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Module Design/writing Compensation Rates

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Anthony Pacheco:
Soooooo...

We want to expand our output for 5E modules in the 10,000(ish) word range (18 to 24 pages). We publish hard fantasy, gritty type modules.

What is everyone's preference for compensation for freelance module writing? It's in our campaign world, of course:

A) In the book world, there is the advance, and then royalties for the book. When the book (aka module) earns out its advance, the author receives royalties for every copy sold.

or

B) Pay by the word.

I read somewhere freelancers prefer (A). Moreover, I thought it was this forum, but I think I might have been on allergy meds, Black Raven Brewery beer, or both because I can't find the original thread about it and my search foo is weak.

Thoughts from current freelancers?

Thanks,
Anthony

Spinachcat:
Advance + royalties requires transparency into the company's finances. AKA, the author needs to see the proof of sales or things can go higgly piggly and everyone gets pissed at each other on social media.

By the word is nice and clean. The author gets a set rate whether or not the book sells and the publisher gets to do whatever they like with the work forevermore. Of course, the publisher has to keep an eye on bloat.

Also, please define "hard fantasy"

Anthony Pacheco:
Thanks!

Hard fantasy has a rational, plausible system of rules for the setting, which includes the definition and use of magic. The system used does not bend for a narrative, "hand-waveum" convenience. That doesn't mean that hard magic has a scientific explanation and current logical principles; rather it has an internal consistency.

Hard fantasy doesn't necessarily mean low fantasy and not just about magic, but does take into account magical principals on everyday society. Since we're on the RPG site and not the special snowflake site, let's use gender relationship dynamics as an example--if we say in a setting where divine, elemental magic has an equal chance to appear in either a male or female, that impacts how a feudal-like society treats women. You have more than physical strength to bring to the table in many prominent roles, such as serving the common folk and waging war.

However, what if humans evolved from their current state and then someone like the asshole elves (but I repeat myself) introduced them to magic? Well, that's tension and somewhere in history, societal upheaval.

What do the gods feel about birth control? If there are real gods that derive power from mortals worshiping them, and in a hard fantasy setting, power at risk for not having enough of it, what's the role of a pregnant woman with sorcerous power? What is she allowed to do, and who enforces the rules?

The list goes on-and-on. How long would it take society with access to divination magic to stop throwing poop in the streets, and people should wash your hands before dinner? If there is a druid with minor healing magic in every village, what does that do to infant mortality? Would death from childbirth complications even be a thing?

I love hard fantasy. We might not get it right all the time, but you can see the principals at work in our premier mega-module, and the players love it. Hard fantasy takes things like "finding the secrets of the abandoned temple" and puts a fresh spin.

Thus endeth my screed on hard fantasy, heh.

Spinachcat:
Very interesting! Thank you for the definition!

Winterblight:

--- Quote from: Anthony Pacheco;1089663 ---Soooooo...

We want to expand our output for 5E modules in the 10,000(ish) word range (18 to 24 pages). We publish hard fantasy, gritty type modules.

What is everyone's preference for compensation for freelance module writing? It's in our campaign world, of course:

A) In the book world, there is the advance, and then royalties for the book. When the book (aka module) earns out its advance, the author receives royalties for every copy sold.

or

B) Pay by the word.

I read somewhere freelancers prefer (A). Moreover, I thought it was this forum, but I think I might have been on allergy meds, Black Raven Brewery beer, or both because I can't find the original thread about it and my search foo is weak.

Thoughts from current freelancers?

Thanks,
Anthony
--- End quote ---


As a freelancer I prefer the royalties option. If you are publishing on the likes of DriveThru/RPGnow you just need to set it up, it takes care of itself. If you are getting into printing runs for physical copies, it can be a bit more time consuming for the publisher and a fair level of trust is required. If I'm earing royalties, then I'm going to talk about the product, answer questions when I see them come up, its going to be in my signature, I will be happy to answer interview questions etc. I've written a few source books and adventures for various companies, but you won't find them in my signature as I'm not earning royalties on them.

Royalties over time also ensures the freelancer stands a chance of getting a decent return on their work.

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