More than 80 copies, though. Our products have done pretty well on the pdf market's scale, but I wouldn't dare try to make a living with just this. It's a nice supplement income, one that you can feel good about spending on just gaming stuff, but I'd have to write a book about once every 2 weeks to be able to support myself with just gaming income.
But the money's not the main thing. It just feels dang good to release something that people actually enjoy playing with.
Well, I certainly didn't think I could do this as a full-time income replacement. As for "why I'm doing it," the question is based in what "it" is. As you know, there's a lot of work involved in taking something that you can use at your gaming table and putting it in a form that can be used by a broad audience. I'm planning to write some small documents (around 10 pages) to publish for public consumption. Larger documents (100-150 pages) I would want to recover some money for, just like any other writer.
For me, there are a lot of reasons to write gaming material. Some of it is just that I want to get ideas that have been fomenting in my brain for twenty years or so down on paper in a usable format.
Since the whole 3E/D20/OGL revolution happened, I've also been very interested in simply doing my part to enrich the community in some small way, contributing material the way that many of you already have. For years the creativity of the greater portion of RPG writers was stifled by either licensing issues or the horrible "get in the door" costs of creating a small press. Between the OGL and PDFs, that has all changed, and I intend to take advantage of that. To me, it's kind of like the "take a penny, leave a penny" cup that you find at the local mini-mart.
Then, of course, there's the matter of ego. Somewhere in each writer is the desire to have others validate his work, to have them read and say, "Hey, this is cool." The only way to have a chance at that is to publish something.
Lastly, not only is getting paid for something you wrote the ultimate validation for a writer, it's just damn nice to get a check in the mail and be able to say, "Wow. This is definitely worth the effort I put in."
I can't even imagine how many copies The Book of Eldritch Might
has sold. It is, after all, written by Monte
himself. He seems to be doing well by himself with his new imprint, and I think he mentioned in some interview that he was surprised that he's making enough with it to make a living at it. Then there's the rest of us, with our varying levels of expertise. You, Mr. Nock, and your contemporaries are well established in the community and have contributed broadly. I would like to join your ranks by way of deed. But goals must be set, and it must be known whether the ring is brass or gold.
To me, if I worked half a summer on something and it sold 500 copies, I'd be ecstatic. At 50, I'd be disappointed. If it only sold 10, I'd be depressed.
Maybe I should categorize my question for TFT and WS:
Sorry if you take my persistence to be annoying. I really do want to do some market analysis, though, not only for myself but for the rest of the community. Of course, it's in the interest of the establishment to want the market protected...
Many thanks for whatever you can tell me.