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Post Posted: Sat Mar 10, 2012 8:34 am 
 

bbarsh wrote:
2. NTRPGCon seem to have the digest sized printing down to a tee. At this size, are you able/willing to discuss cost per unit printed? And how mauch time is put into assembling and proofing each product prior to publishing it?

The problem with the NTX digest modules is that they are pure collector items, for the most part. Their target buyer is most often the collector. Nothing negative about that, but they are not what I would consider a more mass-market product, if that can really be said about any OSR stuff.

Sure, but you could publish modules in this format. I suppose people really want to buy 'traditional' card cover and 16 page BW modules, because those are in keeping with the old school feel of the hobby. This is where finding a publisher wh can bang out products on newspring might be beneficial to a small press publisher, because it is in keeping, and an author/publisher could build a congruent product, or even a range, based around a particular niche printing style.

bbarsh wrote:
4. What do FGG and GG have that make their product more viable than others on the market? How do they achieve the sales they do, and afford to pay for quality artwork and cartography? Is it purely a case of having thousands in the bank, or is there something they 'get' that the smaller presses don't understand yet? How do these companies' business models vary from those of other publishers? And why are their prodcts larger, better typeset, and better presented than the rest?

Yes, it is money. Also, I think many of their products cross platforms so this helps drive their sales. They are also well-established and the products are solid. But it can't be stated loud enough that good art costs money - big money in relation to OSR sales numbers. Getting an established (named artist) to do a cover is typically going to cost you several hundred dollars (and usually more). If you drop $800 or so on art, you are way behind the profit curve unless you can sell about 200 copies minimum to break even. Assuming you are selling a $10 book at about 32 pages.

So if you had financing in place, you knock out your first product, print 300 copies, sell 120 and keep the balance in backstock whilst you knock out the next. That tells me that you could probably feasibly establish a decent product line with quality artwork on a one product every four to six months with about $1000-1500 capital and a further need for a $500-$800 to bump the second product along assuming slow sales of the first. Backstock presumably will sell as new products are released and a publisher becomes better known.


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Post Posted: Sat Mar 10, 2012 10:40 pm 
 

mbassoc2003 wrote:
bbarsh wrote:The problem with the NTX digest modules is that they are pure collector items, for the most part. Their target buyer is most often the collector. Nothing negative about that, but they are not what I would consider a more mass-market product, if that can really be said about any OSR stuff.

Sure, but you could publish modules in this format. I suppose people really want to buy 'traditional' card cover and 16 page BW modules, because those are in keeping with the old school feel of the hobby. This is where finding a publisher wh can bang out products on newspring might be beneficial to a small press publisher, because it is in keeping, and an author/publisher could build a congruent product, or even a range, based around a particular niche printing style.

bbarsh wrote:Yes, it is money. Also, I think many of their products cross platforms so this helps drive their sales. They are also well-established and the products are solid. But it can't be stated loud enough that good art costs money - big money in relation to OSR sales numbers. Getting an established (named artist) to do a cover is typically going to cost you several hundred dollars (and usually more). If you drop $800 or so on art, you are way behind the profit curve unless you can sell about 200 copies minimum to break even. Assuming you are selling a $10 book at about 32 pages.

So if you had financing in place, you knock out your first product, print 300 copies, sell 120 and keep the balance in backstock whilst you knock out the next. That tells me that you could probably feasibly establish a decent product line with quality artwork on a one product every four to six months with about $1000-1500 capital and a further need for a $500-$800 to bump the second product along assuming slow sales of the first. Backstock presumably will sell as new products are released and a publisher becomes better known.


If you print up 300 copies and use a pro illustrator at a bargain price of $800 for cover and interior art, and then sell 120 copies, you will still be in the red. Also, you are leaving out other overhead costs. This is assuming a $10 product. I think this why you see more products in the higher price range. The print production cost to do 64 pages versus 32 pages is not double, for instance. It might cost 30% more to double the print size. Yes, you need to bu more art, but interior stuff is cheaper than the cover art; you only take the big hit on the cover so page count is not a factor there.
You really need to sell about 60% of your print run before a profit is realized; again, I am not applying other various over head expenditures.
Bottom line is that expensive art requires a high sales volume relative to your print run.


And I could've bought these damn modules off the 1$ rack!!!

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Post Posted: Sat Mar 10, 2012 10:51 pm 
 

bbarsh wrote:Bottom line is that expensive art requires a high sales volume relative to your print run.


Presumably that has always been true, explaining the art of so many non-TSR products over the years...


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Post Posted: Sun Mar 11, 2012 5:57 am 
 

That's also where FGG win big points by using the same piece of cover art for all their Slumbering Tsar products. Good business sense.
So, another question might be... Can a staggeringly good piece of cover art sell a mediocre product?


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Post Posted: Sun Mar 11, 2012 1:08 pm 
 

TheHistorian wrote:
bbarsh wrote:Bottom line is that expensive art requires a high sales volume relative to your print run.


