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Author Topic: Raggi Nearly Broke  (Read 9370 times)

Joethelawyer

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Raggi Nearly Broke
« on: July 13, 2020, 05:01:16 PM »
Fuck. For all the other Ref Book backers, looks like if we don't want our $33,338 loan to never get repaid nor yield a Ref Book, we'd better buy some shit from LOTFP. Link below to what Erik is talking about in his Podcast. Read it, especially the end part.

https://lotfp.blogspot.com/2020/07/new-releases-tomorrow-monday-july-13.html

Also, Erik Tenkar's podcast about it here:

https://anchor.fm/tavernchat/episodes/E772---LotFP-is-Over-100k-in-Debt---Doors-May-Close-by-End-of-Summer-egmr32/a-a3grn3

How fucked up is it that you find yourself in the position to have to buy crap from Raggi in order to help ensure he produces the shit you paid for 8 year ago, with no guarantee that your purchase will even get you what you're already owed?
« Last Edit: July 13, 2020, 05:33:47 PM by Joethelawyer »
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Spinachcat

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Raggi Nearly Broke
« Reply #1 on: July 13, 2020, 05:31:27 PM »
Here's Raggi talking about his financial realities.
TL;DR = give Raggi lots of your money or LotFP goes tits up.


THE CURRENT SITUATION

This one is for all the marbles. As you're probably aware, LotFP has gone through a rough patch the past year and a half.

The tldr is we're about 90,000€ in debt, 60,000€ of which is due in about a month or we're done. And we have so much more to do.

So if you want LotFP to continue, you need to buy something, preferably a lot of somethings, and very soon, when the new books go on sale. If you don't want LotFP to continue, you don't have to do anything. You're good.

A more thorough explanation for those who will surely ask:

After a record 2018, webstore sales hit a wall in January 2019 (I assume because of increased Finnish postal costs; November and December 2018 were strong and then *bam*), but we were supposed to have a new US-based webstore opening in the early summer. So I was confident that I was in for a fifth straight year of growth and prosperity, and made plans to take care of that.

The exact same week the Zak allegations hit in February 2019, I received the last of series of business loans totaling just about 70,000€. These would cover a number of reprints (which sell slowly and thus take more time to recoup their costs, making them very difficult to finance from normal cashflow), and convention expenses for the year. I secured these loans based on the fact that I'd grossed over 250,000€ the previous year, had two new Zak books set to come out in 2019 (not to mention Red & Pleasant Land as one of the reprints), with a few other new books on the schedule as well.

The fallout from the Zak situation was that his upcoming work, and the Red and Pleasant Land reprint, were canceled. Everything else went into disarray and only one full-fledged (not limited edition) release happened all year, and that was a low-price short adventure. The US fulfillment center fell through and didn't get going until over half a year later than scheduled.

Even so, convention sales in 2019 were greater than 2018 (and we did one less convention in 2019!), retail distribution sales was about even year-to-year, PDF sales were down a bit... but direct webstore sales were down 80% for the year. And direct sales are where we traditionally make most of our money. Webstore sales plummeting has almost killed the business: Gross sales were in total 40% down, and the profits (AKA my personal income) went from (rough numbers) 45,000€ in 2018 to 3,500€ in 2019. That's not a typo.

By last fall, I started falling behind in loan payments. By spring this year, just as the world at large was beginning to fall apart due to the pandemic, I started falling behind on royalty payments to the talent. There's only so long I can shuffle money and beg for patience...

And now with the pandemic, conventions for the entire year are gone (conventions accounted for 25% of last year's gross income). Distribution/retail sales (by far the biggest income source last year) were wiped out completely for a time due to shutdowns and at best will be weak for some time to come due to the pandemic.

And so here we are. Pretty much all of these new items were financed on credit, sparing no expense to make these the best books we could, and it's time for what just might be the last stand. It is my hope that not only can we clear this debt, but we can get a bit of a cash stockpile so we can make sure the next batch of books (and the next, and the next...) are up to LotFP standards of quality and deliver significant royalty payments to their authors.

It's up to you now.
Posted by JimLotFP at 12:28 AM

Razor 007

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Raggi Nearly Broke
« Reply #2 on: July 13, 2020, 05:38:40 PM »
That is very sad to hear.  There have been many creative works on the horizon that have piqued my interest from a distance, and LotFP was surely one of them.  I wish I could jump off into all of these systems, but alas I can't.

I wish Raggi the very best in his efforts, though.  I fear this is just the beginning of hard times for the RPG print industry.
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Lynn

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Raggi Nearly Broke
« Reply #3 on: July 13, 2020, 08:17:28 PM »
Green Ronin seems to be on the ropes, and some 'friends' were begging for people to buy their products over on FB.

What surprises me though is that so far, neither seems to have been doing any sales or special bundles or the like. I know this just came up today with LotFP, but I find this all a bit surprising that they haven't tried to at least pull eyes with a few deals. Or are their margins so low to begin with that they really cannot afford to do that?
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Shasarak

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Raggi Nearly Broke
« Reply #4 on: July 13, 2020, 08:24:22 PM »
Quote from: Lynn;1139594
Green Ronin seems to be on the ropes, and some 'friends' were begging for people to buy their products over on FB.

What surprises me though is that so far, neither seems to have been doing any sales or special bundles or the like. I know this just came up today with LotFP, but I find this all a bit surprising that they haven't tried to at least pull eyes with a few deals. Or are their margins so low to begin with that they really cannot afford to do that?

