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Catastropost
Feb 17, 2011

by angerbrat


Yeah, multiplayer wargames make the 'competitive' draw a lot harder to sell, and more broadly face design challenges larger than it may appear. Even playing 3 player necromunda like I used to, we'd run into all sorts of weird issues because the turn order wasn't just back and fourth.

That's not to say it couldn't be done, but it would have to be built from the ground up for it. It might need something other than conventional turns, also.

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moths
Aug 25, 2004



Secret win conditions may be a big step in that direction if they sow enough distrust to prevent alliances.

MadScientistWorking
Jun 23, 2010

"I was going through a time period where I was looking up weird stories involving necrophilia..."


Catastropost posted:

I realise gau hates me for some loving retarded reason but I just wanted to emphasise this. Paizo's books have excellent art, layout and production values, and even if you don't believe it's their main draw, it's certainly a substantial one.

Note that this does not mean their presentation of information is that good- in fact, they actually did some very 4e-style info presentation for their recent beginner box. But that again only emphasises how effective pure appearance can be- it's not even as if the rules are they easy to read in a standard pathfinder product. It's just NICE to read those books.
If they have excellent layout then why is their presentation of information atrocious? Its also a fundamental aspect of writing. If you can't convey information in an easy way then you are going to loose people along the way as they try and stumble through your writing.

MadScientistWorking fucked around with this message at Nov 10, 2011 around 12:52

Yawgmoth
Sep 10, 2003



moths posted:

they either default to two "teams" anyway or ganging-up happens, and it's really not so fun to be ganged up on.
Exception: when you get ganged up on and win, you feel like a loving god.

moths
Aug 25, 2004



I don't think people are buying pathfinder for the rules. In most cases they already had them, either in 3xa or the pf beta. Paizo is selling presentation and forums cred, and giving people a chance to buy a $60 gently caress YOU 4e WI$ARD$. In a lot of ways brand loyalty works for them the same way Apple's does. It isn't the best product but people have internalized the brand as part of their identity, so you can sell them the same randomized minis they ranted against last year.

E: ^^^Agreed

Yawgmoth
Sep 10, 2003



moths posted:

I don't think people are buying pathfinder for the rules. In most cases they already had them, either in 3xa or the pf beta. Paizo is selling presentation and forums cred, and giving people a chance to buy a $60 gently caress YOU 4e WI$ARD$. In a lot of ways brand loyalty works for them the same way Apple's does. It isn't the best product but people have internalized the brand as part of their identity, so you can sell them the same randomized minis they ranted against last year.
I really don't think this is the case. YMMV, but in my experience the people still playing 3.5e/PF are the people who just like 3.5e/PF more than 4e. I think it's rather ridiculous to rage as hard as 4e players do about 3.5e not "upgrading" to the latest edition, and the comparison to Apple is just as (if not more) apt; buying the newest edition just because it's the newest and trying to make a pariah out of anyone who's happy with what they have currently.

Of course edition wars in any game system are the dumbest loving thing in the universe - who the hell cares what edition that guy is playing? Does my playing 3.5e somehow limit how many new articles WotC releases? No. Does your playing 4e limit my imagination in any way? Not at all. I just don't see the point of getting mad over someone else's fun.

KuangMkV
Jan 25, 2003



Not to derail, but the idea that Pathfinder is successful only because of its popularity with 4e haters is ludicrous. This may have been the case when the game launched, giving it a nice boost to its initial sales, but the game's continued success and growth over several years are a result of the basic fact that 3.5 was a popular game in its own right and that people enjoy it for its own merits. It may not be anything radically new, but it is a valid expression of an extremely popular game.

Oxford Comma
Jun 26, 2011
Oxford Comma: Hey guys I want a cool big dog to show off! I want it to be ~special~ like Thor but more couch potato-like because I got babbies in the house!
Everybody: GET A LAB.
Oxford Comma: OK! (gets a a pit/catahoula mix)


KuangMkV posted:

Not to derail, but the idea that Pathfinder is successful only because of its popularity with 4e haters is ludicrous. This may have been the case when the game launched, giving it a nice boost to its initial sales, but the game's continued success and growth over several years are a result of the basic fact that 3.5 was a popular game in its own right and that people enjoy it for its own merits. It may not be anything radically new, but it is a valid expression of an extremely popular game.

