The Awesomeness of Third Party Publishers, A Must Read Article


Product Discussion

101 to 150 of 175 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | next > last >>
Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32, 2010 Top 8

2 people marked this as a favorite.

The big advantage I can see in 'dead tree' for 3PP isn't something they can control.

Entry level borrowing.

Frex, Let's say in some dream world I get to play a Kingmaker game. Igo to the GM and say, "Here's this 3pp product that builds on the kingdom rules, you might want to check it out." I then let him borrow the book. Now I have someone who's looked at JBE with no cost to himself, and might go, "Hey this stuff is cool, I wonder what else they do?"

I can't (legally) do that with a PDF.

Grand Lodge

Well, you can print it at home, but that's usually unsatisfying and uneconomical.


4 people marked this as a favorite.

I'm sitting here listing what published products I own. Something like 300 different 3.0, 3.5 and PF physical books, supplemented by nearly 200 3pp gems.

Do I use all of them? No. Do I value them? Most assuredly! I use a spell point system from HypertextD20, modified to suit my game, with a few add'ins' from SGG's version. Rules gleaned from these boards and the internet exist alongside feats gleaned from Le Games, LJP and others. I have a serious addiction to Rite and Swan products, filling in the crevices of detail and giving me a well thought out Gargoyle, whether a player ever goes with it or not. Abandoned Arts' Class Acts and Kobold Press' Monsters of Sin have serious places in my supplemental rules and critters. I guess I'd have to pay Kirth Gerson if he charged coin for his work. Having someone else do the heavy lifting allows me to spend my scarce time selecting the most appropriate rules, etc., rather than producing inferior substitutes.

Even if I'm not happy with something like the Swan's Dungeon Dressing line (I have 10 of these from Paizo, more from DriveThru), I have a lot of groundwork to start with. Better, even when I've already tried and came up with a weak solution, I can read through something like 'DD: Fountains' and get inspirations. '#30 Badges of Faith' from Rite has replaced my old and woefully inferior Holy Symbol system to near cheers from my last group.

I do not believe anyone has the ultimate rules, etc. but rather we should all strive for better, as that's the only way to get better. Vancian spell systems not your tea? SGG has an excellent solution. Think Ftrs stink on ice and need serious overhaul, these boards have a wealth of ideas. Sorcerer doesn't like the limited list of Bloodlines? At least 5 3pps have put out at least 1 to try. Tired if deadly boring 'You see a 10' wide hallway ending in a double door' descriptions? Raging Swan keeps putting out monographs on doors, fountains and more. Canon or RAW? NO!, but great additions!

Lastly, when I'm wasted and near the session's end, someone always calls upon me to cough up some utterly trivial detail (I think they plan this) and I draw a blank. By delving into Midgard or the big G, I can find a something to use. I love 3pp.


Jeremy Smith wrote:
RJGrady wrote:

I would worry more about print if more people were buying it. I've sold hundreds of copies of A Fistful of Denarii in PDF; I've sold just a dozen copies in softcover. Print sales are so insignificant, I didn't even remember I need to update the file on Lulu until I started seeing Lulu-powered electronic sales in PDF form...

Which reminds me, time to update that file. :)

I think this is a very big "your mileage may vary" scenario.

The big thing that having Psionics Unleashed in print did for us was allow us to get out to the masses in gaming stores.

Now, let me put in a caveat that at the last time I checked, we sold several times more in PDF than in print, but the number of NEW CUSTOMERS brought in because our books were on gaming shelves or the book could be passed around?

That type of grassroots marketing is worth it - and once the groundwork is set up, it becomes very low maintenance to keep going with Print-On-Demand services and effectively becomes a marketing service that you get paid for instead of vice versa.

But not every publisher is going to have that kind of book to put out in print to justify the extra work for lower margins (which is why only two of our books are currently released to game stores).

That goes back to the whole "time to update the file" thing. I need to make sure the available version is current. But I don't expect to make much money for my efforts, not any time soon, perhaps not ever. On the other hand, I'm working on getting things set up with CreateSpace, which might make a significant difference. Lulu has a lot of things going for it, but it doesn't have a built-in browsing RPG readership.