Presumably that has always been true, explaining the art of so many non-TSR products over the years...


Yes, I was commenting specifically on small publishers in the context of really low print runs compared to anything done by TSR, or even Judges Guild, etc. I do want to be clear that I think using established artists (those who are associated with TSR for example) is the ideal. Problem is that asking them to do work for a tiny fraction of what they probably were paid back in the day is problemsome. Hopefully, as the OSR grows in popularity and exposure, sales voume will increase and that is good for everyone - including artists.


And I could've bought these damn modules off the 1$ rack!!!

New modules for your Old School game http://pacesettergames.com/

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Post Posted: Sun Mar 11, 2012 1:09 pm 
 

mbassoc2003 wrote:That's also where FGG win big points by using the same piece of cover art for all their Slumbering Tsar products. Good business sense.
So, another question might be... Can a staggeringly good piece of cover art sell a mediocre product?


In a word, YES. TSR did that for years.   :lol:


And I could've bought these damn modules off the 1$ rack!!!

New modules for your Old School game http://pacesettergames.com/

Everything Pacesetter at http://pacesettergames.blog.com/

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Post Posted: Sun Mar 11, 2012 1:49 pm 
 

mbassoc2003 wrote:That's also where FGG win big points by using the same piece of cover art for all their Slumbering Tsar products.


Sounds good from the publishing end. How is their customer support? Any comments about "boring" covers?


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Post Posted: Mon Mar 12, 2012 1:03 am 
 

I have a project in mind.  I need advice about a couple of things:

1)  Where to look for help with art.  How much should this cost?  Is my own amateur art better than paying for a professinal...from an old-school sentimental viewpoint?

2)  Where do I look for a printer?  What are the pitfalls?

3)  So, if I print 100 copies, and do some small advertising...how many copies will I have left after Acaeum guys buy them to be nice to me?


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Post Posted: Mon Mar 12, 2012 1:04 am 
 

mbassoc2003 wrote:That's also where FGG win big points by using the same piece of cover art for all their Slumbering Tsar products. Good business sense.
So, another question might be... Can a staggeringly good piece of cover art sell a mediocre product?


Yes - All the of the Mayfair modules were good examples.

And...a bad piece of cover art can sink module sales, particularly if the artwork depicts something that is not from Western Europe.


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Post Posted: Mon Mar 12, 2012 12:23 pm 
 

FormCritic wrote:I have a project in mind.  I need advice about a couple of things:

1)  Where to look for help with art.  How much should this cost?  Is my own amateur art better than paying for a professinal...from an old-school sentimental viewpoint?

2)  Where do I look for a printer?  What are the pitfalls?

3)  So, if I print 100 copies, and do some small advertising...how many copies will I have left after Acaeum guys buy them to be nice to me?


Actually, the answers are obtainable.
1) Just google the following "catch" words and you'll find websites galore, "fantasy-artists" "medieval-fantasy art" or things similar.
1b) Depends on the project. Colour vs. B&W, full page vs. quarter (or smaller)
1c) I think so, but it can't be too amateurish. Stick drawings will piss off any one.

2) Never have. Always use(d) Lulu; except for some things Guy Fullerton had pressed for a limited version of the G4.

3) 95? Just kidding. It all depends, but if its your first time out the gate at this, don't expect a sell out.

I'll put in a gratuitous "plug" for the artist Joe Calkins. He's done lots of work with me in the past (several covers, including the G9). He's more modern than OS, so you really have to be descriptive if you want the "old" feel. But, if youre paying good money, I know he can deliver for you. Just google his name, and you should come up with a Cerebius url address.


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Post Posted: Tue Mar 13, 2012 11:36 pm 
 

bbarsh wrote:

Bottom line is that expensive art requires a high sales volume relative to your print run.


A question for all of you if you don't mind related to the above. How much do you guys think a known (amongst OSR nerds) artist contributes to sales or at least readers of a finished product?

I have written a module that I am quite proud of and I am nearly at the illustration/mapping stage. I am not in this for the money or the women (which I have been assured isn't a good reason to do this anyway), it is very much a labor of love. I am willing to pay good money for art because I want my module to visually be on par with some of the ones I collect. Before I commit to a commission I am curious how valuable you guys think it is.

Also I would love it if anyone who creates home brew print adventures here would reply (or PM me), I buy a lot of them and am always on the lookout for good stuff.



  

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Post Posted: Wed Mar 14, 2012 1:57 am 
 

mbassoc2003 wrote:That's also where FGG win big points by using the same piece of cover art for all their Slumbering Tsar products. Good business sense.

