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Self Publishing: What's An Artist Worth? Tuesday, 8th January, 2019 07:51 AM

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Tuesday, 8th January, 2019


Monday, 7th January, 2019


Wednesday, 2nd January, 2019


Thursday, 1st February, 2018

  • 03:22 PM - Jester David mentioned M.T. Black in post [UPDATED] DM's Guild No Longer Allows Creator Logos On Product Covers
    ... you considered a Kickstarted book as a trial? It would be interesting to see how it worked for you. If they dropped the exclusivity requirement, I'd be very tempted to Kickstarter a book and then put it on DMsG to see what happened. It would be a killer combo getting the benefit of both platforms. Kickstarter is great if you have an audience already and a well known name. If people know you and are willing to give you money on a promise of future content. If you don't have that reputation, then Kickstarter will not be better. Because people aren't going to spend money on that gamble. Only 11.6% of creators on the DMsGuild have a product that has the Copper Seller medal. Which equates with $50 sales. 88.4% of books on the DMsGuild have sold fewer than 50 copies. And only 2% have sold over 500 copies, which is roughly 300 books. Most people are not well known enough to warrant people giving money to immediately receive their work, let alone in six months. From the numbers M.T. Black gives, his book has sold <2000 copies. Which is far fewer than the 2,454 of even a small Kickstarter like Touch of Class. Is it realistic that he would have sold more copies by stripping out Elminster and not giving it to people immediately? He would have made more money per sale going through DriveThru where he'd be making that extra 15% of each sale, that's $4000, which is roughly 400 sales. However, if 400 fewer people had noticed the book because it was mixed it with all the other RPGs and/or didn't manage to crack the sales chart (competing against Genesys, Stars Without Numbers, Vampire, Blades in the Dark, Traveller, Flash Gordon, and Star Trek) then he would have paradoxically made less money with more royalties. I'm fairly successful on the Guild: 5 platinum products, 1 gold, 2 electrum, 4 silver, and 2 copper copper. But ignoring a few books with high sales number due to a bungle sale, my highest selling book has moved a little over a thousand copies. Spread out over...

Wednesday, 11th January, 2017

  • 03:00 AM - Quickleaf mentioned M.T. Black in post Chase encounters in D&D
    M.T. Black I fully agree with pdzoch's analysis that the DMG chase rules rarely map to the reality of the gaming table (where "catch in a chase" and "shoot into submission" tend to be conflated by players & players almost never run away). That said, I've had some success implementing chases across various editions...albeit tweaking the rules to make them my own. I highly recommend you take a gander at this thread I started about chase rules: http://www.enworld.org/forum/showthread.php?482668-Making-Chase-Rules-that-actually-do-what-they-re-supposed-to! And there is really good commentary there too, well worth your read.

Monday, 12th December, 2016

  • 09:26 PM - Quickleaf mentioned M.T. Black in post Adventure Twists
    M.T. Black Back when we played 4e I put together a cheat sheet which also had a list of plot twists: http://www.enworld.org/forum/showthread.php?307923-4e-DM-Cheat-Sheet It's nicely formatted there (last page of PDF) and other cool system-agnostic stuff, but I'll copy-paste here: d20 Twist 1 Face from the past a. Defeated enemy new role b. Old ally in new setting c. Retired PC cameo 2 Secret from a PCís past 3 Taken off the case a. PCs become suspects b. Corrupt NPC(s) takes over 4 Villain adapts to PCs 5 Forced collaboration a. In face of greater threat b. Need each otherís info. 6 Double mission a. Second quest is added b. Original quest is a ruse 7 Bad guys got there first 8 Unexpected reversal a. Enemy < > Ally b. Consequence of quest 9 A tempting offer 10 Bad guys kick in the door a. Assassins ambush PCs b. Massive attack on town c. Summoned monsters d. Duel challenge issued 11 Ethical dilemma a. Lesser of two evils b. Ally vs. rule...

Friday, 9th December, 2016

  • 02:09 AM - Quickleaf mentioned M.T. Black in post Empty Rooms
    M.T. Black A guy named Courtney Campbell (username 'valis') shared a great PDF on the Hack & Slash that deals with empty rooms extensively that I highly recommend: http://hackslashmaster.blogspot.com/2011/02/on-tricks-empty-rooms-and-basic-trap.html and here's the direct link: http://angband.oook.cz/steamband/Tricks.pdf

Wednesday, 23rd November, 2016

  • 12:52 AM - Quickleaf mentioned M.T. Black in post Ideas for a Wizards Tower
    M.T. Black The Rare and Banned Books Repository Aging parchments written in forgotten tongues, map folios bursting at the seams, and spellbooks inscribed with the True Names of fiends and celestials alike line the 40-foot high circular walls of this creaking repository. Two barely visible walls of force contoured to the shape of the room whirl in opposite directions at varying speeds; each wall of force has a slight gap in it that only lines up for a fraction of a second with the gap of the other wall of force. Thus, physically reaching through that gap to grasp a book from the shelves is an extremely difficult task beyond the scope of all but the most talented of mortal thieves. At the very top and center of the room is a large 25-pound floating black book that serves as a magical index of all rare and banned books in the repository; within this index is mention of several books containing spells that might be helpful for dealing with the whirling walls of force, among whatever other v...

