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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

JimLotFP

Villager
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.
And what I'm saying is that any additional investment in business infrastructure will only happen when an increase in sales justifies it.

With X amount of sales right now, I can sustain the business as it is. I need Z sales to, for example, to afford say an independent office space. Z will be defined as the amount of sales that will allow me to retain my current income, spending on projects and "payroll," AND afford the additional expenses.

Without the rampup in sales, the additional expenditures won't happen. Cutting "payroll," so to speak, sounds to me like the the worst place to cut corners when looking to prop up business expansion.

Doing it the other way around, setting up business infrastructure and then wondering how it's all going to be paid for, is doing it bass ackwards.

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.
If sales plateau, I'd take it as an indication that I shouldn't try to expand any more.

It's easy to say your business is not your primary concern when you're mostly piggybacking it off personal resources.
What personal resources? The only reason I can afford an apartment big enough to both live in and run a business out of is because of the income I get from the business. There is nothing else. (I chose this apartment specifically for its suitability to run the business out of.)
 
I am saying the model Evil Hat and Green Ronin and their ilk have a is worse for customers and creators than LotFP's.
Worse for creators? For sheert takeaway per word? Sure. I've previously said that. For customers? Well ... you're going to have to explain your reasoning there, just as I previously asked you to explain your "worse product" claim.

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"

?
Sure.

But for someone who says "there are other models," do you understand that you keep driving at "but if it's not THIS model, it's necessarily wrong."?

And that you pointedly avoid talking about the reasons behind those other models being what they are, including when I provide you with detailed examples from my own company?
 
And what I'm saying is that any additional investment in business infrastructure will only happen when an increase in sales justifies it.

With X amount of sales right now, I can sustain the business as it is. I need Z sales to, for example, to afford say an independent office space. Z will be defined as the amount of sales that will allow me to retain my current income, spending on projects and "payroll," AND afford the additional expenses.
And I get that. But you're forgeting factor Y: sales aren't likely to always cover Z once you've made that move and invested your company on that path, so you also need A, a cash reserve.

Based on your previous post about not being able to pay everyone up front all the time, I'm going to assume you don't currently work with an operational cash reserve, correct?

Some of the most common reasons small businesses fail is they either expand too early (not your situation), too fast (that would depend on what you do), and because they do so without sufficient planning. Expansion and growth success isn't just about the "sales justifying it." It's about being prepared to look beyond your current sales and where they are driving you. It is about realizing that now, with regular expenses, your currently mutable business model is going to have some very rigid and unforgiving expenses to handle. So, you're not just looking at monthly incomes covering your new office and warehouse, for example, you're looking at creating a cash reserve to account for product delays that interrupt the cash flow, to deal with potential problems with your facilities, for insurance increases, for unforseen property tax increases, for your distributor evaporating overnight with unpaid invoices and stock (e.g., Wizard's Attack), etc.

Because this is what I'm talking about.

This kind of thing means you would need to take in either a larger percentage per sale than you are now or you'd need to sell a lot more product to build your cash reserve. This is the sort of thing that happens to a business once it leaves the basement and starts acquiring actual business assets and debt. It is how "big" small businesses can be larger than your operation, but actually have a smaller net worth.

Without the rampup in sales, the additional expenditures won't happen. Cutting "payroll," so to speak, sounds to me like the the worst place to cut corners when looking to prop up business expansion.
Which is how businesses plateau instead of growing. Business growth almost always requires a risk to things like pay and jobs. It's usually unavoidable unless you build a massive cash reserve first or receive an external investment.

Doing it the other way around, setting up business infrastructure and then wondering how it's all going to be paid for, is doing it bass ackwards.
It sure would be!

... but that's not what I'm saying.


What personal resources? The only reason I can afford an apartment big enough to both live in and run a business out of is because of the income I get from the business. There is nothing else. (I chose this apartment specifically for its suitability to run the business out of.)
"Personal resource" is something in your name and not your business'. If your business gets into financial or legal trouble, it isn't attached to that issue, for example.
 

Zak S

Guest
Worse for creators? For sheert takeaway per word? Sure. I've previously said that. For customers? Well ... you're going to have to explain your reasoning there, just as I previously asked you to explain your "worse product" claim.
The physical production of LotFP books is better. James prints with a local printer in Finland and produces books that are immediately more impressive than EH or Green Ronin's.

As for the art and writing: if you would like to argue that, even though in recent years LotFP is doing way better than EH or Green Ronin in terms of awards given both by fan vote and industry-insiders, they are actually giving us better art and writing, I'm happy to concede that this is ultimately a matter of taste.