Really depends on the product IMO.  The Slumbering Tsar books are all interconnected so using the same cover art for every book isnt all that bad an idea.  However, there has been some negative response from customers regarding FGG's One Night Stands and Saturday Night Specials.

http://www.talesofthefroggod.com/index. ... ght-stands

Apparently some of the adventures have the same artwork (Ursined, Sealed & Delivered is the exception I believe) even though they are all stand alone adventures.  Quite a few people were miffed that Pete Mullen's original cover to Spire of Iron & Crystal wasnt used instead of the generic artwork that has nothing to do with the adventure.

mbassoc2003 wrote:Can a staggeringly good piece of cover art sell a mediocre product?

I dont mean to pick on Bill here, but if Pacesetter's T1 The Thing in the Valley (which I think is a very good adventure) was garbage I still would have purchased it because that cover by Nathan Nada is brilliant.  Great artwork makes all the difference in the world sometimes.  Probably why I never bought UK5 back in the day.

Nogrod wrote:How much do you guys think a known (amongst OSR nerds) artist contributes to sales or at least readers of a finished product?

Lets put it this way.  Get Pete Mullen, Rowena Aitken, Nathan Nada, Peter Szmer or Mark Allen to do the cover or interior artwork and I'll buy it.  Get Larry Elmore, Erol Otus, Jeff Easley, Fred Fields or Paul Jaquays to do it and I'll buy two.  :D   Oh, and if you cant draw maps you might consider hiring a cartographer.  Some of the stuff Dyson Logos and Robert Conley does is really nice.


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Post Posted: Wed Mar 14, 2012 2:45 am 
 

Kingofpain89 wrote:Lets put it this way.  Get Pete Mullen, Rowena Aitken, Nathan Nada, Peter Szmer or Mark Allen to do the cover or interior artwork and I'll buy it.  Get Larry Elmore, Erol Otus, Jeff Easley, Fred Fields or Paul Jaquays to do it and I'll buy two.  :D   Oh, and if you cant draw maps you might consider hiring a cartographer.  Some of the stuff Dyson Logos and Robert Conley does is really nice.


Well that answers that question. You have good (and probably expensive) taste in artists. Is $500-$1200 dollars even in the ballpark for the artists you have listed (the first list not the second I don't know what Erol Otus charges, but I am sure I can't afford it) for a cover + interior illustrations?

What would you think a cartographer would cost, my module is not map heavy but maps make the game for me most times. I can use Campaign Cartographer, but I am not especially talented with finished product dungeon maps.

Thanks for your thoughts.

EDIT: I found the answer to the map question. The Mapmakers Guild forums are awesome.



  

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Post Posted: Wed Mar 14, 2012 9:42 am 
 

Nogrod wrote:Is $500-$1200 dollars even in the ballpark for the artists you have listed (the first list not the second I don't know what Erol Otus charges, but I am sure I can't afford it) for a cover + interior illustrations?

What would you think a cartographer would cost, my module is not map heavy but maps make the game for me most times. I can use Campaign Cartographer, but I am not especially talented with finished product dungeon maps.

It will depend on which artist you hire, how many pieces of art you are looking to use and if you plan to do primarily B&W or color.  You might PM bbarsh (Bill), prufrock (Martin) and burntwire brothers (Devon) and ask them what the artwork cost on their self produced adventures.  Devon got a commission done by Jeff Easley, Martin used Jason Braun, and Bill has several adventures featuring artwork by Nathan Nada (and several others).  Mark Allen does work for John Adams (Brave Halfling publishing; and the guy who just sold those nice empty storage boxes with the Erol Otus and Pete Mullen artwork).  If you are coming to NTRPG in June you can meet Erol Otus, Jeff Dee, Jennell (Paul) Jaquays and Jason Braun and ask them yourself.  There are a lot of talented artists out there and I just mentioned my favorites.

As for cartography costs, I have zero clue.


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Post Posted: Wed Mar 14, 2012 3:04 pm 
 

Personally, I feel that great artwork is essential for those publishers charging for their products. I rarely download free modules because most feature little to no artwork, and the artwork present is usually subpar. Of course, the gaming content itself is the most important part of the product, but when I am paying for something, I want the whole package -- great artwork, preferably by the TSR masters, fantastic cartography, and professional formatting that replicates the look of the classics.

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Post Posted: Wed Mar 14, 2012 8:07 pm 
 

Nogrod wrote:Also I would love it if anyone who creates home brew print adventures here would reply (or PM me), I buy a lot of them and am always on the lookout for good stuff.


8O
Uh, well, you can go to my store and download some freebies. (See link in my sig)


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Post Posted: Wed Mar 14, 2012 11:49 pm 
 

Thork N Hammer wrote:
8O
Uh, well, you can go to my store and download some freebies. (See link in my sig)


Heh, you assume I haven't already purchased some of yours from Lulu already. I really liked the ones I purchased BTW.



  

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Post Posted: Thu Mar 15, 2012 1:07 am 
 

Well, its been kind of slow around there lately. I just thought y'all forgot about me.  :lol:


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