Hey guys, I can only speak anecdotally about my own experience, but I went with Pathfinder because I hated, hated, the direction 4e went in. I'm not a huge RPGer at all but the feeling that 4e was a pencil-and-paper version of WoW is exactly how I felt. I started looking at the Pathfinder books, and really liked them; not only because the rules were familiar but because they were laid out just so well.

Darwinism
Jan 6, 2008

Hail to the king, baby.


KuangMkV posted:

Not to derail, but the idea that Pathfinder is successful only because of its popularity with 4e haters is ludicrous. This may have been the case when the game launched, giving it a nice boost to its initial sales, but the game's continued success and growth over several years are a result of the basic fact that 3.5 was a popular game in its own right and that people enjoy it for its own merits. It may not be anything radically new, but it is a valid expression of an extremely popular game.

Their initial success was entirely because of discontent with a new edition, though, and that was discontent they helped exacerbate. They've certainly nailed their niche since then, but Pathfinder only got off the ground because the OGL let them copy-paste the whole thing when 3.X was abandoned and because there were tons of gamers terrified of any change. 4E is not a very different system mechanically, like a lot of people want to think.

Plus, Paizo does know the value of good art, and that helps a lot.

KuangMkV
Jan 25, 2003



Darwinism posted:

Their initial success was entirely because of discontent with a new edition, though, and that was discontent they helped exacerbate. They've certainly nailed their niche since then, but Pathfinder only got off the ground because the OGL let them copy-paste the whole thing when 3.X was abandoned and because there were tons of gamers terrified of any change. 4E is not a very different system mechanically, like a lot of people want to think.

Plus, Paizo does know the value of good art, and that helps a lot.

Absolutely. My point, though, is that 3.5 was a well loved game in its own right, before any edition war bullshit. The same things that made people enjoy 3.5 D&D are still present in Pathfinder and capable of attracting new audience without leveraging 4e hatred. Just to be clear, I don't really have a dog in this fight, I think both Pathfinder and 4e have lots going for them.

Slime Bro Helpdesk
Jul 2, 2007


Hey Gau,

I think an interesting topic would be to talk vendors. How you find them, different avenues for entering the market, and which ones might make the most sense for a new company.

We've talked a bit about online publishing and ransom publishing here, but I think most game companies identify 'hitting the big time' with having a couple of their books at their FLGS.

MadScientistWorking
Jun 23, 2010

"I was going through a time period where I was looking up weird stories involving necrophilia..."


KuangMkV posted:

The same things that made people enjoy 3.5 D&D are still present in Pathfinder and capable of attracting new audience without leveraging 4e hatred.
Most of the stuff people found fun in 3.5E are not stuff that any normal person would find fun outside of it.

KuangMkV
Jan 25, 2003



MadScientistWorking posted:

Most of the stuff people found fun in 3.5E are not stuff that any normal person would find fun outside of it.

Be that as it may, 3/3.5 is the best selling edition of any role playing game ever.

MadScientistWorking
Jun 23, 2010

"I was going through a time period where I was looking up weird stories involving necrophilia..."


KuangMkV posted:

Be that as it may, 3/3.5 is the best selling edition of any role playing game ever.
Which is basically a surefire guarantee that this hobby is going to go down the drain.

KuangMkV
Jan 25, 2003



MadScientistWorking posted:

Which is basically a surefire guarantee that this hobby is going to go down the drain.

I think it will be okay. We're going to see a move away from physical splatbooks to digital supplements.

I suspect that core books will continue to be physically printed in perpetuity, but as increasingly expensive high end special editions. I wouldn't be surprised if a decade from now the average price for a hardcover rule book was in excess of $100 but that it came with a really gorgeous presentation ala Fantasy Flight Games' limited edition 40k games and feature additional content unavailable in the digital versions.