However: the only book by either of them I've ever even heard praised for art or writing content is DC Adventures, which uses art from DC Comics.

If there's buzz about the quality of the work from these publishers (rather than buzz just about people liking the base systems published years ago) then that is news to me.

If you want to say they are actually doing great, innovative work: ok. But until now I was unaware this was any part of your argument.


do you understand that you keep driving at "but if it's not THIS model, it's necessarily wrong."?
If that is the impression you had of my pov, then I apologize for not being clear. That is not the idea I meant to express.

I meant to express the idea that if it is the Green Ronin/Evil Hat model it necessarily is wrong.

And that you pointedly avoid talking about the reasons behind those other models being what they are, including when I provide you with detailed examples from my own company?
My comments were about LotFP as compared to some conspicuously successful companies (Evil Hat's sales figures and profits were released by the owner, Green Ronin has its DC book in every local game store I've seen) who pay subpoverty wages.

Any reference to companies outside that situation (successful indie, published other people, subpoverty wages) is outside the scope of the thing I came to this thread to point out.

If you would like to discuss some other companies besides these companies I am referring to, that is a separate discussion.
 
The physical production of LotFP books is better. James prints with a local printer in Finland and produces books that are immediately more impressive than EH or Green Ronin's.
I am quite happy with, and have never had any problems with either GR or EH products, so I'll just take your word for it.

As for the art and writing: if you would like to argue that, even though in recent years LotFP is doing way better than EH or Green Ronin in terms of awards given both by fan vote and industry-insiders, they are actually giving us better art and writing, I'm happy to concede that this is ultimately a matter of taste.
Yeah, I'll chalk that one up to taste. I'm not a fan of a lot of the art style I see in many LotFP products, for instance, but love a lot of the art I've seen in GR books.

However: the only book by either of them I've ever even heard praised for art or writing content is DC Adventures, which uses art from DC Comics.
I've seen plenty of compliments over the art in GR's Freeport and MnM products.

If there's buzz about the quality of the work from these publishers (rather than buzz just about people liking the base systems published years ago) then that is news to me.
But not to me, but I'm also deply entrenched in MnM communities and the like.

If you want to say they are actually doing great, innovative work: ok. But until now I was unaware this was any part of your argument.
Innovative =/= quality. They can still be doing excellent source material for MnM, for example, without innovating new aspects to it. One of its strengths, in fact, is that you can take the core book and just run with that.

And the difference between those markets and, say, LotFP's is that LotFP thrives from serving a divergent niche in the market that is saying "I want something that innovates away from what most people are asking for."

The fact that GR keeps a larger group of people happy by giving them "safer" (for lack of a better word?) products doesn't mean they aren't good quality or have crappy writing.

If that is the impression you had of my pov, then I apologize for not being clear. That is not the idea I meant to express.
Well, like I was saying ... the use of some loaded words was tilting your meaning into a specific context.

I meant to express the idea that if it is the Green Ronin/Evil Hat model it necessarily is wrong.
Well, and I guess that what I've been stearing towards isn't that it's necessarily their business plan to pay less. It's where some companies can find themselves out of the necessities of their operations. Most publishers, in my dealings with them, would prefer to pay people more if their margins allowed for it.

My comments were about LotFP as compared to some conspicuously successful companies (Evil Hat's sales figures and profits were released by the owner, Green Ronin has its DC book in every local game store I've seen) who pay subpoverty wages.
Sure.

And I usually pay myself subpoverty wages, if we look at what I self-publish based on what I could demand if I were writing stuff purely for my day job. But that brings me back to my point that if you want to work in the RPG industry, you have to accept that shrinking markets and the customer's unbudging refusal to let prices rise comparable to inflation for 30 years is likely more to blame for that than greedy publishers lining their pockets at freelancers' expense.

If you would like to discuss some other companies besides these companies I am referring to, that is a separate discussion.
Use whichever examples you like, but when you start getting into specific details I'm going to ask for specific proofs, is all.
 
You keep talking as if businesses growing is preferable to them putting out anything worth using.
Nope.

It's just accepting the fact that business growth is one of the riskiest things a business can undertake, and you don't always end up where you expect. See my latest response to James for further explanation.
 

Zak S

Guest
The fact that GR keeps a larger group of people happy by giving them "safer" (for lack of a better word?) products doesn't mean they aren't good quality or have crappy writing.
I think that is quite literally what that means.

Fans are happy to throw money at all kinds of projects, as recent Kickstarters have shown. They just maybe aren't tripping over themselves to throw money at ones that pride themselves on being safe.