It would probably be worthwhile to print up some copies to market in print, but since I haven't been able to make any cons lately, I haven't gotten to that point yet.

Getting into regular distribution would be another hurdle yet. I have nothing like the readership or resources to worry about something like that right now.


While it's true that we (publishers) don't make as much money from print vs. PDF, getting your PDF product print ready for POD isn't all that difficult. The same exact page layout I do for Kaidan print products is the same for POD setup. I might have to convert graphics to 300 ppi, if they aren't already set to that, but that's about the only difference.

For that reason, I don't know why more publishers don't make more POD print books available.


Because the POD version usually has a separate file for the cover, I have to renumber the pages and fix the Table of Contents. In fact, I don't always put a ToC in short, bookmarked PDFs.

Publisher, Dreamscarred Press

4 people marked this as a favorite.
gamer-printer wrote:

While it's true that we (publishers) don't make as much money from print vs. PDF, getting your PDF product print ready for POD isn't all that difficult. The same exact page layout I do for Kaidan print products is the same for POD setup. I might have to convert graphics to 300 ppi, if they aren't already set to that, but that's about the only difference.

For that reason, I don't know why more publishers don't make more POD print books available.

I can tell you my reasons:

Time and cost.

If I have a book that is likely not going to sell much in the way of print copies, and it's going to cost me roughly 4 hours of work to get a POD version of it setup, I'll likely not worry about it.

In that same 4 hours, I have plenty of other projects I can work on instead.

Having done quite a few POD titles, setting it up on the printer site takes about a half hour, give or take. Creating a wraparound cover takes about another half hour or so, assuming I have some basic template to work from. I have to export the PDF into a higher resolution format which admittedly doesn't take long, but takes time. Then I have to wait for the proof, review the proof, potentially make revisions to the proof. While I can try to get it right the first time, more often than not, something small slipped through the first time, so I have to do another proof.

All of these little things add up to time not spent on other things.

If it's a book that I don't expect to sell dozens and dozens of copies, it's just not worth the time / effort to bother.


While a POD definitely has a separate file for the cover, that's true. The page numbering I do for PDF is exactly the same for POD setup. While the PDF itself is the first page, I still number the pages, and table of contents for a PDF, as if it were going print. I do the pages the same, I don't have 2 different versions of page numbering and ToC. I don't know why you would.

Contributor

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Jeremy Smith wrote:


The big thing that having Psionics Unleashed in print did for us was allow us to get out to the masses in gaming stores.

).

Jeremy, I just picked up a print copy 20 minutes ago from the FLGS' shelf. I've heard wonderful things about the product, so I had to get it.

Publisher, Dreamscarred Press

Christina Stiles wrote:
Jeremy, I just picked up a print copy 20 minutes ago from the FLGS' shelf. I've heard wonderful things about the product, so I had to get it.

I hope you like it!


R. Hyrum Savage wrote:

I'd love for 3pp material to be included as part of PFS, but I don't really see it happening.

The main reason is the workload it would put on the Paizo staff, since regardless of who does the editing, Paizo is going to want to go over the book to make sure nothing is too out of whack with the goals of PFS. And they would have to, since a good percentage of the hardcore PFS players are really, really good at finding that one hole no one saw and then driving a Mac truck through it. :D

This is a good point, but my counterpoint would be you had to do the same kind of double checking for ANY book paizo releases. it is not extra work its work you would do regardless of what you release.


Jason Nelson wrote:

I have to agree with Creighton here.

Our first print product is coming out this month, but in looking at the economics involved I doubt that it would make any kind of sense to produce print micro-products (20 pages or less).

For one thing, the royalty percentage for vendors selling your stuff is much less favorable for print products than it is for PDFs. On top of that, of course, you have your actual print and shipping costs (to send your physical books to your vendor, or to yourself if you're running your own store), plus from the customer's end they have the shipping from the vendor to get the product. There's also the inherent risk in carrying physical inventory - you pay now and you sell later. That's the cost of doing business, sure, but what does that cost really mean?

Warning: If you have no interest in the economics of small press publishing, AVERT YOUR EYES!!!

