What's a Freelance RPG Writer Worth?

Freelance writers (as opposed to those on salary) tend to be paid per word. The rate varies from publisher to publisher, and on how experienced the writer is. Ed Greenwood, for example, can command a much higher rate than a new writer can. Obviously only you, the freelancer, can decide what your labour is worth - and if you're an experienced freelancer you probably already have a pretty solid idea what that figure is. But if you're a new writer, you may be a little lost. In this article, which I'll continue to update with new information, I'll tell you what rate a new writer can expect from various publishers.

[Note - this article will continue to be updated and tweaked; folks are suggesting excellent advice to include, so it's worth checking back]. Using publisher submission information on their official websites, and publishers advertising for writers I have compiled the below list. In some cases, publishers have kindly volunteered the information; thank you! At the moment, it's a bit sparse; but I hope it will grow. New writers can use this page to help them determine their own value and check out publishers that interest them. I don't want to tell you what to charge for your writing services, or what to pay freelancers, but hopefully the information here will help - a little bit - in making an informed decision. You can click through to apply for opportunities that interest you.

Advice: Here are a few things to be wary of. They don't have to be dealbreakers, they aren't necessarily bad, and you may well be OK with them, but you should be aware of them. This applies to new writers (and artists, for that matter).

  • If you're doing work for somebody, and you're not being paid, you are being exploited. (Doing work for somebody is different to doing work with somebody). Volunteer work obviously falls outside this category, but volunteer work should clearly be volunteer work, not work paid in "exposure" (see below).
  • Never work for the promise of "exposure", or for "experience". You should work for money. This is a common tactic, and is often puffed up with nice language, but it is exploitation and you should look out for it.
  • Also be wary of jobs offering payment solely in royalties (or a percentage), unless the company has a verifiable track record of good sales - and they should be able to provide you with solid figures. Do not be afraid to ask for these figures; they're asking you to trust them and take a risk by working for royalties only, and if they refuse you those figures you should proceed with caution. That doesn't mean you shouldn't do it, but do it carefully. Royalties on top of a fair rate is perfectly reasonable.
  • Be wary of contests which grant the copyright of your work to the company; that's often a way of getting people to work for free. Look for contests which allow you to keep the rights to your work, or which will pay you if they publish your work. There is a caveat to this -- it's reasonable for companies to protect themselves from future claims of similar development to past contest entries, but, as Paizo's Erik Mona says, even then "If we publish it, we pay for it. Period."
  • Look at what's being sold. "Work for hire" means the publisher owns the output completely. Other options include "first publication" (in which you retain ownership but the publisher gets to publish it first) and non-exclusive licenses. All of these are OK, but the last two are worth more to you than the former, and may make a lower per-word rate more palatable. If you're writing for an existing setting, keeping the rights to your work is far less valuable to you, because you're unlikely to be able to re-use it (you're not going to be able to re-use material about Drizzt or Yoda, for example). Be wary of work-for-hire combined with a low per-word rate.
  • Be wary of pay-on-publication work. That means a publisher can shelve your work and never pay you for it. Take pay-on-acceptance work. Some publishers will portray their policy of paying-on-acceptance as a beneficent act: it's not; it's the baseline you should expect. That said, it's OK if the payment doesn't come instantly, as most publishers do their payments en masse on a periodical basis - but make sure you know when to expect it.
  • Don't do "audition work" for free. You should be paid for that, too, although it is fair that that be at a lower rate. Game designer Ryan Macklin has a good article about this.
  • If you re-use Open Gaming Content, it is reasonable for the publisher not to pay you for those words.
  • If it's not in the contract, ask how stat blocks are paid.
  • Finally, don't work in exchange for product.
  • Remember, it's OK if a company can't afford you. There's things that all of us can't afford! And also remember that it's very, very difficult to make a living freelancing for RPGs. Some people manage it, but it's not easy!

Please feel free to send corrections or additional information.

The below list shows the rates I've been able to find published online for new writers.

This is just starting rates only. Experienced writers will already know what rates they usually get, and already have relationships with various companies, so they don't really need the information below. If there's an asterisk, then I've been able to confirm that the company in question pays experienced writers more, but it's generally safe to assume that these minimum rates are increased depending on the writer.

I've included links where I can so that you can apply to the companies that interest you.

Publisher
Rate/word for new writers
Notes
Paizo Publishing$0.07*
Wizards of the Coast$0.06*Freelance articles for D&D Insider; other writers work on salary
Pinnacle Entertainment Group$0.06*"Higher for some folks, plus a % of any crowd funding we do if they're one of the principle creators."
Evil Hat Productions$0.05
Atlas Games$0.05
Steve Jackson Games (Pyramid / GURPs PDFs)$0.04 (Pyramid) or royalties (GURPs)After publication. "Pyramid pays 4 cents a word, shortly after the article appears in final form in our PDF"; "...our base royalty is 25% of the cover price (this can go up for authors with a strong reputation that helps sell books, and can go down for inexperienced authors or those requiring very heavy edits)."
Vorpal Games$0.04
Posthuman Studios$0.04
Pelgrane Press$0.03*
Goodman Games$0.03Link is to Level Up magazine submissions; other submission calls have the same figure
EN Publishing$0.03*
Drop Dead Studios$0.025
Fat Goblin Games$0.02
Dreamscarred Press$0.02
Purple Duck Games$0.01*
Frog God Games$0.01*
Kobold Press$0.01 - $0.06"...strict minimum of 1 cent per word... Our rates for established, proven freelancers vary from 2 to 6 cents/word."
Bards & Sages$0.0125% on acceptance, rest on publication
Rite Publishing$0.01*Rates go as high as $0.11.
Raging Swan Press$0.01
Open Gaming Monthly$0.01"If your submission IS selected, you will receive 1 cent per word for your first published work. If your work requires very little editing (fixing typos, fixing grammatical errors etc.) then that will likely be increased to 2 cents per word. If your work receives great reviews and we use your work in future issues or products, you'll receive 3 cents per word in those future products."
Obatron Productions<$0.01Savage Insider; Word Count: 2,000 – 5,600 | $15 – $35
LPJ Design$0.005* (half a cent)Up to $0.02 with experience
Rogue Genius Pressroyalties only
Ephemeric RPGroyalties only$1.00 for every PDF or e-book that is ordered

What the Publishers Said


Discussing this subject with numerous writers and publishers turned into a fairly lively debate. Some of the statements made clearly illustrated why it's important that writers make themselves informed. Louis J Porter of LPJ Design says that "You kind find was to save money at the beginning that pays off very well in the long run [sic]" and that "Do I think I could get to a point were I make $10K month doing this, Oh Hell Yes!"

