The Book That Would Not Die
Way back in 2008, we launched a “ransom” to drum up the capital for printing and releasing a new Delta Green sourcebook, Targets of Opportunity. We had just released Delta Green Eyes Only in a hardback limited edition followed by a paperback edition for retail. Eyes Only was the first Delta Green project that Arc Dream created in partnership with Pagan Publishing, and it was a great success.
As it happened we had a LOT of material that had been written for Delta Green over the years since the previous retail release, Countdown, in 2000. I worked it out with the Delta Green Partnership and the authors of that old work to polish it up and release it as Targets of Opportunity. Since we had manuscripts in hand and they were in fairly good shape, we figured we’d have mainly editing to do and we could release Targets in short order. We launched the ransom, it passed muster with great support from the fans, and we went to work.
It turned out, we jumped the gun hugely on Targets of Opportunity, but at the time we had no idea we were jumping the gun. We had manuscripts in hand, we'd given them enough of a once-over to gain confidence and enthusiasm that we could polish them up quickly and move them out the door . . . and then the rewrites started. And kept going. And going. And going. And going.
In a different kind of publishing house, we could play hardball with everybody and say something like "Give me the final manuscript in 60 days or I'll get somebody else to write it." But this is Delta Green. We can't just pull in a stringer to replace a writer whose day job interferes with production. We use very specific writers for very specific reasons.
And I personally feel a great responsibility as project manager to NOT turn out substandard material, even if it takes way too long, because the standard was set so very high under John Tynes' leadership 10 years ago. I really do not want to become the guy who steered Delta Green into mediocrity. So, in that great tradition of Delta Green — I'm not the only one around here who waited on pins and needles from 1993 to 1997 for the first DG book to finally arrive — we'd rather release an awesome book that's a year late than a mediocre one that's on time.
What we've learned from all this is to be a LOT more conservative about when we start the pre-release process. Right now I have a complete DG novel manuscript in hand and most of the next Delta Green sourcebook — not to mention two finished Wild Talents books by Greg Stolze — but we're not doing a thing with those until the manuscripts have been thoroughly vetted, and we know exactly how long the revisions and art are going to take, so when we predict an ETA that prediction will have some weight.
But Where the Hell Is It?
Here’s the schedule for the remaining work in Targets of Opportunity and its release dates. These dates are firm.
As of March 8 we will have finished the final revisions on every chapter of the manuscript—even the ones that have given us the most trouble. Most chapters are finished and are already in copyediting, but the holdouts will come in over the next few days.
As of March 15, all copyediting will be finished and it will go to layout.
On April 12, layout will be finished and we’ll give it a once-over.
On April 19, we’ll do something that’s unprecedented with Delta Green: We’ll send a PDF ebook of Targets of Opportunity to all who ordered the hardback limited edition.
(You may already be asking whether the PDF will be available to those who eventually buy the paperback retail edition. I don’t know. That’ll be entirely in the hands of Pagan Publishing, and they haven’t decided yet.)
On April 26, we’ll send Targets to our printer. (Why wait a week? Because that gives readers time to read the ebook, and they’ll almost certainly find typos that we missed. As copy editors, we’re good, but it always happens.)
According to the printer’s estimates, on June 7 we’ll have the hardback in our warehouse and shipping to customers.
A Moment of Recognition
Targets of Opportunity is a fine book, and Dennis Detwiller, Scott Glancy and I owe a great debt of thanks to the writers who helped create it — Warren Banks, Kenneth Hite, and Greg Stolze — and to artist Todd Shearer, designer Daniel Solis, co-editor Adam Crossingham and copy editor James Knevitt, for their patience and goodwill as it has slowly taken shape.
We owe just as many thanks to you, the fans of Delta Green who jumped on the chance to support Targets of Opportunity back when we expected it to have a fast turnaround. I am personally very, very pleased to see new material for Delta Green — it’s been my favorite game setting since it first appeared in The Unspeakable Oath 18 years ago — and I’m incredibly grateful for the patience and support of its fans.
I can’t wait to show off Targets of Opportunity at last.
Arc Dream Publishing
Delta Green: Targets of Opportunity will be released in a limited-edition hardcover, available for pre-orders at www.arcdream.com. A paperback edition will follow for retail distribution.