Blurb Submission

Introduction

Arcanacon blurbs are presented primarily via this website. That means that all blurbs must ultimately be converted into a format suitable for viewing using a typical web browser. As a rule, this means HTML, though there is scope for presenting blurbs as images (embedded in the page).

This means that generally it is best for blurbs to be sent to us as electronic documents. It is easiest for us, because your blurbs don't have to be retyped; it is usually easiest for you, because it saves the hassles of printing and snail-mail; and it has the advantage of giving you better control over how to present your work, should you desire it.

Since you can submit your blurb online, it's even easier to get your blurb to the organisers, have them check it out and let you know that its ready to go.

However, there are pitfalls to avoid and things to do to make electronic blurbs much, much easier. We've tried to list a few things that will make it easier for us to take your blurb and put it online and in the con booklet. Mostly it's guidelines - if you're not sure about something, let us know, as soon as you can.

File Formats

Everyone has their preferred writing program. Fortunately, many formats today are readily convertible. The list in the sidebar gives some common formats which we can definitely accept. Please provide your blurb in one of these formats, or contact an organiser if you have unusual requirements.

Where and How Should You Send It?

Online

Arcanacon has an online blurb submission system through this website. You can submit your blurb either by typing it in, providing a URL, or by attaching a pre-designed image or document. The submission system also provides for you to let the organisers know how many GMs you have for each session, and provide contact info so that none of this info is missing. This is our preferred means to receive submissions, as it helps ensure that we get all the information we need and is readily available to the great majority of writers.

EMail

If you need to email your blurb through for some reason, feel free. The best address to send it to is orgs@arcanacon.org. If possible you should put your images on a website, and send the orgs a url rather than lobbing the whole thing through email. If you're going to email the blurb to someone, it's often a good idea to cc yourself a copy of the mail, so you can see (more or less) what comes out at the far end. Check that you included your attachment, or that the URL you gave works (hint: cut and paste it into a browser. If it doesn't work for you....).

Other Methods

If for some reason you cannot use this website or email to submit your blurb, please send us an email at orgs@arcanacon.org and we will try to negotiate a means of delivery. This may require you to meet with an organiser to hand over hardcopy or physical media.

Formatting

Some writers take great care not just in the wording of their blurbs but also in the presentation. The right layout and font can make a big difference to how your blurb is perceived, and we wish to present your blurb in a way that matches your vision.

However, it can be hard for us to tell the difference between a carefully crafted typographical masterpiece and the default formatting supplied by your software. If there are aspects to the formatting of your blurb which are particularly important to you, please point them out in notes submitted with your blurb.

Fonts

The use of unusual fonts in HTML can be problematic, both technically and legally. We are prepared to do what can be done to display your blurbs using your preferred presentation, but be aware that there are limitations. Should you wish to use a specific font, your best bet is to provide the organisers with:

  • A copy of the license under which you acquired the font
  • A copy of the font itself in TrueType Font (.ttf) or OpenType Font (.otf) format

Without one or both of those things, we may still be able to accommodate, depending on the font in question. A font in another format (such as a Postscript font) may be convertible. The webmaster may be able to ascertain that we can legally distribute the font from publicly available information. We can even specify the font in styling and hope that the reader has it installed, and we can specify a good fallback sequence so that your blurb will still look good even if a particular reader can't see it in your preferred font. We can try all these things, but cannot promise.

Alternative approaches are to provide your blurb as an image (there's no legal problems with fonts used in images), or we can make your blurb available as a PDF or other common downloadable format. If your blurb is presented as PDF (or something similar), we will prefer to make an alternate version available in HTML, but at least it gives you some opportunity to present the blurb you desire.

However, when it comes to common fonts, please feel free to ask for a specified font. Some fonts will be available on over 90% of browsers, and even if they aren't available, the fallback technique will generally cover the difference.

Graphics

Like most material, adding graphics to your blurb adds another dimension to the information you can convey, if you have colour images that you might want to put on the website. It should also be noted however that neither the Arc site, nor the folks browsing, have an infinite amount of bandwidth.

Associated Images

As well as a free-floating image, there are other ways to use graphics in a blurb. You might want a background image behind your text, or a graphical heading for your game, or even want to provide a complete and ready-to-go blurb as an image. All of these require taking a bit of care, but shouldn't be impossible.

Headings are a special case of free-floating images, and only require the same care as above. Backgrounds have their own special needs - try putting the text on top of the background yourself, to be sure that if the blurb is printed from the site, you will still be able to read the text. Test it yourself - if your printer isn't very good, it might be a good test for how easy it is to read the text after it's been printed.

Image dimensions and Quality

Images provided for your blurb should be of as high a quality as practical, given that we all have limited bandwidth. Bigger is better, high resolution (DPI) is better, and a lossless format is best if possible.

Of course, the images presented on the web site will have to be of a reasonably small size, but we can reduce the quality of your images to save on size. We can't put the quality back in if you reduce it yourself. By providing us with the highest quality you can, you give us a chance to put the best possible quality on the site.

This means we would prefer you to provide graphics in certain formats, those which best preserve quality, such as TIFF, PSD or XCF. PNG, SVG or GIF are also good for certain types of images - generally non-photographic images such as icons, symbols, logos and cartoons.

However, if all you have is a photo in JPEG format, please don't convert it to TIFF just because that is amongst our suggested formats. That wouldn't restore the lost quality, and every conversion loses a little more. Send us what you have, in its original format, and we'll see what we can do with it.

If you wish to combine text and images in your blurb, feel free to produce a Word document, PDF document or document in whatever other format you choose (preferably from amongst the suggested formats from the earlier sidebar) to show us exactly how you intend the blurb to appear, but also send us the images you use as high-quality originals.

Beyond the Blurb

Now that information concerning events at Arcanacon is being distributed via our website, rather than by printed booklets, there is an opportunity to provide more information to the roleplaying public about your game than just a short blurb. While we must emphasise the value of a concise, catchy blurb for giving potential players a good first impression, it is easy to provide supplemental material, such as character lists, player briefs, background information, pictures of characters or costuming suggestions. Players may well only access such material after having already chosen to play your game, but it is a good way to get the information to them - easy both for you and for them.

This year, we hope to allow you more opportunity to update your event's page with such items as the convention approaches. We don't expect your character lists and background documents to be provided at the same time as your blurb. If you wish to add such material, please contact the organisers via orgs@arcanacon.org, marking your message clearly for the attention of the webmaster, providing the extra material and telling us exactly what you want done with it.

Obviously there are some practical limitations. The webmaster hopes to be able to attend to minor requests via a short update on most evenings, but sometimes he won't be available. (Sometimes he's at another convention, which may halt updates until that convention is over.) Try to keep your requests reasonable, and realise that you certainly will not be able to update more than once a night in any event.

If you need more control than this, you might consider managing and hosting your own page, off of the Arcanacon site. If you choose to do this, please let us know so that we can provide a link from your event's on-site page to your own page. If you lack web space yourself, you might ask the good folks over at Vurt.net to help you out with that.