Jump to content

Jonstown Compendium Products -- what would you like to buy?


Anthony_GLG

Recommended Posts

Hello Glorantha Fans,

My buddy and I run a small RPG company that uses crowdfunding to develop products. Recently we have a desire to stop the crowdfunding cycle of campaigning and book production and switch to pure in-house funding.

When discussing this, we found Jonstown Compendium, which interests us mightily as we've switched to playing RuneQuest in Glorantha at our home games. Taking a look at DriveThruRPG gives a good idea of what sells, but I thought I would get some direct answers:

What future Jonstown Compendium products are you looking for? What would you prefer to buy?

Thanks,

Anthony
Griffon Lore Games

  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

What an excellent question! Given what I do for Chaosium, I spend a fair amount of time analysing this sort of thing. With the vital caveat that it's not all about the sales, the worst-selling Jonstown Compendium products are:

  • Foreign-language titles;
  • Non-RuneQuest titles (only one QuestWorlds title has gone Electrum);
  • Exotic settings (outside Dragon Pass, Prax & the Lunar Empire);
  • Art packs, tokens and maps (inc. battle-maps and regional maps);
  • Expensive titles (none of our Gold best-sellers cost more than 15 cents per page in digital format; prices set by community content creators have ranged as high as 50 cents per page);
  • Combinations of the above (e.g. two of the four remaining QuestWorlds titles are set in the exotic mediaeval Malkioni West of Glorantha).

My own preference is for RuneQuest scenarios that a group of freebooting adventurers like Vasana & Co. (or indeed any rag-tag bunch of the Starter Set pregens) could play in, as I can use them with my own gaming group. Scenarios or campaign settings that require the adventurers to come from a specific clan, tribe or far-away nation aren't nearly as useful to me.

Chaosium's advice in the RQG Core Rules and GM Screen Pack Adventure Book is that the default homeland for adventurers should be Sartar, that within Sartar the default tribe is the Colymar tribe, and that any party of adventurers should ideally include an Orlanth and Ernalda worshipper, in order to make best use of the setting's mythological underpinnings. It's pretty clear that adventurers are expected to be or become Argrath loyalists as the Hero Wars progress. The further you deviate from those basics, the fewer groups will be able to use your material. I stick to them rigidly in my own works like The Duel at Dangerford and Black Spear.

Please note that I don't practice everything I preach. I'm delighted my stuff has been translated into French, German and Japanese (albeit those are my worst-selling titles), I've published a non-RuneQuest freeform and an exotic Malkioni artbook (also among my worst-selling titles), and Jon Webb's successful Sandheart series is for groups utterly unlike Vasana & Co. in location, time period and party composition (albeit they tap into a popular old-school setting from the RQ Classics and the nineties RQ Renaissance).

If you want to know what's popular, my Jonstown Compendium Catalogue details everything published in the first two years of community content: major releases are ordered by best-seller tier and then by the number of  ratings. It comes bundled with sales charts for every major release (older versions are in this thread). NB: sales of things I don't consider "major releases" are generally significantly lower: this includes most of the shorter/pricier works, and all of the artpacks/tokens/maps. While there are a few outliers -- Heortlings of Sartar and Trinkets from Dragon Pass did much better than other works from the Conrad and Quatrini stables -- the trend is, I think, clear.

Edited by Nick Brooke
  • Like 7
  • Helpful 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

6 hours ago, Nick Brooke said:

My own preference is for RuneQuest scenarios that a group of freebooting adventurers like Vasana & Co. (or indeed any rag-tag bunch of the Starter Set pregens) could play in, as I can use them with my own gaming group.

Agree with Nick's thoughts, particularly on RQG scenarios.

I'd also include works that detail a local setting.  The Cups of Clearwine and Dregs of Clearwine are good examples of these with characters that can be encountered and places for the adventurers to visit. 