Zereth
Jul 8, 2003



KuangMkV posted:

Be that as it may, 3/3.5 is the best selling edition of any role playing game ever.
Didn't Gau dig up figures earlier in this very thread showing that it was, in fact, Red Box D&D?

moths
Aug 25, 2004



I was more referring to the tribalism paizo cultivates on their forums. If you buy more stuff, you can put "adventure path subscriber" or whatever in your avatar pane. Is there any other explanation for the ignored "playtest" than creating feelings of inclusion for the market segment that felt excluded by 4e? I'm not calling it evil or manipulative, but it is one of the more interesting developments in the gaming world this decade.

White wolf tried the exact same thing to a lesser effect with their "graduate your game" promotion.

KuangMkV
Jan 25, 2003



Zereth posted:

Didn't Gau dig up figures earlier in this very thread showing that it was, in fact, Red Box D&D?

That's the single best selling product but 3e/3.5 is the best selling line.

ProfessorCirno
Feb 17, 2011

The strongest! The smartest! The rightest!


KuangMkV posted:

That's the single best selling product but 3e/3.5 is the best selling line.

Untrue. 3e might've been a sort of "silver age" as far as sales go, but it didn't beat D&D in the early 80's when you had both the Red Box and the religious controversy.

Rulebook Heavily
Sep 18, 2010

Self Impaled King of Hearts And Storytelling


Zereth posted:

Didn't Gau dig up figures earlier in this very thread showing that it was, in fact, Red Box D&D?

I'd bet on either the old Basic sets from 1979 onwards or the Pokémon Junior Adventure Game.



As a point of interest, here's some D&D supplement print runs and sales numbers. Here's the numbers for TSR in 1992.

code:
Marketing statistics, found in the 1992 TSR Catalog (thanks to Ralf Toth for this info):

*First-year release sales of the hardcover accessories average 170,000 units (speaking of 2E AD&D hardcovers)
 
*Popular PHBR-series accessory sales average more than 65,000 units
 
*1st Ed Fiend Folio tome sold 190,000+ copies worldwide
 
*Forgotten Realms Campaign Set sold 175,000+ copies in total
 
*TSR calendars sold more than 75,000 copies annually
 
*Spelljammer Boxed Set (TSR1049) sold 39,000 copies in the first year of release
 
*As of 1992, each issue of Dragon magazine had over 125,000 copies in circulation
 
*Dungeon magazine had a circulation of 15,000 copies
The first four printings of the original D&D set totalled around 30.000, too.

Now on the print runs listings, the best-selling D&D Basic set is actually referred to by the name of the module included in it, B2 Keep on the Borderlands.

code:
B2 Keep on the Borderlands:  1,000,000+.  Source: 1999 Silver Anniversary Retrospective booklet
Over a million units. That's more than the entire 1992 TSR catalog combined. It's probably more than the corebooks and a large chunk of the supplementary material of the last two editions of D&D combined, for that matter. Keep in mind that the initial 4e core book print runs were around 120.000 each, and they were larger than the equivalent runs for 3.5.

(And just to add a little more, here's a bit by Ryan Dancey who has a great deal of expertise on what went wrong at TSR and why the TSR model should never be emulated by anyone ever. That link makes for a compelling read, and we also have hindsight on how well his solutions worked.)

Rulebook Heavily fucked around with this message at Nov 10, 2011 around 20:18

insanityv2
May 15, 2011

I'm gay


I actually play and like Pathfinder (at least way more than Gau does). But I really don't think people are out of line here pointing to the whole brand identity portion of the Pathfinder equation.

We are discussing marketing strategy and the culture within the Paizo community, which are separate and distinct things from the game itself. Both of these factors contribute to Paizo's success, but neither factor reflects upon the other.

In re: the Apple metaphor. Apple produces reliable machines, we have to admit that there is an aspect of conspicuous consumption involved in the marketing. The advertising in particular focuses on the identity of the products. You, the individual, might be buying a Mac because its a reliable machine, but the whole of the advertising is geared towards getting people to buy a Mac so that they can be Mac users and there are a lot of people out there buying Macs for that very reason.

I think a better metaphor might actually be alternative music, especially the scene the flourished in the early part of the last decade.