Tuesday, 4th October, 2016

  • 10:21 PM - surfarcher mentioned M.T. Black in post Can You Fund A DMs Guild Product On Kickstarter?
    Thanks @M.T. Black .... I'm feeling more positive again this morning. I'm sure I'll get something working. My original thought was to have the content on multiple sites but naturally that isn't allowed. Which I completely understand. At the moment I'm thinking along the lines of simply releasing all the content as free. Then having both a Paypal donate button and a Patreon page (the main benefit of which is, I guess, an inside line to me). Every cent is going into producing content anyway. Noone contributes it'll be rather slow going lol I wonder if I should ask the guys at WotC directly... Only Greg was the main guy from that side of things that I talked with. Maybe I should ask him who to ask lol Edit: Always cool to get an enworld response from a fellow aussie :-D

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Tuesday, 8th January, 2019

  • 01:00 PM - GreyLord quoted M.T. Black in post Self Publishing: What's An Artist Worth?
    Thanks, this is good practical advice. What is your background in the industry, if I may ask? You clearly know a lot about it. Stock and business wise I normally don't get into that here. However, on a more personal level I've been involved with writing and publishing for a while, over 20 years at this point (actually longer than that, but 20 years is a nice round number to look at). It was more with my personal involvement than anything dealing with what I actually did for work. Some of it has been published by other companies and some of it has been published on my own. Got my start originally with the magazines (though back then they did things somewhat differently, similar idea with submissions though). Moved onto books after a few years. Unfortunately, not a ton of fiction in there. I do fiction as a hobby and for fun, but a lot of non-fiction was a side job (not the main one I did to make money, but a side job I did sort of as a combination of hobby/keeping my foot in...
  • 07:39 AM - GreyLord quoted M.T. Black in post Self Publishing: What's An Artist Worth?
    Thanks for your comments, GreyLord. What advice can you suggest to someone who is looking to hire an artist for their game or book? What does a reasonable rate look like? So, that long paragraph above doesn't really answer your question, of which I'm sorry, because there is no REAL set answer. Just as your article states (though not the rates), it's almost impossible to pin down. It depends on the artist. LUCKILY...if you are dealing with someone who is EXPERIENCED (which also probably means they are dependable), they will know their rates already. You can see their reviews and many of the webpages for freelancers will have a listing where you can see their rates and compare it to others who are also out there. For someone who is new, it will boil down to how many illustrations do you want, how detailed do you want them, and when you want them. Let's put a general price of $100 per illustration (just an average to make it easy...so smaller illustrations should be less, bigg...
  • 07:24 AM - GreyLord quoted M.T. Black in post Self Publishing: What's An Artist Worth?
    Thanks for your comments, GreyLord. What advice can you suggest to someone who is looking to hire an artist for their game or book? What does a reasonable rate look like? I listed above a long post about it, but in general I'd probably go with the idea that you take how long it will take you to make the piece of art and multiply it by the hour. A beginning artist should probably charge NO LESS than $10 an hour. $15/hr is probably not unusual to charge either. Then it depends on the size and detail (obviously). For a sketch of less than an hour you probably shouldn't charge more than $30 -$50. For a normal piece of artwork that takes around half a day probably $50-$80. For something more complex, let's say full page...you'd probably be looking at something between $100 - $150. This depends on DETAIL and scope though. IMO (obviously), the problem dealing with newcomers to the art scene has several factors. The first is how skilled they are. I hate to say it, but the bet...
  • 06:50 AM - GreyLord quoted M.T. Black in post Self Publishing: What's An Artist Worth?
    I've put together a guide to RPG Freelance rates, based on my experiences over the last few years. Your feedback is appreciated! http://bit.ly/RPGRates For Illustration, depends on the experience and skill of the illustrator. Your paragraph introducing and discussing rates is pretty good, but the lists that you put down from Spencer probably should not be listed as to what most of those who are inquiring about rates need to know. For someone starting, I'd never pay them that unless they had exceptional skill. It's WAAAAY too high. Good way to never get employed if that's what they are looking for, at least for normal projects. On the other side of the equation...WAAAY too low for someone who is really skilled and has a good bit of experience. I'd jump on those rates for full page illustrations in half a second for someone who had a good amount of skilled and showed that they were very dependable. Average going rates right now are probably somewhere around $20/hr for illustrat...