I am shocked, shocked I tell you, that Blue Rose is not carrying the company.


Edit:  I probably would have backed their latest Demon kickstarter if it was for anything but 5e so dodged that bullet.
« Last Edit: July 13, 2020, 08:45:41 PM by Shasarak »
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HappyDaze

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Raggi Nearly Broke
« Reply #5 on: July 13, 2020, 08:50:19 PM »
Quote from: Joethelawyer;1139556
How fucked up is it that you find yourself in the position to have to buy crap...SNIP...with no guarantee that your purchase will even get you what you're already owed?
I've heard they've built up this thing called Kickstarter that uses this as a business model...and many people seem to love it.

hedgehobbit

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Raggi Nearly Broke
« Reply #6 on: July 13, 2020, 08:50:23 PM »
Taking out loans to finance RPG books and cancelling your only major release for the year because of internet outrage are both terrible business decisions. Not surprising that it led to this.
« Last Edit: July 13, 2020, 09:02:12 PM by hedgehobbit »

crkrueger

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Raggi Nearly Broke
« Reply #7 on: July 13, 2020, 08:57:01 PM »
Quote from: hedgehobbit;1139599
Taking out loans to finance RPG books and cancelling your only release for the year because of internet outrage are both terrible business decisions. Not surprising that it led to this.

Especially since, like what always happens, he didn't kotow enough to the Outrage Brigade, so non-Zak authors like Patrick Stuart and Rafael Chandler, who Raggi put on the map for RPGs, threw him under the bus and are doing their own thing now that they have a resume.

He just should have stayed with Zak. If he'd kept Zak's stuff out of the memoryhole, he'd be in the black.

I hear the stuff is selling quickly though, so the threat of never being able to get it again probably got a lot of people to get off the fence and pull the trigger on stuff they were kinda ambivalent about.
« Last Edit: July 13, 2020, 08:59:12 PM by CRKrueger »
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David Johansen

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Raggi Nearly Broke
« Reply #8 on: July 13, 2020, 09:37:09 PM »
This is why I've never run a kickstarter to fund publishing my games.  It looks like phat lewt in the short term but in the long term it's a trap.
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Almost_Useless

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« Reply #9 on: July 13, 2020, 09:53:12 PM »
Quote from: David Johansen;1139608
This is why I've never run a kickstarter to fund publishing my games.  It looks like phat lewt in the short term but in the long term it's a trap.

That depends entirely on how you're doing it.  The people that want 100% funding for something barely past the idea stage are begging for trouble.  The ones that are basically done and need some cash for layout and printing aren't nearly as bad.

Plus, Fred Hicks has some good advice for Kickstarters that everyone should listen to -- plan for your worst case success.  There are a lot of projects that go haywire when creators promise more and more and don't really think about what they're signing themselves up for.

rocksfalleverybodydies

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Raggi Nearly Broke
« Reply #10 on: July 13, 2020, 10:28:46 PM »
Good advice.  See a lot of stuff on Kickstarter that looks great, but without some solid background successes and update posts showing definitive physical and textual material happening, best to avoid.
Backed the KS for all the Old School Essentials stuff and thankfully it turned out great.
The shipping costs are a killer though if you're outside the US.  Even with it coming from Europe, the costs to Canada were nuts.
« Last Edit: July 13, 2020, 10:31:50 PM by rocksfalleverybodydies »

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Raggi Nearly Broke
« Reply #11 on: July 13, 2020, 11:02:59 PM »
Why on earth in this age of companies using Kickstarter for virtually every thing they make (see SJG) would he take on loans and go into debt to publish stuff?  Why not just raise the cash with KS?  Seems really dumb.

S'mon

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Raggi Nearly Broke
« Reply #12 on: July 14, 2020, 03:37:38 AM »
Quote from: Hakdov;1139626
Why on earth in this age of companies using Kickstarter for virtually every thing they make (see SJG) would he take on loans and go into debt to publish stuff?  Why not just raise the cash with KS?  Seems really dumb.

He's always had a very archaic business model, with physical print runs (not Kickstarted). Maybe something to do with how Finland supports small businesses. It is great for getting product onto FLGS shelves - but terrible for the Age of Corona.
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Simlasa

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Raggi Nearly Broke
« Reply #13 on: July 14, 2020, 04:01:47 AM »
Virus related store closings and cancelled conventions took a serious toll on a number of small game companies... not just on LotFP, but he had the added fun of being a pinata for certain self-righteous mobs.
I strongly hope he's able to make it through this.
I grabbed all the new stuff. Big Puppet looks particularly intruiging.

Kyle Aaron

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Raggi Nearly Broke
« Reply #14 on: July 14, 2020, 04:57:59 AM »
Quote from: HappyDaze;1139598
I've heard they've built up this thing called Kickstarter that uses this as a business model...and many people seem to love it.

Yes, we call them suckers.

I have given to only one Kickstarter ever. I regarded it as a gift, not a loan or investment. It was charity on the basis that the best charity you can give is to give someone a job - "Here's some money... to do so-and-so." It's like when a friend asks to borrow money, you're about to lose a friend - so never lend money, give if you can afford it and want to, but don't lend.

1. produce something
2. then sell it

That is the ancient way the free market works. Don't try to do it backwards.

If you like Raggi's stuff, buy it. If you don't, don't.
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