Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Pay For It Later

The reception for the Advanced Guide seems very positive; I'm happy to hear interest in pre-ordering, which I take as a sign of exhuberance. However, I had no expection of taking pre-orders for the book, just as I had no inclination to write the book as part of a 'kick-starter' campaign.

I don't really understand kick-starters. I get about a dozen fairly serious-looking kickstarter invitations a week and quite a few more that look like a total joke. I can't see supporting any of them. Very nice and all ... and I've had people urge me to try it. Not really my thing though.

I figure, I don't ask for money up front, I can work on the project as long as it needs working. Writing doesn't take money. It can be done for free. All the things that take money - space, food, a computer, etc. - those things are paid for. I wouldn't get enough up front in pre-sales or a kickstarter to make it possible for me to quit my job and write full-time. So I'd only be trading in my free-time schedule for the risk of annoying people who had given me money without receiving a product. Doesn't seem like a fair trade.

Understand, I could take your money up front and make my life a bit interesting, buy some toys, buy some beer, what have you ... but that extra money wouldn't actually make my book go faster, or make it better, or ensure its existence in any way. The reader would just be out the money for four or five months, with nothing to show for it.

There are probably people who need to receive money for a project to feel encouraged to finish that project. They probably need your money now. But I really don't. I'll finish the book anyway.

I'll make a deal with you. Keep your money, buy some toys and beer with it, enjoy it NOW. Later, I promise, I'll have the book ready and finished, and you can pay for it THEN. What do you think?


Arduin said...

Sounds fine by me.

But, since the holidays and suchlike are looming, I don't suppose you'd do a subscription update for some amount of monies? I'd love to update my price tables to reflect your finally nailing down the lapidary, to say nothing of the dockside additions or the changes to other tables (the addition of Italy springs to mind).

Naturally of course, you'll be doing what pleases you best, and we'll all be pleased to taste the fruits of your labors, however long it takes for them to arrive.

Jeff said...

Generally speaking, where I see Kickstarter working best is when it replaces going to a bank for a loan to get production cash. To pay for things like printing or artwork, or other such expenses. Traditionally, companies have had to take out a short term loan, with the expectation of future sales to pay it off with interest. With a Kickstarter campaign, you eliminate the interest cost, as well as make pre-sales, while gauging the market for your product. This is the kind of project that I have backed so far.

But, that is not how many, even most, are using it. Most projects I see are just not right for this kind of situation. These are the ones that will fail, because the people want the cash to live on, and have none left for the real costs of the product.

Michael Julius said...


Jhandar said...

Fair enough, investing in a little bourbon will help the mapping process going. As an aside, I am not certain if this is a quirk or feature, but in your hex mapping spreadsheet in Type 6 I seem to be getting an exorbitant rate of graveyards (both kept and unkept).

Perhaps it is the geography of the area, as I have been starting in a fairly low population, low altitude area (while I have reworked your infrastructure equation slightly the infrastructure is roughly 8-25 range), and by no means do I wish to derail your efforts I figure I should point to it.

Scarbrow said...

The best way I got to say "I trust you will finish it" is...


Ramón Nogueras said...

I'm game :)

Alexis Smolensk said...

You can look at graveyards a couple of ways, Jhandar; you can go into the likelihood in the excel file and adjust it. Or you could take a trip through some of the old areas of New England, or the denser areas of England, and see that there are a lot of graveyards in those places, dating well before the 20th century.

A village of 100 people will lose 150+ people per century. Rather telling, that.

Lukas said...

Kickstarter has been having some issues with product disappointment and products strangely taking much longer than expected to come out... sometimes just plain not.

I think the excitement will fade amongst the people eventually and the peddlers will find it to be a less practical method to sell everything.

Matt said...

I like Kickstarter as an alternative publication system. It works great for developers who want to make something that isn't mainstream enough for a traditional published to support. I respect that you aren't abusing the enthusiasm of your readers though. I'll be buying your book when it's done.

Maximillian Boii said...

What Jeff said about kickstarter. There's also the possibility of taking presale commitments with no money exchanging hands as a way to probe the market. It'll let you make more-informed decisions.

Alexis Smolensk said...

Must be me. I don't see how.

It would tell me how many people out there are prepared to 'say' they'll buy something they haven't had yet to pay for. This would be more meaningful if the message I was selling was reaching everyone on the internet, but I don't have that sort of advertising budget.

Actually charging all you wonderful interested people in advance of actually finishing the book would tell me how many people are willing to hand over money for no product, on the faith that they will, eventually, have something to show for it; I draw attention to Lukas's comment about "product disappointment."

Heck, you know, at this moment, I don't even know how much the book will cost. I don't know how many pages it's going to fill out at - 400+ looks to be a possibility -and the printing cost depends on the size of the book. Some of you who are anxious to buy the book now may get a shock when you learn that its going to cost upwards of $30. This is taking me an average of four to six hours per thousand words, counting research and rewrites, to produce, so I'm definitely thinking I'm not giving this thing away.

I go around to the local Canadian version of Borders, Indigo, and look at soft-cover research-driven materials and I see prices between $60 and $100 American. I'm trying here to build a quintessential tome about the mindset of a home-based improvisation performer and game designer/producer/presenter in a solid, "I want to be what I don't know how to be" format. This isn't just an opinion book, this isn't a blog. I am finding I am changing the DM I am due to the heavy research I've been doing, which has in fact been more than the time necessary to take notes.

To write 50,000 words in a month, you have to write 1,667 words a day. I write 1,667 words in less than an hour. This comment is 382words. Took me ten minutes. Over the last month, I've spent five, six hours a day researching in addition to writing.

Never mind telling me your willingness to say you'll buy a book. Tell me your reaction to this comment. THAT will help me make an informed opinion.

Ramón Nogueras said...

30-50$ would be reasonable todo me if the research is up to your usual level. More than 50$ would require some consideration, and having a preview would help me decide.