This industry can support great creators and innovative product. It just can't support more of the same over and over.
 
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I think that is quite literally what that means.

Fans are happy to throw money at all kinds of projects, as recent Kickstarters have shown. They just maybe aren't tripping over themselves to throw money at ones that pride themselves on being safe.
How do you figure?

When I say "safer," I mean "hey, we're putting out a comic book game. What do people expect because what are they going to try playing?"

Filling that need is knowing your market and has nothing inherently to do with quality unless your sole or primary definer is being edgy or fringe or the like. Considering how many people buy the products and enjoy them, that doesn't make them poor quality. And it certainly isn't the same as throwing money at crowdfunding. With GR's products, for example, someone can go pick it up. They can read reviews about it. The product exists before purchase. You're buying with the ability to have a look and then decide rather than putting your faith in expectations.

This industry can support great creators and innovative product. It just can't support more of the same over and over.
For different systems? It absolutely can, so far as anything can be said to "survive" in this industry against the external factors squeezing on it. Sure, you'll get instances like the d20 glut, but that's an example of too much of the same for the same system market. The competition cannibalized itself. Someone who likes playing MnM for their super-heroes games isn't going to hold up a Savage Worlds supers product they'll never play, however, and say "just what we need, more supers characters!"

Innovation is great for bringing new perspectives into the industry, to be certain. But your idea that you can't have "great creators" while serving large market shares is provably false. And that's not just a subjective opinion -- the fact that the market leaders are who they are proves that.
 

Zak S

Guest
I never said anything about market shares.

You keep bringing up the best interest of large, safe companies and their "growth".

Those things are not important.

Good new work is important and paying people fairly is important.

The rest is something you keep insisting matters but keep refusing to say why
 
I never said anything about market shares.
No, I did. Because understanding how the market segments is important to knowing why and how particular products are succeeding while others are failing.

You keep bringing up the best interest of large, safe companies and their "growth".
Yep. Because people work for those companies, too.

Those things are not important.
The largest share of the industry's market would seem to disagree with you based on where they are spending their money.

Good new work is important and paying people fairly is important.
Both true. But your definition of both suffer from a matter of tunnel vision. If you're looking for "fair" pay in terms of a living wage, as I've said repeatedly, the RPG industry isn't for you unless you get in with the few outlier companies that pay more. For whatever reasons you attribute that to, but attributing it to "hoarding" money is, as I mentioned earlier, silly.

The rest is something you keep insisting matters but keep refusing to say why
Refusing? I've actually explained it several times. In detail. Both with real examples and hypotheticals.
 

Zak S

Guest
No, I did. Because understanding how the market segments is important to knowing why and how particular products are succeeding while others are failing.
All of the companies we're discussing: LotFP, Green Ronin, Evil Hat, are succeeding. So that's not relevant.

Yep. Because people work for those companies, too.
You could say that about literally any business no matter how exploitive or even illegal.

The fact a business exists isn't a justification for it to exist--especially if its making bad product and exploiting workers.

The largest share of the industry's market would seem to disagree with you based on where they are spending their money.
Yes. Many people currently involved are ok with mediocre product and exploitation.

Both true. But your definition of both suffer from a matter of tunnel vision. If you're looking for "fair" pay in terms of a living wage, as I've said repeatedly, the RPG industry isn't for you unless you get in with the few outlier companies that pay more.
You're giving no reason anyone shouldn't get in with these better companies.

Your only reason for saying the worse companies we're discussing couldn't follow this model is they are bigger, and the only reason you've said it's ok or necessary they be bigger is...

Refusing? I've actually explained it several times. In detail. Both with real examples and hypotheticals.

The only example you just now gave is: noncreative employees require employment.

And I've explained above that the only reason to hold this value is that if you believe that if any company no matter how exploitive exists it should continue to exist.
 
All of the companies we're discussing: LotFP, Green Ronin, Evil Hat, are succeeding. So that's not relevant.
Understanding market segments is ALWAYS relevant if you're talking about how businesses succeed. Especially if your conversation is about how one business works one way and another works another way successfully.

You could say that about literally any business no matter how exploitive or even illegal.
True.

But my answer to those situations wouldn't be "that's not important".

The fact a business exists isn't a justification for it to exist--especially if its making bad product and exploiting workers.
The markets will sort out "bad product" on its own (which speaks to your whole point about GR putting out "bad product" but still being highly in demand) and if companies are exploiting people, that too will typically sort it self out in this kind of market. Of course, we also have to acknowledge that in this conversation you're talking about "exploiting" and not exploiting.