  • Like 2
  • Helpful 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I agree with Nick's solid overview and analysis of what sells on the Jonstown Compendium. Nick diligently tracks and analyzes its sales data on a regular ongoing basis. The numbers are very clear.

In a larger sense though, all creators of material for our community content programs should focus on what they enjoy creating, first and foremost. While you can definitely earn some money producing content for the JC, I would caution anyone on setting up their JC publishing efforts with the expectation of earning a living or sustaining a business with the profits. I am not trying to be negative, just realistic. Most titles are only available in PDF format. While you can reasonably expect to sell X hundred of a quality product, once you do the math you will see that the 50% author cut can reasonably earn you many hundreds of dollars, but not many thousands. Yes, there are rare exceptions.

  • Like 5
  • Thanks 1

Hope that Helps,
Rick Meints - Chaosium, Inc.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Further to Rick’s wise advice, if you create and sell a scenario or a Gloranthan sourcebook of reasonable quality, that doesn’t fall into any of the traps I mentioned above (English language, written for RQG or systemless, not set somewhere exotic, not unreasonably priced), it would be rather weird if you didn’t sell 100 copies in the first few months. (Many caveats apply, but this is based on observed outcomes for dozens of titles over nearly 2.5 years)

The chart of Cumulative sales over time is particularly relevant.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Speaking as a consumer with no pretense to be a publisher, things I would buy right now include:

Heroquests and their underlying  legends, designed for followers of particular gods who don't currently have much material.  How about a  Chalana Arroy legend and heroquest, for example?  Argan Argar?  Gustbran? Even Waha? The trick would be to make the quest inclusive enough that it would work for a party of likely players.

Descriptions of particular places on the Sartar or Prax maps, with personalities and an adventure.  There are plenty of places like Three Emerald Temple or Horn Gate that only have a sentence or two of description in Canon  Chaosium print, yet are in places where they might easily work into a campaign.  I found myself fleshing out Horn Gate last month.  I didn't really write much but if someone had done that for me in a small inexpensive piece I might have bought it.

Now for you the problem with these is the question of how well they would sell.  I know both of the things I described will only appeal to GMs with a particular need.  But you can judge that some places on major roads will be convenient for a lot of campaigns.  

 

 

Edited by Squaredeal Sten
Spelling
  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

As a player and thus prospective buyer, I think my preferences are, in order:

1. Setting or "character" material- a detailed place or group of people or specific important person.

2. Adventures and scenarios- a detailed set of events. 

3. Pure fluff or artbooks.

4. Maps.

5. Packs of NPC statblocks and tokens.

Going by what exists on the Jonstown Compendium already, of course. But I don't run scenarios as written, really, so I'm plundering them for ideas. I am also one of those bizarre people who will buy things for unusual settings, and will buy Questworlds material, and so on, so I'm not a typical customer. 

As far as specific things I like, I like things that clearly have a lot of passion put into them, things that have their own take on Glorantha, and material that's at least somewhat lighthearted. All of those are more important to me than specific points on the map. 

  • Like 3
  • Thanks 1

Though a Lunar through and through, she is also a human being.

Eight Arms and the Mask

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Personally, I'd like to see more setting or character material.

I am a weird woman, and I want to see more things that focus on 'not heroing', or rather heroing, and cool stuff, that might not involve fighting.
Cycle of the year, the life of a clan, its trials and tribulations, but in the Tula and abroad, but not nessacerily the  active HEROWARS conflict. Not everyone can be Agrath or Jar-eel.

What is  Myrda - the Fordwife doing? (I literally just made that up, but I wanna know). What is she doing for her ,friends and neighbors, what about the clan's Tula and those strangers who have moved the next valley over, their ways are strange, but her daughter has taken a liking to one of them foreigner girls.

 

 What about those things? what about the animals in the care of the stead or, the local spirits? The clan has come apart , the wyter is gone, and someone needs to do SOMETHING!.

 

 Those are things that I wanna see, hearth- and-home...
 

