The next episode of Aeryn’s Archives is one that changed my career trajectory completely. I went from freelance game designer and editor to full-blown editor-in-chief of a bi-weekly magazine from a well-known wargame publisher. So let’s dive into No Quarter #30.
This was the first issue of No Quarter with yours truly as editor-in-chief, and how did I land this illustrious gig? Well, it turns out I knew a guy. 🙂
In early 2010, I was working fulltime as a freelancer in the gaming industry, writing short adventures and articles for companies like Goodman Games and Wizards of the Coast. I also did a spot of editing on occasion. I liked what I was doing, but it didn’t pay much and my wife and I were scraping by and living in a town we absolutely loathed. Then, one day in February, I got a call from my buddy Ed Bourelle. Ed and I had become freelance friends over the years and talked almost daily over the phone about the trials and tribulations of working in the biz. Anyway, Ed had recently taken a position at Privateer Press, publisher of the miniature wargames WARMACHINE and HORDES, and the company needed an editor-in-chief for their inhouse magazine No Quarter. Knowing I had experience in the magazine department, plus writing and editing skillz, Ed asked if I’d like to come out to Seattle and interview for the job. My answer was in the “Does a bear shit in the woods?” area, and soon enough my wife and I were on our way to Seattle. Well, needless to say, the interview with Privateer Press owners Matt Wilson and Sherry Yeary went well, and I was offered the position. We moved to Seattle the following month, and I’ve been here ever since.
As I said, I had previous experience running a magazine, a 64-page black and white quarterly called Level Up for Goodman Games, but No Quarter was a completely different animal. When I started, it was 96-pages, full color, and bi-monthly (we eventually increased it to 112-pages). In addition, where Level Up was an RPG magazine that primarily included articles with illustrations, No Quarter was a wargaming magazine, and that meant miniatures and tons of photos of miniatures. That was all new to me, and I’m not ashamed to admit when I sat down at my desk and got the full picture and scope of what I needed to do on the first day, I was more than a little terrified. I left wondering if I could even do the job, but I came back the next morning with a plan that was essentially to break the magazine down into its component parts. Each article and photo spread (or cover or table of contents) was an individual job I could focus on and not become overwhelmed by the magazine as a whole. It got me through that first issue (as did the help of all the incredibly talented people who worked there), and I learned a lot. I eventually had a system in place that made publishing the magazine easier and more efficient, and I found ways to put my personal stamp on No Quarter. That’s not to say there weren’t bumps in the road. With a magazine there always is, but that’s a tale for another time.
Anyway, when No Quarter #30 showed up from the printer, and I held that first glossy 96-pager in my hands, it was one of the highlights of my career. So, thanks, Ed, for making that phone call back in 2010, and thanks Matt and Sherry for letting some guy you’d never heard of run your magazine. 🙂
All the back issues of No Quarter are available through the Privateer Press online store, including #30. Click the cover image and the link below to check it out.
Very cool! I’ve just got my first experience with the book editor gig, on an anthology. As you say, it was a learning experience for sure. Writing adventures must have been an interesting gig. Any you’ve written that I you’d recommend?
I’ve only written adventures for Dungeons & Dragons, mostly 4th edition but a little 5th edition too. Let’s see, I think my favorite adventure I wrote was one called “Dead by Dawn” that pitted a group of heroes against a horde of zombies. The goal wasn’t to kill the zombies (there were too many) but simply stay alive and fortify an ancient temple until the dawn. I had a lot of fun with it, and it was pretty well received at the time. That one was in Dungeon magazine #176.
Oo, that sounds fun. Might have to try to find a copy.
At this point Dungeon was a digital magazine, so copies are still widely available. Here for instance: https://www.dmsguild.com/product/146120/Dungeon-176-4e
Awesome. Thanks for the link!