1. Stephen
    June 22, 2023 @ 4:20 pm

    Lots to process here but I dont think that it is as bad as you think. Obviously professional artists charge for their work and, if it is good, it enhances a product and probably aids in selling more copies. I also note that you base assumptions on what sells on DriveTrhuRPG, but this is a magazine rather than a game, you HAVE to hope to have broader appeal. White Dwarf, when it began, had an initial print run of 4000 copies – just to sell in hard copy in the UK.

    So ambition on numbers changes the situation.

    The other thing you have there is the fixed price in art. If you were to find some artisits willing to collaborate rather than be employed then you might look to some kind of profit share. So your art costs are £2,500, writing £500. You could then pitch the magazine at £10, maybe clearing £5 per sale. You could offer the artist £3.50 per copy sold with you retaining £1.50.

    If the magazine is a success, 1000 copies sold, then the artist is making far more than the flat £2,500. If it is a Drivethru success then they only make £700. It is a risk but there are artists out there that may, like you, be willing to have some income and exposure. Artists could collaborate on an issue by issue basis.

    You might also find the size of the market increases if you decrease the price – so you might find 200 people willing to spend £10 a copy. You might find 1000 willing to spend £5. I dont have a feel for what the market might be but I know that there is White Dwarf shaped hole in my gaming soul that has never really been filled….and I know I would almost immediately put down £5/month for a decent gaming magazine but would hesitate at £10.


    • LtR_Chris1
      June 22, 2023 @ 4:24 pm

      Sorry, when you say “this is a magazine rather than a game”, what are you referring to? I’m explicitly talking about RPG adventures in this post.


  2. Joe
    June 22, 2023 @ 6:03 pm

    Sounds like your material is not cut out for print publishing. I suggest sticking with blogs, which are more in line with what you can afford as a “content creator.”


    • LtR_Chris1
      June 22, 2023 @ 6:19 pm

      I literally make my living from print books. You’re on the site where I sell them right now. I’ve also never claimed to be a “content creator”. I’m a writer.


  3. Richard Green
    June 22, 2023 @ 10:23 pm

    Excellent read, Chris!


  4. Cat
    June 23, 2023 @ 8:42 am

    This is grim and entirely in line with my experience. I’ve really only got 2 things to add:
    1. Art gets even more expensive per page for an A4/letter product. Illustrations at that scale tend to be more complex, have more figures, etc. because that’s (often) what’s expected at that size. Because then you’re getting compared to that game with the dragons in it. So your calculations are by no means a worst case scenario.
    2. Art does drive sales. To a depressing degree (to me, as a writer who can’t draw for toffee). I have two similar products (system neutral creepy-cute horror adventures, about 24 US letter pages). One is art heavy, one has nice graphic design and 3 key art pieces. The art heavy one outsells the other 2:1. So if we had money to invest (lol) I would say we’re more likely to reach a higher break even figure on a heavily illustrated book/zine. But with typical RPG margins that’s a hell of a risk.

    What was the point of this comment? Just agreeing with you, really. It’s a bleak time financially and it’s not an ideal time to be taking on higher overheads and risk.


  5. Giles
    June 23, 2023 @ 12:33 pm

    Just as a counter to some of the above comments Chris – an absolutely on-point article that reflects my own experiences with writing, getting art commissioned, producing, and selling RPGs. Solid, honest work. Good job.


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