Frequently Asked Questions

I can safely say that the book is different from anything else out there that has been written about Sierra. There isn’t a lot about individual games and individual designers, other than Roberta (my wife). If I were to summarize the topics I cover in the book, it would be:
 
  • Autobiographical: Including the story of how Roberta and I met.
  • Business Strategies: Sierra’s marketing, product and acquisition strategies.
  • Roberta’s games: Behind the scenes on the making of Mystery House, Wizard and the Princess, and King’s Quest 8
  • Fun Stuff: Along the way I met with people like: Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos, Jim Henson, Steve Wozniak, Steve Jobs, Johnny Hart, Daryl Gates, John Travolta, etc. There are some stories of those encounters that I thought might interest readers.
  • Opinions: I am often asked, “How do I break into the games business?”.  I give my perspective on that topic. There’s also a chapter that many people won’t relate to, but that readers who are software developers will have strong opinions on. I give my vision of what makes good code, and how debugging should be done.
  • Softporn: Background on the infamous photo shoot.
  • Litigation: Sierra’s Atari lawsuit over Pacman
  • The PC Jr: How Sierra almost died in 1983 but was saved by IBM
  • Management: Sierra had nearly 1,000 employees scattered all over the world. I talk about how I was able to manage the operation while maintaining creativity
  • What happened? Why did Sierra collapse: The behind the scenes story of what ripped Sierra apart at the end.
It is currently 408 pages with color images on about a third of the pages. I’m planning to print it in color. It is designed to be a 6″x9″ paperback. The print quality is good (but, not awesome). I’m trying to balance quality with cost.
 
You can see a printed copy of the book by clicking this link:
 

The idea had never occurred to me, but several people have asked, and I confess that I’d like to have one personally, so: There may be! As soon as I can finish editing the book, I’ll work on figuring out the pricing. My guess is that the paperback edition is going to be priced at approx $30 and a hardcover edition would add $10 to $20 to the price. It’s not cheap to print 400 pages in color! 

The book is fully written and has been reviewed by a select group of friends. Roberta is still working her way through the book. I just printed 50 copies which will be arriving at the homes of ex Sierra employees the first week of September. All of the events described in the book happened 25 to 40 years ago. I’ve forgotten more than I like to admit. I’m trying to “get it right” as much as I can, so I’m soliciting the input of others who were there. I’ll give those people a week or two to give feedback, then take a couple weeks to re-edit the book, and then that will be it! 

Yes. The book will be available on Amazon, and they ship to virtually every country.

I think the answer is “almost immediately”, but maybe not. I’m currently planning on just doing print-on-demand, which means it can be available the same day it is published. That said, the advance interest has been higher than expected. If it looks like the initial shipment will be greater than some threshold (> 5,000 copies)  I’ll consider doing a larger print run. This would allow me to print at higher quality and lower the cost, but introduce a delay.

Printing nearly 400 pages in color is not cheap. I’m not seeking to make money on the book and will price it at the lowest possible price point. My guess is that it is going to wind up around $30. I’ll probably offer the PDF and Epub at a lower cost, like $9, but none of that has been decided yet. I’ve been waiting to finish the book, and gauge the demand, before thinking about the next step. I’ve been through publishing several prior books (about Roberta’s and my post-Sierra life as world cruisers on a small boat), so I have a good sense of what is possible.

Absolutely! There will be a PDF, and I expect there will be a Kindle version. I’m focused on finishing the book, but as soon as I have a final version I’ll convert it to Kindle format and then make it available on Amazon. My guess is that the Kindle version will lag the book by at least a couple weeks.

Roberta and I are happy to sign copies of the book. That said, I’m not sure the answer to this question is “yes”. It is not easy to sign copies. Normally copies are sent straight from the printer to the reader. We are not part of the process and never see the order or the book. For us to sign a book we’d need to physically be in the same place as the book, which would mean us taking delivery of the book, signing it, and taking it to the post office or fed ex to ship you a copy. One very real problem is that we rarely sit still. We are often at sea on our boat for months at a time. We don’t want pinned down waiting for a package to arrive.  Trying to sign copies is problematic, especially when it happens hundreds of times, and my goal with the book is not to make money. I’ll think about if there is a way to simplify the process and if I can come up with something then we’ll do it, otherwise probably not. 

That’s in the book! The quick story was that our boating season was canceled by the virus and I was stuck home quarantined with nothing to do and Roberta said, “Maybe you could write a book.”

I’m planning to do exactly zero press tours or interviews. I will probably link to the book on my website and social media, but I am not planning on “marketing” the book. I’m enjoying retirement! My days as a publisher are long over. I’ll make it possible for fans and people who are interested to find the book but do not want to push it. 

Well … I think so, but I’m biased. I’ll be very curious what you think!