Yes. Many people currently involved are ok with mediocre product and exploitation.
It's like reading a fortune cookie, but in this case I'm just assuming you are adding "... in my personal opinion despite the markets saying otherwise."

You're giving no reason anyone shouldn't get in with these better companies.
Are you under the impression I was trying to?

I've stated upthread that people will work for who they want to, as they choose for themselves which terms they are okay operating under.

Your only reason for saying the worse companies we're discussing couldn't follow this model is they are bigger, and the only reason you've said it's ok or necessary they be bigger is...
Actually, that's far from the only reason I've presented. As in INCREDIBLY far. The fact that they are bigger has simply been the springboard to those points as I've explained the sort of circumstances that can affect such businesses.

The only example you just now gave is: noncreative employees require employment.
Nope.

I've explained it with hypotheticals directly to James. I've explained it using examples from my own company. And I've explained it using multiple hypotheticals with you.

And I've explained above that the only reason to hold this value is that if you believe that if any company no matter how exploitive exists it should continue to exist.
Sure, you've explained it's your opinion.

You've not even come close to proving it as fact, however. That's an important distinction. Indeed, the fact that you conflate a broad range of possibilities into one word, "exploitive," would indicate your either not aware of how this industry works or don't care about any of the realities of its economics beyond "as a freelancer, I gots ta get mine."
 

Zak S

Guest
The markets will sort out "bad product" on its own
This statement makes clear your assumptions about how reality works are so vastly different than my own that we would only go in circles if this conversation continued.

I regret to say that at this point I therefore must withdraw.

The conversation has been however, revealing and explains your point of view and I thank you for engaging in good faith.

Also, as it is Valentine's Day I have to meet some young women of my acquaintance at a local establishment devoted to chicken wings. Have a good week.
 
This statement makes clear your assumptions about how reality works are so vastly different than my own that we would only go in circles if this conversation continued.
No assumptions. I put "bad product" in quotes because the intent of my statement is a "bad product" is what the market defines it to be based on what people refuse to purchase. I was talking measurable outcomes and not subjectivity.

Also, as it is Valentine's Day I have to meet some young women of my acquaintance at a local establishment devoted to chicken wings. Have a good week.
Enjoy.
 

J.L. Duncan

Villager
Okay...

So I've updated my (working list) to make it a bit more manageable. I don't imagine I could write a better article than this OP, but I'll probably thumb-key something later.

Some of these are on the OP list, some are not. The list is on my blog is here. Most of what I focused on were periodical style productions... And general open calls, whether the call is continual such as what EN Publishing is doing with it's Patreon projects, or singular. My main focus has been companies which have a public point of contact (via submission page); and that the rate of pay is listed. Occasionally, I've contacted them the editor or company directly if the rate wasn't listed and asked. If a company refused to disclose their rate, I didn't put them on the list.

One thing of note. I contacted Bard & Sages (OP) last year. They were not interested in RPG content at that time, nor did they seem to be interested in it going forward.
 

Von Ether

Explorer
Extra stars for including the famous clip of Harlan Ellison who has made ... interesting decisions to get publisher motivated to pay him promised monies.
 

Wicht

Villager
I'm thankful the bot managed to grab this thread and give me the opportunity to read the last few pages of interesting discussion I missed back in February; who says spam bots don't serve a purpose. :)

I will say, as a duly chosen representative of the market (I picked me), that when it comes to comparing Green Ronin, Evil Hat and LotFP, when I look over my shelves of game books, I probably have about three dozen GR books, going back to their 3E days, and continuing right up to Advanced Bestiary, which is one of the best OGL books ever made, imo. I have three or four Evil Hat books, including, Do: Fate of the Flying Temple, which is definitely a niche product. The production, art and writing of both companies is always good, and with Green Ronin in particular, its easy to see how far they have come in quality from their early days. I don't have any LotFP books, and have only heard of one or two of them, mostly through author's self-promotion, and an award they once won.

As an occassional designer, I am glad to hear that LotFP is able to pay very well, but their business model doesn't ever bring any of their products to the attention of me, the consumer, nor have I, as a consumer, ever felt compelled to buy any of their products. All of which is to say that the whole, "worse product," claim is definitely a matter of personal preference.
 

Calithorne

Villager
When I was 20, I quit the journalism major because I could already see there were too many journalism students and a very small number of jobs for them. I never looked back. Now, I'm a lawyer and I still write for a living, but I can make a decent amount of money. I don't recommend YOU go to law school, because it's very expensive and many law graduates never even get a first job as a lawyer.
 

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