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Author Topic: Jessica Price Reveals Pathetic Lives of "Industry Pros"  (Read 8045 times)

ChrisFox

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Re: Jessica Price Reveals Pathetic Lives of "Industry Pros"
« Reply #45 on: September 21, 2021, 11:20:02 PM »
You'll never get rich working for someone else, but in this hobby, will you be successful without the official Dungeons and Dragons markings on the front of your box?


I have.
I was thinking that your success was more the exception, than the rule.

I hope this isn't too much of a thread derail. It's not too big of an exception. I've only sold about a thousand copies so far, but we kickstarted to the tune of $30k and have good revenue for a brand new system with no industry connections. People still want good games. Finding them takes a lot of work, but wow are there are lot more than ever out there.

D&D is king, but the minority of gamers willing to try new systems has grown a lot too. My biggest success comes via FB ads. Reddit has worked well too.

Here's the rub though, and sort of on the topic of the thread. The crowd Jessica runs in is the opposite of who I sell my books to. The Gen X crowd buying my books has no idea who Jessica Price is, or what gamer gate is. If you asked them what the current version of D&D is they'd probably say 4th - 6th with no degree of certainty. They have deep pockets, and a fondness for cool new games =)

Omega

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Re: Jessica Price Reveals Pathetic Lives of "Industry Pros"
« Reply #46 on: September 22, 2021, 05:09:28 AM »
Lets say you're 100% right on the art & editing...

There's this thing called crowdfunding, IF I can show the writting is done% and only the art and editing need to be done I'm pretty sure I can get the project funded. I might even be able to pay for formatting.

And marketing, well start talking about it constantly on all social media platforms you're on. Well before finishing the project, start creating interest.

Crowdfunding, organizing the art/editing, and budgeting for publishing are all very different skills from the writing piece of a TTRPG book.

I'm not saying that it's impossible to do all of them - but it's a lot of extra work & not something that the best TTRPG writers are inherently skilled at.

It's not like most TTRPG publishers have massive profits which the writer is being unfairly kept from seeing a piece of. With the exception of maybe D&D - the vast majority entire industry is pretty much published with shoestrings at bubblegum. Almost nobody up or down the chain is making bank.

We see this near constantly in the board gaming and RPG side for crowdfunding. The ones that fail that are not outright scams tend to fail because the designer totally underestimated the costs and work needed to self publish. A few realize this and then take the money and run. Others hit unforeseen walls. The most common being that they were unaware that printing costs can and will vary from factory to factory AND vary based on quantity or even timing. Shipping is another big one that trips people up.


horsesoldier

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Re: Jessica Price Reveals Pathetic Lives of "Industry Pros"
« Reply #47 on: September 22, 2021, 10:03:09 AM »
The days of being able to freelance and make a decent living (by RPG standards) are over, just like the days of having staff writers/designers/editors/artists like TSR had is over. And speaking of artists, the days of oil on canvas or ink on paper is over too, and it's a damn shame. If you don't have a racial grievance grift (see that Indian game and the African game), a license or an existing fanbase, you have to go the pundit route as an independent RPG writer. Which is to say you have to get a social media presence and flog your products.

It's a lot of work. The alternative is to enter into an incestuous world of staff writers where sex and sexual orientation matters more than ability. Those with ability (Mike Mearls) and taken out back and strangled by jealous nobodies.

They continually crow about how great DnD is doing nowadays but are very coy about how much of that is from licensing and how much of that is from actually selling books. As a gamer I value books, as a corporation Hasbro will value easy money.

That's a damn fine point actually. I mean I think the books will still sell like crazy (cause it's 5e) but I'd like to know if the recent sjdub infusion into their books since Tasha's has hurt/helped/kept stable book sales.

Back in the days of 3.0 I had a girlfriend that ironically kept a PHB and a DMG on her bookshelf. It was completely impenetrable and she would like it when I would explain things. Anyway, stuff like Tasha's is just as directed to people like that as it is actual gamers. Which I guess increases their potential market but these kind of buyers aren't going to have many books.

horsesoldier

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Re: Jessica Price Reveals Pathetic Lives of "Industry Pros"
« Reply #48 on: September 22, 2021, 10:05:03 AM »
Lets say you're 100% right on the art & editing...

