This question occurred to me the other day. When you buy a supplement or module, what are you actually buying?
I recently received a request to explain Raging Swan Press’s take on book covers. As a anyone with a passing knowledge of Raging Swan Press will know our covers are somewhat different to the norm. Why?
Several years ago, in my Borderland of Adventure campaign, our band of heroes explored a fragment of the upper level of The Forge of Fury. Sadly, their exploration was cut short when their foray alerted a tribe of orcs in the upper level. In the ensuing battle, the party were forced to flee—and only escaped because of the heroic sacrifice of one of their number.
There’s a subtle difference between module presentation and module design. As a freelancer, I spend a lot of time obsessing over module design. As a publisher, I spend just as much time obsessing over the layout and presentation of the module.
I have an advantage over many other publishers; I have a superpower.
In March, Raging Swan Press started a Patreon campaign. The campaign has been wildly successful and I’m delighted with its progress.
Our patrons’ support has transformed how Raging Swan Press pays its freelance designers. I’m very proud of our enhanced pay rates. I love paying our freelancers a decent wage (and I suspect they also love getting it as well).
However, I’ve also noticed the Patreon campaign has had a couple of unexpected (positive) side effects for me.
Our freelancers are much keener to work with us. This is great as it means I have to spend less time chasing designers, begging them to fit us into their schedule and so on . Often when a freelancer finishes a job, they ask for another one. This is epic as it saves me time, hassle and stress.
For example, at time of writing (early November 2015) I have scheduled and contracted every Raging Swan Press product through to the end of April 2016. Previously, I was probably working—if I was lucky—three months ahead.
The turnovers I’m receiving are getting better and better. The text is tighter, more focused and they require less editing than before (in the main). This is great as it saves me time and increases the quality of our finished products.
I’m writing more. I suspect this is because I have more time. At the start of the year, I was struggling to spend any meaningful time writing. That sucked as the joy of creation was why I founded Raging Swan Press in the first place.
However, this year I’ve written:
- Ongoing: Over 50 pages of “20 Things” articles, all of which are available for free on Raging Swan’s Free Resources page.
- March: GM Screen Inserts
- August: Village Backdrop: Coldwater
- October: Village Backdrop: Wellswood
- November: Places of Power: Valley of the Rocks
- In the Works for 2016: Shunned Valley of the Three Tombs (a short starter adventure for beginning characters) and Sinister Secrets of Coldwater (a Collector’s Edition of Fane of the Undying Sleeper comprising an entire extra dungeon).
I don’t think it’s a coincidence that most of these products released after our Patreon campaign started. In any event, my output is a huge improvement on last year. Looking ahead it seems next year will be even better. I can’t wait as I’m mad keen to get back to Gloamhold and the Duchy of Ashlar!
I’d be delighted if you wanted to learn more about Raging Swan’s Patreon campaign (and perhaps join up). Doing so means you get our books before they go on general release and you get them cheaper than normal as well! In return, your support enables us to pay our freelancers better than ever before.
And if you are a publisher, I highly recommend you set up your own Patreon–and if you do, leave a note below so I can come and check it out!
For my Shattered Star campaign, I’ve just spent a rather frustrating couple of hours preparing the next module.
I’m pretty sure you know what a postmortem is and why they are carried out. Normally only carried out when something has gone wrong—perhaps someone dies unexpectedly, a project fails spectacularly or some device or another has a perceived design flaw. Post-mortems are reactive in nature; we only do them when something has already gone wrong.