Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Let's Talk Business

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  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.


Arduin said...

I was one of "the eight", and while I wanted to, as it were, gush, I was not in possession of a way to make Youtube films, and had no other community I was a registered member of in which to espouse the value, having not discovered Reddit at the time.

End excuses.

For those of you with a passing curiousity, he says, too little too late, ask. By whatever means, get a hold of it, even the Character Generator alone.

I have used each of the files within at least weekly, and a significant portion daily. The price sheet is something I work to understand more every day, so I can eventually add to it.

I paid a hundred dollars for it, it was all I bought for six months, and it was one hundred percent worth it.

The Generator has brought preposterous amounts of fun to the table. I've spent hours with friends just drumming through the possibilities, and we still haven't seen all it can do.

The Price Sheet, and accompanying Source table has only this past month caused my game to spark in a new direction. The new Hex Generator posted here has only added to how valuable it is.

The goddamn weather table? I love this thing. It took me six hours just to figure out how the damn thing worked, and now that I know, it's the simplest thing in the world. How was I ever not using it before?

I don't even have a way to read Publisher files, meaning I have to use the old Wiki for maps, but just look at the things there yourself! FUCKING. AWESOME.

Alexis, I have to apologize. You expressed desire for video reviews at the time, and I could not deliver. I don't even know if I properly thanked you, but sincerely, that hundred was the best I ever spent on roleplay.

I check both wikis every day, the one for new content, the other to keep up with the old (I'm looking at you, Mass table).

So, to conclude: DO IT. Buy the book, donate to the blog, stage a fake hostage situation, whatever you need to do, check this damn material out. It is worth it.

Anthony said...

How about a cup of coffee for your trade tables/equipment list?

PS How much for a cup of coffee in your part of the world? :) Out here, us country folk don't know much bout money and Starbucks :D

Alexis Smolensk said...

There are several trade tables there, Anthony; distance table, zones table, sources table, prices table and the actual maps. Only the largest total bulk of my work.

If it's only worth a cup of coffee to you, then ... I guess I don't need to feel in very much of a hurry.

Alexis Smolensk said...

Okay, I won't be stingy. I was going to do a video on the weekend ... how about I do it on the "trade tables" and then if you still want them, we can deal.

Anthony said...

Certainly fair to me. Perhaps I don't need all of that information; I'm primarily interested in a dynamically priced equipment list, so perhaps I don't need the entire package? I don't know how it is all linked together.

Frotz Self said...

I'll echo Arduin; the material was definitely worth it. I used Alexis' trade tables to help develop my own, and implemented it 'behind the scenes', using it to help me set pricing for raw materials as well as manufactured goods. I hadn't thought my players had noticed, until I was playing in someone else's game with one of my players and a random encounter yielded a significant portion of eel or sea-snake meat or some such. The DM indicated it was a delicacy in certain ports, and a small discussion started regarding the price it would fetch at our current port of call versus other ports we could reasonably reach before the meat went rancid. The DM hadn't considered the ramifications of that, and my player pipes up and says that she can always tell when I'm running a game, because I'll have that information prepared. So much for behind-the-scenes preparation, and players not noticing.

Anthony said...

You can create an item list for an existing location in a few minutes if I am not mistaken, correct?

Let's try a different approach then. I'll pay on a per-list basis for a number of locations.

Let's call it $1.33 per location ($1 after PayPal fees).

How's that sound? Fair compromise?

Alexis Smolensk said...

Sure, if what I wanted was to exploit the living hell out of you. IF the list were finalized, and wasn't subject to change and modification, regularly, then I might in good conscience take you up on your offer.

But such is not the case.

Why not wait until I do a video or two on what's involved, show you the guts of the thing, and then you can decide in your good conscience what you'd like to offer then?