Today, I free-flow about a personal experience for any of you considering trying to step up and make something that you think will make our shared hobby better. Feel free to hit me up in the comments or via my business email firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like some more on-point advice about printing and publishing. Otherwise expect drips and drabs as inspiration strikes me.
As I have pointed out of multiple occasions, I have released two products and have another oner in the pipeline. Sales are sluggish, but steady - however that was not the intent or the plan. This has also not been without it's share of trials and travails. It has not been without cost.
Yesterday, I received notice that my preferred printer had made a mistake with my estimate, and just like that - it doubled. While technically still in reach (due to a decent-paying job), it is going to be a stretch that is going to be felt in reduced resources for the next one - and the one after that, etc.
Each time you put yourself out there, it is a gamble. For each swords and sorcery, Pinnacle press, or even Paizo there are 100 smaller imprints that either fail or barely make enough money to justify their existence. Just look at Drivethrurpg. 5 minutes of browsing will net you scores of RPG supplements that most of us have never heard of. No word of mouth (crucial), no advertising (also crucial), just page after page of products that are doomed to obscurity.
This is an outcome nobody ever designs for.
Parallels exist all over. When I first started doing this in 2008, there was a literal explosion of gaming blogs. So many that we formed rpgbloggers as a place to collate them all. Yeah. It's apparently a dead link now. At one point it had 70ish blogs linked to it. Sadly, when cleaning up my links list - most of them just stopped. Cruising the new (and some old!) blogs on the various fragmented groups, I see a distinct lack of conversation. This sucks.
I used to routinely get 10+ per post. After talking some shit about 4E (lol, remember that debacle?), I got a couple of WotC developers to show up and defend their design decisions. I even had a running joke of calling Bill Slavicsek silly names on a weekly basis (I still use "cheese-weasel" on a nearly daily basis).
This is all what I would call discouraging.
Also discouraging? Losing a regular at the game table. Having a meticulously crafted campaign declared boring. Losing an expensive pile of books to rampaging dire mice.
I know I am not alone in this. We all get kicked in the D20's on occasion - it's part of life. What has your worst setback been? How did you deal with it?
And yes, that is a prompt for dialogue :-)