Monday, 7th January, 2019

  • 10:25 AM - Zak S quoted M.T. Black in post What's a Freelance RPG Writer Worth?
    You've said Raggi virtually guarantees a minimum of 20 cents I don't think I did say that. He does do well though, here's his original statement: https://plus.google.com/112262093672917983853/posts/4B6j9CaezK7 " Not that I want to brag or anything, but looking at how LotFP authors' royalties break down on a per-word rate... My 21st best selling book (meaning 20 other books I've released have sold more copies) has earned the author 21 cents a word in royalties to date. Euro cents, not those weak-ass dollar cents. That seems kinda nuts. " ...are you aware of any other small RPG publishers out there that pay a minimum of 10 cents per word? I know Schwalb does. Do you know any others? I will list them in my rate document. Here's the thing: most of these small publishers don't pay by the word. They partner together with people they get along with and work out a way of splitting profits or working together that doesn't incentivize bloating word count. You should talk to ...
  • 09:39 AM - Zak S quoted M.T. Black in post What's a Freelance RPG Writer Worth?
    Zak, thanks for responding! I saw your comments on twitter but didn't have a useful response in 240 characters. One thing to note is that I'm not commenting on whether these rates are reasonable or acceptable. I'm just reporting what I've seen in the market. I accept that but when people point out to the companies involved that these rates are sub-poverty line and predatory, they often go "That's the industry standard, you must not know much about the industry". And the fact is we need to make sure there is no rhetorical room for that position: that is only the "standard" for companies where 1 or 2 people make a living wage and the rest are working on what amounts to a content farm and in 2019 we can all do better. I think you are right that more money can be made (potentially) with kickstarting. What I feel like you are not acknowledging is the need to build an audience first, Again: 1 Mothership and Dead Planet (and the original pre-Lotfp Carcosa) all made more than 10cents a word of...
  • 08:51 AM - Zak S quoted M.T. Black in post What's a Freelance RPG Writer Worth?
    I've put together a guide to RPG Freelance rates, based on my experiences over the last few years. Your feedback is appreciated! http://bit.ly/RPGRates As I said on Twitter when this was circulated: I do not think there is any reason for anyone to accept rates this low. As the author notes, you can make way more self-publishing, what they don't say is that you can also make way more with a profit-split deal or by just working with a more honest indie publisher. Dead Planet sold only 637 copies and the authors and 2 authors made 10 cents a word each. Neither was self-publishing. The reasons given for not working like this in the doc are: " 1. It can help you build your audience. 2. It can help you network with industry people. 3. You will very likely learn things. 4. You will work on properties that you otherwise canít. " 1. Simply isn't true. There are people who have swum back and forth around the 3-6 cents a word payscale for years and never made more than that...
  • 08:11 AM - RichGreen quoted M.T. Black in post What's a Freelance RPG Writer Worth?
    I've put together a guide to RPG Freelance rates, based on my experiences over the last few years. Your feedback is appreciated! http://bit.ly/RPGRates Looks good to me - thanks for pulling this together!
  • 07:16 AM - dchart quoted M.T. Black in post Self Publishing: What's An Artist Worth?
    I've put together a guide to RPG Freelance rates, based on my experiences over the last few years. Your feedback is appreciated! http://bit.ly/RPGRates That looks useful, and fits with my experience.

Monday, 31st December, 2018

  • 04:25 PM - cmad1977 quoted M.T. Black in post "How do I beat the Matt Mercer effect?"
    I suspect these fears are overblown. Even the OP was talking about a potential problem they foresaw rather than an actual problem that had manifested yet. We have a good existing parrallel in sports. Anyone who is interested in football, for example, has probably watched hundreds of hours of pro-quality games on TV. But 99% of people realise they are not going to match the pros when they take to the field themselves. It's the same here. Also, I don't see the problem with people, especially newbies, imitating characters from critical role. I think its a good way to learn to roleplay. And your imitation will inevitably become its own thing after a few months anyway. Yeah. When I was a new player my characters were all carbon copies of heroes from books. Itís the same thing.

