Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Urheim Fanzine?

 As Urheim continues to grow in size and scope, I'm looking for better ways both to present it and to develop it in the manner I think it demands. For example, I've been commissioning art for it by the remarkable Zhu Bajiee (who's also been a stalwart of The Excellent Travelling Volume) and that's been extremely well received, which pleases me. However, I can't really justify that over the long term without some way of subsidizing the cost. That's why I've lately been contemplating moving development of Urheim to a fanzine. 

I have a lot of experience producing fanzines now. The aforementioned Tékumel 'zine has reached a dozen issues, with a thirteenth under way. I've also produced Imperio to support my SF RPG, Thousand Suns, though that's regrettably a project that's not received the attention I'd like to give it. Between the two of them, I've learned a lot about the process of making 'zines for sale and I'd like to think that, as the years wear on, I've gotten better at it. Given that, I have little doubt that an Urheim fanzine would be at least as good as those, if not better.

The Excellent Travelling Volume sells around 250 copies per issue upon initial release, with a few dozen more in the months afterward – and Tékumel is, by even a generous definition, a very niche setting. Those sales are just enough to cover each issue's art budget, as well as printing and postage, but not much else. I'd like to think that Urheim, being a more traditional fantasy locale, would have wider appeal, but who knows? Judging by Blogger's stats, my Urheim posts are popular, with several among the most read posts in the last three months. That suggests there's interest in it. Whether it's enough interest to support a fanzine, though? That's the question.

I suppose there are alternatives to a 'zine, but, given my desire to develop the site, piecemeal, either continuing to do so here, through regular blog posts, or through an irregular fanzine seem the best options. The excellent Wormskin is my model here, since it's been slowly developing the Dolmenwood setting bit by bit over the course of the last few years. I hope to do something similar with Urheim, though I'm not yet committed to the idea of a 'zine. In discussing this with others whose opinions I trust, the notion of a subscription-based newsletter has been suggested, on the model of the superb Glatisant

I'm still uncertain of the path forward or indeed if it's something I should contemplate seriously. For the moment, I'm going to continue to make regular Urheim posts here, at least through the end of the year. Come 2021, things may change and, if they do, I'll explain them decision here. In the meantime, if you have any suggestions of your own to offer, please comment or drop me a note. As always, I'm actively seeking advice, opinions, and alternative perspectives and appreciate those of you who offer them.


  1. I think the Wormskin model is a great one. Just release each issue as you see fit in term of frequency (even it's just PDF at the outset), consolidating and expanding the piecemeal material you publish on this blog. The only reservation I'd have with a newsletter (in terms of filling it with lengthy, gameable material), is I imagine most subscribers would delete it once they've read it. But maybe you'd be fine with that too.

  2. I have no suggestions to offer, as I have no experience in creating 'zines. I doubtlessly would be interested in it, though.

  3. Have you looked at the “Land of Nod” magazine?

    1. I have not, though people keep telling me it's great.