Monday, April 10, 2006

A totally snarky open letter

Dear RPG Publishers,

If you can't get your products into the big chain bookstores then I sincerely hope this whole gig is a hobby or a tax shelter. Because seriously, if you are trying to make money and you can't get into WaldenBorders & Noble then your business sucks. And you deserve to fail. The frickin' Wraeththu rpg is for sale at the big chainstores and your book is not. I'm not going to name names (Blue Rose) or point fingers (various licensed properties), but you guys totally dropped the ball.

And please stop all the wishful thinking. Don't count on the FLGS to market your game. The dude behind the counter can't even keep Cat Piss Man from stinking up the store. And don't expect me to preach the good word to a bunch of newbies. I'm not your marketing department. (What? You don't have a marketing department? Then stop reading this letter and send me all your money. It'll be quicker than pissing it away on a mismanaged game company.)

You want to be in business? You want to be a big shot RPG publisher? Then get yourself out of the death spiral of the game distribution system and get into some bookstores. Hell, kicking it indie style with or PDFs seems to be a better choice these days than languishing under the cruel whip of game distribution. Stop killing poor defenseless trees just so 500 copies of your masterpiece can gather dust in a garage somewhere.




  1. This would be so funny if it wasn´t so sad.

  2. I think you have summed up the last 20 years of gaming hell rather well.

  3. Wow Jeff... Rant on!

    Seriously, though... I think you may be onto something here. The RPG market is taking a dive for a number of reasons, not the least of which is many FLGS's are starting to realize that RPGs are being greatly outsold buy both CCGs and Minis (clicky and pewter). Since it only makes sense to stock what will sell, a lot of small game stores are slowly condensing their RPG sections to a few proven properties (D&D, World of Darkness, etc.) to make room for (surprise) more cards and minis.

    So, small game publishers, Mr. Rients is right. If can't get your game into the big chain bookstores, then your only chance for survival is the PDF/Lulu market, as fewer and fewer small stores have the capital to take a chance on something that MIGHT sell. Heck, you might even have better financial luck throwing the text files up on a web site with a PayPal donate link.

    My two pesos...


  4. I owe Green Ronin, publishers of Blue Rose an apology. Apparently they hired a fufillment house to market the game to romantic fantasy fans and to get the game into bookstores. The fufillment house took the money and went out of business. Sorry for picking on you, Green Ronin.

  5. Anonymous3:09 PM

    Well, I certainly hope that all of those poor unfortunates out there who also smell like cat piss will join me in demanding that you cease defaming the effect of our odor on retail space.

    It is not our fault for failing to bathe for weeks on end while simultaneously... well, I guess failing to bathe for weeks on end is sufficient.

    As I was saying, it is not our fault, but rather the fault of a society which finds repulsive odors emerging from incomprehensible strangers to be somehow unacceptable. Fah on you, society!