I am getting ready for the Edmonton Comic Expo next weekend - and it is nice to have a little spending money (not much, but things are getting better). As such, I just came back from visiting a print shop where I've arranged to have the big map printed as a poster. I couldn't afford it's actual size: that would be 10 feet by 5 and a half feet, according to the printer, which would work out to about $500. I had to settle for 48 inches by 26.
Talking to the print guys was a lot of fun. These are people who deal with businesses all day and 99% of what they see is ordinary - nothing as intricate as the file I gave them. I got wide eyes and impressed questions, plus some great praise as I explained that it was created on Publisher one piece at a time. Since I am never ashamed about admitting that I play D&D or explaining what it is to total strangers, I was sure to tell them what the map was for. And as I have learned in the past, it doesn't matter that I'm talking about a game or something that many people seem to think is silly. The work is the work - it has the strength to startle anyone's preconception, if the merit is obvious.
Startling people is I wanted the map printed: to show people at the Comic Expo how much work I'm putting into my world, so that they'll make the connection to how much work I put into my books. A physical representation is more effective than a computer screen - not because it's real but because it is BIGGER. Even a really big computer screen just looks like the image has been blown up to size. A physical representation on paper can't be. I so wish I could have printed that 10 x 5 foot map; that would have stopped people at the Expo in their tracks, from fifty feet away.
Oh well. Someday.