** spoiler omitted **...

Thanks, Jason. I'd looked into the economics of it before (though things are slightly different in Australia) and had concluded it doesn't make much economic sense unless you're pretty confident you'll be selling a thousand copies or more. The value of being a print publisher over a purely electronic publisher is pretty difficult to measure, obviously.

I wasn't so much offering advice as commenting on another barrier to 3PP being accepted more broadly.

EDIT: also, what's the print product? I can't seem to preorder it here yet. Has it been announced somewhere?


For those still on the fence about printing / POD just think of the retail sales a extra income to what you are making with your PDFs. My retail sales equal to roughly 50% of mt PDF sales. I sell exclusively with Alliance and do all the follow up myself. It takes me a whopping 2-5 hours a month to do something that people by up to 18% of their sales to do using a service like Studio 2 Publishing for example. Doing it yourself will give you a better understanding of what retailers want for their store which in turn helps you sell more copies.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Creighton Broadhurst wrote:
I totally agree. While Raging Swan Press does offer print products (we've got 12 or so) here and at Amazon the portion of my sales made up of print sales is tiny (probably around 5%)

Raging Swan Press puts out some great stuff. Creighton is a fantastic writer. My DM was out, so I ran a party of 7th level dwarves thru his Retribution Module, which is actually for 1-2 lvl. (I bumped stuff up, but used the great writing as-is). The players loved it. So, yeah, sure, my DM may not be excited about bringing in a 3PP new class. But the modules are great in any case.

I am slightly annoyed as the Op’s article didn’t mention my book, which was the very first 3PP D&D supplement evar and thus super important!!!! (I kid, no one remembers my cruddy little book).

(PS, 3PP publishers, if you publish on Amazon, I am a Amazon reviwer of some note, so contact me).

Scarab Sages RPG Superstar 2008 Top 4; Contributor; Publisher, Legendary Games

Does Alliance sell your PODs, or do you print and ship them physical books and they sell them into distribution channels?


Jason Nelson wrote:
Does Alliance sell your PODs, or do you print and ship them physical books and they sell them into distribution channels?

They will sell POD books just no PDFs.

Scarab Sages RPG Superstar 2008 Top 4; Contributor; Publisher, Legendary Games

Steve Geddes wrote:
EDIT: also, what's the print product? I can't seem to preorder it here yet. Has it been announced somewhere?

Funny you should ask. Preorders not necessary; get yours TODAY!

Scarab Sages RPG Superstar 2008 Top 4; Contributor; Publisher, Legendary Games

LMPjr007 wrote:
Jason Nelson wrote:
Does Alliance sell your PODs, or do you print and ship them physical books and they sell them into distribution channels?
They will sell POD books just no PDFs.

Thanks for the tip. I'll check in with them for sure.


Jeremy Smith wrote:


I can tell you my reasons:

Time and cost.

If I have a book that is likely not going to sell much in the way of print copies, and it's going to cost me roughly 4 hours of work to get a POD version of it setup, I'll likely not worry about it.

In that same 4 hours, I have plenty of other projects I can work on instead.

Four hours is about right. I would be very surprised if most mini-supplements would sell more than two dozen copies or so. Print makes sense for a campaign sourcebook, a major rules expansion like Psionics Unleashed, or maybe even a fatsplat. After my experience with Fistful of Denarii, the only reason I'm even working on updating the POD version instead of just killing it is the marketing angle.


Jason Nelson wrote:
Steve Geddes wrote:
EDIT: also, what's the print product? I can't seem to preorder it here yet. Has it been announced somewhere?
Funny you should ask. Preorders not necessary; get yours TODAY!

Got.

Thanks, Jason.


One thing I did notice today is that Paizo pdfs are not as tablet friendly as others even when they are small files. Specifically I a referencing the S&S files on an Android tablet. All of them experience significant issues and many do not even open like the map files.

Sovereign Court Publisher, Raging Swan Press

I had severe issues with some of my PDFs on my old iPad which is why I started offering both print and screen friendly versions of all Raging Swan's products. I hate looking at a <loading> screen and I assume I'm not alone in that!

Liberty's Edge

Ugh!

Getting PDFs to display correctly on all the countless different brands AND versions of tablets, phones and e-readers out there is the BANE of my existence!!!!

