Recently, after a long period of disinterest, I have four people, I think, querying me about subscribing to my D&D material, as first described here.
Yes, for a time, I did sell this material. All told, I had 8 buyers. Not a disaster, obviously - many would-be businesses make less money. I withdrew the offer once I decided that the interest had been fulfilled.
I was a bit frustrated with it. None of those who bought the subscription commented at all upon the material. I still don't know to this day if any of it was useful for them, or what they did with it. I did ask, without response. One person did ask for more, about 10 months after first purchase ... but failed to do the one thing I asked, which was to promote what they'd learned (whereupon I'd update their material for free). So the lack of apparent interest, too, encouraged me to withdraw the offer. I did not wish to give out material which might be seen as unworthy. No one actually replied, saying that the subscription wasn't worth the money; but I had no proof to the contrary, either.
The amount of money I was asking, $100, did draw some abuse from distinterested parties on line. I myself find that curious. That amount describes less than half a day's pay for me. So, in effect, I am paid, for the space of a morning, to move numbers around and solve technical issues, the equivalent value of all the meaningful work I have done on D&D in the past 20 years. I find this strange logic comparable with the occasional anger I encounter that I've dared to sell Pete's Garage for the sum of $20. In this country at least, that's about two hours of labor a teenager might be paid for in exchange for the three years and approximately 750-900 hours I spent writing and rewriting the work. An obviously unfair, unreasonable exchange, to be sure.
So, I was asking too much money for material which was likely to be too specific for my world, from people who had no interest in discussing the work with me, for income I didn't really need. All in all, it just seemed problematic and therefore an idea that could be shelved.
I think, in the long run, I'm bound to contribute better to other people's worlds by concentrating on the wiki, future demonstrations on the blog and perhaps on youtube, and increased person-to-person dialogues on facebook (which have started, now that I have lowered myself to joining the rest of the human race).
BUT ... if you do want something of my making, some file or group of files that specifically interest you, we can negotiate those on the following basis:
1) Talk to me. I believe that I'm easy to find on Facebook, as there aren't many named Alexis Smolensk, and my email continues to be firstname.lastname@example.org. Befriend me, talk to me about gaming, get my opinions and give me yours, argue with me and show me you're serious, and I'll probably make all my stuff available for free.
2) Buy my book and tell me about it. That's bound to really get on my good side, and my book costs less than $100. It wouldn't hurt if you read the book either, or told other people about the book, since it's a damn good book and you won't be disappointed (particularly if modern setting fantasy novels appeal to you).
3) Donate to this blog. Any amount. The cost of a cup of coffee. That's bound to get my attention. I'm not adverse to tossing out files I've talked about on this blog for a few bucks, if I'm encouraged. That's IF you don't want to talk to me and you just want me to stolidly come across with the material. If you donate something that pleases your heart, then you can be rude as hell to me, just give me money. (enough money)
That's how the actual real world works, you know. You want stuff, you wave money at people and they give it to you. Even when you're inconsiderate.
One of the ways the world does not work is for people - and I don't mean those who have graciously asked if they can still give me a hundred dollars and get my stuff - to bitch and moan at the price of something. Boo fucking hoo. I am an old, old liberal, and even I know that if you want to get served, you pay the price.