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General Forge Forums => Independent Publishing => Topic started by: Seth M. Drebitko on September 12, 2009, 07:18:23 AM

Title: Ransom/Pamphlet model
Post by: Seth M. Drebitko on September 12, 2009, 07:18:23 AM
  So I have the rough draft of "Story System: A novel game" and while I connect the dots of it all I want to start gearing up for how I want to publish it. My goal is to create small pamphlets of around 16 pages that would basically be a little lady black bird game, with a "What is a Story Game?" intro to the hobby at the beginning. The idea is that I would ransom the games with the intent that people could they if they so chose print them out and leave a little booklet around. A single core book would be available for purchase so the booklets themselves would also act to expand on what was already presented.
  I am thinking with the money ransomed from pamphlets I will invest in one of these bad boys ( and a laminator. My goal would be to invest the ransom into the next pamphlet, and then make money on the core rules, merchandise and super low cost versions of the pamphlet including a short story with the pregens of that particular pamphlet as the actual money makers.

  Now I already know this is most likely is not going to get me "rolling" in it but the main point is to create more tools to grow and expand our hobby, and possibly retain some customer loyalty for some of my other projects. My question is how could you see this model improved upon, or any criticism you might have against it.

Title: Re: Ransom/Pamphlet model
Post by: Eero Tuovinen on September 13, 2009, 06:02:14 AM
Tell us more about the ransoming steps you refer to, I'm not sure I grasp all the implications. Do you mean that you'll publish a series of short booklets as pdfs, but do it using the ransom model - set an amount of money others need to pitch in before you'll publish, and the work is available to everybody after you do that?

If your primary goal is to use guerrilla marketing with booklets to find new people interested in roleplaying, then figure out a role for other people in your marketing scheme. If somebody else wants to help, what sort of role, advice and renumeration do you have available for them? Think up something compelling, something that has responsibility and rewards built into it. Try to make it so that you'll just need to create the content yourself, with others doing the marketing for you.

Title: Re: Ransom/Pamphlet model
Post by: Ron Edwards on September 13, 2009, 09:24:00 AM
I'll be a little bit blunter: by "ransom," in your post, it looks as if what you mean is "buy." Am I missing something about that?

I do like the idea of little booklets. One of my minor publishing fantasies is to have a bunch of them for Sorcerer about who-knows-what each. So whatever you discover about their production, please let us know.

Best, Ron

Title: Re: Ransom/Pamphlet model
Post by: Seth M. Drebitko on September 14, 2009, 04:17:36 AM
  Production is pretty easy if you can shell out for the above mentioned machine does the work basically and can handle larger sizes than we probably could by hand.
  The "sale" process would probably go as follows:

1."Traditional Ransom" of the file to be freely obtained on the intrawebs, along with the option to purchase a more quality printed pamphlet that would include a short story written using the characters within the pamphlet “The Golden Argosy” version.
2.Rats you missed out on being able to contribute well no worries we have a Core book, more pamphlets to ransom, or you could always print out staple together the game and leave it for some other passerby to enjoy as much as you did.

  While I would love for people to post actual plays I would rather not promote that and let it happen on it's own; by encouraging people to print out a copy and either easily staple or print bind it together then leave it for someone it serves its purpose of spreading the hobby better.
  The benefit of increased pamphlets aside from a sales end (which would probably be minimal any way) would be that hopefully any one could find something to their liking.

Title: Re: Ransom/Pamphlet model
Post by: MatrixGamer on September 14, 2009, 06:09:58 AM
As I understand randsom models you wait for people to pay money before doing the project. When you reach a certain $ value you make it. Looks like you've already done the work so would you really not publish if the randsom was not paid?

The machine looks cool but you know you can do that by hand and use a manual saddle stapler for something between $50 and $100. They would look the same. Also lanimating booklets leads to a lot of delaminated film. You might get better results brushing on an acrylic varnish. Email me and I'll let you know products I've worked with. Much less expensive than lamination and looks fine. Both can give you shine.

Chris Engle

Title: Re: Ransom/Pamphlet model
Post by: Seth M. Drebitko on September 14, 2009, 11:26:37 AM
Thanks I will have to shoot you an e-mail. I guess thinking about it it is a bit different that ransom in a way. basically i will do the work and sell the more "deluxe" laminated pamphlets until the ransom was met (in part form donations and sales from the "deluxe pamphlets" at which point the pdf would be free but I would keep selling the higher quality pamphlets for those that may want them.

Title: Re: Ransom/Pamphlet model
Post by: Ron Edwards on September 14, 2009, 04:18:06 PM
Hi Seth,

That sounds needlessly complicated. Why not provide the simpler pamphlets for free (as PDFs) as well as selling the prettier versions - and that's that?