There is undeniably a certain "Hot Topic" aspect to the Paizo community, manufactured identity and all. A large part of what the Pathfinder community, not the game but the community, builds its identity on, is not being 4e players. This is similar to the way that hardcore indie music fandom builds its identity on not listening to pop music. As such you see Pathfinder fans who really don't dislike 4e all that much ragging on 4e in order to be part of the community. There is an aspect of conspicuous consumption going on, and the community as a whole definitely thinks that the fact that they play Pathfinder says something about them. Are they buying Pathfinder products because they are good products? Yes! But are they also buying Pathfinder products to express the identity described above? Yes. Does one being true make the other less true? No.

And if Pathfinder players are recruiting, good! But Pathfinder is an unknown to people unfamiliar with the hobby, and without reoccurring contact with Pathfinder players.

In a way, the fact that Pathfinder is a good game has little bearing on this discussion. As by the time that people figure that out, Paizo already has their money.

*All of these observations in re the pathfinder community come from the fact that in the past, I've done some volunteer work to get things like Pathfinder Society up and running in my local shop. I've met and talked to a lot of pathfinder fans.

E: here's the graduate your game thing moths was talking about : http://secure1.white-wolf.com/graduateyourgame/


Oxford Comma posted:

but the feeling that 4e was a pencil-and-paper version of WoW is exactly how I felt.

And we give a poo poo because? I don't see how that's relevant.

insanityv2 fucked around with this message at Nov 10, 2011 around 20:31

Slime Bro Helpdesk
Jul 2, 2007


Everyone who wants to be gay-as-a-pejorative-gay about Pathfinder vs. 4e should get out of this thread TIA.

(USER WAS PUT ON PROBATION FOR THIS POST)

Tolan
Sep 15, 2004
Rollin', rollin', rollin'...

moths posted:

I was more referring to the tribalism paizo cultivates on their forums. If you buy more stuff, you can put "adventure path subscriber" or whatever in your avatar pane. Is there any other explanation for the ignored "playtest" than creating feelings of inclusion for the market segment that felt excluded by 4e? I'm not calling it evil or manipulative, but it is one of the more interesting developments in the gaming world this decade.

White wolf tried the exact same thing to a lesser effect with their "graduate your game" promotion.

Uh.. actually you get the "<x> subscriber" title for actually subscribing to that part of the game line. There's a "Paizo supersubscriber" (or something like that) title for having multiple subscriptions, not sure how many it takes to kick in.

If you subscribe to the Adventure Paths (which is the heart of the Pathfinder line, despite the stupid-rear end Paizo/PFRPG grognards), you get a 30% discount on the AP books, 15% discount on basically everything they sell, and a free PDF copy of the AP books.

It's a really good deal and I've bought a fair amount of other stuff through Paizo because of the discount that I might have otherwise bought through my LGS or Amazon. I like the Pathfinder stuff, though, so I've subscribed to most of the lines they have--it's nice to get the free PDF and to not have to follow the release schedules closely to see when something comes out. There's only been a handful of products that were iffy in terms of quality that I've seen so far, and that's almost always writing quality rather than production quality.

I'm not sure they've ever really talked about how much of their cash flow results from the store part of Paizo as opposed to the AP and RPG segments. Since they sell most RPGs (even 4e!), I wouldn't be surprised if it's subsidizing the rest to some degree.

LordNad
Nov 18, 2002

HEY BAD GUYS, THIS IS THE VICE PRESIDENT, PLEASE DON'T KILL HIM!

Thank you Gau for this interesting thread.

It immediately reminded me of a comic hanging up in my local gamestore. It shows panel by panel of the owner's workload throughout the day (Best one is him sitting as his desk with a calculator "If I pay these bills and sell plasma, I might be able to eat for the week..."). It ends with a kid talking to the owner standing behind the counter "Oh you own a game store...?" Last panel is the kid walking away saying "Beats working I guess." while the owner sobs on the counter

Catastropost
Feb 17, 2011

by angerbrat


ugh, we are derailing into edition wars again. I actually think that there i a lot to what people are saying about brand loyalty to paizo, ect, but I don't really think there's much that can be learned from that situation. Sure, it worked for them, but it won't work for anyone else, and building less insane versions of brand loyalty and community probably take a very different approach.

So really, if this thread is about how to, and how not to, then paizo's comunity is not a good model. However, I wonder if despite what I said earlier, the same can, partially, be said about their presentation? After all, they have some advantages there, also.

