.

Normal blogging to resume in January!