Excited to see what you've got cooking! For what it's worth, I've had good success making on-demand, good-quality print editions from Game Crafter, although I don't know if I'd recommend them as a storefront. They're generally for indie boardgame prototype production https://www.thegamecrafter.com/
On January 1st, 2022, I tweeted this twit:
This proved to be somewhat ambitious. So let’s talk about what happened in 2022 and what’s happening now!
What is His Majesty the Worm?
First, a little context.
His Majesty the Worm is a new-school game with old-school sensibilities: the classic megadungeon experience given fresh life through a focus on the mundanities and small moments of daily life inside the dungeon.
- Often-ignored subsystems, like food, hunger, light, and inventory management, are central to play and actually fun.
- The game has robust procedures. Characters adventure in the Underworld, rest in role-playing driven camping scenes, and plan long-term actions in the City at the center of the Wide World.
- The relationships between companions, called Bonds, powers the rest and recovery mechanic of the game. Role-playing literally drives the game forward.
- Tarot cards are used as a randomizing element. Combat encounters are handled with an action-packed subsystem that ensures that all players have interesting choices every minute of combat: no downtime!
Here’s how the book pitches itself.
What is the state of affairs?
In 2016, I started writing His Majesty the Worm. In 2017, the game was far enough along I could run weekly playtests. This weekly game is still going. (I should do a retrospective of running a five-year long megadungeon campaign at some point.)
In 2021, I began putting the game’s appendices into a basic layout with some public domain art. I hosted these as pay-what-you-want titles on my Itch. Over the course of the year, this generated enough revenue that I commissioned all of the art I planned for the game.
At the beginning of 2022, I had finished the game’s text. The word count was a whopping 123,881.
I scoped a quarter for an editor to edit the text, a quarter for me to implement edits, a quarter for a graphic designer to provide layout templates, and a quarter for me to implement the layout.
This timeline was mostly successful! In 2022, I edited the entire book and finalized the layout of the core text. (I have not yet finished the layout of the appendices, roughly ~100 additional pages.)
(All the stuff in the core book. Boy, page 111 has a lot of content.)
I, uh, kind of forgot about everything that comes after that.
I have never published a physical book before and there’s a lot of stuff here that I’m working on. I’ve spent my whole life thinking about RPGs and kept myself perfectly ignorant of the industry of publishing.
- The cost of physical books is incredibly high right now. What format should the book be in? How can I make it as cheap as possible so that people aren’t priced out? How can I make it as nice as possible so the game is a treasure to own?
- I’ve thus far avoided the hectic stress of crowdfunding. I wish I could avoid it altogether. How long can I put this off?
- What mechanisms will people use to buy the book? How can you trade me dollars and have this book shipped to you? Do I set up a webstore? (I don’t know how to do that.) Do I use another interface?
- Once people have bought the book, who packages it and ships it? How much does this cost? How do you keep shipping costs low? How do I keep packaging costs low for this non-standard size I chose for the book? How do you accommodate for international shipping? How are taxes paid on imported media?
So…when can I buy it?
Not yet. Soon.
Despite some unanswered questions, after six years of development the game has never been closer to being fully realized. I am so excited to share it with you.
If you want to check it out, I hope you will:
- Join my mailing list. I will only email you to give you updates about the game and let you know when it’s ready.
- Check out the appendices. I think each appendix has content that’s applicable to any dungeon-based game you’re playing. Every $5 thrown towards the game helps speed its development along. Plus, when they’re ready, I’ll upload the finalized, full-art version of the appendix on Itch as a free upgrade.
I’ll be talking a lot about the game here, doing a deep dive into the rules, to help you figure out if this is a game that you want to try out. Stay tuned.
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You can self publish through DriveThruRPG and Amazon, they take care of printing and shipping for a piece of the action.
Cheers! I haven’t yet had the opportunity to explore Amazon’s POD quality, but am hoping for something a little fancier than DTRPG.
You can consider Lulu, but DriveThru has a large user base, multiple print options and can do cardstock components (which Amazon cant do).
No reason why you can't release on multiple platforms and see which one does best for you.
For the webstore part, there's Big Cartel ( https://www.bigcartel.com/ ) which is a bit like bandcamp and itch io, but for selling physical stuffs.
You still have to ship the things yourself, which must still be a logistical pain, but at least it takes care of the selling online part easely.
(it's free if you don't have a lot of products to sale, and they don't take a cut from your sales. ( https://blog.bigcartel.com/big-cartel-or-etsy
Good luck !
Woooooo! So excited for this game! So much cool stuff in the appendices that you’ve published so far.