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General Forge Forums => Independent Publishing => Topic started by: lumpley on November 11, 2008, 08:12:23 AM



Title: Announcing: the Indie Rpgs Un-store
Post by: lumpley on November 11, 2008, 08:12:23 AM
Hi everybody.

I'm launching a new service here under the banner of indie-rpgs.com. It's the indie rpgs un-store, and it lives at games.indie-rpgs.com (http://games.indie-rpgs.com). Go, check it out. Be sure to click through to the creator info page, THAT'S what I'm announcing here.

I'm excited about it.

Let's see, a few informational points:

1. Don't read criterion 2 on the creator info page to imply exclusivity. All it means is, the un-store is for your direct buy-now buttons, it's not for links to your Lulu listings or IPR listings or, like, eBay or retail store listings or whatever. You can - obviously! - still have Lulu and IPR and eBay and retail listings and whatever.

A key feature of the un-store is to put customers in direct contact with you personally, for customers and publishers who value that contact.

2. Signing up means emailing me with your game company details. Email me at lumpley@gmail.com. I'll create an account for you in the un-store database, which will let you create your listings. The process will take you a little bit of time and learning, but you could easily do and have your games listed there this afternoon.

3. There are no fees of any kind. Hosting it is non-onerous - I'm already hosting the Forge; hosting this thing is a negligible blip by comparison and presumably always will be. It's not creating any costs for me. I'm not even precisely donating my labor: I stand to make good money off it, a good return on my time invested.

So no fees. It's to my direct benefit the more people participate. To yours too, if you're one of 'em.

4. Let's call it a public beta. You can see that it's still got features I'm developing, and I was up last night fixing an error a customer reported to me. Pretty much, if you want in on the ground floor, this is it, plusses and minuses included.

5. I have exciting plans about organizing the listings as the number of games grows. The "and more" in the paragraph about the fan portal hides some pretty cool ideas. They're based on networking games-you-want with games-you-don't-know-yet, for whatever value of "you." I can't wait to implement them, but I don't want to make promises yet, so please don't ask.

Otherwise, any questions very welcome.

-Vincent


Title: Re: Announcing: the Indie Rpgs Un-store
Post by: Ron Edwards on November 11, 2008, 08:27:09 AM
For clarification: the only reason my games aren't listed in it is because I am an ignoramus regarding website interfaces. When I manage to get un-confused, probably through Vincent walking me through it by phone, they'll be there too.

The above should not be taken as evidence that the service is hard to use or do. I am simply bad at it.

Best, Ron


Title: Re: Announcing: the Indie Rpgs Un-store
Post by: Gregor Hutton on November 11, 2008, 08:35:57 AM
Is it possible to sell to only specific regions (like just the US or Europe)? Or for only specific versions of product. My assumption is: Yes!

But I wanted to check. I might be interested in selling limited-edition hardbacks, or something, direct from my site with a PayPal button (since they would be signed and numbered), or maybe just sellin direct from me in the UK and Europe.

Anyway, I think it looks very pleasing and clear.


Title: Re: Announcing: the Indie Rpgs Un-store
Post by: Eero Tuovinen on November 11, 2008, 08:39:53 AM
So let's ask questions, the site is looking delicious. I like how it showcases a limited array of product, at least at this point.

Do you care what sort of deals individual publishers offer through your unstore? Can they cut or hike prices compared to their other sales venues? Can they offer product only for certain areas of the world? Can they offer product in other currencies than dollars? Can they use other payment interfaces than Paypal? Can the product description include graphics or tricky html/css apart from from the product image? Can the product description include instructions for buying the product elsewhere (say, if somebody found it impractical to offer service to all sorts of customers through the unstore) or other links to variable resources? Do you take time-limited deals or otherwise extra hassle deals, such as Halloween specials or whatnot? Are you planning to create code for some sort of cart solution, and are you going to make some allowances for dynamic postage calculation, or will the publishers need to create package deals (Like Joshua does with Shock:) to give flexibility in postages?

Also: real decent, I've been trying to get some kill puppies for retail here for what now, two years? Go on and sell them all to some jerks who pay you the full price for them, I dare you. Guess who's not going to get a puppy package next killmas.


Title: Re: Announcing: the Indie Rpgs Un-store
Post by: lumpley on November 11, 2008, 10:05:24 AM
1. Do you care what sort of deals individual publishers offer through your unstore?
Not a bit.

2. Can they cut or hike prices compared to their other sales venues?
Up to them.

3. Can they offer product only for certain areas of the world?
Kind of. They can, but everybody will see it, and it'll be up to them to deal with people who buy inappropriately.

4. Can they offer product in other currencies than dollars?
That's between them and PayPal. The un-store doesn't care. If you need special characters that aren't showing properly, let me know.

5. Can they use other payment interfaces than Paypal?
...Maybe? Talk to me personally.

6. Can the product description include graphics or tricky html/css apart from from the product image?
Yes, generally, but I'm going to oversee and exercise editorial privilege. Specific concerns, ask me.