There's this thing called crowdfunding, IF I can show the writting is done% and only the art and editing need to be done I'm pretty sure I can get the project funded. I might even be able to pay for formatting.

And marketing, well start talking about it constantly on all social media platforms you're on. Well before finishing the project, start creating interest.

Crowdfunding, organizing the art/editing, and budgeting for publishing are all very different skills from the writing piece of a TTRPG book.

I'm not saying that it's impossible to do all of them - but it's a lot of extra work & not something that the best TTRPG writers are inherently skilled at.

It's not like most TTRPG publishers have massive profits which the writer is being unfairly kept from seeing a piece of. With the exception of maybe D&D - the vast majority entire industry is pretty much published with shoestrings at bubblegum. Almost nobody up or down the chain is making bank.

We see this near constantly in the board gaming and RPG side for crowdfunding. The ones that fail that are not outright scams tend to fail because the designer totally underestimated the costs and work needed to self publish. A few realize this and then take the money and run. Others hit unforeseen walls. The most common being that they were unaware that printing costs can and will vary from factory to factory AND vary based on quantity or even timing. Shipping is another big one that trips people up.

Which is why the AWESOME!!! stretch goals of yesteryear are just that. Makes me sad I was poor during those days.

dkabq

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Re: Jessica Price Reveals Pathetic Lives of "Industry Pros"
« Reply #49 on: October 04, 2021, 07:54:46 AM »
  What is the exact dollar amount of "making a living?"  I get that people living in very urban areas making 6 figures will think that anyone making less than they do is not making a living.  But as geeky pointed out there are all kinds of places one can live and live on considerably less (I would even say they can actually live in cheap places around white people as well as non-white people).  I know if I were a single man, my living expenses would be massively diminished.   So when we say making a living, what are we talking here?   Making 50k a year?  100k?  or 30K?  or less?  or more?

IMHO, In the US about 60K would be decent.

Equivalent to a somewhat normal professional position. Believe me, no one is living large at that income level...

That would depend on where you live.

For example, there are a fair number of artists and artisans that live in (rural) western North Carolina. They are there, in large part, due to it being a relatively inexpensive place to live.

Charon's Little Helper

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Re: Jessica Price Reveals Pathetic Lives of "Industry Pros"
« Reply #50 on: October 04, 2021, 07:59:09 AM »

Which is why the AWESOME!!! stretch goals of yesteryear are just that. Makes me sad I was poor during those days.

Yes - you would have been able to pledge for something amazing which likely didn't end up delivering at all! (I got my Star Citizen lesson - though I'm only out the price of the base game. I'm not one of the crazies.)

Pat

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Re: Jessica Price Reveals Pathetic Lives of "Industry Pros"
« Reply #51 on: October 04, 2021, 09:41:04 AM »
Brad Walker - sometime poster here, made a rather good point on his blog about WOTC in all this mess:

Quote from: https://bradfordcwalker.blogspot.com/2021/09/narrative-warfare-when-enemy-tells-on.html

"Both Stupid Seattle Game Publishers pay no better than any other publisher that can afford to pay at all, and considering Wankers By The Beach has Big Corporate money behind it that's especially galling. ..."

The fact that WOTC pays no better than any other RPG company is a real indication of exactly what the heads of D&D who are secure in their positions really think about the freelancers they hire.

Of all the places outsourcing writing; WOTC should be paying their freelancers on similar scale to writers in other fields.

The fact that they don't is classic 'Kick away the ladder' Pirate Economics behavior by those currently in charge of D&D who were able to gain full-time positions in the gaming industry early in life.

In their heart of hearts they know that they have no special talent or skill. That they are wholly reliant on the D&D logo above their name for their industry cache.

They fear the very idea of having to compete under their own name with the likes of Kevin Crawford, Pundit, or some of their own damn freelancers in anything resembling an open market...

By purposefully paying their freelancers bottom barrel RPG industry rates they are intentionally driving away any potential  talent that could catch the eye of their corporate overlords, or attain any kind of following within current D&D fandom.

IMHO they are literally gatekeeping as much real talent out of the RPG industry as possible by making it far more lucrative for the truly talented to pursue different careers than writing RPGs...


Here's something else to think about:

When was the last time WOTC published a module with only one writers name on the cover?

