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Ben L.
Father, academic, and lover of old school tabletop roleplaying games. I have a blog:
Father, academic, and lover of old school tabletop roleplaying games. I have a blog:
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I'm still looking for a printer, since I keep running into problems. What I want in a printer:

(1) I need it to produce clear and attractive black and white illustrations with rich shading, as well as crisp text. The blacks need to be black, and the shades of grey grey. I don't care about color at all.

(2) I need to print roughly 4000-5000 pages per issue of my zine, so anything that can't do volume is out. All photo printers are out for this reason.

(3) But I need it to be able to print consistently on nice paper, think matte 80lb text. The inkjet printer I have, the Epson TF-3750 works gorgeously at first on nice paper, but then eventually runs into trouble. So I need another option.

(4) I would love it most of all if it was a laser printer, since those seem so much simpler, faster, and sturdier. But I don't know if I can get that print quality from them. What I'm hoping is that you'll tell me I'm wrong and which laser printer to buy.

(4) I'm willing to buy an expensive printer if it will get the job done.

Any recommendations?

Zinesters in the U.S., a question about international shipping:

I've been mailing my zines internationally as large envelopes. The postal agents at my local USPS first told me I needed customs forms, and then when I came with a huge stack of customs forms, told me I didn't need them. (Although I love civil servants in general, these folks are kind of the worst.) So I've been mailing them without customs forms at a very low shipping price, commensurate with the shipping prices of people like +Daniel Sell or +Gabor Lux who ship zines internationally from outside the US.

However, after researching it more, I see that this is in violation of the US postal code. You can only mail without a customs form documents or advertisements, not booklets, and not anything with a monetary value. Instead, according to the postal code, I'm supposed to fill out a customs form for each zine, and pay $10-14 per zine shipped international (I think I meet that weight requirement). And lo and behold, I just had one internationally shipped zine, opened, inspected and returned because it lacked a customs form. Now, many others (all the others, I assume) have made it through. I know for a fact that a lot of my internationally shipped zines have made it to Canada, France, Spain, etc. I've shipped more than 50 zines internationally thus far.

But I'm afraid that I'm going to start getting more returned ones, which I then have to reship at my own expense, and which will be very late. And there'll be a cloud of uncertainty over the whole thing.

So my question is: how do you handle this? Am I misunderstanding something about how this process works? Do you just charge the higher shipping price, making a zine prohibitively expensive? Or do you just mail them internationally without a customs form and hope for the best? Or do you wholesale them to an international seller and handle it that way? (That's how I'm leaning for issue 2 currently.)

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I present for your delectation my zine, Through Ultan's Door, at long last available for purchase. Go through Ultan's door in this inaugural issue into the Ruins of the Inquisitor's Theater, a 30 room dungeon replete with oneiric puddings, delicate shadow puppets, giggling white swine, and much more. This zine contains everything you need to launch a D&D campaign in the Zyan, flying city of the dreamlands. The issue is printed on deluxe paper, and comes with a detachable cover that has a map printed on the interior by Gus L., and a separate card for encounters. Brought to life with stunning art of Huargo and brilliant layout of Matt Hildebrand, it is an object that may itself have come from beyond the veil of sleep!
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I have just set up a Big Cartel website. I have a question for anyone who uses Big Cartel to sell zines: I understand that generally people sell PDF only orders through RPGnow. But when you sell print + PDF orders through Big Cartel, how do you get the coupon code (or PDF) to folks? Do you manually send the email, like you would manually fill a physically order? Or do you automate it. If you manually send the email, why don't you just sell PDFs directly through Big Cartel and cut out the middle man? (Is the thought that people would be annoyed to buy the PDF and then have to wait to get it sent?) Do you have some way of automating the email with the link?

+Daniel Sell +Gabor Lux

Tumblr: The Bio-Occultist
Discord: Ben L.#3989

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Trial and error. I learned that 60 lb paper is really hard to fold nicely, even with the handy roller recommended by +Jarrett Crader . I pretty much have to do it sheet by sheet at that paper weight. I also learned about the importance of perfect staple placement. I wasn’t able to trim them yet, since I only have a Rinky-dink trimmer (a better trimmer is on the way right now). The printer I was using couldn’t handle more than 60lb paper, so I was limited to these two sample colors for the covers. I’m doing a detachable cover with the map, like an old school module. (I’ll use another printer to print the covers probably at a heavier weight maybe 80lb) any opinion which cover looks better? White (right) or this peachy off-white (left)
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Tunnels and Trolls 5.5 boxed set. Box is in excellent condition, sturdy and intact, with slight rubbing on corners (see photo). The contents are gorgeous. All contents pictured: Rules, Castle War, and pre-gens. This is a copy of the boxed set of Tunnels & Trolls I started with in junior high, and is still probably the most beloved version by fans. Amazing interior art by Liz Danforth. $50 shipped ground to CONUS. Willing to look into shipping elsewhere, but it will inevitably cost more.
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OK masters of the art of zine-crafting, next question: suppose I'm buying paper in the US for the cover of the zine, 65 lbs or round thereabouts. Do you have a favorite paper and source? More importantly, do you have any advice on color selection? It's kind of hard to know what it'll look like until I try printing it, but most places I have to order at minimum 50 sheets, which gets pricey quick for color sampling.

If you want to know what I'm looking for, it would be nice if the color was a little trippy or festive, given that the zine is about a dungeon that's theater themed IN THE DREAMLANDS. But the catch is that the inside of the (detachable) cover for the zine is going to be printed with a complicated (and very pretty) black and white map. So it can't be too dark for the details to come through.

Wanted to buy: Apocalypse World, Dungeon World, and Burning Wheel (maybe gold core and codex?). They have to be less expensive than I could buy them from Noble Knight or ebay or whatever. Can be used but I'd like them to be in decent shape.
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