7. Can the product description include instructions for buying the product elsewhere (say, if somebody found it impractical to offer service to all sorts of customers through the unstore) or other links to variable resources?
Not a blanket yes, but I'm flexible. Stuff like "here's a link to the character sheet PDF," sure. Things stranger than that, maybe best to ask me first.

8. Do you take time-limited deals or otherwise extra hassle deals, such as Halloween specials or whatnot?
Sure, not my problem. You'd create them and activate and deactivate them as you choose - if you leave your Halloween special up, it'll stay up.

9. Are you planning to create code for some sort of cart solution, and are you going to make some allowances for dynamic postage calculation, or will the publishers need to create package deals (Like Joshua does with Shock:) to give flexibility in postages?
The latter, at least for the forseeable future. I realize that this isn't the most convenient thing for the customers, but it's what it is!

It's also perfectly cool with me if publishers want to go in together on shared package deals, too, but those'll have to be created by the publishers case by case.

-Vincent


Title: Re: Announcing: the Indie Rpgs Un-store
Post by: Anna Kreider on November 12, 2008, 06:01:24 AM
Vincent,

Can you go into more detail with regards to #3? I don't think I really understand your answer.

I'm thinking about using this for European sales, since just about half of my sales (rough estimate) for TABAW have been overseas, and sticking with IPR for North American sales.

Thanks,
~Anna


Title: Re: Announcing: the Indie Rpgs Un-store
Post by: Eero Tuovinen on November 12, 2008, 06:30:24 AM
Vincent means that if somebody from USA goes and makes an order from a button intended for Europeans, then it's up to you to decide what you do with the customer who is now paying too much postage. Likewise, if the customer was in Australia or something and used that button, he might be paying too little now.


Title: Re: Announcing: the Indie Rpgs Un-store
Post by: lumpley on November 12, 2008, 07:03:07 AM
Hey Anna.

Eero's right. Does it answer your question?

The un-store can't tell where people are. You can say clearly on your listings "DO NOT BUY THIS UNLESS YOU'RE IN EUROPE," but it'll be up to you what you do with people who aren't in Europe who buy it anyway. (Same as you would a buy-now button on your own page.)

I thought that PayPal had an option when you create your button to require an address from a certain region, but I can't find it now. If it still exists, you can use that.

-Vincent


Title: Re: Announcing: the Indie Rpgs Un-store
Post by: Anna Kreider on November 12, 2008, 08:17:27 AM
Yes it does. Thank you.
~Anna


Title: Re: Announcing: the Indie Rpgs Un-store
Post by: Christoph Boeckle on November 12, 2008, 12:16:08 PM
Hello Vincent

The site is looking really nice and this has gotten my gears running for doing something similar in the french speaking parts of the web!

Ron has stated a number of times that he's not interested in creating a Forge brand. How is this different? How will it not be the absolute must to be on THE Un-Store (apart from the important practical issues)? Is this because anyone can get in and because there's no profit to be made just for owning the brand (because no one uses it as such in the first place)? I don't believe it's ever going to be a problem, the Bookshelf certainly didn't fall into that hypothetical absurdity I evoked. I'm just interested in the way the indie economic thinking articulates in this particular case.


Title: Re: Announcing: the Indie Rpgs Un-store
Post by: Ron Edwards on November 14, 2008, 01:31:26 PM
Thought I'd handle this one.

Christoph, as far as I can tell you're answering your own question, when you say "I don't believe it's ever going to be a problem."

If I'm missing a question, let me know what it is.

Best, Ron


Title: Re: Announcing: the Indie Rpgs Un-store
Post by: Christoph Boeckle on November 15, 2008, 04:07:53 AM
Hi

What I'm missing, and this is related to the fact that I have no experience in the domain, is how (rather than if) this supports the indie approach to publishing and especially how it avoids potential pitfalls or subversion of distribution models. I might have answered that as well, but I'm so clueless that I wouldn't know it.

Thanks


Title: Re: Announcing: the Indie Rpgs Un-store
Post by: lumpley on November 15, 2008, 05:43:14 AM
Huh. It's hilarious that Ron and I are having such trouble figuring your question out.

What pitfalls or subversions are you thinking of?

-Vincent


Title: Re: Announcing: the Indie Rpgs Un-store
Post by: Ron Edwards on November 15, 2008, 06:23:07 AM
I think I get it. Give me a little bit of time to answer. Today is very full.

Best, Ron


Title: Re: Announcing: the Indie Rpgs Un-store
Post by: Hituro on December 07, 2008, 09:39:00 AM
Can I ask, is there a plan to talk about how sales go after some given period of time, perhaps the first quarter?


Title: Re: Announcing: the Indie Rpgs Un-store
Post by: Ron Edwards on December 07, 2008, 11:43:20 AM
Hi Hituro,

That's for each publisher to say, I think. Remember, the "un" is real. It's not just a marketing phrase. The un-store itself reaps no profits, has no business plan, is neither successful nor unsuccessful for itself. The only question is whether it's a viable outlet for me, which is to say, Adept Press. And since every publisher has his or her own standard for success, and since every publisher also has his or her own ancillary (or primary) method of marketing beyond the un-store, there's no way to look at that variable cumulatively.

