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|The following is a list of Jeremy.Smith's blog entries, in reverse order
|Tuesday, February 05, 2008 (03:31:20) - A Campaign Setting!|
|I've been sitting on the announcement that we're doing a campaign setting for almost three weeks. Usually, when I think about doing a campaign setting - or when someone proposes the idea of doing a campaign setting - I initially immediately write it off. A campaign setting is a LOT of work, period.|
But, when we were looking for feedback on Rajrin, we received feedback from several folks saying "Do a campaign setting!"
The time seems right for it. 3.5 sales are winding down - although we still have enough projects in the pipe to keep supporting it past when 4E launches. 4E hasn't arrived yet. Our surveys and emails show that folks want a mix of fluff and crunch.
So I pitched the idea to Andreas. He was on-board from the start. So we started brain-storming ideas. Within about an hour of brain-storming, we had a world unfolding. A world where the deities of the ancient world were gone, but godminds had appeared, arisen, or been created; a world where maenad corsairs controlled the high seas and the last great empire had fractured into independent city-states and duchies; a world where the dromite race is enslaved, and half-giants remember all-too-well their former slavery at the hands of sorcerer-kings, even millenia later.
Already, we have about 30-40 pages... and there's still so much to fill in, it's not even funny.
I'm really enjoying this project... world-building is something I haven't done in probably a decade and I'm looking forward to seeing this come together into a true campaign setting.
|Friday, February 01, 2008 (17:57:54) - To Outsource or Not To Outsource|
|One of the things that has made Dreamscarred Press successful has been the use of freelancers, not only for graphics, but also for writers. High Psionics, Races of the Mind, Phrenic Creations, and Untapped Classes have all utilized freelance writers to an extent. And in each situation, those freelance writers often bring in a variety of new ideas and fresh perspectives on concepts for publication. |
This is a good thing. Let me amend that. This is a great thing. Wendall Roy, for example, came up with some spectacular ideas in Phrenic Creations: Special Materials. Josh Sjothun gave a new and unique perspective on the maenad race in Races of the Mind: Maenad, and Philip Leco's High Psionics: Soulknives is still our third-best-selling High Psionics product, with the Soul Bastion being a popular variant class. This is something I would love to do more often - with both the writers we've already worked with and new authors that we have yet to meet.
The problem becomes is it financially possible? I'm not going to have any delusions of grandeur. Dreamscarred Press's gross revenue for 2007 was well below even the US poverty level for a single person. I'm not trying to draw in pity with this statement - I'm quite happy with how we did last year financially, considering how small we started off. But it's just to put things into perspective when we think about if we want to utilize freelancers.
Most of our published projects pay $0.01 to $0.015 per word. So a 10,000 word book, we pay out around $100. This may not seem like a lot of money (depending on your perspective), but when you then factor in anywhere from $10 to $100 in graphics, you have around $150 per small release, which is typically around a $3 price tag. After we factor in vendor fees, that means we typically get around $2-$2.25 per sold copy. So, to break even, we have to sell around 70 copies of each PDF. This structure tends to stay constant even as books get larger - around 70 copies is our typical "break-even" point.
70 copies - that doesn't seem like a lot, right? It's not. But in our Races of the Mind line, we haven't sold that many of Maenad or Half-Giant. Meaning, on both of those products, we haven't made any money. Now, I'm not complaining. While I haven't made a lot of money from Dreamscarred Press, I've had an amazing amount of fun and learned an exceptional amount about the industry during the past two years, and hopefully will learn even more and keep putting out more psionic products - it's what I really enjoy doing.
The fact is, we look at success in a matter of if a product sells even 100 copies. Our hope is that as we continue to expand with internally-developed projects, we'll draw in more fans who will pick up our older products. And hopefully, we'll get to start bringing in freelancers again.
So, when you wonder why we're not taking submissions - or why so many of our current projects are developed by Andreas or me, that's why. It's not that we don't want to let others have their chance - it's a matter of if we can afford to do it.
|Thursday, January 31, 2008 (07:21:47) - Big Projects|
|Since releasing our High Psionics line last year, I've become a huge fan of small projects - 10-30 page PDFs. They are so much easier to manage from a consistency and time investment perspective that, with my busy schedule, it makes sense.|
Which is why it is quite weird that right now I find myself working in some big projects - all greater than 60 pages, with at least one of them over 100 pages. Now, one of these big projects is one that hasn't been announced yet... although we're drafting up the announcement already and hope to have it out later this week. That's the announcement of what it is - not that it's done, mind you.
I'm extremely excited about this new project, which I think Andreas has been able to sense, since we've been brainstorming it together for almost every day the past two weeks, when typically, we'll work independently on projects and only work collaboratively every once in a while. For example, Andreas will write a project, then give it to me and I'll edit it, and most of that will go back and forth between email. These brainstorming sessions have been real-time and have been amazingly productive...
Let's just say that 2008 should be a phenomenal year - not just for Dreamscarred Press, but psionics fans of almost any rule system.
|Tuesday, January 15, 2008 (23:49:17) - New Site!|
|Well, we've finally managed it - we have our new site here. It's been a long time coming, and part of that was the cost of some of the components we're using. We've had some significant limitations with our old eCommerce software and we wanted to do it right this time around, so we bought a much more robust application that's actively supported.|
The migration is still in flight, although the transition is progressing day by day. We have almost all of our products live in the store now, although I need to finish fully testing that functionality. We have a few surveys available now, as well, so you can tell us what you really think!
It will probably take folks a little while to get used to the layout, but I think in the long run, people will agree that it offers much, much more than before.