The way LPJ Design finds ways to save money in order to make $10K a month is to pay writers half a cent per word. As he says "if you are a first time writer never have sold ANYTHING to ANYONE, sorry you bring no value to my company... You guys sound like the college grad who wants to get paid $50K for just showing up. LOL!" I found myself very uncomfortable with Porter's language; he later said to one writer "You can die from exposure. Just prove to me why I should pay you more? You do that, you get paid better." and to that writer he later said "And there is the problem, you think this is an equal relationship. It isn't."

That said, the same company's calls for freelancers on various RPG forums take a different tone: "So if you are interested and not sure you think you can be good at this, I will just say, don't miss out on your dreams because you are afraid to go after them...It is your job to loose."

I can't help but feel that "I can't afford writers" isn't an great reason to underpay writers. It's OK to not be able to afford something but the solution is to find some other way to afford it, or accept that you can't afford it. Many small publishers have addressed this issue by using services like Kickstarter, Patreon, and others, which are great alternative models, although not for everyone. Erik Mona asked about products with margins so low that $160 is too much (assuming a 10-page PDF at $0.02 per word) "Does it make sense to put effort into projects that garner so little interest from the paying public that they require shennanigans like that? Is $80 a fair wage for what amounts to 4 days of work?"

And, definitely, the majority of small publishers do not intend to consciously underpay anybody. It would be unfair to point at a bunch of publishers and chastise them for being exploitative, and many tiny publishers can really only afford $0.01 per word (although James Ward observed "At $.01 a word you get what you pay for.") As Raging Swan Press' Creighton Broadhurst (who is a very small publisher and pays $0.01 per word) said, "If I thought I was exploiting people, I would stop doing what I do. But I don't think I am as I'm forcing no one to work with me." And I myself know what it is to be a tiny publisher with incredibly low sales, so I can certainly empathize with that position -- most micro-publishers are run by decent people paying what they can afford.

I have no idea where the line lies, though personally I feel uncomfortable these days offering anybody less than $0.03 per word (I have in the past), and wouldn't consider paying $0.01 per word. But that's just what I choose to do. Most writers I've spoken to agree that 2,000 publishable words per day is a fairly reasonable rate. As game designer Rich Baker observed, "It's hard to knock down 2000 word days, day in, day out. That's an honest 8 hours of work. At $0.05 per word, you'd be making $12.50 an hour... I am frankly appalled at the idea that someone might pay (or take) $0.01 a word in the 21st century. That's saying a writer is worth $2.50 an hour." Paizo's Erik Mona feels that "1 cent a word is not "bordering on exploitative." It is exploitative FULL STOP."

[As a side note, using Rich Baker's estimate of 2,000 words per 8 hour day, that works out to $10 per day at half a cent per word, $20 per day at $0.01, $40 per day at $0.02, $60 per day at $0.03, $80 per day at $0.04, $100 per day at $0.05, $120 per day at $0.06, and $140 per day at $0.07.]

With luck, this article should give writers some of the the information they need to inform themselves when considering freelancing, and ensure that the relationship is an equal relationship. I'll keep the table above updated as best I can, and folks can make their own decisions. Please do feel free to correct inaccurate figures or provide additional information! Also, if you're a freelancer, feel free to share rates (don't break any NDAs, though!)


[video=youtube;mj5IV23g-fE]https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&amp;v=mj5IV23g-fE[/video]
 
Russ Morrissey

Comments

Evil Hat aren't spending it on the art, they aren't giving it to the writers, they aren't spending it on the production, so....where?
Production = product development and inventory output. They have a product catalog that is between 2x and 3x bigger than that of LotFP. Some is PDF but there's also a lot in (expensive quality, in my experience with their physical product) print. That requires money to sustain.

"Product development" literally means paying the creatives.
That's a component, yes. But it's paying them for NEW product, not putting more money into stuff already on the shelves.

Royalties has its upside and its downside. One of the biggest downsides, from a publisher's perspective, is that if the product succeeds, you can reach a point where the amount you're paying in royalties surpasses the point you would have paid out in a flat fee. So, even a successful product using royalties can mean less money going back into the business.

There isn't a magic "development" machine that you feed quarters into and it produces ideas for you. You pay artists graphic designers and writers to devote time to talking about and thinking about and making the thing.
Except that's typically not how the creative process works. The artists don't come to the publisher and say "I have this idea I want to talk to you about." The publisher goes to the artist and says "I have this idea, here's my rough art direction, how much to make it happen and how many approval options do I get with your quoted cost?"

Like I said: nobody's ever asked Evil Hat where the money they aren't paying creatives goes and they have never answered.
Still not seeing why that makes it "extra" money.
I know some of it goes to banner ads.
Which sounds pretty normal to me.
Why would they advertise all the money they're hoarding and not paying freelancers?
Hoarding? Really?

Anyone who says that ANY rpg publisher is making enough money to be "hoarding" profits illustrates a rather flawed understanding of both RPG publishing and the RPG market.
 

Zak S

Guest
Production = product development and inventory output. They have a product catalog that is between 2x and 3x bigger than that of LotFP. Some is PDF but there's also a lot in (expensive quality, in my experience with their physical product) print. That requires money to sustain.
Unless you're claiming that Evil Hat has less money than LotFP at any given moment, what's the point here?

And if they do have less money, then you're simply saying that Evil Hat's freelancers are paying the price for Evil Hat's mismanagement of their business. They sell a zillion more copies and have been around longer yet somehow have less cash?



Royalties has its upside and its downside. One of the biggest downsides, from a publisher's perspective, is that if the product succeeds, you can reach a point where the amount you're paying in royalties surpasses the point you would have paid out in a flat fee. So, even a successful product using royalties can mean less money going back into the business.
That's not a risk of how LotFP royalties work, that is how the royalty deals work on purpose: LotFP pays a flat fee equal or greater than Evil Hat or Green Ronin and then pays royalties on top of that.

And yet STILL they produce books with more money invested into the art writing binding printing etc than Evil Hat and Green Ronin.

Except that's typically not how the creative process works. The artists don't come to the publisher and say "I have this idea I want to talk to you about." The publisher goes to the artist and says "I have this idea, here's my rough art direction, how much to make it happen and how many approval options do I get with your quoted cost?"
1. Both of those things happen all the time. Vornheim and Maze of the Blue Medusa and Veins of the Earth happened the first way, Red & Pleasant Land, Frostbitten and Mutilated and many other products happened the second way.