Best, Ron


Title: Re: Announcing: the Indie Rpgs Un-store
Post by: Ron Edwards on December 07, 2008, 05:40:37 PM
Hi Christoph,

In answering Hituro's question, I realize I'd left yours hanging. It's easily answered.

1. There are two kinds of brand, as I explained in Independence, Adept Press, and Indie Press Revolution (http://www.indie-rpgs.com/forum/index.php?topic=26872.0). The kind I'm not interested in is official: an imprint, a label, a distinctive image, a membership, and anything similar. The kind that I have no control over, nor wish to, is informal: a widespread perception, unfortunately of varying accuracy, of a trend or activity that is worth investigating.

2. The un-store is simply and straightforwardly not a brand of the first kind. Its 'membership,' if that's the right word, follows the same logic as the publisher forums on the Forge: if your game meets certain definitional standards (which are entirely separate from content), then you can participate. Whether it operates or facilitates a brand of the second kind will be a matter of historical record at some future date.

3. As I thought, you have indeed answered your own question because the only value added by the un-store is utility. There is no service profit in the picture. Therefore none of my concerns about "Forge as a brand" apply to "un-store as a brand."

You also asked,

Quote
how (rather than if) this supports the indie approach to publishing and especially how it avoids potential pitfalls or subversion of distribution models.

Again, the answer is so obvious to me that stating it seems like stating the introductory post over again. It supports the indie approach to publishing generally because only independent publications are eligible, and more specifically due to my criticisms posted in Forge vision (http://www.indie-rpgs.com/forum/index.php?topic=21483.0); I'm sure you remember Forge-sponsored games? (http://www.indie-rpgs.com/forum/index.php?topic=25539.0) as well.

It avoids the problems of distribution models because it has literally nothing to do with distribution.

Best, Ron


Title: Re: Announcing: the Indie Rpgs Un-store
Post by: guildofblades on December 07, 2008, 06:52:30 PM
Hi Ron,

Could you tell me what the definition is as for what qualifies to participate?

Thanks,
Ryan S. Johnson
Guild of Blades Retail Group - http://www.guildofblades.com/retailgroup.php
Guild of Blades Publishing Group - http://www.guildofblades.com
1483 Online - http://www.1483online.com


Title: Re: Announcing: the Indie Rpgs Un-store
Post by: Ron Edwards on December 07, 2008, 07:31:09 PM
Ryan, you can follow the link Vincent posted and then click on "creator info," which is the first option among the links there. Remember, he runs it, I don't, so he's the guy to talk to.

Best, Ron


Title: Re: Announcing: the Indie Rpgs Un-store
Post by: guildofblades on December 08, 2008, 08:16:54 AM
Well, since I sent him an e-mail when you guys first announced the Un-Store and I never got a reply, I guess that answers that. lol.

Ryan S. Johnson
Guild of Blades Retail Group - http://www.guildofblades.com/retailgroup.php
Guild of Blades Publishing Group - http://www.guildofblades.com
1483 Online - http://www.1483online.com


Title: Re: Announcing: the Indie Rpgs Un-store
Post by: lumpley on December 08, 2008, 08:24:20 AM
It doesn't answer it! I've had this feeling I was missing somebody all this time.

Reply forthcoming.

-Vincent


Title: Re: Announcing: the Indie Rpgs Un-store
Post by: lumpley on December 08, 2008, 08:28:47 AM
...But I can't find your email to reply to.

Write me again, lumpley at gmail?

-Vincent


Title: Re: Announcing: the Indie Rpgs Un-store
Post by: Ron Edwards on December 08, 2008, 10:36:43 AM
Don't be so snarky, Ryan. That was uncalled-for.

Best, Ron


Title: Re: Announcing: the Indie Rpgs Un-store
Post by: guildofblades on December 08, 2008, 06:54:43 PM
Sorry Vincent, Sorry Ron,

Just sort of used to having to make my own sand boxes in this industry in order to be able to play. Forgive the assumption. Vincent, e-mail forthcoming asap.

The un-store is a concept that is long past it due, IMO. Back around 2004 I put together a YahooGroups and got maybe about 15 folks together to begin a bit similar, but lacking any programers at the Guild at the time and having failed to recruit any, the idea withered away pretty quickly. I'm glad to see someone bring the concept to fruition and I'd like to support it and utilize it.

Thanks,
Ryan S. Johnson
Guild of Blades Retail Group - http://www.guildofblades.com/retailgroup.php
Guild of Blades Publishing Group - http://www.guildofblades.com
1483 Online - http://www.1483online.com


Title: Re: Announcing: the Indie Rpgs Un-store
Post by: Christoph Boeckle on December 09, 2008, 07:27:49 AM
Thanks Ron, makes sense!