So this past Monday, we launched our own ultra-mega bundle of all our products from all the way back in 2004 (for one of our imprints, Tricky Owlbear Publishing) or 2011 (for Fat Goblin Games proper) all the way up to December 31st, 2015. That totaled up to over 290+ books with over 3,000 pages of content (even when you cut out the OGLs and such). We’re calling it The Goblin Hoarde’s Hoard Bundle, as we’re essentially tapping into the vault of works we have, to try to offer them to you for a drastic discount (95% or more, depending on if you use ‘sale’ prices or MSRP etc).
If you look at our original blog-post about it from Monday, you can see how we roughly talk about that bundle representing our “Past.” All of our books released this year since January 1st, 2016 – we’re calling that our “Present.” We’ve released something like 200+ products this year, with only half of them being “stock art.” Many are even larger and longer books, sometimes in new and different system than we normally have focused on from 5th edition to OSR, to the vs. M Engine; all alongside our staple of Pathfinder Roleplaying Game books. If we can convince the Fattest Goblin of Them All to do it, we’ll likely offer one or more big bundles of all of 2016 books in some fashion (for instance, split by systems) -- but we’ve still got three months to round out that collection.
But today, I want to talk to you about our “Future” or at least part of it. I’m talking about the Goblin Army Fan Club on Patreon.
I’ve personally wondered if Patreon holds a better future for us than Kickstarting in our industry for quite some time, and I’m not alone. A sad fact of the matter is that even with recent growth to the tabletop roleplaying game industry, there just isn’t the kind of capital needed to make large books at the quality that you, the consumer expects. So, some form of crowdfunding is often going to get tapped.
There are many ways to use Patreon and other people in the industry have been using Patreon to varying levels of success. Endzeitgesit and John Reyst of d20pfsrd.com come to mind as two of the larger RPG-related Patreons, and rather than focusing too strongly on the creation of content, what they are really offering is a “service” to members of the RPG community (reviews and maintenance of an SRD site, respectively). This model of treating Patreon more as a service and less as either a “tip jar” and/or as a subscription (both viable methods, if you’re willing and able to tie your production to the success or failure of the system) is part of what lead to us to some of our ideas for our Goblin Army Patreon.
We’re offering a number of levels, with the low-ball $1 per month Goblin Patriot level that gets you in the room, to the $3 per month Low-Life Mercenary level that gets you a voice of your own in that room AND the occasional opportunity to beta read early access versions of upcoming books and in-development works, to $5 per month Grunt level that gives you some Q&A opportunities and special access to exclusive discussion of our process, as well as offers and giveaways we won’t give anywhere else – we’re trying to offer some fairly low-level, easy access offerings to get in to and behind the scenes at Fat Goblin Games. But that’s not all.
We’re also offering things like our $10 Sergeant Scum level, which gets you into the Fat Goblin Army Google Hangout for 24/7 chance to talk to us about anything and everything on your mind, as well as see us working with the $20 Freelance Bootcampers (or call them occasionally the Bootstrappers). We’ve limited the number of Freelancers right now to the 5 early enlistment slots + the 10 regular spots, but only 4 out of the 15 spots have been taken so act now and you can get in on all the fun. What fun you ask? Let me tell you all about it!
What the Freelancer Bootcamp Is Not!
Right off the bat, it’s very easy to tell you what the Freelancer Bootcamp is NOT. It is not you getting complete professional editing for your 1,000+ page/100,000+ word magnum opus of a world setting, and it’s not any kind of guarantee that anything we work on with you will be published by ourselves or anyone else for that matter.
On the first point, professional editing comes in various forms (are we talking about a deep, content edit or a light copy editor’s proofing?) Bare-minimum rates for that kind of thing start at $1 per page/$0.01 per word rates, so that 100,000 word document would cost you $1,000+ to have us look at it in full. And you can double to triple that number if you’re wanting serious expertise and improvements to the text. So unless you’re backing us for a serious amount of money on Patreon (totally an option in my mind!) you’re NOT getting that. <<also, we’d need to an extra 24 hours every day to get anything done!>>
And as I said, we’re not guaranteeing we, one of our imprints, or any other publisher can or will release what you have us help on. There are numerous reasons for this, but a simple fact of the matter is that if/when we are publishing your work WE should be paying YOU for it.
So, what are you getting?
What the Freelancer Bootcamp Is!