Scarab Sages RPG Superstar 2008 Top 4; Contributor; Publisher, Legendary Games

We've done the same since the get-go at Legendary Games - full color and printer-friendly versions, and a lot of our products are available in both portrait and landscape formats for those with a strong preference.


I thought 3PP's might find this discussion illuminating, or at least surprising...

Liberty's Edge

1 person marked this as a favorite.

I have to say at the moment, I have not purchased a lot of 3pp books yet. I actually hadn't purchased a lot of Pathfinder books as of a few months ago. Currently I am buying as much Pathfinder stuff I can each paycheck to get all the stuff Paizo has published. I have even gone to ebay to pick up some of the stuff you can't get anymore from Paizo. I usually purchase both the tree-killer (print) version and the electron (pdf) version of the product. I am old school and like to collect physical books, though I love technology and love to be able to look at my books on my laptop, and hopefully soon a tablet. I don't shy away from 3pp stuff and did purchase things for my 3rd edition collection. I have to say that I have even bought a few things from 3pp for Pathfinder. Once I get caught up with my Paizo Pathfinder collection, I will be looking at the reviews and getting even more 3pp stuff. I like to read what is out there to get ideas to use as a player or incorporate them into my campaign. The first one I bought a few years ago was "Book of the River Nations: Complete Player's Reference for Kingdom Building" by Jon Brazer Enterprises, because I first got excited about Pathfinder when I learned about Kingmaker and bought up what I could find to make a great Kingmaker Campaign. My recent purchase from a 3pp was "Ultimate Rulership" from Legendary Game, because I am currently running a Kingmaker Campaign and I love to expand rules in a balanced way with the "Ultimate Campaign" rule changes applied. Another one was "Houserule Handbooks: Spellpoints Compilation" by Super Genius Games. I am sure one of my future purchases will be "The Tome of Horrors Complete" by Frog God Games. All these products I bought or will buy because of the reviews that I heard were excellent. I will also be looking at other products that they have produced because of these books.

I came to this post because I was reading a post about Paizo including 3rd party references in their books. Paizo really impresses me with how much they do for 3pp.

Just my view as a consumer....

The Exchange

1 person marked this as a favorite.

On an interesting sidenote: What do you call a publisher who includes bits and pieces of someone elses open game content in their product? Is the user of the content then a 3pp of the maker of the content being used?

If so you may want to check out some recent Paizo books since they've used OGC from Kobold Quarterly very recently as well as Dreamscarred Press.

Now what? Head asplode!

Liberty's Edge

Starfinder Superscriber

Recursive 3pp


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Just a note, on topic, I think.

Today, I went to the FedEx Store to print off a copy of The Genius Guide to Apeiron Staves, which is PDF only. All told, I believe that the cost for printing, and binding it in a plastic-ring binding with a plastic protective cover was 8 dollars.

This is also about the difference between a Paizo PDF and the print version of it. For example, Rasputin Must Die has a PDF price of $15.99 and a print cost of $22.99.

Printing a PDF at a store is surprisingly cheap, so you can get a dead-tree version of any 3pp PDF that catches your fancy for quite a low amount of money.


Was that colour or black and white?


Cheapy wrote:

Just a note, on topic, I think.

Today, I went to the FedEx Store to print off a copy of The Genius Guide to Apeiron Staves, which is PDF only. All told, I believe that the cost for printing, and binding it in a plastic-ring binding with a plastic protective cover was 8 dollars.

This is also about the difference between a Paizo PDF and the print version of it. For example, Rasputin Must Die has a PDF price of $15.99 and a print cost of $22.99.

Printing a PDF at a store is surprisingly cheap, so you can get a dead-tree version of any 3pp PDF that catches your fancy for quite a low amount of money.

I am assuming they can print front to back, but does anyone know a place to get stuff printed in hardbound? I have collected so many pdfs that I now want to do a grand collection of 3pp material. As it is the stacks and stacks of stapled paper is starting to get a bit much.


+1 for the critical importance of including Hero Lab support for 3PP products. Hero Lab is the closest thing to an "official" Pathfinder character generation program and, even though it can be done, it is a pain for each customer to have to enter the data individually. I am SO much more likely to purchase something from a 3PP if they are willing to provide this as a service (I am fine if this is at an additional cost). I find myself gravitating towards Kickstarters offering Hero Lab support and away from those that don't.