2. Your whole point was that "paying for development" meant something other than "paying the artists and writers to make a thing" and that isn't true at all. The whole process you just described is "paying artists and writers to make a thing"

Still not seeing why that makes it "extra" money.
EVil Hat& Green Ronin make more money than Lotfp.

Evil Hat & Green Ronin spend less money on the writing and art and binding, printing, etc than LotFP.

(If not, where is any evidence of this? When have any of their books matched the indestructible gold-embossed clothbound extravaganzas LotFP put out?)

So there is money they are pocketing that LotFP isn't. Call it "extra" or whatever you like.

It's money they could use to make the products better for customers and fairer to their creators that they do not use for that purpose.

There's nothing wrong with any of this if:

1. consumers are ok with product that is less well-produced than the publisher can afford and

2. if the creators are ok with being paid less than they could be and

3. if both are ok with the results of what underpaid freelancers are pumping out for (literally in terms of US cost-of-living) poverty-line wages at per-word rates guaranteed to make them want to express every idea in the least efficient way possible using the most words in order to either line the pockets of the publisher or be spent on some mysterious business expense that shows nowhere in the finished product

...but I bet lots of people aren't ok with that.
 
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Zak S

Guest
The US poverty line in 2017 Thresholds:

One person $13,860
Two people $18,670
Three people $23,480

At Evil Hate/Green Ronin rates, producing 500-1000 usable words per work day, every week, all week no time off, a game designer would make 6500-13000$ a year. Well below the poverty line

Meanwhile the publishers are somehow happily cruising along as full-time game publishers with no need for a second job.

And the high end (still below the poverty line for a single person with no kids) 1000 good RPG words a day and working every work day is not easy and probably barely sutainable.

I don't think it's unreasonable to suggest freelancers could describe this as "unfair".

I don't think it's unreasonable to say many RPG customers would describe the work currently being made under these conditions as disappointing.

Evil Hat and Ronin's excuse is that it has to be this way. They couldn't possibly pay people more or make better product.

LotFP and other OSR/DIY RPG companies are proving that is not true.
 
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Unless you're claiming that Evil Hat has less money than LotFP at any given moment, what's the point here?
The point is that business sustainment is a real thing that money must go into, more so when you don't have another job to support you. Green Ronin, as per your example, has a MUCH larger overhead than either Evil Hat or LotFP. And, although Green Ronin has full-time staff, I'd place safe money on them not living the Kardashian lifestyle as a result.

Not all businesses function the same. Just because you can point at LotFP and it's pay rate doesn't mean everyone who pays less is being unfair to their talents. Sure, some may be, but it's not a given. All of those businesses operate in different ways. Does James Edward Raggi IV have another job, for example, or is LotFP his only source of income?

And if they do have less money, then you're simply saying that Evil Hat's freelancers are paying the price for Evil Hat's mismanagement of their business. They sell a zillion more copies and have been around longer yet somehow have less cash?
That's why it's important to know the difference between gross and net profit. Having higher outlay =/= mismanagement.

Frankly, I don't know why it is, but I'm going to guess between your constant use of Evil Hat as an example and your loaded language and assumptions, you're concerned about proving some sort of personal point about them rather than actually discussing the financial realities of publishing.

[quoteThat's not a risk of how LotFP royalties work, that is how they work on purpose: LotFP pays a flat fee and then pays royalties on top of that.[/quote]From a publisher's perspective, it is an actual risk. Here's an example from my own company:

I have a popular supplement for Mutants and Masterminds. It's one of the most well-known and best-selling 3pp products for the system: Better Mousetrap. It was published under a royalties split model with its sole artist, Eric Lofgren, for the 2nd edition rules. It was a great deal because, at the time of that initial edition, I didn't have much money to work with as a budget, and certainly not enough to pay Eric a flat fee rate to illustrate and color all of this large book's art. It was a good deal for both of us based entirely on Eric's trust in me, as his income was 100% royalty based. When 3e came out, I went back and put time into rewriting this 150k+ word book, converting all the rules, redoing layout, remarketing, etc. That's a lot of work from the publisher's end. From Eric's perspective, he had to do a new cover and about 10 new art pieces. Everything else was carried over from the original, so not nearly as much work, but because the old art was being used, the old royalty agreement stands. So, from a publisher's perspective, using royalties for the art represents a clearly diminishing ROI from an effort perspective alone. But that's not all.

Better Mousetrap 3e surpassed the sales of its previous edition. It's now WAY past the point that it could have covered Eric's total art flat rate fees. But because he gets paid based on royalties, I keep taking money out of profits and giving them to Eric. This not only means less money in my pocket for all the additional work I put into the new edition, but it means less money going back into Misfit Studios for new products. Royalties, from a publisher's perspective, is an unending process of diminishing returns.

I've followed up Better Mousetrap, both in second and third editions, with my next most popular supplement, Metahuman Martial Arts. This book is even bigger and has more art, thus requires more time, but used stock art and art purchased on a flat fee basis. It's more niche and doesn't sell as well, in either 2e or 3e, but because my outlay is already long since paid, it makes far more money for Misfit Studios than does Better Mousetrap because my margin per sale is larger for the lack of still needing to pay someone else each sale.

The decision to go with royalties made sense at the time it was made but, future thinking-wise it was a mistake for Misfit Studios. I don't regret the decision, because i have a great relationship with Eric and it resulted in a good product, but purely from a business perspective, it's proven to be a bad risk that isn't paying off.

So as soon as an LotFP book sells well it is automatically paying more total than they would with a flat fee.
This here? This thing you just said?

This is where there is risk to the publisher. Intentions and good will aside, anything that increases costs is a risk to the business.

By definition.

The less money going back into the business, the less likely it is to be able to sustain itself against the unexpected, such as the rising costs of production if the paper market suddenly takes a hit or if another Wizard's Attic happens.

1. Both of those things happen all the time. Vornheim and Maze of the Blue Medusa and Veins of the Earth happened the first way, Red & Pleasant Land, Frostbitten and Mutilated and many other products happened the second way.
No, not "all the time."

The first is an outlier with most publishers. Most publishers develop product concepts in house and then look externally for the actual work to get done. Most publishers absolutely do not accept and then publish pitches as much as they do internally developed products.

2. Your whole point was that "paying for development" meant something other than "paying the artists and writers to make a thing" and that isn't true at all. The whole process you just described is "paying artists and writers to make a thing"
Yes, although it may be a surprise to some, there are costs involved with product development other than paying the artists and writers.

