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Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Rant Time! The Red Aegis Kickstarter Wants YOU to Pay Them $250 to Be Published



It's been a long fucking while since I had a good rant on this blog. I need to thank +Harley Stroh for bringing this to my attention (Harley had a damn good rant on the G+ side).

Do you have $250 burning a hole in your pocket? Do you want to give it to someone so you can have the privilege of writing a piece of a product that will be sold for profit (and you will see none of that profit)?

You do? Well, I have a Kickstarter for you and the dumb fucks like you. It's the Red Aegis Kickstarter, and their looking for schmucks.

Let them tell you in their own words (The Grumpy Dwarf will add comments / translate for the intellectually challenged / insult those that need insulting where required):
Want to be a Game Designer? (Game DESIGNER? Woot! Fuck yeah! I want to design games, not just write articles. I want the "big money" boyo!)
At the start of this Kickstarter we said “Join us in designing a tabletop roleplaying experience that you've never seen before!” and we meant it! (Awesome! How much you gonna pay me?)
We’re sincere in our desire to solicit feedback from the roleplaying community during every stage of the design. But contributing to online polls and filling out beta surveys only goes so far. For a few of you, that sort of impersonal feedback is not enough. (Damn straight skippy!)
You want to be more directly in contact with the designers and help shape the mechanics or lore of the game. (That's more of the "designer" shit you mentioned up above - sounds cool to me!)
The fact is, getting freelance writing assignments in the tabletop industry is not easy (they're not? coulda fooled me. I've had one article and three small products published and I'm putting together a zine. If The Grumpy Dwarf can do it, anyone can). It’s often just as much about being noticed by the right people as it is having mastery of a particular system (well, and actually writing something and submitting it helps) . And even if you are one of the lucky few to get a contract, your first assignments are typically limited to online articles paying a few cents a word (yeah, the market is tough. many zines don't pay for publishing rights - even mine only pays in "beer money").
Vorpal Games has secured many talented and well known individuals to make the RED AEGIS RPG a reality. However, we also have a genuine desire to find talented unknowns in the industry and give them a shot. If that individual is you, you may consider pledging at the Associate Game Designer level. (uhm, how do they know if I'm qualified? Oh, by paying $250 I've apparently got talent - the talent to be taken advantage of! who the fuck needs to pay $250 to get published? someone with no fucking talent. Again, if you have talent you WILL get published. You just need to write and submit or self publish. It won't make you rich - but then again, neither will handing over $250 to someone for the privilege to be taken advantage of) 
Backers at the Associate Game Designer level will be given a small section of the Corebook to design (how small is small? how much does $250 buy?). Other RPG Kickstarters may allow you a token task like naming an NPC, or a city, or some such, but this opportunity is much grander than that (sure, they get a hack to pay them to write a portion of the RPG - that's awesome for the customers that are hoping for a quality RPG). Who knows, if you complete your assignment as tasked and on deadline, you may even find additional, paying contracts in your future ("Hi, I'm the schmuck that paid a publisher $250 to get a writing credit". Fuck you! Pay Me!) 
Back us at the Associate Game Designer level, use this as an opportunity to boost your visibility in the industry (sure - "Hey, I'm that shmuck again! Look, thats me! It only cost me $250 and any sort of pride in my own self worth, but I'm published! see, I got cred! WotC, here I come - I want to design the Next NEXT, with furries!) and see your name credited in the deluxe Corebook as a game designer. Limited to 50 slots only.
edit: Matt James, one of the folks behind this Kickstarter, added the following in the comments to this post in an effort to explain much of the above:
We added the following to show that it's more of a full-blown mentorship. We used a poor choice of words.  
"The extra cost associated with this reward level is really for the one-on-one mentoring the backer will have with an established game designer, who will offer advice, critique design work, and so on. There should be no pressure for a backer to turn over a perfect design. Our fantastic editors are here to make every designer’s work shine!"

61 comments:

  1. If they find 50 people stupid enough to pay them I bet they will find room for another 50 takers.

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  2. They sort of paint this as excellent resume fodder, but it will be abso-frigging-lutely useless for that purpose once word of this gets out.

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  3. Tell you what, when I (finally) get the Dangerous Journeys SRD done you can use it to design RPGs and accessories for free.

    Well, DJ or DJ based RPGs.