D&D 4e has very little 3PP content compared to 3.5. One of the primary reasons (among several) for this was because no one could add 3PP content to the online character builder that came with a DDI subscription. Many people just didn't think it was worth the trouble when the content couldn't be used with the character builder. Compatibility with the most popular character management program is vital for success. Fortunately, with Pathfinder and Hero Lab there is no similar "barrier to entry" and 3PPs should be taking advantage of this. The Pathfinder/HeroLab model is superior to the 4e approach--but requires 3PPs to learn how to make their products compatible. I very much appreciate the 3PPs that are doing this and providing great value to those using such software.


My only request is to make purchasing Hero Lab support with the content optional. For those of us who don't use it, the excess cost incurred by its addition is sometimes a turnoff. Having the option of a no-HL support version and a with-HL support version at a slightly increased cost could alleviate this some, while making both those who do use the software and those who do not happy.


Orthos wrote:
My only request is to make purchasing Hero Lab support with the content optional. For those of us who don't use it, the excess cost incurred by its addition is sometimes a turnoff. Having the option of a no-HL support version and a with-HL support version at a slightly increased cost could alleviate this some, while making both those who do use the software and those who do not happy.

This approach makes sense.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Steve Geddes wrote:
Was that colour or black and white?

B&W! I've already seen the beautiful art in the PDF, and I'm printing it for the rules, so I don't care about how the art looks!


Cheers. I was just surprised you could do it that cheap. That would explain it though (plus the binding).


To be honest, I thought it'd run me 30 bucks. But since it was my own book, I was willing to pay that much. When they told me the price, my jaw dropped and I thought "Wow, I wonder who else thinks it's super expensive?"


I get mine perfect bound in colour on gloss paper (I basically took in a player companion and said "like this"). A thirty two page book costs me around forty bucks per copy.


Daaaaang. You should use B&W :)

Grand Lodge

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Steve Geddes wrote:
Cheers. I was just surprised you could do it that cheap. That would explain it though (plus the binding).

Did you not notice his user name? 8)


+5 Toaster wrote:
Cheapy wrote:

Just a note, on topic, I think.

Today, I went to the FedEx Store to print off a copy of The Genius Guide to Apeiron Staves, which is PDF only. All told, I believe that the cost for printing, and binding it in a plastic-ring binding with a plastic protective cover was 8 dollars.

This is also about the difference between a Paizo PDF and the print version of it. For example, Rasputin Must Die has a PDF price of $15.99 and a print cost of $22.99.

Printing a PDF at a store is surprisingly cheap, so you can get a dead-tree version of any 3pp PDF that catches your fancy for quite a low amount of money.

I am assuming they can print front to back, but does anyone know a place to get stuff printed in hardbound? I have collected so many pdfs that I now want to do a grand collection of 3pp material. As it is the stacks and stacks of stapled paper is starting to get a bit much.

If you don't mind doing some of the work yourself, and you want your own hard copy, you can print the PDFs out yourself (your own printer or copy shop), buy a small 3-ring binder, and collect the printouts in the binder. The binders fit on the same shelf as the glossy books, you have it handy for games, and you can arrange it any way you want.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Excellent Discussion.....is there an ENNIE for best rpg thread?

Can 3PP take more of a risk in theme? There is already an AP for LE-ish PCs.

Could they take a gamble on say an adventure where the whole party is say undead, and therefore feed on the flesh of the living to survive?

A supplement/adventure that is Cert 15 rather than PG?

Thanks to a 3PP, after 33 years of playing in this awesome hobby, I have recently had something published!!

Long may they, and 1PP, flourish

John


Quote:
Can 3PP take more of a risk in theme?

This is one of the big benifits of being a third party publisher, we did a risk of the Coliseum Morpheuon for high level play on the plane of dreams; we also did the risk of a set of historical Japanese horror adventures (Curse of the Golden Spear tilogy); we did the risk of an adventure designed specificly for virtual tabletops and is available for both Maptool and Roll20.net.

Quote:
Could they take a gamble on say an adventure where the whole party is say undead, and therefore feed on the flesh of the living to survive?

