It’s funny how life runs its course. Looking back, if it were not for the help of (now good friend) Benoit from Goblin Stone, Loresmyth would not exist today. When I was struggling to finish a little adventure called The Claws of Madness a few years ago, it was Ben who helped me pull through and publish it, and when Claws became a best seller, I realized exactly how valuable his help had been. And like history repeating itself, recently it was our turn to help an aspiring writer to get his first adventure published: within a week Shore of Dreams became a gold best-seller on the DM’s Guild…
I get emails and Facebook messages daily from people looking for advice how to get into the RPG business or to look at their adventure ideas. I have over ten years experience with running a business, developing, and marketing products, but instead of something complicated, my best advise to starting writers is blunt: Finish something and publish it.
The reason this mindset is so powerful is because 99% of the aspiring writers never reach this stage. Anyone can whip up a ton of fantastic ideas, but without the experience of taking these ideas through all development stages and into the published realm, they stay on your hard drive graveyard. Finishing “something” is far more important than making a perfect product.
Finishing “something” is far more important than making a perfect product.
What does matter, is gaining experience through publishing. Even if it just is a freebie on one of the many marketplaces such as DriveThru or DMsGuild, you will learn a lot from it. You will make mistakes every step of the way, but that’s exactly what you need: All those others are not learning these valuable lessons because they never get past the idea phase. So pick one of your ideas and promise yourself you will finish it and put it online.
It helps to start small, so chances are higher you can finish it to a satisfactory level and publish it. If you have never published anything, a campaign setting is a tall order. Try a one-shot dungeon instead. The take away here is that releasing something is the success factor, not the shining brilliance or industry-changing quality of your release. This doesn’t mean you don’t aim for quality, but understand that the goal is to take something all the way: from idea, to draft, to the fifteenth draft, edited copy, pre-press, approval, and published book.
The achievement of actually getting your thing out to the world, getting user feedback and hopefully some praise will be the best motivational drug you can get. Once you go through this cycle a few times, you will get better at it. All the feedback will help you make your next release be better and move through development faster. You might realize you are better off outsourcing certain parts of the development process or discover what type of products your customers liked or disliked.
About one year ago I gave Florian Emmerich of Poison Potion Press the same advice. He was one of the many sending us a message on Facebook, asking for tips. Most I never hear back from, but one year later, Florian messaged again. He had finished a great draft of his adventure called Shore of Dreams. Realising he may not be the best writer yet, he hired JVC Parry to help complete the manuscript. I offered a few tips on how to commission art, and Florian already had a beautiful looking page layout going himself. In just a few months, the adventure was ready to be published for real. Weeks later it had become a best seller on the DMs Guild. Now Florian is considering writing more because Shore of Dreams gotten such high praise.
In our next blog post, we will look at what we believe are the Top 3 Factors that helped make Shore of Dreams a success.