EVil Hat& Green Ronin make more money than Lotfp.
Sure, we can assume that in both gross and net.

Evil Hat & Green Ronin spend less money on the writing and art and binding, printing, etc than LotFP.
Yes on the former rates, but the latter isn't the same. All three companies produce print products with quality binding and paper. "Paying less" can be as simple as getting more for their money because they make larger orders with their printer. That "less" is actually purchasing value for the company and its market.

So there is money they are pocketing that LotFP isn't. Call it "extra" or whatever you like.
(again with the loaded language)

How do you know they are "pocketing" it?

Green Ronin has facilities and full-time staff to pay. The fact that their lower freelance rates reflects this isn't the same as "pocketing" money, "extra" or otherwise. It's a matter of the actual cost of doing business on a different scale than LotFP. (But the implication that it's not cool for the publishers to also try and make a living wage is kind of a real crappy perspective to take as a default position.)

It's money they could use to make the products better and fairer to their creators that they do not use for that purpose.
Only if we agree with your assumption they are "pocketing" it.

There's nothing wrong with any of this if:

1. consumers are ok with product that is less well-produced than the publisher can afford and
Well, I don't track Evil Hat as much, but people seem pretty happy with Green Ronin's product quality.

2. if the creators are ok with being paid less than they could be and
Having worked with Green Ronin, and knowing people who do, I'll also say that while people may always hope to earn more, they'll also work for the existing opportunities and be happy about it.

3. if both are ok with the results of what underpaid freelancers are pumping out for (literally in terms of US cost-of-living) poverty-line wages at per-word rates guaranteed to make them want to express every idea in the least efficient way possible using the most words in order to either line the pockets of the publisher or be spent on some mysterious business expense that shows nowhere in the finished product
Talents are "underpaid" by most RPG publishers because of the market and customers, not because of the publishers.

Low talent rates are the result of customers complaining and moaning that they aren't still paying the same price for product in 2018 as they were in 2000, coupled with an overall shrinking market, while talent rates increase. That's just the facts of the economics. For example, every single time Misfit Studios has tried raising a price to match economic shifts, there's been backlash over it and sales go down. So then it becomes a juggling game of whether the increased price is enough to bring in more money with fewer sales or if it's been raised to the point where it's just too high.

Every.

Time.

I've taken a small PDF product line with a cost of $1.55 per (with a profit of $1 per sale to me) up to $1.99 to accommodate art cost increases. Sales immediately dropped as a result and I was sent more than a few messages about how I was "ripping off" my loyal customers. Keep in mind that this price increase happened after the product line was 5 years old, so there were legitimate economic shifts to address. The result was that, in order to sustain the product line, I had to use original art less and stock art more just to maintain my own take away of $1 per sale, as the person doing the writing, layout, logistics, and marketing (you know, everything except the art; sometimes also including colouring the art myself.) This outcome doesn't exactly benefit freelancers either unless they happen to be the ones selling the stock art, because the result is missing job opportunities. And it's not like that $1 per sale I'm sustaining has the same value today as it did 5 years ago.

Because these are the realities of publishing beyond the perspective of freelancers alone.

There is a smaller market, that market wants to pay prices that are 20 years old, and freelancers expect rates that keep pace with the changing economy.

One of these things is not like the others.

Again, LotFP may pay great rates but is James Edward Raggi IV still doing other work to help pay expenses? Does his company have an office and full-time staff? How much of the work is he doing himself to reduce costs rather than "just" being the publisher? And on the projects he does the writing for, does he pay himself as he would any other writer or is he taking his compensation as writer out of the income he also takes as the publisher (as is the case with most small press)?

...but I bet lots of people aren't ok with that.
Then they won't work for those companies and will all go work for LotFP ...

... except they can't because, due to their higher rates, LotFP has less money to put into new product development and thus presents fewer opportunities for projects.

Because that's how businesses operate.
 
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Zak S

Guest
Talents are "underpaid" by most RPG publishers because of the market and customers, not because of the publishers.
Except not at Lotfp.

Or at Satyr Press.

Or at other little OSR/DIY RPG presses that call me up and pay me way more than the 3-5 cents a word that Green Ronin and Evil Hat can offer.

Just like the publishers at Green Ronin and Evil Hat, James at LotFP has no other job.

They all live off their publishing.

And yet:

Green Ronin and Evil Hat make more money yet LotFP spends more on books and more on creators.

So either:

A) the big indies are "pocketing" that money (and not spending it on making the product better)

or

b) their business practices are--from the point of view of creators and customers--worse than LotFP & Cos and they are just finding ways to waste it that don't improve product

If it's because have more overhead? They should get rid of it then. It clearly isn't doing anyone any good except maybe their landlord.
 
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Except not at Lotfp.
Again ... is the owner also working another job? No? Good for him. Now, are you going to argue that is the standard in our industry?

Or at Satyr Press.
And I'm truly glad they can afford to pay more.

But consider, given what I stated above and you ignored, that may be part of the reason why 99% of the RPG market has never heard of them.

Or at other little OSR/DIY RPG presses that call me up and pay me way more than the 3-5 cents a word that Green Ronin and Evil Hat can offer.
Again, would those be more OSR/DIY RPG presses that are competing within a niche within a niche and most of the market has never heard of? Thus they don't have the same costs as companies that are competing in larger waters?

Just like the publishers at Green Ronin and Evil Hat, James at LotFP has no other job.
Great. It's always good news when a small press guy can go full-time.

And it's good to hear he's also paying for facilities, other full-time staff, licensing, etc., no?

They all live off their publishing.
And clearly in the high life because of all they are pocketing, correct?

And yet:

Green Ronin and Evil Hat make more money yet LotFP spends more on books and more on creators.
I'll give you LotFP pays more on its creatives, but you're guessing at paying more on its books. Green Ronin probably pays less per unit, but that's because they are buying in larger numbers. They also use glossy paper and lots of hard bounds. Despite paying less per unit, it's a safe bet their overall costs for publication and inventory maintenance are substantially higher than LotFP.

So either:

A) the big indies are "pocketing" that money (and not spending it on making the product better)

or

b) their business practices are--from the point of view of creators and customers--worse than LotFP & Cos and they are just finding ways to waste it that don't improve product
or c) there is actually such a thing as scale of economics in business.

If it's because have more overhead? They should get rid of it then. It clearly isn't doing anyone any good except maybe their landlord.
So ... you're advocating that they fire people in order to pay freelancers more? That they output less product and not keep up with their demand? That also sounds like poor business. Because you don't seem to realize that "overhead" includes other people and the cost of sustainment. The bigger the company, necessarily the more money it requires to sustain its operations.