Sunday, 30th December, 2018

  • 10:35 PM - Charlaquin quoted M.T. Black in post "How do I beat the Matt Mercer effect?"
    We have a good existing parrallel in sports. Anyone who is interested in football, for example, has probably watched hundreds of hours of pro-quality games on TV. But 99% of people realise they are not going to match the pros when they take to the field themselves. It's the same here. . Thatís really not a good parallel, because football doesnít have slightly different rules on every field, and professional football players and referees donít play by house rules. Also, professional athletes are still primarily concerned with playing the game to the best of their ability, nor putting on a good show.
  • 10:11 PM - DQDesign quoted M.T. Black in post "How do I beat the Matt Mercer effect?"
    We have a good existing parrallel in sports. Anyone who is interested in football, for example, has probably watched hundreds of hours of pro-quality games on TV. But 99% of people realise they are not going to match the pros when they take to the field themselves. It's the same here. It would be the same only if the DM would be Ian McKellen, the players Daniel Radcliff, Harrison Ford and Scarlet Johanson and the show would air on BBC1 or Fox in prime time, not with the actual CR show with (albeit professional) voice actors streamed on internet.

Saturday, 29th December, 2018

  • 08:02 AM - trancejeremy quoted M.T. Black in post Self Publishing: What's An Artist Worth?
    I haven't seen this before. Can you link me the art piece so I can see? Woops, missed this months ago. But since this thread is bumped, it is Dean Spencer. He is really one of the best stock art artists, but his license is one use only http://www.deanspencerart.com/license To be fair, he does link to the license on his product pages. However, it would be nice (and I think DTRPG should require) mention of the terms on the license on the page itself, not a link. Sure you can. You just have to use the right tools, like Kickstarter! It's not just the tools. It's how you use them, as well. You either have to build up a brand name, have a good internet presence, or be a good pitchman. My one foray into crowdfunding resulted in literally zero pledges. It's not unlike my one experiment of trying to sell a module instead of setting it to PWYW. Literally no one bought it in the first year, after which I set it to PWYW, which brought in a little.

Sunday, 2nd December, 2018

  • 02:47 PM - Morrus quoted M.T. Black in post One Page Adventure: The Business of Emotion
    I take your point about the maps, but I think it can be done. In the above, for example, you could just have four rumours, push the right hand boxes up a couple of inches, and have a little map of the waterfall chamber in the bottom right. I know this is post-publication, so this is just an example of how it could be done. Like I said, dnd folk loooove their maps. But overall, I'm a big fan of one-page formats and I look forward to seeing more from your pen. Try this for size. 103421

Saturday, 1st December, 2018

  • 02:52 AM - Morrus quoted M.T. Black in post One Page Adventure: The Business of Emotion
    I love one page adventure designs. My only hesitation is that D&D players and DMs *love* having maps for their adventures. Yeah. The issue is that maps take up a *lot* of space, and so they need to be really necessary to make the cut.

Tuesday, 20th November, 2018

  • 03:18 PM - CapnZapp quoted M.T. Black in post The Top 50 DMs Guild Adventures
    To clear up one point, I didn't arbitrarily set any criteria here - I simply used the DMs Guild sort function to generate this list. I was wondering, how do you do this? I can only find filters (and not even a filter for ratings) - nothing that allows me to say, for example, show me adventures sorted on best rating first. (Do note: I'm asking in 2018. This thread is from 2017.)

Tuesday, 6th November, 2018

  • 02:16 PM - Azzy quoted M.T. Black in post Dragon Reflections #16 Ė Gygax Fights Back!
    Yeah, Rolemaster was notorious, wasn't it? Didn't they nickname it "Tablemaster" or something like that?Rollmaster. [emoji3]
  • 02:14 PM - Azzy quoted M.T. Black in post Dragon Reflections #16 Ė Gygax Fights Back!
    Yeah, my son and I had a look through Cyberpunk 2020 on the weekend, figuring out the combat system. Gosh, so many tables to look up, and so many little sub-systems to manage! It looked like a pretty good simulation, but it's not really what I go for in terms of gameplay.CP2020 is actually a lot easier than it first looks. I'd suggest limiting supplements, and taking a relaxed attitude to the more fiddly bits (and probably ignore Netrunning altogether). It is very dated, but the underlying system is fairly easy and smooth.

Monday, 5th November, 2018

  • 09:03 PM - Jay Verkuilen quoted M.T. Black in post Dragon Reflections #16 Ė Gygax Fights Back!
    Yeah, Rolemaster was notorious, wasn't it? Didn't they nickname it "Tablemaster" or something like that? Chartmaster! :cool: I played/ran it a good bit back in the day. There were many good ideas but they really, really liked charts and percentile dice.
  • 08:06 AM - TrippyHippy quoted M.T. Black in post Dragon Reflections #16 Ė Gygax Fights Back!
    Yeah, my son and I had a look through Cyberpunk 2020 on the weekend, figuring out the combat system. Gosh, so many tables to look up, and so many little sub-systems to manage! It looked like a pretty good simulation, but it's not really what I go for in terms of gameplay.I think you might find that D&D/AD&D back then had more tables and sub-systems to manage.


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