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    1. A DJ SRD? That would be amazing.

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    2. Although I'm pretty sure "Making a complete online reference for free" without permission from the property holders falls under copyright infringement.

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  4. I do like their optimism at having 50 slots open for this reward level. At that rate, the book not only writes itself, it pays for itself too!

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  5. And I thought that I had "gone around the bend!"

    I mean, do we really have 50 "suckers" in our Community? :O

    Guide us with your Holy Light, O' Pelor! ROFL

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  6. Hey guys, I'm one of the owners of the game being talked about. I'd like to offer my side if the ears are still willing. But first, I wholly apologize for the immense insult that was taken by our Kickstarter as indicated this blog. I never intend to cause such vehement feelings in anyone, let alone when related to a game or it's Kickstaeter. I realize I'm likely to get chewed up and spat out, but I'd like to at least open a dialogue. If the blog owner doesn't see value in it, I won't pretend to waste anyone's time. My thanks in advance for the consideration.

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    1. Matt,

      Always open for discussion. Post away.

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    2. We added the following to show that it's more of a full-blown mentorship. We used a poor choice of words.

      "The extra cost associated with this reward level is really for the one-on-one mentoring the backer will have with an established game designer, who will offer advice, critique design work, and so on. There should be no pressure for a backer to turn over a perfect design. Our fantastic editors are here to make every designer’s work shine!"

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    3. Gary Gygax to New Infinities: You pay me.

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  7. Crap, I gave them $500. They said I was special.

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    1. You are special, Tim. Very special. *pats hand*

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  8. This reminds you of those "Who's Who" books that you could pay to be a part of. They were pretty much a directory of the other schmucks who paid to be in the book.

    There's another book that people pay to be a part of: the Yellow Pages (sm). And just as relevant.

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  9. Matt,

    It still begs the question about Royalties.

    A person is supposed to "give" you $250.00 AND sign over their I.P.? Suppose a person submitted some "excellent" work to your project? The next thing you know, your company has made "thousands" off of it and the only thing the person who came up with the concept gets is the "privilege" of paying your company $250.00?

    Sorry, but having you and your "editor" on my Resume' doesn't interest me that much.

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    1. Mystic Scholar, thanks for the question as I can see where you're coming from. To clarify and answer, the RPG industry does not pay royalties to game designers, and no designer ever keeps the rights to the IP. Flat fees are offered for services rendered. As it relates to our backer level, we poorly crafted the description and have since updated it. If funded, you're getting every piece of content up to that level --and-- getting the opportunity to be mentored by industry designers and developers as you create content. It's certainly not about getting free work, as some have suggested. Thanks again for bringing the conversation.

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    2. That's odd, because in every case I know of, where a designer/writer who has a publisher publish their work, they do in fact get royalties! I can name several, though you don't have to look far to find names. I can think of no example of the many writers I know personally who receive a flat fee. They are all either employed by the company or get a share of the profits.

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    3. Sorry C, but the big companies like Wizards of the Coast, Paizo, and others, don't pay game designer's royalties. Authors? yes, but not designers. Full disclosure, I have worked with Matt in the past and still do design work. I think the premise of this blog was to generate hits (success). VG is not trying to rip anyone off. The benefit of getting vetted members of the industry to mentor you is worth it's weight in gold for anyone looking to do so. It's also optional, which makes this fake nerd rage all the more hilarious.

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    4. It is this reply that convinces me this kickstarter is a fraud.

      Jason Bulmahn is the lead designer for Pathfinder. He is an employee of the company. That is an explicit example of a designer who is employed by his company, receiving a salary and benefits.

      Michael Curtis surely receives royalties from Goodman Games. Zak Sabbath has spoken of the royalties he's made working for Raggi. They are capital D designers who are getting royalties for their work.

      What you would like people to believe is that there is some sort of benefit to this 'industry mentoring', But none of the people I named, nor any of the designers at Pathfinder or WotC ever paid anyone to be mentored. Hell, I didn't pay anyone to mentor me, and I've got an RPG book being published soon (and have self-published my own to no small success!)

      I would say that asking the amount you are asking so that someone can produce material for you that you sell for a profit, is exploitive. These responses are indicating to me that any small vanishing doubt I had that this is not the case is vanishing for good reason.