MadScientistWorking posted:

If they have excellent layout then why is their presentation of information atrocious? Its also a fundamental aspect of writing. If you can't convey information in an easy way then you are going to loose people along the way as they try and stumble through your writing.
But everybody already read the rules to 3.5. You see, not only is pathfinder a wonderfully presented book, but it's a book that has to work a lot less hard on the more concrete and often contradictory goals of presentation.

When paizo needed good info presentation, they used it- in the beginniner box- and to do it, they even borrowed from 4e! But they didn't need it for their core books. That was one of their unique advantages that cannot really be duplicated.

This is course leads to a counter-argument against what we've all been talking up- pazio didn't need good information in their core book, but other games do. It might be better to talk about paizo's beginner box, as an example of how they deal with the real challenges a game deals with when presenting itself to the audience.

There's one exception to this, and that's in pure fluff. Even detailed fluff is not going to have the same need for info presentation as a game system. Then again, fluff don't tend to sell that well. Another take on mostly fluff is the way a FATE game does it- which can be very low-system, with just a few sidebars for aspects that might apply.

moths posted:

Secret win conditions may be a big step in that direction if they sow enough distrust to prevent alliances.
Yeah but a big part of any wargame is just kicking the other guy's rear end, there really needs to be a way to make actual gang up rear end kicking less effective.

Yawgmoth posted:

Exception: when you get ganged up on and win, you feel like a loving god.
It would be useful to incentivise it in some way, some sort of underdog bonus in play.

Catastropost fucked around with this message at Nov 11, 2011 around 01:06

Gau
Nov 18, 2003

ASK ME ABOUT THE KEYS TO KICKSTARTER SUCCESS

DeclaredYuppie posted:

Hey Gau,

I think an interesting topic would be to talk vendors. How you find them, different avenues for entering the market, and which ones might make the most sense for a new company.

We've talked a bit about online publishing and ransom publishing here, but I think most game companies identify 'hitting the big time' with having a couple of their books at their FLGS.

Sure! Gaming pretty well works like any other specialty industry, like toys, shoes, or coffee.

Okay, Gau, how do I get my book/game/atrocity into a store?

If you have a product, and want it to be in stores, the the first thing you need to do is find a wholesaler.

But why, Gau? Why can't I just sell to game stores?

Well, my good friend, there are several reasons:

1. Games stores won't buy from you. They get their merchandise from a wholesaler for a reason: it's easier and takes less time. A wholesaler like Alliance carries 80-90% of the products they could possibly want, all in one catalog, just a call or click away. They have existing terms and accounts with the wholesalers. It works.

2. Even if you do get a game store to buy from you, or put something on consignment, it's taking a hell of a risk. If you don't have an ironclad contract with them, then they might not pay you, or sell it and not pay you, or not sell it and return it. There are situations where it will be okay to sell to a game store, but they are outliers.

Okay! So, do I just call up Alliance?

Haha, good luck. The short answer is "no." Unless you're a huge startup, you aren't worth Alliance's time. They deal with big, million-dollar companies; your Yuppie's Guide to Poker in the Realms is not something they want to bother with.

What you need is a consolidator! These are like pre-wholesalers; they take a bunch of companies, warehouse their stuff, and then take around 12% off the top when it sells to a wholesaler. That is actually pretty cheap, if your stuff is going to sell (maintaining a warehouse could easily cost you that much). Consolidators vary widely in terms, prices, and connections; shop around before you choose one.

Wait, 12% of what? My cover price?

Nope! Good question. Game distribution generally follows a 40/20/40 rule: wholesalers buy from you at 40% of your cover price and sell to game stores at 60%. So your price, the price you're going to report on everything, is 40% of your cover price. Yep, that sweet $50 product is only going to get you $20 in gross revenue. Plus, you have to pay your consolidator, and shipping to the consolidator.

Okay, but how does that get my product in a game store?

It doesn't. Especially at the consolidator level, your product is only going to move if a store wants it. So now, you have to get your stuff in stores. There are a dozen ways to do this, from in-store demos to phone presentations to advertising. Different approaches work for different products. Once stores start ordering your products, wholesalers will start stocking them, and you can forgo your consolidator and make a little more black ink.

Okay, so I'll make more selling my books online, right?

