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275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4285 Members Latest Member: - Jason DAngelo Most online today: 154 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
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Author Topic: How to publish when it's not an RPG?  (Read 2775 times)
ChrisJ
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Posts: 2


« on: August 24, 2004, 10:07:30 PM »

I'm coming out with one of those compendium books like a 'monsters manual' or 'things that cut compendium' or 'shotgun damage encyclopedia'. The problem is that I will have stats for several different RPG's.

I assume this would cause gaming companies like Wizards and Steve Jackson Games to not be interested. Where do I go?

I'm looking for something not too painful. Self publishing and distributing scares the hell out of me.

Also, I was planning on having stats for the following gaming systems: d20, GURPS, Rollmaster, and a few from FORGE like 'The Burning Wheel'. Any thoughts?


Once there was a wise man who said nothing
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #1 on: August 25, 2004, 06:32:12 AM »

Hello Chris,

Welcome to the Forge! Here are some things you should know about this forum.

1. It's about self-publishing only. Other avenues can be discussed for purposes of contrast, but if you're here for advice or information, it'll be for self-publishing only. For more general feedback, I strongly recommend the Game Publishers Association.

2. Publishing any RPG materials is perfectly fine to discuss, so even though you're considering a monster book, rather than a rules-set, it's allowable.

So assuming that you're at least considering self-publishing, let's deal with your real question:

Quote
The problem is that I will have stats for several different RPG's.
...
d20, GURPS, Rollmaster, and a few from FORGE like 'The Burning Wheel'


I think you ought to consider that to publish numbers, procedures, presentations, and so forth for most of these games is very likely to get you sued by their publisher unless you have the publisher's permission in writing.

The exception is d20, but you will have to accord with both the Open Game License and d20 (which is a subset of it), because if you don't follow the strict rules they lay down, you are similarly going to get sued.

Chris, are you actually involved with publishing this item at this time, or is it basically in the idea stage? Have you approached any of the companies that you list for permission?

Best,
Ron
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ChrisJ
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Posts: 2


« Reply #2 on: August 25, 2004, 09:50:16 PM »

What scares me most about self publishing is what you do after you get your first shipment of games. What next? How do I sell this stuff?
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #3 on: August 26, 2004, 05:05:07 AM »

Hi Chris,

The solution to that is to put it back to front - the answer is already loaded and waiting long before you receive a shipment of books.

What that answer is depends on many decisions that one should have made long before.

1. How are the books to be bought? In game stores, over the internet, or both? If both, in what estimated proportion?

2. How are the books to be brought to the exchange over to the customer? If it's in game stores, then you need to consider distribution very seriously (and critically). If it's through direct sale, then you need to consider fulfillment (mailing it). If it's both, then both should be accounted for.

Both of these are part of the business model that you should construct and

Ultimately, writing the book, laying it out, getting it illustrated, and getting it printed is the easiest and most trivial task of the whole process. Yes, these tasks are necessary to have a good game book, but they are literally meaningless unless they are embedded in a business model that combines a viable approach of #1 and #2.

I mean it: meaningless. We are talking about five thousand books sitting in one's garage, or in a warehouse which gets bought up and passed around among many owners. And the result of both of these situations is always the same: mulch.

We can help you a lot to avoid this fate. However, I strongly suggest that you are way ahead of yourself, and that backing way far up - all the way to "what am I publishing, and why?" - is going to be crucial.

Best,
Ron
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btrc
Member

Posts: 310


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« Reply #4 on: August 28, 2004, 03:04:05 PM »

On publishing things with stats for other systems, I've probably got some sort of record going with the venerable 3G3 (Guns! Guns! Guns!) system, which has something like 15 separate, "authorized" game conversions floating around.

I basically just asked each company politely "do you mind?", "can I use your logo?" and "what exact text dislcaimer, if any, do you want me to use?". Hero, Steve Jackson, West End, etc. were all very helpful and I had no problems. Some were very "sure, go ahead" while others insisted on exact wording for the disclaimer. The only problem I really had was procrastination, since some third party project like mine was not high on their priority list to review and make sure it worked well with their system.

Greg
BTRC
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daemonchild
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Posts: 27


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« Reply #5 on: August 28, 2004, 05:05:54 PM »

Hi,

If you could please clarify, what is it exactly that you are putting together?

Are you writing a work that you are considering to be self-created material (i.e. weapons, characters, etc.) and then translating it to different systems within the same body of work?  

Or are you writing a work that utilizes bits and pieces of what has already been published?

Thanks.

Monica
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