Ultimately, here's the thing that brings this all back to the original question in the topic:

"What's a Freelance RPG Writer Worth?"

The answer is, simply, more than the RPG industry at large can afford.

The industry, by and large, hasn't been able to keep its prices at a pace with the economy. Why? Because they are a luxury good in a small niche market that only keeps shrinking. Product runs are much smaller than they were a decade ago, and a decade before that, and reliance on digital product is rising. Even then, customers measure value based on faulty perceptions like "it shouldn't cost that much if I'm not paying for paper." So, price shfits have been small, if at all, over the past 20 years.

But the cost of living goes up.

So, when you say things like artists and writers deserve a living wage? I agree. They deserve it. But if they want it, the RPG market isn't the place to go. This is objectively true by the very simple fact that 99% of the people paying them can't make a living wage in the market. Outliers at LotFP are able to pay more but it comes at the cost of not actually being able to compete in the core market. The industry is driven by people who need other jobs to sustain their households while also doing RPG publishing. That's just the economic truths of our market. Thus the joke "how do you make a small fortune in the RPG industry? Start with a big fortune."

RPG publishers don't pay rates that are much smaller than in other industries because they want to. They aren't "pocketing" or "hoarding" it as you suggest. That's just ridiculous, and you keep using that language because, as the conversation continues, you've clearly got a reason to specifically give black eyes to Evil Hat and Green Ronin. But positing that "the money is there" and that these publishers are sitting back lighting cigars with dollar bills is just ... silly.

Are there companies that can afford to pay more? Sure. Are there companies that can't? Yes, with even more certainty. Will the model used by LotFP apply to every game publisher? Absolutely not. And arguing that it would is a faulty premise clear to anyone with even the slightest business acumen, let alone experience publishing RPGs, because the differences between who those businesses are, where they are, who they are, and the scale they operate at -- SHOCK! -- have actual, practical implications that influence their financials.
 

Zak S

Guest
So ... you're advocating that they fire people in order to pay freelancers more? That they output less product and not keep up with their demand? That also sounds like poor business.
I do advocate that.

And it's only bad if you're not the creator (who gets paid more) and not the consumer (who gets a better product).

And my sympathies are with them, not with whoever owns or runs the warehouse where some indie publisher keeps thousands of copies of some supplement nobody involved cared about.
 
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Only if you're not the creator (who gets paid more) or not the consumer (who gets a better product).

And my sympathies are with them, not with whoever owns or runs the warehouse some indie publisher keeps thousands of copies of some supplement nobody involved cared about.
Yes ...

... because, oddly, RPG publishers are not psychically able to predict the future and know with absolute certainty how well a product will do before placing an order with the printer. And they continue to store product to sell longitudinally to make up their expenses, even if only via liquidation, rather than burning those "failed" books so you can keep your warehousing space down.

But that just bolsters my point:

I'll wager LotFP doesn't have a warehouse. I'd wager any physical product is being kept at a personal storage space or on-site in the publisher's home. Or they are paying to have distribution inventory for them. Why? Because their output doesn't warrant an actual warehousing space. But when a business gets bigger ... say, GR's size ... your output is such that you can't inventory in your basement any more. So you buy a space that has to fit your current need but also has to be a bit future thinking. Which is a standing expense and a risk, both.

Because running a competative business means taking those sorts of risks. Risks that have costs. And do you know what happens if you just stop taking the sort of risks that have sustained your business? Your business is stagnant, if not unsustainable. LotFP is almost certainly only able to pay what it does because it hasn't yet stepped up to the sort of level where it has the sort of risks and outlay as does a company like GR. It's a lot harder to pay absolute monthly bills that come with maintaining salaries and facilities when your income is always in the sort of additional flux that comes with always paying royalties rather than set expenses that only appear in your ledgers once.
 

Zak S

Guest
What you're saying is "these bigger companies have to pay creators less and consequently create worse product because they are big".

So clearly smaller is better both creatively and ethically.

So be smaller.
 
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So clearly smaller is better.

Be smaller.
For the freelancers, I guess.

Kinda sucks for everyone else.

And since the RPG industry isn't sustanied by the freelancers alone (you know ... since they need the people who actually offer them the job opportunities just like the publishers need the people who fill them), well ... let's just say I don't see the whole "let's fire our staff and stop fulfilling orders so we can downsize and pay writers and artists more" busines model happening market-wide anytime soon.

Because your entire premise depends on the assumption on your part that if people aren't doing business like LotFP is, the only reasons are they are either wasting money or hoarding it to their own unfair benefit. Your points repeatedly rely on circumstances that ignore the basic principles of running a business in general, let alone a larger RPG publisher, which is probably why you don't address these points in your replies, instead cherry picking the ones that allow you to return to your previous refrain without saying anything new.

EDIT:
What you're saying is "these bigger companies have to produce worse product and pay freelancers less because they're big"
While it's true that lower rates may come with a bigger business and the accompanying expenses, I've not said anything about worse product. You keep returning to that point without explaining why it is you objectively think GR and Evil Hat have "worse product." Considering I've got products from both companies, all of which are on high grade paper and with good binding that hasn't failed, I'm wondering where that accusation arises from and why you think I've been saying it's an expected outcome.

And the reason why, seemingly paradoxically, larger businesses may only be able to afford less is that, on the scale of economies, they have moved beyond the point of flexibility that a company with smaller outlay (e.g., LotFP) has, but not yet surpassed the point where their net profits allow them to pay more. It's an incredibly common place for small businenesses to find themselves operating in any industry, let alone RPG publishers.
 
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Zak S

Guest
For the freelancers, I guess.

Kinda sucks for everyone else.
Not the customer--they get multi-award winning, fantastic product instead of unloved stuff pumped out to meet demand.

I haven't cherry-picked anything.

The following addresses every point you've made, which all just goes to support one idea:

"
What you're saying is "these bigger companies have to pay creators less and consequently create worse product because they are big".

So clearly smaller is better both creatively and ethically.

So be smaller.
"

If you need to be ethically and creatively bankrupt to run a large RPG business--don't run a large RPG business.
 
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Starfox

Villager
Royalties are unfair, yes. Good for them.
I'm not saying Purple Duck are right, I merely wanted to point out that this happens. Different takes for different folks. When i was brand new, I wanted a royalty, because I overestimated the spash I would make. Telling a new writer like me that this was unrealistic and putting my feet back on the ground was a good thing, in my mind.