First lets look at the promised pitch from the Patreon page:
Freelancer Bootcamp! So, you want to work in the game industry? Well, beyond making hundreds of our own products, Fat Goblin Games also produces content and aids other publishers in creating their books. From writing and editing, to art and layout, we know this industry and we can help you!
Either way, at this level you get hand-on attention to make you the best freelancer possible.
Writing Coaches for Your Tabletop RPG Projects
I’ve been trying to figure out what best describes what we’re trying to offer, and I think back to my days as a writing coach at the MTU Writing Center as both an undergraduate and graduate student. There, I worked with everyone from freshman that had to suddenly know how to do a bibliography for the first time in their lives because their high school education failed them, to PhD candidates that were praying to get their research into an academic journal and needed someone else’s eyes to look over their work. I’ve even worked in the WC with one associate professor on readability of her textbook she’d been preparing as a primer for her fiend of expertise.
And while working with these folks of varying skill level, typically for 1 hour sessions once a week, what I was really offering them was someone else to talk to about their ideas, their writing, to discuss concerns they have with content, with grammar, with the process of creating necessary components of an assignment or even, in the case of a few international students, helped them fill out the paperwork right for things like driver’s licenses.
All of these experiences directly relate into the kinds of things we want to offer you, a potential freelancer interested in working in the tabletop RPG (or even other fields) industry. At a minimum, you will get access to a Google Hangout with Troy Daniels, Rick Hershey, and myself – the We Three Bastards that run Fat Goblin Games and produce those 200+ RPG products a year, from stock art and 1 page Sidebars to the nearly complete 450+ page Shadows over Vathak: Player’s Guide (I’m doing review on the galley copy now, want to see it? Maybe if you join the GA you can!)
Rick and Troy have a long history in the biz, both reaching back to the 90’s (and likely further for old-man Troy, The Janitor, but he won’t pin down exact dates). Myself, I’ve been at this now for 3 full years as of Oct, but also bring along nearly a decade of teaching and coaching composition, and a year’s worth of managing a dozen+ freelancers and their score of projects, as well as my experience with a other publishers and freelancers. Add to this the opportunity for “guests” pulled both from the publishing world and our own Goblin Hoarde.
You look at that grin, and you just know what he eats every day...
We also have resources set up to share with you, like our Fat Goblin Games Style Guide, which gives not only various templates of what components should be included in a stat block or whether or not to use the serial comma in Pathfinder Roleplaying Game products, but also resources like our Google Group for the Goblin Army which will get additional resources shared like race and class templates, discussions of the artistic process etc.
... then again, this is The Fattest Goblin's version of me, here preforming orally.
You’ve Got Questions, and We’ll Provide Answers
But a book, or a video, or text isn’t always enough. There are great and massive tomes written about game design, and we highly recommend them to you. Read them, discuss them with friends, consider them deeply. But you can read all the books and webpages you want, but it won’t let you know for certain if you set up your OGL in the back of your book right. Or how to properly reference a section of the elf race. It won’t give you a clear answer on if your product can be sold on the DMsGuild or if you should release it under the OGL for 5th edition.
Likewise, Rick in particular, can give you feedback on a number of other matters. What’s a fair wage as a writer? As an artist? How do you get your art out there? What’s the best way to get noticed? Is this contract fair? We’re not lawyers <we'd be richer if we were!>, but he’s been at it long enough that he can at least make suggestions of what to look for and what to avoid, and while you can try asking these kinds of questions in other spaces, you have three dedicated people that want to get you the right answers every time.
Bottom Line about Freelancer Bootcamp
Will we review text you submit, via email or to the Google Hangout or the Google Group? – Yes. We may not review your entire 100,000 word world setting on Day 1, but if you give it to us in bits and pieces, we’ll work out way through it. Its not going to be a hard and fast “You can only submit XXX words per month – instead, you can consider it this way.
- If you post 500 or fewer words at one time, we’ll give it a hard and deep look really analyzing it and comparing it to existing examples etc.
- If you posted 1,000 words at one time, we’ll give it a full read through and share out thoughts and concerns.
- If you posted 2,500 words at one time, we’ll scan the whole thing and point out a few things of interest.
- If you posted 5,000+ words at one time, we’ll skim it and make a comment or two.
So, if you’re worried about a new round of RPG Superstar, and want to pass a few items buy us – we could help you build up your item building chops. If you really love new monsters in your homebrew games, but want them to be fair and balanced for your table, we can make sure you’re doing it right. If you want another set of eyes and ears to talk about your “big idea” – then we’re there for you.