The idea of ransoming game material is definitely new and innovative. It’s being done rather successfully by Greg Stolze for his Reign supplements and there’s a Delta Green book ‘Targets of Opportunity’ which is being funded this way as well.

Shane Ivey wrote:

“If we collect enough “pledges” through Fundable.com to cover the various and high costs of manufacturing “Targets of Opportunity,” we’ll do it now. For each pledge, we’ll ship you a copy of the book by priority mail. (Or by airmail for fans outside the U.S., but the pledge needs to be higher to make up for the high cost of shipping.)

If this doesn’t work, we’ll hold off on it until we save up enough cash the old-fashioned way to release it. That would be … later.”

The 1000 copies of Targets of Opportunity will generate probably $35 000 of revenue. Take away fees for (6) writers and (1) artist and the cost of printing and it’s a small profit for the company.

Would I pledge? Yeah, except it’s DG material which puts it safely in the hands of kinnygraham. I’d only be tempted to read it if I got it.

Some naysayers describe it as a begging bowl. I disagree. Palladium did a begging bowl previously where they asked their fans to just send them money, old socks or whatever because you love them so much. For that you got very little. This is simply pre-pledging for a book, making a tiny profit and making sure that if 1000 copies are printed, then there are enough people out there to buy them.

I think it’s a good plan, though obviously with the names they have involved and the following they have with Delta Green (now the de-facto modern Cthulhu setting), it’s about a million times easier. Greg Stolze does his Reign supplements for $1000 a pop which he tends to meet quite quickly.

This idea really meets up with the ‘1000 fans‘ which I wrote a couple of months ago. 1000 fans buying $100 worth of books from you every year is a living, no? And what is $100? A main hardback book and 5 or so small booklets? As I said elsewhere – this isn’t about scamming $100 out of every fan you have but of working hard, getting good quality books out there and reaping some rewards. Obviously the RPG market is a tiny fraction of the music market but for some, it just might work (especially when you consider I’ve spent probably £200 (nearly $400) on RPG books* in the last six months.

*Maxx supplement, Saipan supplement, Sufficiently Advanced, Deathwatch 2000 Supplement, Reign, Thousand Suns, Psi World, Grimm, Dark Heresy, GURPS WW2, another GURPS WW2 booklet, Will To Power, Godlike GM screen and about $100 of PDFs just for starters…

About matt

Gamer. Writer. Dad. Serial Ex-husband. Creator of The 23rd Letter, SpaceNinjaCyberCrisis XDO, ZOMBI, Testament, Creed. Slightly megalomaniac
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2 Responses to Ransom

  1. Mark says:

    I saw this through boingboing recently: the reality of 1000 fans

    My own experince with doing free software pretty much convinces me that it’s not worth doing piecemeal. You have to do it all-out, not just full-time. You have do your own promotion, distrubition, community-building, be completely nutzo passionate, proflic, etc but if your like me and you just want to create, that’s a lot of extra work that I’m not willing to do.

  2. matt says:

    I guess it depends. It was said on the RPGnet forums that Crucible Design was ‘underappreciated’ when we were producing books. I think it’s more accurate to say that I was busy with a full time job as well as writing, proofing, organising, doing layout and negotiating with the publisher. It would have been nice for even one of the others involved to do some active promotion.

    As a result, we put nearly zero effort into PR and marketing and even less money. Any surprise we were obscure?

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