Publishers, particularly the small publishers, are struggling. Their struggles are important part of keeping this business alive. I feel they are all heroic, all of them. All of us may not agree with what all of them are doing, but in one way or another, we're in this together. I believe there's a synergy, that the more products are made, the bigger the business as a whole can get. But this does not mean every product will sell. A specific part of the idea behind the original OGL was that every 3rd party product is effectively a promotion of the leading product. In my mind, that applies outside the scope of any particular ruleset too - yes, the market gets divided more and more, but it also grows.

Sorry if I am sounding grumpy today, I'm ill. Nobody take any of this personally, please.
 
Not the customer--they get multi-award winning, fantastic product instead of unloved stuff pumped out to meet demand.
Except that both companies you keep using as your examples as "ethically and creatively bankrupt" have also won awards, are much loved by their customers, and also meet demand.

But the demand is much larger because their businesses are operating at a level where the core market knows they even exist.

I haven't cherry-picked anything.
Yes you have. I'll even grant that maybe you don't realize it because your approach to business is so limited and binary in its scope of perspective (in so far as, yes, you actually only ever give two possible options in your examples of business operations), but you certainly are cherry-picking.

The following addresses every point you've made, which all just goes to support one idea:
No, you really haven't. It could be that's because of your singular, tunnel-vision perspective of how you think publishing businesss do/should operate, but the outcome is that you have not addressed all my points, regardless. You just pass them by and repeat your previous point, thinking that your perspective is self-evident because you can name a few companies most of the industry isn't even aware of as examples of how you think things should be industry-wide. To you, the word "outlier" doesn't seem to be a thing that actually exists.

If you need to be ethically and creatively bankrupt to run a large RPG business--don't run a large RPG business.
If only running a business could actually be couched in such binary thinking. Reality doesn't work like that, however. The fact that you believe it does, though, is the crux of why you believe you've addressed all my points rather than just bypassing them with your refrain. And the fact that you think any business that doesn't run as you expect is "ethically and creatively bankrupt" says far more against your agument than it does in support of it.
 

Zak S

Guest
Except that both companies you keep using as your examples as "ethically and creatively bankrupt" have also won awards, are much loved by their customers, and also meet demand.
Well which argument are you making here:

-These companies that don't put much money into their books but make lots of money somehow miraculously manage to make good books anyway. And publishers making living wages while paying freelancers subpoverty wages is ethical.

-Ok, fine, they don't manage to make books that are that good and paying freelancers subpoverty wages is unethical but they have no choice because they are large RPG businesses so its unavoidable.

?


but you certainly are cherry-picking.
Then, if you can, please restate which of your points is not addressed by the summary "These companies are bigger than LotFP therefore have to adopt these practices you don't like". Because I honestly in good faith cannot find them.

If you do then I'd be happy to address those concerns.

LotFP is obviously an outlier. People have done well for their customers and creative people copying that outlier's model. So: do that.

If you can't: do something else, like crowdfund and self-publish.

But don't do the thing where you pay people 3-5 cents a word and make more money than they do. Anything but that.
 
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Well which argument are you making here:

-These companies that don't put much money into their books but make lots of money somehow miraculously manage to make good books anyway. And publishers making living wages while paying freelancers subpoverty wages is ethical.

-Ok, fine, they don't manage to make books that are that good and paying freelancers subpoverty wages is unethical but they have no choice because they are large RPG businesses so its unavoidable.
Remember when I said you were stuck in a realm of binaries because your examples of business operations only present two possiblities?

Then, if you can, please restate which of your points is not addressed by the summary "These companies are bigger than LotFP therefore have to adopt these practices you don't like". Because I honestly in good faith cannot find them.
My point is that businesses of different scales of operations have different realties governing how they run. These logistical and financial facts are the things you attribute to ethics, waste, hoarding, etc.

See my previous post about a company that is stuck between two sets of goalposts, for example.

But don't do the thing where you pay people 3-5 cents a word and make more money than they do. Anything but that
First off, the idea that publishers can't earn more than their freelancers without being unethical is a false narrative. If I, as a publisher, pay a fantastic flat fee but don't end up making much (as in I don't pull in as much as if I had paid myself as a writer at my offered writer rates) I'm an ethical publisher, but if I pay that same fantastic flat fee but the product ends up taking off to the point that I make triple what my fantastic flat fee was, I'm now unethical?

My point would be to pay as much as you can while still keeping the business sustainable. If your pay rate to freelancers is such that it begins to cause the publisher to treat itself unfairly (e.g., it has to pass on opportunities), that is itself a problem. But your stance hasn't addressed that, and when I've brought it up you've not responded to it beyond saying that reaching for those opportunities or maintaining sustainability, at a cost to the freelancer that typically also comes at a cost and a risk to the publisher, is therefore unethical or mismanagement.
 

JimLotFP

Villager
Owner of LotFP here. To clear up some things that have been brought up:

Yes, I work out of my apartment and warehouse my books here. I have an extra room solely for that storage, and there are around 10,000 books and a few hundred t-shirts in there. I could have gotten a smaller apartment and then rented offsite space for the inventory, absolutely, but what a pain in the ass that would be for various reasons. It's here because it is easier. I write off all that square meterage as part of my home office deduction. (Similarly, a large number of books are warehoused in the US for distribution, because due my not being on the same continent as my distribution partners, it doesn't make sense to have my own space in the US, and it's much cheaper sending lots of books all at once across the ocean than on demand.)

It's conceivable that I'll need offsite warehousing here. Maybe even this year if certain projects get completed and released. Maybe someday I'll even need to get a proper office and actual employees that need to go there to work.

But the thing is, those things will be made necessary by the increased business activity of more releases and more sales. They'd have to pay for themselves. Or else it would be absolute insanity to take those steps and have that new business infrastructure.

I can't see how I could ever tell someone "Oh, our business has grown and we've got all these expenses to deal with, so you people who make the stuff that make the growth possible have to get paid less."

There are 33 projects in various stages of production over here at LotFP. Some of the people writing them got advances. Most didn't. If they start getting delivered in clusters, that may create a bottleneck as I'd have to pay for a bunch of art and layout etc at once (mostly those are negotiated one-time fees, as I consider the author to be the "creator" and everyone else involved is working from their creation). That's going to happen hopefully this summer as several projects are waiting on a particular rules supplement to be finished and tested because they need to reference those rules. Maybe books will have to be prioritized, but that just means books will need to be released in succession rathan than a pile all at once.

But the idea that I need a bunch of money to start projects just isn't true once I established that the royalty model I use tends to pay out multiple times what freelancers get from the big companies.

