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Writers' Guidelines

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Hex Games is very interested in publishing work by freelance writers. However, we DO NOT accept unsolicited submissions, so don't send us your finished opus out of the blue. Such submissions will not be read. If you are interested in writing for Hex, please follow the guidelines here.

What We Don't Want
We are primarily looking for game supplements for our own QAGS Second Edition rules system. We are not interested in publishing supplements for d20 or any other “open” game system, nor are we looking to publish any original game systems. We also don't want to publish any game whose entire selling point is “It's like D&D—only better!” While we do not reject fantasy submissions out of hand, typical fantasy adventure games will likely be rejected.

We are also less likely to accept a submission if the genre or concept is similar to something we've already published or are planning to publish in the near future, so no monster-hunting games or horror genre guides. We recommend that you take a moment to look over our current product line and upcoming releases before submitting your idea.

Finally, Hex will not publish plagiarized work or work that violates someone else's intellectual property rights.

A Note On Supplements For Existing Hex Products
All Hex Games intellectual properties are creator-owned. While QAGS creators Steve Johnson and Leighton Connor have essentially given the company a blank check when it comes to Q2E supplements, supplements for other Hex products have to be approved by the creator of that particular property. If you want to write a supplement for QAGS Rocket Jocks, for example, you'll need permission from Joshua Burnett. In most cases, Hex will be able to help you secure the necessary permissions.

For our purposes, a “supplement for a property” constitutes anything that relies on specific setting details, characters, organizations, and similar details from an existing game. Books that rely on non-specific genre tropes and public domain intellectual property are not considered creator-owned for obvious reasons. For example, you do not need Steve Johnson's approval to write a horror supplement for Q2E just because he wrote Spooky, but would need permission if you wanted to use the Ampersand & Ampersand Detective Agency or the magazine Strange Times in your book.

If at any point the original creator feels that the supplement is not right for his or her creation, Hex has no choice but to abide by the creator's wishes. While we will do what we can to help resolve such issues and go on with the book, the owner of the property makes the final decision. For this reason, we recommend that you only submit supplements for existing products if you're sure they fit the style and spirit of the existing property.

If we seem a little strict when it comes to creator rights, just remember that the contents of your book will also be creator-owned, which means our guidelines will also protect your intellectual property.

Proposal
The first step in becoming a freelance writer for Hex is to send us a very brief (no more than 400 words) overview of your idea. Give us an idea of what the game is about, what makes it interesting, and why we would want to publish it. Think of it as an early draft of the back-cover blurb that would go on the finished book. Since the proposal will be our first chance to get a feel for your writing ability, we recommend that you have a friend (preferably one who is good with grammar and spelling) look it over before you send it to us. Once you're satisfied with the proposal, send it to creative director Leighton Connor.

Treatment
If we like your idea, it doesn't conflict with our existing product line, and any creators whose existing work you plan to use give their permission, Leighton will ask you for a more detailed treatment of the book. The treatment consists of the following:
●    A detailed, annotated outline. This outline should give us a very solid idea of the contents of the final book.
●    A writing sample of at least 1000 words. The writing sample should be something that will go into the final book, not an old essay from English class.

After we've had a chance to look over the treatment, we will decide whether or not we want to publish the book. If we think the idea works as-is, we will formally accept your proposal. If we think it still needs work, we'll let you know our concerns. As long as the concept isn't completely unworkable, you can re-submit your treatment with changes and we'll take another look.

Writing
Once we've accepted your proposal, it will be up to you to write it. We do not announce freelance projects until we have the book in our hands, so we will not set deadlines or constantly remind you to get to work. This does not mean that you'll be forced to write the book in a void. If you have questions, need feedback, or are otherwise having trouble, just let Leighton know and he'll find someone who can help you. 

Mechanics
When writing your manuscript, DO NOT reproduce the basic QAGS 2E rules. While you will no doubt be writing new rules for setting-specific actions, and including stats for equipment, characters, and other setting trappings, your book should be a supplement for Q2E, not a stand-alone game. If your book requires changes or alterations to the basic mechanics, write them in terms of the existing rules, making reference to the Q2E rulebook and/or the Qik Start Rules. 

While Q2E is not an open-license system, general mechanics (for example, rules for playing football or stats for a basset hound) are not considered creator-owned and may be used by other authors for future game supplements.