Absolutely. The problem is that there are a whole pile of issues with getting people to a web store, as well. Also, people expect discounts for shopping online, which will simultaneously cut into your profit and piss the everliving gently caress out of any games stores your products are in (because it undercuts their sales).

God drat, that is a mess!

Yep. Retail manufacturing sucks rear end.

Gau fucked around with this message at Nov 11, 2011 around 07:22

CommissarMega
Nov 18, 2008

Bear Witness


What do you think about selling pdfs, especially if your game doesn't need minis or anything of the sort?

FactsAreUseless
Feb 16, 2011

Still totally okay with this situation.

Gau posted:

But why, Gau? Why can't I just sell to game stores?

Well, my good friend, there are several reasons:

1. Games stores won't buy from you. They get their merchandise from a wholesaler for a reason: it's easier and takes less time. A wholesaler like Alliance carries 80-90% of the products they could possibly want, all in one catalog, just a call or click away. They have existing terms and accounts with the wholesalers. It works.
This is also true for non-game bookstores. Ordering from small publishers or independently-printed books can be complicated (especially trying to get a wholesale discount from a small publisher so we can actually make money on the books) and the higher printing costs associated makes it difficult to stock them. Being able to order something from a wholesaler like Ingram is much easier. Don't try to sell your stuff directly to a game or bookstore.

Splicer
Oct 16, 2006

from hell's heart I stab at thee

MadScientistWorking posted:

If they have excellent layout then why is their presentation of information atrocious? Its also a fundamental aspect of writing. If you can't convey information in an easy way then you are going to loose people along the way as they try and stumble through your writing.
By "excellent layout" they mean "appealing to the eye". I could make an excellent layout in that respect which contains nothing but the words "lolbutts" over and over again. It'd still be pretty. (You are correct by definition but I'm enjoying this thread and I want to avoid the derail this would cause)

MadScientistWorking
Jun 23, 2010

"I was going through a time period where I was looking up weird stories involving necrophilia..."


Catastropost posted:


But everybody already read the rules to 3.5.
You do realize that you are talking to someone who has never actually read the rules to 3.5. Its the primary reason why I find it hard to believe that the fan base of Pathfinder has grown outside of the people who played 3.5.

Splicer posted:

By "excellent layout" they mean "appealing to the eye". I could make an excellent layout in that respect which contains nothing but the words "lolbutts" over and over again. It'd still be pretty. (You are correct by definition but I'm enjoying this thread and I want to avoid the derail this would cause)
True and technically the words you would typically see is "lorem ipsum". Still I find it a bit of a stretch to call a book that presents information in a more dense way than most if not all of my engineering textbooks as having a good layout.

MadScientistWorking fucked around with this message at Nov 11, 2011 around 17:26

Splicer
Oct 16, 2006

from hell's heart I stab at thee

MadScientistWorking posted:

Still I find it a bit of a stretch to call a book that presents information in a more dense way than most if not all of my engineering textbooks as having a good layout.
But, in the context being discussed, that doesn't matter. You only find out how well the information is portrayed after actually reading the book, by which point you have already bought it and they have your money. "Pretty!" jumps straight out at you. It is a pre-purchase consideration. "I have read the book four times and I still do not know exactly what "masterwork" means" is a post-purchase consideration, at which point a) they already have your money, and b) sunk cost justification (both money and time) will start to kick in.

(Again, you are are being correct in your issue with the use of the word "layout", I'm talking about the, admittedly incorrect, use of it in context)

MadScientistWorking
Jun 23, 2010

"I was going through a time period where I was looking up weird stories involving necrophilia..."


Splicer posted:

But, in the context being discussed, that doesn't matter. You only find out how well the information is portrayed after actually reading the book, by which point you have already bought it and they have your money.
I'm not entirely sure if hedging your bets on people being stupid while making a $50.00 purchase is entirely a sound business strategy.

Splicer
Oct 16, 2006

from hell's heart I stab at thee

MadScientistWorking posted:

I'm not entirely sure if hedging your bets on people being stupid while making a $50.00 purchase is entirely a sound business strategy.
It's very hard to work out from a pre-purchase read how well the information is imparted. You're not going to be able to tell how well something as complicated as a D&D-level complexity game gets its mechanics across from just a flickthrough, you're going to need to read it beyond the stage of "Buy it or put it down". It's not stupidity, just being realistic.