And I see it as a total point of pride when people who make stuff for me make two or three times (or more!) what they've made working with companies like Wizards of the Coast. When they pass the point of what they would have made with a flat-fee payment, I am happy. Happy the system is working for all of us. Happy I can tell creators that LotFP is a place you can come to make money. (And win awards, as it turns out.) Happy that I get to make a living facilitating the release of all this cool stuff.

If they don't make more with me than they would have elsewhere, then I have failed them. Their jobs aren't to make money for me. It's my job to make money for them. Or else why would they do anything for me instead of for someone else, or on their own?

And as time has passed, more and more projects are produced using the royalty model and I don't think it's a coincidence that the business has also grown, in terms of both units sold and money earned, every year.

(The only projects that haven't pulled a nice profit have been those crowdfunded books that were budgeted and commissioned at specific wordcounts... and the author totally blew the wordcount, sometimes two or three times more than what they were commissioned for. And I just went with it, even though at that point hundreds of people had already paid for what was supposed to be a lot smaller book. But I couldn't pay the authors any more than promised, so on those projects the per-word rate is quite low, although I do give them a cut of the PDF sales.)

I don't know a thing about the business workings at places like Evil Hat and Green Ronin. But I do know if they are larger and more successful companies than LotFP, the people who make their stuff should get paid more than the people who make LotFP stuff. (And I hope, if we could start comparing like to like, such as the definition of "creator", that they are.) What else is even the point of being a larger company?
 
It's conceivable that I'll need offsite warehousing here. Maybe even this year if certain projects get completed and released. Maybe someday I'll even need to get a proper office and actual employees that need to go there to work.
And you understand those costs come out of somewhere, yes?

As in you either need to ramp up sales to absorb the expenses in your margin, you need to cut back on what you're paying, or you need to put less into the business.

You factually cannot increase layout without that money coming from somewhere. Which is my point.

But the thing is, those things will be made necessary by the increased business activity of more releases and more sales. They'd have to pay for themselves. Or else it would be absolute insanity to take those steps and have that new business infrastructure.
But again we're not talking binaries here.

One of your projects worked out to $0.21/word after royalties, yes?

Well, if it works out to $0.19/word, or $0.15/word, or $0.05/word due to an increase in expenses, it's still "paying for itself." "Paying for itself" is any point where people are actually putting money in their pockets beyond expenses.

I can't see how I could ever tell someone "Oh, our business has grown and we've got all these expenses to deal with, so you people who make the stuff that make the growth possible have to get paid less."
And where will the money be coming from? Because if you think you'll deal with more expenses while maintaining current rates etc., that money has to come from somewhere. If you think the answer is as simple as "sales," then what happens when you reach the point I mentioned upthread?: business growth plateaus between sustainability and further expansion. This is a point where your business either needs external infusions of cash or you need to cut expenses to keep growing because you can't reach further market growth at your current output levels, and you can't increase output levels without paying more using money that comes from ... somewhere.

There are 33 projects in various stages of production over here at LotFP. Some of the people writing them got advances. Most didn't. If they start getting delivered in clusters, that may create a bottleneck as I'd have to pay for a bunch of art and layout etc at once (mostly those are negotiated one-time fees, as I consider the author to be the "creator" and everyone else involved is working from their creation). That's going to happen hopefully this summer as several projects are waiting on a particular rules supplement to be finished and tested because they need to reference those rules. Maybe books will have to be prioritized, but that just means books will need to be released in succession rathan than a pile all at once.
Which is a model you're able to accomodate. But understand, as I've previously pointed out, you're describing how your payment structure influences your output in ways that are detrimental to larger companies. What you describe is not something businesses with salaried positions, set monthly expenses (e.g., warehousing) can easily afford to tango with.

But the idea that I need a bunch of money to start projects just isn't true once I established that the royalty model I use tends to pay out multiple times what freelancers get from the big companies.
Which works great for you.

Honestly, do you consider it an industry-wide model for sustainability, especially for companies with set expenses? Because you've been able to keep at it now because this same model keeps your business low risk. What happens when your operations scale up to the point where you have more risk but this part of it means less certainty?

And I see it as a total point of pride when people who make stuff for me make two or three times (or more!) what they've made working with companies like Wizards of the Coast. When they pass the point of what they would have made with a flat-fee payment, I am happy. Happy the system is working for all of us. Happy I can tell creators that LotFP is a place you can come to make money. (And win awards, as it turns out.) Happy that I get to make a living facilitating the release of all this cool stuff.
Which is great. No one is disputing that it works for you or that it benefits the freelancers working with you.

The point at hand is that not everyone who doesn't pay what you do does so because they are "unethical" or "hoarding" their money rather than paying freelancers more. The point is also that not all businesses can operate under your model.

If they don't make more with me than they would have elsewhere, then I have failed them. Their jobs aren't to make money for me. It's my job to make money for them. Or else why would they do anything for me instead of for someone else, or on their own?
Which is a great mentality to have, but let's be honest: it's the sort of approach to business you can afford before you stretch your wings into the world of larger operations and greater risk. It's easy to say your business is not your primary concern when you're mostly piggybacking it off personal resources. Don't take that as a dig at what you're doing, but it's a fact of what your business is and how it accomodates your philosophy versus a company that also adds in "oh, and paying all those logistical bills also need to be taken care of."

And as time has passed, more and more projects are produced using the royalty model and I don't think it's a coincidence that the business has also grown, in terms of both units sold and money earned, every year.
Sure, but as you state yourself you're still absorbing many costs with personal resources (e.g., you home) and the good will of the people working with you. Because that's what any royalty-based system relies upon: the providers trust and faith in your ability to deliver. A flat rate is what it is and people can walk away knowing what they get. So far you've a good record with delivering, but it is possible for you to reach a point where you can't deliver on those expctations and that damages that faith.

I don't know a thing about the business workings at places like Evil Hat and Green Ronin. But I do know if they are larger and more successful companies than LotFP, the people who make their stuff should get paid more than the people who make LotFP stuff. (And I hope, if we could start comparing like to like, such as the definition of "creator", that they are.) What else is even the point of being a larger company?
See my previous post about larger business =/= more money to spread around. It is very easy to have a "big" small business and actually have less net worth than one guy publishing out of his apartment.
 