I would love to see a submission like this be made to Adventure Quarterly.


Readerbreeder wrote:
+5 Toaster wrote:
Cheapy wrote:

Just a note, on topic, I think.

Today, I went to the FedEx Store to print off a copy of The Genius Guide to Apeiron Staves, which is PDF only. All told, I believe that the cost for printing, and binding it in a plastic-ring binding with a plastic protective cover was 8 dollars.

This is also about the difference between a Paizo PDF and the print version of it. For example, Rasputin Must Die has a PDF price of $15.99 and a print cost of $22.99.

Printing a PDF at a store is surprisingly cheap, so you can get a dead-tree version of any 3pp PDF that catches your fancy for quite a low amount of money.

I am assuming they can print front to back, but does anyone know a place to get stuff printed in hardbound? I have collected so many pdfs that I now want to do a grand collection of 3pp material. As it is the stacks and stacks of stapled paper is starting to get a bit much.
If you don't mind doing some of the work yourself, and you want your own hard copy, you can print the PDFs out yourself (your own printer or copy shop), buy a small 3-ring binder, and collect the printouts in the binder. The binders fit on the same shelf as the glossy books, you have it handy for games, and you can arrange it any way you want.

oh there is plenty of those too, though I mostly save the binders for homebrewed stuff (which has a greater collective page number than my official pathfinder material and 3pp combined), really though I love the thought of having volumes dedicated to each 3pp I subscribe to.


3 people marked this as a favorite.

Took a while to get to this thread, but I find it fascinating.

I've been a fan of 3PP from the beginning. The idea that the limitless creativity of the fans or small publishers could be brought to the table in anyone's game was brilliant. In both 3.x and Pathfinder I use as much 3PP, if not more, than core rules.

One of the intents Dancey stated about the OGL is that third parties would make something, then it get incorporated into the core rules, when would then be improved, leading to more innovation; this becoming a cycle. But WotC didn't really take advantage of that, but Pathfinder has. Personally I'd love to see more of that happening, but realities of business, time and resources means we don't see more.

I think that third party publishing is the lifeblood of this game, and I wish the concept was more accepted and more widely used.

I was originally against PDFs, but now I buy all my games that way – 3PP or Paizo. It's much more economical and I now have a pad. I do buy some books, but I am a bibliophile, and a collector so I try not to get caught up in collecting books, in traditional format. But I can see the attraction.

And sometimes a small PDF that costs a buck or two may be mostly crap, but has one really good idea, feat or something in it. There are others that are fantastic all the way through. I wish I could buy more and read them all.

I guess this is a fan of 3PP books in general making a love letter to the publishers saying thank you, and keep it up.


Fantastic post Lord Mhoram. Thank you for your summation - particularly on Ryan Dancey's comment on (one of) the intents of the OGL. This has always been the attraction for me - that everything produced is available to be tweaked and re-tweaked into something new or spins off into something innovative which in turn is retweaked in a continuous cycle.

Webstore Gninja Minion

2 people marked this as a favorite.
thenovalord wrote:
A supplement/adventure that is Cert 15 rather than PG?

The Pathfinder Compatibility License that third-party publishers must operate under a "no adult content" clause, so this line has to be tread very, very carefully.

Liberty's Edge

What exactly is Cert 15? I've never heard of it here in the US. Is it sort of like PG-13?

Shadow Lodge

Liz Courts wrote:
thenovalord wrote:
A supplement/adventure that is Cert 15 rather than PG?
The Pathfinder Compatibility License that third-party publishers must operate under a "no adult content" clause, so this line has to be tread very, very carefully.

Yeah. For example, Frog God Game's "The Black Mansion" has a censor bar in the Pathfinder version on one of the pictures. The S&W version lets it all hang out.


I noticed the censor bar and thought it rather silly considering the artwork of the renaissance, but ok don't want to argue pathfinder rules.

101 to 150 of 175 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | next > last >>
Community / Forums / Pathfinder / Pathfinder First Edition / Third-Party Pathfinder RPG Products / Product Discussion / The Awesomeness of Third Party Publishers, A Must Read Article All Messageboards

Want to post a reply? Sign in.