Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Five or So Questions with New Agenda Publishing

Hi all! Today I've got some answers from Misha Bushyager, Eloy Lasanta, and Jerry D. Grayson of New Agenda Publishing on what they're working on, what they want to do, and what New Agenda Publishing means to them. They released a quick start this week for Orun and I wanted to highlight them while I could!


Tell me a little about New Agenda Publishing. What excites you about it?

A black woman in a black shirt.
Misha Bushyager
Misha: For me it was a chance to be the change I wanted to see. Too often when women or PoC or queer people ask for diversity, we get told to make our own thing if we want to see it, so this is us doing that, specifically calling out that it's what we're doing.

A dark skinned man in a green shirt.
Eloy Lasanta
Eloy: My answer is pretty much the same. I love to create games and stories, but we are using New Agenda as more than just another game company. We have a platform through which to help new voices, many of which are from marginalized communities really tell their own stories, ones very different from what’s already out there. I wanna be a part of that.

A black man in reflective sunglasses, a hoodie, and a tee shirt.
Jerry Grayson.
Jerry: Being marginalized is the same as being invisible. Being invisible makes you easily discarded or trivialized. I’ve always been told I can have a seat at the hobby table, but it's difficult when there is no chair. My agenda is to help provide enough chairs at the table for everyone. I’ve found my place, I’ve hit my stride, and I’ve achieved a slight amount of success. I want to play all that forward and help anyone, doesn’t matter color, creed, or orientation find a spot in the hobby. I want everyone to feel welcome and comfortable in their skin.

What excites me about New Agenda Publishing? The chance to amplify and execute ideas I believe in. To show that so-called minorities have just as much to offer to the hobby and industry as anyone else. To prove that varied backgrounds bring diverse ideas to the table and create something more significant than the individual creators. I’m excited to share a byline or credit with people of different colors and genders that want to make games.

What are the core goals of New Agenda? What is your mission?

Our core goals are to help designers from underrepresented populations successfully create games. This to us means more than just writing them. We want them to be able to find artists, and other writers and editors and distributors. We want to mentor people on both the creative side of games, but also the business side. We want to show them how to market, how to run a Kickstarter, how to work with a printer, all the nuts and bolts that get their games into the hands of players. Right now, we’re putting together all the foundations and structure for us to be able to do this.

How are you finding appropriate projects to publish and what are your criteria?

We decided early on that the first thing we did should be a flagship project that showed we could work together and that highlighted each of our strengths. We’re three very different people, all creative but with different backgrounds and skill sets. After we each separately came up with a list of ideas we narrowed it down to the couple of things we had in common and what is now call Orun is what emerged.

Going forward, we plan to put out a call for designers interested in either publishing mentorship or contributing to one of our existing properties. We’re refining the criteria but at the moment it’s: a new designer (one that hasn’t published a game before, contest entries don’t count) with a concrete idea of what they want to produce, and the follow through to help make it a reality That belongs to one or more of the following categories Person of Color Female or Non-binary Trans* Queer

A book showing planets and space with the text ORUN CORE BOOK.
The Orun core book cover.
What oversight will you have of products your publish to make sure they meet your standards? How will you handle conflicts?

The great part about this new venture is that we all have experience in what we’re doing. We all have quite a few projects under our belts, but now we’re putting our collective abilities together to make something greater than the whole. If you’ve checked out any of our projects in the past, you’ll see that we already have incredibly high standards for our products so sticking to that is key.

As for conflicts, I think the thing to understand is that we certainly didn’t jump into New Agenda Publishing lightly. It is a company founded on mutual respect for each other opinions and skills, and we’ve already shown that we can handle conflicts internally with communication. We all come from different gaming backgrounds so we already knew we wouldn’t agree on every matter, but we have learned to find middle ground that pleases everyone on a few occasions. Other times, we’ll defer to the person most experienced or most excited about a particular concept. Conflicts are key to learning how you’ll work together, and thus far, I’m excited!

If you wouldn't mind, what are each of your personal goals for New Agenda Publishing, both near and far reaching?

Misha: Near term I want to have a successful launch of Orun to prove we can take a project from soup to nuts and still want to work together. We're three big personalities but so far we've meshed well and I can't wait to see what else come out of our collaboration. Longer term, I want us to become a place where people aren't afraid to pitch us their ideas, trusting us to help them nurture their ideas to completion, and hopefully success.

Eloy: I’m never one to build go small. I speak my mind, I push myself creatively, and I try to bring others along and make sure others are doing the same. With New Agenda, I see the next step in my own personal goals of advocating and encourage the industry to continue to grow and evolve. Specifically, I see New Agenda Publishing becoming one of the few big RPG companies within the next few years. We’re starting small but our plan is to surge with activity as soon as everything is off the ground. Oh man, I really can’t wait!

Jerry: Near - I want to make games that bring everyone to the table. My Questing Beast is making something so excellent and inclusive that everyone wants to participate. To do this, I need the best and the brightest creative talents out there, and I believe many are not yet discovered. I can’t do this alone, I don’t want to do this alone, and I refuse to do this alone. The well is a lot deeper than any of us can imagine and the world is full of people that want to create and play the game. I want to touch them all.

Far-Reaching - I want to build a community that’s inclusive, sprawling and informed. For the longest time, many in the community have felt left out, underserved, and disenfranchised. The hobby community is like a huge quilt made up of many colors, textures, and points of origin. I want the community I play in to reflect that. I'm not one monolithic culture, and the hobby community isn’t either. Let’s celebrate what makes us different in a positive way. Ultimately, I want us all under that quilt snuggling and keeping warm together.

A blue and orange gradient backround with a rotating symbol of a circle and the letters NAP, next to the words New Agenda Publishing in white text.
The New Agenda Publishing logo.

Thank you so much Misha, Eloy, and Jerry for the interview! I hope you'll all look out for the Orun quick start and everything else that New Agenda Publishing has to offer!

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