It's been a hell of a week here at Fanatical. After weeks and months of preparation, the magazine finally launched, though not without a hitch. So it's time to take stock (both literally and figuratively) at what went right and what went wrong, so we can make Fanatical even better going forward.

Online launch

Fanatical's debut issue on DriveThruFiction

The decision to use DriveThruFiction as the platform to sell Fanatical was made for for two reasons. Firstly, we were familiar with its sister site DriveThruRPG, as that's where we'd been selling the TTRPG magazine Never Mind the Dice Rolls for the last 15 months. Secondly, DriveThruFiction's existence came about because OneBookShelf, the company behind the DriveThru sites, saw a lot of people posting tie-in or fan fiction about roleplaying games, so it seemed the best place to sell "tales from the tabletop".

When creating a new account on one of the DriveThru sites, which was done for Fanatical, the first couple of uploads have to be verified by in-house staff before going live. After this process you can set uploads to go live any time you want, but after 15 months of uploading to DriveThruRPG, our editor had all but forgotten to take this step of the process into account. As such the magazine wasn't uploaded in time to get verified for a November 28th launch. Instead, the first issue of Fanatical went live December 2nd, four days later than planned.

Print launch

Print copies of Fanatical on sale at Dragonmeet 2022

Fanatical was printed using the same company that had previously been used to print issues of Never Mind the Dice Rolls. The print quality is great, but an issue arose when there was an error with the formatting of another unrelated item on the same print order. Until that was sorted out, the whole order was held up. As such the print issues didn't arrive until the day before they were due to debut at Dragonmeet, the London based tabletop convention. To say this caused some stress is an understatement. Big thank you to Sean at the printers for contacting me and helping me get things sorted as quickly as possible. To be clear, Fanatical was fine, a lesson learned here is to never combine print orders.

But overall, the greatest lesson learnt through all this, is one we were told months ago, but failed to heed. No matter how much time you think something is going to take, double it, then round it up to be safe.

As such, whilst work to promote the first issue goes on, work on the second issue has already begun. The plan was always for Fanatical to be a bi-monthly magazine, Jan/Feb, March/April issues and so on. But the decision has been made to skip a Jan/Feb issue to give us more time to work behind the scenes, streamlining all our processes, from submission processing, editing, art commissioning, promotion and printing.

The next issue of Fanatical, the March/April issue, will be released February 28. With a slightly different look, but more on that later.

"Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better." - Samuel Beckett