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thank you, everyone, for your input. I can't reply to every message due to the forum settings for new members, but we appreciate all your thoughtful replies!

We like Glorantha quite a bit. Theoretically, while you can't build a business with employees and such on DriveThruRPG PDFs, we already have an existing publishing pipeline. Not that I wanted to drag you all into a sausage discussion, but the sausage looks something like this:

Example.jpg

The ratio of Electrum Jonstown Compendium Products is high (compared to, say, Pathfinder 1E). Griffon Lore Games is really four part-time people. Smush us together, and it's really a two-person show.

We're thinking about it. It wouldn't be all we would do, but it sounds fun. Unless people hate the product and don't buy it. Then that's no fun.

Best Regards,

Anthony
Griffon Lore Games

  • Helpful 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yes, best-seller medal frequencies on the Jonstown Compendium compare very favourably to other community content programmes I've looked at, and to DriveThruRPG's averages. Limiting myself to 74 major releases (as usual, see the Catalogue for details), we currently have (counts on fingers) 1 Platinum, 8 Gold,* 20 Electrum, 29 Silver, 14 Copper and just 2 w/o any best-seller medals (yet). That's almost 40% at Electrum or higher, if you publish a RuneQuest scenario or Gloranthan setting book.

The overall figure for all products on DriveThruRPG is 13%. (If you know it, I'd love to hear how Pathfinder compares). So I like our odds.

* nine soon, Gods willing: my Black Spear has just 15 sales to go...

  • Like 4
Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 4/21/2022 at 12:55 AM, Anthony_GLG said:

Example.jpg

I'm not sure that your math is correct. You will be making 50% of the sales price of a PDF as profit. That means a 100 page PDF that costs $10 retail will net you $5 in profit. Selling 700 copies means you would make $3500 profit, which basically equals your overhead, leaving you with no profit beyond covering costs. Thus, is your average price for a PDF the full retail price?

Hope that Helps,
Rick Meints - Chaosium, Inc.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 4/21/2022 at 5:55 AM, Anthony_GLG said:

We like Glorantha quite a bit. Theoretically, while you can't build a business with employees and such on DriveThruRPG PDFs, we already have an existing publishing pipeline. Not that I wanted to drag you all into a sausage discussion, but the sausage looks something like this:

I set my budgets at guaranteed Copper Sales (51 copies) and probably going to get Silver Sales (101) eventually. Anything more for me is a bonus.

However, I don't figure in payments to authors, as I normally either write my own material, or split the royalties 50/50 with other contributors.

 

Simon Phipp - Caldmore Chameleon - Wallowing in my elitism since 1982. Many Systems, One Family. Just a fanboy. 

www.soltakss.com/index.html

Jonstown Compendium author. Find my contributions here

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 4/20/2022 at 5:12 AM, Anthony_GLG said:

What future Jonstown Compendium products are you looking for? What would you prefer to buy?

Scenarios are the biggest thing for me, although I am embargoed from reading them.

I would buy writeups of areas or places, as general background material.

Prax is an area that I don't think gets a lot of material on the Jonstown Compendium.

But, I buy every Jonstown Compendium supplement, so I am not really representative.

  • Like 3

Simon Phipp - Caldmore Chameleon - Wallowing in my elitism since 1982. Many Systems, One Family. Just a fanboy. 

www.soltakss.com/index.html

Jonstown Compendium author. Find my contributions here

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, Rick Meints said:

I'm not sure that your math is correct. You will be making 50% of the sales price of a PDF as profit. That means a 100 page PDF that costs $10 retail will net you $5 in profit. Selling 700 copies means you would make $3500 profit, which basically equals your overhead, leaving you with no profit beyond covering costs. Thus, is your average price for a PDF the full retail price?

Hi Rick!

This is a break-even worksheet, not a profit and loss calculator, based on the average price of a PDF.

We're contemplating what we can do to put us in the upper range of the price-per-page. We bought Nick's book and studying his excellent analysis.

  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

×
×
  • Create New...