Best, Ron

Title: Re: Ransom/Pamphlet model
Post by: Seth M. Drebitko on September 15, 2009, 03:58:01 AM
  The reason for the ransom is I want to make sure I recoup at least around 150% of my investment to make sure that I have money to fund the next project and save as a buffer for loss, or to use for marketing reasons. The ransom basically sets a minimum for me to safely have a self supporting hobby.
  From a business stand point it is a tactic to eliminate what we used to call (when I was in sales) the 2/3rds rule. For not familiar with the 2/3rds rule it states simply on average if you have 3 customers (of your target market) you should have the following results.
1 will buy your with little need to sell beyond the product itself.
1 will not buy no matter how hard you try.
1 will be on the fence about your product and need motivation.
(Note; some days you might get all duds and other days all easy sales this is just an average broad example, and does not factor in people not in your target market.)

  Since I will primarily be active on the intrawebs (and can’t be on them 24/7) I need a set up that sells to the best of its ability for me. The problem with just giving the meat and potato’s away free is that it pushes those on the fence sales onto the wrong side. However strictly having “hey donate and eventually get a product or just wait for others to do it for you” is not that great of an incentive either.

  With my scenario the intent is to have them see that eventually the will be free digitally, but for a paltry investment (possibly even discounted until the ransom is met) they can get a quality physical version of the game that will also kick money in towards the ransom. They get a kewl product probably cheaper and a fuzzy feeling that they helped others out as well which would give me 2 hands towards pulling them to my side of the fence.

  Does that help things make a bit more sense?

Title: Re: Ransom/Pamphlet model
Post by: chance.thirteen on September 17, 2009, 03:05:20 PM
Greg Stoltze, the author of The One Roll Engine (Godlike, Reign to name two) has experience with both traditional publishing and ransoming extra content. He might be a good person to ask about his experiences. He does have the advantage of having a long active product line and website.

Title: Re: Ransom/Pamphlet model
Post by: Callan S. on September 17, 2009, 10:17:14 PM
Hi Seth,

Have you made anything yet? If you want to be totally secure, you'd wait until people have (essentially) handed you money, then work. And if they don't hand you any, you hadn't done any work anyway. If you've already made stuff, then you've lost the opportunity for that total security - they may not hand any ransom to you but you've already done work. There's no way out of that - that opportunity for total security has been lost.

In terms of investment, what have you invested so far that's at risk? If they can print out a booklet themselves - well, it sounds like the most you will have done is made up a document? I think you might be looking at it backwards to call it a 'recoup' - you want money to make the prettier version, but if you don't get the money to do that - you've invested nothing anyway, so there's nothing to recoup. I mean, your saying you want to recover money you haven't spent yet and even if/when you go to spend it, it'll wont even be your own money your spending (it'll be ransom money)? Or am I reading you wrong?

Title: Re: Ransom/Pamphlet model
Post by: Seth M. Drebitko on September 19, 2009, 01:20:45 PM
  Ok I think I see where the confusion is I am not looking to re-coup my initial investment just cover the next project. So the process will be from the writing perspective:
  Finish up the first product art and all with my money ransom it, along with the “premium” copies sold.
  The money made from the ransom (and premium booklet sales) will then be used to pay for the creation of the next project and so on and so.
  The idea is less to re-coup (though that would be nice) and more to keep myself from having to invest more than the initial investment.

Title: Re: Ransom/Pamphlet model
Post by: Callan S. on September 19, 2009, 08:32:15 PM
I'm still confused? Are you going to pay for that art with your own money? Why aren't you waiting for the ransom to be forfilled then use that money/not your own money?

And why doesn't the second project get ransomed independently? I think your applying typical sales practice to the ransom model, and it doesn't add up. In typical sales practice, you've invested some of your own cashola and you want to recoup that cashola AND make money for the next project (and a little extra for hookers and booze). That makes alot of sense! But it doesn't make sense to apply it to the ransom model/is entirely unnecessary to do so. Your risking nada/zilch/zip a roo (unless you've bought staplers or art, etc, already, then see above) - all those gamers out there who for some reason forfil ransoms are carrying the risk for you. I think your applying risk management where there is no risk to manage*, and it's complicating everything. That or I'm completely not grasping something.

* Barring blow outs in art costs or stapler costs (say it breaks and the warranty wont replace it) and such, as the ransom is a fixed amount. Though given how zany the ransom model already is, simply asking for more ransom given any blow outs seems like it'd cover that anyway. If you've already asked for X amount and people have handed it over, you could always ask for Y amount.