(Note: I am making no judgement calls on how well laid out pathfinder is, I haven't read the main book well enough to pass judgement. Plus I already know how to play 3.5 so I probably wouldn't really have any problems. Edit: As in I have a handle on the base mechanics already, not "PF is just a 3.5 reprint". It might be, but as before, I haven't read it well enough to say yea or nay to that)

And besides, relying on the time-based version of the sunk cost justification seems to have done well for the PF guys so far OH YES I WENT THERE.

Splicer fucked around with this message at Nov 11, 2011 around 18:28

clockworkjoe
May 31, 2000

Rolled a 1 on the random encounter table, didn't you?

FactsAreUseless posted:

This is also true for non-game bookstores. Ordering from small publishers or independently-printed books can be complicated (especially trying to get a wholesale discount from a small publisher so we can actually make money on the books) and the higher printing costs associated makes it difficult to stock them. Being able to order something from a wholesaler like Ingram is much easier. Don't try to sell your stuff directly to a game or bookstore.

Wow, small publishers that don't offer wholesale discounts for bookstores are dumb. However, Ingram and Baker & Taylor don't make it easy for small publishers. You have to pay several hundred dollars to get picked up by either one and even then, they won't do much, if anything, to market or sell your book unless you pay even more.

Gau
Nov 18, 2003

ASK ME ABOUT THE KEYS TO KICKSTARTER SUCCESS

MadScientistWorking posted:

I'm not entirely sure if hedging your bets on people being stupid while making a $50.00 purchase is entirely a sound business strategy.

As much as I appreciate the bumps, pandering to people who don't like your product and probably never will is certainly a poor business strategy.

FactsAreUseless
Feb 16, 2011

Still totally okay with this situation.

clockworkjoe posted:

Wow, small publishers that don't offer wholesale discounts for bookstores are dumb. However, Ingram and Baker & Taylor don't make it easy for small publishers. You have to pay several hundred dollars to get picked up by either one and even then, they won't do much, if anything, to market or sell your book unless you pay even more.
I wasn't aware of that. I don't know much about the industry from the publishing side, just the bookseller side.

moths
Aug 25, 2004



MadScientistWorking posted:

I'm not entirely sure if hedging your bets on people being stupid while making a $50.00 purchase is entirely a sound business strategy.

The video-game market is rapidly shifting towards a model where pre-ordering a title is the norm. The decision to buy this is based entirely on franchise reputation, hype, pre-order bonuses, and presentation. I realize that videogaming is not tabletop, but there is a very real precedent for people paying upwards of $70 for a game before it is even in stores.

If it sucks you probably won't buy the second one, but as noted before they've already got your money. With RPGs, it may be harder (or even impossible) for a consumer to recognize a lovely product as garbage. Edition wars have blinded most people to outside critique, clumsy or confusing rules tend to get ignored, and there are a hundred things to blame besides the game itself for when it doesn't work.

To put this into a previous example: If you've read the book four times and still can't figure out how masterwork items function, you just won't use them. If someone says this is a problem with your game, they're dismissed as edition warring haters. If someone bought masterwork thieves' tools and spent 20 minutes unsuccessfully looking up how they work, the DM will eventually rule that they give a +2 or a re-roll or whatever. And then there's always the catch-all "maybe we're just doing it wrong" or bad rolls to blame.

When you factor in consumer bias (which is essentially "Dumb people buy bad things, I'm smart so this must be good"), there are a LOT of grey areas for bad rules to hide in. With a steep price of admission, the gamer is immediately invested in enjoying his game.

A solid-written game with tight rules may generate a lot of buzz and get you more long-term purchases, but a $50 severely-flawed game could do just as well (or better) in the short term if it's polished enough.

clockworkjoe
May 31, 2000

Rolled a 1 on the random encounter table, didn't you?

FactsAreUseless posted:

I wasn't aware of that. I don't know much about the industry from the publishing side, just the bookseller side.

well I can talk about that since I'm a small publisher - (BUY MY BOOK http://www.zombiesoftheworld.com/the-book/ Kenneth Hite liked it!)

