PDF publishing - best options?

der_kluge

Adventurer
mods: if this doesn't belong here, feel free to move it (not that you need my permission...)

I have written a PDF. This is a proto-typical fantasy thing, and covers what life was like for your average medieval peasant. It's a very rules light, fluff-heavy look at the Middle Ages. 45 pages.

I can package this up, post it on drivethrurpg.com and sell it. I'm thinking $5 is reasonable. With their cut, I make $3.50 per copy sold, and if I manage to sell 100 copies - woohoo, I'm $350 richer. But this will be the only product I have on that site (or anywhere), and I don't intend to do this for a living, and I might or might not ever write another book again, but I don't intend to make this a regular kind of thing.

Which option is smarter - for me to do that, or for me to just have another publisher do this legwork for me, post the product under their label, take some cut of the profits, and I sort of wash my hands of it? Like, in my mind, because I'm a nobody, are there advantages to publishing this for an actual publisher, since they have (presumably) some marketing email lists, and can do some promotion for the book. So, let's say I let a 3rd party company publish this for me. For basically no work on their part, I let them take $1 of my $3.50, but instead of selling 100 copies, I sell 150 copies, and even though I'm making slightly less per book, I'm coming out slightly ahead in the end.

Obviously, I have no idea how many copies sell on this site. Maybe 100 is a ridiculously high number. That would affect my decision as well. If 10 copies is more realistic, than I'll just go with option A. If it tends towards hundreds, maybe option B would be better in the long run. And are the advantages of using a 3rd party worth the cut I would take to do that?

And anyway, that's a good place to start. Any ideas?
 

Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member
You could sell it outright to a publisher, and not worry about royalties.You'd need to pitch it to a publisher; that would be the hardest part. Typical rates are about $0.03 per word, though some pay more (don't accept less).
 

der_kluge

Adventurer
You could sell it outright to a publisher, and not worry about royalties.You'd need to pitch it to a publisher; that would be the hardest part. Typical rates are about $0.03 per word, though some pay more (don't accept less).
Well, it's clocking in at 23,215 words, which would put it at almost $700. I don't see that happening.
 

Tun Kai Poh

Explorer
You can also publish on itch.io. Fewer views than DrivethruRPG but you can set their cut to 10% as opposed to Drivethru's 30% cut. You can also set both a minimum price and a "recommended price" - for instance I charge USD2 for my micro-RPG but my suggested price is USD5 for people who think I deserve more.

You get to customize your page with previews and all sorts of hypertext, which can be useful (see my game Ech0 for an example).
 

Tun Kai Poh

Explorer
There's a cool article about the benefits of itch.io for small RPG creators by DC (Orion) who currently writes for WotC. Some good points even if not aimed directly at you.

It was aimed at the "story-game" design community a year ago but since then the "physical games" (non-video games) category on itch has grown considerably and there are all sorts of people publishing their pdfs there.
 

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