Dec 21, 2012

My Projects: A Sidebar Addition

This blog started as a result of my excitement when I realized that the few old-school D&D blogs onto which I had stumbled were only the tip of an OSR iceberg.  I started with a few retrospective posts about my relationship with gaming, but very quickly found that the primary material was original game stuff.  I'm talking about monsters, maps, and modules.

After a year of blogging, I had compiled enough material and gumption to self-publish an original adventure in conjunction with the Open Gaming License.  Once I did that, I noticed a change in my perspective towards this blog.  It became something more, a commercial website.  Not commercial in any big sense of the word, but I found myself composing posts and illustrations with the primary purpose of getting people to buy my product.  After another year, I find myself with four published games.

On one hand, I very much like the pressure and discipline self-publication forces on me.  I have deadlines, accontability, and an ongoing learning curve in regards to layout, editing, artwork, gameplay, etc, etc.  However, on the other hand, I find the commercializing of my blog distasteful.  I feel odd asking people for money and I feel guilty for turning my blog into a commerical for my self-publication.  To deal with this, I keep my prices between 2.99 and 3.99 and provide video flip-throughs in which I show every page.  In this way, customers know exactly what they are getting before payment.  And even though I am creating commercials and selling a product, I refuse to use copyright images.  If you see a picture or illustration on this blog, it is one I took or an illustration I created with my own hand.  So many bloggers in our little corner of OSR continually use copyright material with abandon.  While I think it's ok to sell my own product, using someone else's material without their permission is something I can't get behind, even if it's only a blog post.

In reading some Paizo posts on their blog, I have learned to appreciate their transparency.  Or at least, attempt at transparency.  For a company as big as Paizo or WotC, I think this is important, but dangerous because of competition.  For me, it's less of a consideration.  Transparency allows me to, not only seek editing help online, but playtest and share material I plan to sell as I work on it.

Looking for at least a little objectivity, I see that my page reads and follower count has been steadily increasing over time.  In fact, my publication announcement posts are usually some of my most read on a month-to-month basis.  This suggests that, even if readers dont' like seeing my occaisonal call for cash, it isn't enough discomfort to unsubrscribe or quit reading the Digital Orc altogether.  Oddly, even though my pageview count steadily increases, my sales hold a negative slope.  I have several theories as to why, but I'll save that for another post.

I guess the bottom line for me is that I enjoy writing up games and contributing to the growing body of tabletop game material.  Even if I remind you, Constant Reader, that I am charging a few bucks from time to time, I suppose it's ok.  That said, I would like to announce that I have created a new sidebar element to this blog.  It's a list of my projects and their relative status.  You can find it on the lower right-hand side.  Feel free to comment if you have questions or suggestions.  And, as always, thanks very much for reading.


  1. I can't comment for others but personally, on the subject of declining sales, I bought your first product based on rave reviews. I bought your next two based on your reputation and my positive experience with your initial product. But then came the re-hash of a previous product - the "Extra Stout" edition, and I was left feeling cold.

    It's psychological I know, but having to pay a second time for a product I've already paid for, despite the fact that I'm getting twice as much material, leaves me feeling a bit ripped off. Of course there's no logic in this. Had the material been released as a supplement to the original module I would've no doubt happily forked out the extra cash, but as it is I'll probably never buy the Extra Stout edition. The same is true of Michael Curtis's The Dungeon Alphabet. I'd dearly love the new version, but I can't justify to myself paying for the same item twice, despite the new material.

    This is not a criticism of your decision to re-release the Blasphemous Brewery of Pilz module, simply an observation of customer psychology and its possible impact on sales.

    On a more positive note Dylan, I like the new sidebar addition as it's always good to see where a publisher is up to with their upcoming projects.

  2. Thanks for your thoughtful response, David. I prevaricated a bit on whether to do Extra Stout at all. Your idea of presenting it as a supplement, or perhaps a sequel, is excellent and probably would have communicated value to customers more clearly. I have no plans to do anything similar, but if something comes up I'll certainly rework my approach.

    Again, thanks!


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