We know from TSR history and current OSR offerings that it is completely possible for one person to write a complete high quality D&D supplement. Why does everything released for 5e come from an ensemble of writers?
That's a nice conspiracy theory. Did it come with a tin-foil Viking hat?

The RPG industry is full of fans. Some immensely talented, many not. But many of them are willing to work for peanuts just because it's something they enjoy. Remember, "fan" is short for "fanatic". It's a case of supply outstripping demand, nothing else.

And most of the talented ones have real jobs in real life. The people who whine about how little the RPG industry pays are typically those with no options in other fields, and a massive sense of entitlement that convinces them they deserve to be paid as much as lawyers or engineers. But since there are so many of them, they're paid like burger flippers (if they're lucky).

Which is the reason why most of the talented writers who are serious enough to do this full time or semi-full time have branched off, and formed their own RPG companies. If they have enough talent (and time) to sustain a brand, they can make decent money. The big companies are left with the half-talents, the no-talents, and the casuals.
« Last Edit: October 04, 2021, 09:45:42 AM by Pat »

Pat

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Re: Jessica Price Reveals Pathetic Lives of "Industry Pros"
« Reply #52 on: October 04, 2021, 09:44:37 AM »

Which is why the AWESOME!!! stretch goals of yesteryear are just that. Makes me sad I was poor during those days.

Yes - you would have been able to pledge for something amazing which likely didn't end up delivering at all! (I got my Star Citizen lesson - though I'm only out the price of the base game. I'm not one of the crazies.)
Yep. Though in hindsight, with all the wild dreams and crazy promises, the hit rate is better than I would have expected.

S'mon

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Re: Jessica Price Reveals Pathetic Lives of "Industry Pros"
« Reply #53 on: October 04, 2021, 12:46:09 PM »
For example, there are a fair number of artists and artisans that live in (rural) western North Carolina. They are there, in large part, due to it being a relatively inexpensive place to live.

Ashville, a little piece of Portland in a nice safe sea of Red. :D

I knew a couple who moved there from DC when they got tired of the bullet holes in their car.

dkabq

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Re: Jessica Price Reveals Pathetic Lives of "Industry Pros"
« Reply #54 on: October 04, 2021, 05:15:18 PM »
For example, there are a fair number of artists and artisans that live in (rural) western North Carolina. They are there, in large part, due to it being a relatively inexpensive place to live.

Ashville, a little piece of Portland in a nice safe sea of Red. :D

I knew a couple who moved there from DC when they got tired of the bullet holes in their car.

Ashville itself has gotten pricy. I was thinking more Bryson City.   :)

Spinachcat

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Re: Jessica Price Reveals Pathetic Lives of "Industry Pros"
« Reply #55 on: October 05, 2021, 04:40:56 AM »
You can always pay creative people shit and get them to work for "fame". Hollywood mastered that decades ago, most especially Disney.

I've known several professional authors and screenwriters who never left their day jobs, even the ones who have one or more bestsellers. They live much better than the authors I know who live off their creative work.

That said, if you want to do game design full-time and live modestly, it's quite possible.

dkabq

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Re: Jessica Price Reveals Pathetic Lives of "Industry Pros"
« Reply #56 on: October 05, 2021, 07:32:01 AM »
You can always pay creative people shit and get them to work for "fame". Hollywood mastered that decades ago, most especially Disney.

I've known several professional authors and screenwriters who never left their day jobs, even the ones who have one or more bestsellers. They live much better than the authors I know who live off their creative work.

That said, if you want to do game design full-time and live modestly, it's quite possible.

If you are talented enough. In my case, I had best keep my day-job.   :)

oggsmash

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Re: Jessica Price Reveals Pathetic Lives of "Industry Pros"
« Reply #57 on: October 05, 2021, 08:03:27 AM »
For example, there are a fair number of artists and artisans that live in (rural) western North Carolina. They are there, in large part, due to it being a relatively inexpensive place to live.

Ashville, a little piece of Portland in a nice safe sea of Red. :D

I knew a couple who moved there from DC when they got tired of the bullet holes in their car.

  To be fair though, when the hard lefties in asheville decided to create an autonomous zone the police slapped that down instantly.   The area around Asheville is nice, rural, lots of easy to access drinking water, and if I were to stay in the USA certainly there are several spots within an hour of Asheville I would gladly set up the compound.