Zak S

Guest
Remember when I said you were stuck in a realm of binaries because your examples of business operations only present two possiblities?
Pointing out that you've moved goalposts from argument A to argument B isn't being "stuck in a realm of binaries"

Pointing out that companies like Evil Hat and Green Ronin and those who pay 3-5 cents per word has made decisions that are worse for creators and audiences than LotFP and companies that find ways to pay people more isn't being "stuck in a realm of binaries". It's contrasting 2 different ways of doing business, of which one is better.

My point is that businesses of different scales of operations have different realties governing how they run. These logistical and financial facts are the things you attribute to ethics, waste, hoarding, etc.
That is just a way of rewording what I already said:

"These companies are bigger than LotFP therefore have to adopt these practices you don't like".

First off, the idea that publishers can't earn more than their freelancers without being unethical is a false narrative. If I, as a publisher, pay a fantastic flat fee but don't end up making much (as in I don't pull in as much as if I had paid myself as a writer at my offered writer rates) I'm an ethical publisher, but if I pay that same fantastic flat fee but the product ends up taking off to the point that I make triple what my fantastic flat fee was, I'm now unethical?
Let's start with an important fact:

We are not discussing companies that pay a "fantastic" flat fee.

We are discussing companies (Evil Hat, Green Ronin, their ilk) that pay a subpoverty level flat fee.

And "triple" doesn't describe the difference between the subpoverty wages they're paying and the amount these people are keeping.

So, rewording:

"If I, as a publisher, pay a terrible flat fee but don't end up making much (as in I don't pull in as much as if I had paid myself as a writer at my offered writer rates) I'm an ethical publisher, but if I pay that same terrible flat fee but the product ends up taking off to the point that I make (probably way more than triple because even triple would be barely minimum wage and the publishers are making way more than that) what my terrible fee was, I'm now unethical?"

Bingo.

The creator should benefit from their creation.

If DC has some product (say: Superman) that Jerry Siegel and Joe Schuster have done the creative work on then but DC's benefitting from this arrangement more than Jerry and Joe because the product did better than they expected and Jerry and Joe took a bad split because they wanted to eat, then when the business takes off, the ethical thing for DC to do is to ignore how the law says it can technically benefit wildly from Jerry and Joe's desperate situation and cut them in on the deal.

And the end result of that would be that Jerry and Joe stick around and happily do more good work for DC's fanbase.

If Jerry and Joe are at a ripe age sitting over a desk making Junior Woodchuck comics until their fingers are falling off while DC is rolling in dough from Superman, this situation is unethical.

My point would be to pay as much as you can while still keeping the business sustainable.
If the business is only sustainable by paying creators subpoverty wages and making bad product for customers that business does not need to be kept "sustainable". It should stop existing.
 
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Pointing out that you've moved goalposts from argument A to argument B isn't being "stuck ina realm of binaries"
I haven't moved goal posts. I've actually conceeded where you've made points.

Your continuing inability to understand what I'm talking about, or refusal to see it as possible, does not a moved goalpost make.

You are LITERALLY posting, time and again, just TWO options when you present examples.

TWO.

As in "either / or" ... "this or that" ... "a or b" ... "1 or 0"

You know ... BINARY options.

Pointing out that company Evil Hat and Green Ronin and those who pay 3-5 cents per word has made decisions that are worse for creators and audiences than LotFP and companies that find ways to pay people more isn't being "stuck in a realm of binaries". It's contrasting 2 different ways of doing business, of which one is better.
So, just so I'm clear on this again ...

When you say "it's contrasting 2 different ways of doing business," which you've presented as the only possible options ...

You're saying you AREN'T stuck on presenting binaries?

That is just a way of rewording what I already said:

"These companies are bigger than LotFP therefore have to adopt these practices you don't like".
No, it's not just "rewording it". It's an entirely different context and tone.

Because when you talk about it, you qualify what you "don't like" as therefore being "unethical," "pocketing" money, "extra" (i.e., above and beyond) money, "hoarding", etc.

There is absolutely a distinct difference in what we're saying even if our points cross paths at times and agree on some founding facts.

Bingo.

The creator should benefit from their creation.
You benefit when you get paid any amount of money you didn't previously have. If merely benefiting is your benchmark, it's pretty low. I get what you're aiming for, but you're presenting it in a rather narrow, unrealistic manner.

And let's just get really practical here for a second: the way you're intending to present "benefit" goes in a direction where one must therefore conclude all salaried creators are victims of unethical business practices because their pay isn't scaled to the success of their creations. While this CAN be true, based on how much they are paid, it isn't true by default.

So, now let's look at where you're point is failing on another level. When I write for someone in a commercial capacity, yes I'm a creator, but I'm doing so in someone else's sandbox and under their terms, which I can choose to agree to or not. I can say if their terms are fair or not. But I accept I'm working for someone else. What I produce becomes theirs unless I work out something re: IP retention. If I work in construction and "create" a house, I shouldn't have any expectation to earn a share of any rent paid to the property's owner once I'm done at the build site. Do the people who made the clothes you are wearing right now get additional money every time you put them on or is it their responsibility to negotiate a good wage they can accept before they created your clothes?

If the business is only sustainable by paying creators poverty wages and making bad product for customers that business does not need to be "sustainable". It should stop existing.
News flash:

99% of the RPG industry isn't sustainable in pure business terms if everyone expects a living wage from it.

Few people who work in it make above a living wage. That's why the norm is for just about every person creating RPGs to have another job. And that includes most people who own most of the RPG companies. And that isn't necessarily because they are bad business people or crookedly mistreating freelancers. That's the nature of the market's relationship with its creators. So, knowing most publishers are working second jobs to keep outputting products, it seems entirely unrealistic to say that freelancers (and I'm saying this as someone who also still freelances) should be the ones everyone else should break their backs over or "stop existing."

If people acted on your view of what this hobby-driven industry came to pass, 99% of publishers would shutter up.

And, clearly, removing 99% of the job opportunities available in the market is TOTALLY to the benefit of those freelancers, right?

Simple fact: if you're making a living wage in the RPG industry, you're one of the blessed few that have worked through the industry's cracks to become positive outliers. But if you come into the RPG industry EXPECTING to make a living wage, well ... that's just crazy talk.
 

Zak S

Guest
When you say "it's contrasting 2 different ways of doing business," which you've presented as the only possible options ...
I am saying the model Evil Hat and Green Ronin and their ilk have a is worse for customers and creators than LotFP's.

I never said it was the only model.

Since typing more than that clearly has confused things, I am going to wait and see if you acknowledge that before moving on to addressing anything else you've said.

Do you understand that my argument here is "Evil Hat and Green Ronin and their ilk have a model and it's worse for customers and creators than LotFP's model. There are other models"

?
 

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