Distribution is a racket - almost all book stores use one of a few major distributors to carry their poo poo. Zombies of the World uses Partners Distribution right now http://partnerspublishersgroup.com/ and they haven't charged me for signing up (but they have for shipping books to them) and I'm not sure how they would handle other new publishers. They're smaller so you have contact them to see what kind of deal you can get with them.

Anyway, I contacted the Barnes & Noble small press division and sent them a copy of ZOTW. http://www.barnesandnobleinc.com/fo...rk_with_bn.html

B&N accepted it and they use Partners distribution so they ordered copies from Partners.

I looked into Hastings and Books A Million but both they only use Ingram and Baker & Taylor.

Take a look at the Baker & Taylor Vendor application - from http://www.btol.com/pdfs/EstRelationship.pdf

quote:

STANDARD PROGRAM – $125.00*
Your title(s) will be listed on our database as available for order to our customers.
§ Title(s) will be purchased initially to fulfill our customer backorders only. Your title(s) will not be stocked
until consistent demand is established.

*This is one time, non-refundable set up fee to have all your titles listed with us.

PREMIUM PROGRAM - $350.00*
Includes the same benefits as the Standard Program above as well as:
§ Advertising for paid title(s)* in one of Baker & Taylor’s nationally circulated catalogs. A one-time super
annotation featuring your book description and jacket art, provided by the publisher, will appear in one of our
catalogs. We will support the placement of your superannotation with a minimum inventory purchase to be
determined upon acceptance.

*$350 is for one advertised title and includes a one time, no-refundablee set up fee. We will accept up to four
additional titles for super annotations if submitted at time of enrollment. The cost is $200 per additional title.
Titles can be no more than one (1) year past publication date to be considered.

PREMIUM PLUS PROGRAM - $450.00*
Includes the same benefits as the Standard and Premium Program above as well as:
§ One year subscription to Publisher Alley, an online tool for in-depth analysis of book sales through Baker &
Taylor which will include daily sales, demand, and inventory updates of your titles.

*$450 is for one advertised title plus Pub Alley subscription and includes a one time, non-refundable set up fee.
We will accept up to four additional titles for super annotations if submitted at time of enrollment. The cost is
$200 per additional title. Visit http://www.puballey.com for a features demonstration.


And this is only if they accept you. So you have to sell a lot of copies just to break even to the major chains.

You can market directly to libraries and book stores via the IBPA http://www.ibpa-online.org/

You sign up with them and then you can get in their regular marketing campaign - for example they will send a flier you supply to them to 4,000 libraries http://www.ibpa-online.org/programs/library.aspx but this costs in addition to the cost of printing and mailing the fliers to IBPA.

I haven't done that yet because I'm trying to finish up a ZOTW based novel so I can promote two books instead of one.

Jedi425
Dec 6, 2002

THOU ART THEE ART THOU STICK YOUR HAND IN THE TV DO IT DO IT DO IT

clockworkjoe posted:

well I can talk about that since I'm a small publisher - (BUY MY BOOK http://www.zombiesoftheworld.com/the-book/ Kenneth Hite liked it!)

Can you or Gau say anything about electronic distribution (ie, PDFs, Kindle, etc)? I'd think that going that route would be easier for a small author/publisher, but as with many things I'm sure there's a bunch of stupid bullshit involved.

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clockworkjoe
May 31, 2000

Rolled a 1 on the random encounter table, didn't you?

Jedi425 posted:

Can you or Gau say anything about electronic distribution (ie, PDFs, Kindle, etc)? I'd think that going that route would be easier for a small author/publisher, but as with many things I'm sure there's a bunch of stupid bullshit involved.

Well, it's free and you can get 70% to 90% of the sale, depending on how you set it up. I have ZOTW on Amazon as a Kindle book and I sell it as a PDF on my web site and on drivethrufiction.com

Amazon gives me a 70% cut
Drivethru gives me a 60% cut
I get 90% of what I sell through my own store (I just lose what Paypal takes)

They use automated systems so you can upload your work at your own pace.

The dilemma though is getting people to actually buy your stuff. The ebook distributors do nothing to promote your work. It's all on you.

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