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    5. @Fo Mo - the "Associate Designer" tag isn't worth it's weight in anything - the industry will know that those that have it paid for it via this Kickstarter.

      The mentorship may have value - YMMV

      This blog does a shitload of Kickstarter posts that are RPG related - the good, the bad and the ugly. This "benefit" as originally presented was fairly bad and ugly. You disagree. That's fine. That's the whole point of discussions.

      This "mentoring" isnt related to Johnn Four's mentoring course, is it? http://www.tenkarstavern.com/2013/07/oh-my-fn-god-they-are-now-offering-bs.html

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    6. Thanks for the discussion all. If you see value in the project, I hope you contribute. I appreciate you allowing me to come here to offer my side. Disagreeing != bad. It helps strengthen topics. Take care and happy gaming. Again, sorry we caused such anger in the author's original post.

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    7. Jason and I are both designers at Paizo, and I was a developer for Wizards of the Coast before that. I have done work or will be doing work for Kobold Press, Green Ronin, and Vesper-On Games. Whether salary or freelance, I have never received royalties for my work. It is just not the norm in the industry, and when royalties are granted, it is usually at the cost of a lower per-word rate upon turnover. At the same time, I have both mentored and been mentored while I worked with and for people in the game industry. I can tell you any amount of mentoring was valuable, and even some jobs I did at a lower than reasonable rate, the mentoring made it worth it.

      This may not be an award level you are interested in or that you see as valuable, but that doesn't mean it is not interesting and valuable for others. I will point out that some people have already signed up on this level. I expect to be doing a great deal of work late into the midnight hours for this project well after my workday at Paizo is done. I'm getting a flat word rate for my work on this Kickstarter, and any mentoring I will likely be doing gratis. Why? Because as a game design educator I do believe that this is a great way for someone who is new and enthusiastic to see the game design process behind the scenes, to have first-person contact with someone who knows the ropes and can help them improve their craft. And speaking for myself only, I have a number of students who would vouch for my skill and ability for providing supportive and no-nonsense mentoring.

      I know most people on the team, and respect them all, and I'm sure whoever signs up for this level of support will feel like they got back every penny they put in and more. It's a great team and a great project.

      To sum up, you may think it is not worth it. I respect your opinion to think this and state it on the internet. I reject the idea that this level of support for the project is a way for us to get fantastically cheap design. To me, that idea shows a certain degree of naiveté about the art of game design and the process of creating RPGs as well as a lack of understanding about how Matt and Brian James operate.

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    8. I think Matt explained it better with the follow up than the original write up on the Kickstarter. It wasn't shown as a mentoring program initially and I suspect spelling that part out can only help.

      The potential problem with this mentoring "option" or program is that not everyone coming into it and putting their dollars down has the ability / talent / whatever to actually be published. That being said, a good editor is worth their weight in gold. For those that do have the talent, there is the opportunity to make connections with others on this project. So, very much YMMV, but less so I the person thinking about it really gives an honest look at their own abilities going in.

      The royalties vs pay per word disconnect has it's roots in RPGNow. Many of the readers of this blog are small press publishers or freelancers for small press, and if they are selling via RPGNow, royalties is the way it is nearly always done, as there is little money to pay freelancers up front.

      Obviously if you work for / freelance for the larger publishers, the ability to get paid for your work as a lump some is one heck of a bennie :)

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    9. If you are a writer, designer, or editor then the money should flow towards you. You should not have to pay agents, editors, or publishers for your work.

      The writer is giving them money, instead of the other way around. I see a lot of wiggle talk, but there is no way around the fact that the writer gives money to the publisher, and that is and always has been a scam.

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    10. With all due respect, you are wrong. Writers do pay agents and editors. They often spend a great deal of money just to get a publisher to look at their work (sometimes this cost is paid in copious amounts of alcohol). Writers will often pay for writing workshops, retreats, friendly dinners, and professional critiques. This is an opportunity for prospective writers to participate and learn. And it is completely voluntary. Trust me, if someone who funds on this level blows us away, she'll get a contract. I suspect many people who fund at this level have dreams of being a professional RPG designer and want the experience. This is no scam.

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    11. I can actually speak on this, as my sister sold her first novel this spring (it will be published spring of 2014) - woot!