Content Editing
Once you've submitted your initial draft, we will read through it and offer suggestions about the overall organization, style, mechanics, and other “big picture” content of your manuscript. If there are major problems, we'll let you know what they are and, if possible, suggest ways to fix them. While it's up to you whether or not to follow our advice, we will not publish a product that does not meet our standards.

Copy Editing
You are responsible for copy editing the final draft and making sure that it's relatively free of spelling and grammatical errors and other common mistakes. Since writers are very prone to missing their own errors, and since it's easy to miss things once you've looked at a piece of writing over and over, we highly recommend recruiting a friend to edit your manuscript or use the Hex editing service (see "Optional Services"). When you submit your final draft, our copy editors will take a look at the manuscript and correct any remaining problems. If the manuscript contains extensive errors, we will send it back and ask you to do further editing and resubmit the text.

Art
In most cases Hex will provide illustrations for your book, but you may provide artwork if you choose.  Other than printing, art is usually the most expensive part of producing a book, so if you provide your own artwork you'll get a higher royalty percentage. This should go without saying, but we can only use artwork with the artist's permission, so don't plan on swiping your artwork from Larry Elmore's website or anything like that. In addition to the PDF, your agreement with the artist must allow us to use the art for promotional purposes and printed version of the book (if a print version is produced). Clip art is acceptable in some cases, but we generally prefer original artwork. Finally, any artwork that you provide must meet our publication standards. If you're planning on providing the art for your book, we highly recommend that you send us a few samples from the artist you intend to use before commissioning the illustrations.

Layout
You are responsible for the layout of your book. If you can't or don't want to do the layout yourself, we will find someone to do it for a small fee. (see "Optional Services"). The layout of your book must conform to certain formatting, trade dress, and technological requirements, which we will provide to you. As you've probably already guessed, it must also meet our publication standards.

Yes, We're Picky
It may sound like we're somewhat obsessive about making sure that submissions meet our standards. That's because we are. Your supplement will bear the Hex logo and its quality will reflect on our company. While we have yet to publish a perfect, 100% error-free book, we strive to get as close to that goal as possible. Since the book will also reflect on you as a writer and designer, you should feel the same way.

Product Release
Once we are satisfied with the product, we will officially announce it as an upcoming product, set a release date, and begin marketing the book. The release date will be determined based on our current schedule for in-house books, but will generally be within 3 months of the book's completion. The initial release of the book will be in PDF format. After that, the Creative and Marketing departments will determine whether a print version will be produced and, if so, when it will be released.

Payment
Writers are paid royalties based on sales of the book. Payments are made annually, usually in January or February. The standard royalty for PDF products is 30% of the book's cover price. If the author provides the art work, the royalty is 50%. If we decide to do a print version of the book, the author gets a flat 20% of the cover price, regardless of who provided the artwork for the PDF.

Effective 2014: In order to reduce PayPal fees, if your royalty total for the year is less than $25, we will carry the balance over to the following year's payment unless you request otherwise. 

If the book (PDF or print) is based on or draws heavily from an existing Hex product (for example, a supplement for M-Force or an adventure for Qerth), the author's royalty rate is reduced by 5%, which goes to the owner of the property from which your work is derived. Think of it as a licensing fee.

Review copies, author copies (see below), and copies of the book given away for promotional purposes are not counted when calculating author royalties (since we don't make any money off of them).

Author Copies
The author will receive a copy of the finished PDF. You can send copies of this file to anyone you'd like, but we ask that you exercise some selectivity and that you don't make the file available to the general public. If you post the file on your website for free, people are unlikely to pay for it through normal channels, which means neither of us makes any money.

If we decide to publish a print version of your book, you will receive 1 complimentary copy. Additional copies may be purchased for 50% of the book's cover price. Such copies are not considered sales for purposes of calculating royalties.

Optional Services
If you can't handle all of the editing, layout, and writing on your own, Hex can help you out. However, since this extra work is not included in the standard royalty calculations, we'll have to charge you for it. Luckily, we work cheap. Our standard rates are outlined below.

Additional Copy Editing* $0.50/page**
Layout $1.00/page**
Cover Layout (front & back) $5
Additional Writing*** $0.03/word

*If we reject your manuscript due to extensive errors, and you don't want to correct them yourself, we'll find someone to do it for you.
**Page count is based on the final product and does not include covers, Qik Start Rules, or ad pages.         
***If there's a section you're having trouble with or have no interest in writing, we will attempt to find a Hex staffer or freelancer to write the section for you.

All fees for optional services are deducted from the author's royalty payment (or payments, if the total is greater than the initial royalty total).

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