      Her agent gets 15% of her advance and any royalties that go beyond the advance. Editing is being supplied by her publisher (prior to this, earlier editing was done by my mother and myself)

      She's done the workshops, retreats and friendly critiques from old professors and the like.

      Her first published work was like 20 years ago in the damn poetry scam book - thankfully she learned afterwards.

      So yes, writers do pay others in some circumstances. This Kickstarter is not a writing workshop - it doesn't matter whether the person has talent, skill or none of the previous - their work will be published in this RPG. Sure, an excellent editor can make chocolate cake from poop, but on their own, the poop maker will still make poop.

      There are some prospective game writers that will have what it takes to use the knowledge and mentoring they receive to move on to the next level - getting paid for their work. There will also be some poop makers that will have their credit right next to them, edited to (hopefully) appear as chocolate cake.

      Do you really want that poop, no matter how nicely edited, in the final book? No one at this support level is getting published on their merit - they are getting published because they paid to be published, nothing more.

      I think that is the pushback on this - it's not the mentoring, it's the idea that no matter the quality and talent or lack there off, their work will be published.

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    12. No, we don't want poop. Hence the mentoring. Followed by development, feedback, and editing.

      The goal here is interaction with those who contribute at this level. I've gotten to name NPCs and taverns in the Kickstarters I have contributed to. Are they poopy names? Someone might think so. They may even get changed a little bit to make them poopy. I paid to have something of mine in a book. The only difference here is that we want these folks to design something with more moving parts and we are willing to teach and give feedback about those moving parts. Yes, those backers are paying for an experience, and we are willing and ready to deliver, and makes sure the final product is poop free.

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    13. Since we are talking about facts, My mother's career is writer. She's published over 20 books. She has never had to pay a publisher or an agent out of pocket.

      Writer's seminars and workshops? Are you counting payment towards all education like "college" as paying out of pocket?

      We are talking about publishing. I have a publisher. They are not charging me for editing, art, or publishing the book. That is because money flows towards the writer.

      They are taking money to publish. . whatever. That isn't publishing. That isn't self-publishing with POD. That's vanity press, and the message communicated to all writers who earn a living off of their work is to not pay to have your work published. It's a job, not something you pay to do.

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    14. "I think that is the pushback on this - it's not the mentoring, it's the idea that no matter the quality and talent or lack there off, their work will be published."

      To be clear, I object to the so-called "mentoring" as well. It seems to me that the key advice these "vetted", "established" members of the RPG industry have to offer is "beg for money online". That's what they're doing, right?

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    15. @TheShadowKnows - there are legitimate mentoring programs in different fields, including writing. I'll take them at their word that what they are offering is a "mentoring program".

      Promising to publish the results of all those mentores in the final version of the RPG speaks of "Vanity Press" like many others have mentioned and argued. Paying to get your work published is vanity press.

      So, either it's a mentoring program with the added benefit of being a vanity press, or its a vanity press throwing in the bone of mentoring. It's the Vanity Press that leaves the sour taste in my mouth, especially if all 50 available slots are sold (raising $12,500 for the Kickstarter). That's a lot of vanity.

      In any case, in response to the individual who claims this post was "just to drive traffic", I think it drove conversation and prodded a change to the wording of the Kickstarter in question.

      The only things I deleted from this thread were the leftover's from when a commenter deleted a comment to replace it with an immediate update.

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    16. "There are legitimate mentoring programs in different fields, including writing."

      I agree 100%, but how many of those mentor programs involve a "mentor" who is simultaneously begging for money to get his own work published? I actually find this part more offensive than the obvious vanity press aspect, because in my opinion it takes a real brass pair to offer to "mentor" others while wandering around with your hat in your hand. It's almost like adding insult to injury.

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    17. Many mentoring problems and writers workshop charge fees. Some range in the thousands of dollars. We are not begging for money. We are looking for backers and providing different reward levels. If those reward levels interest you, back the Kickstarter at that level, if they do not, there are many levels to choose from. If you don't want to support the project, than simply do not back it.

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    18. "Many mentoring problems and writers workshop charge fees. Some range in the thousands of dollars."

      But if I ACT NOW, the SAME mentoring can be mine for the LOW LOW PRICE of only $250, right? You guys sound like carnival barkers even when you're defending this thing. We're talking about a PUBLICATION, not a program or a workshop. I would honestly like to believe you stumbled on this vanity publishing concept accidentally and just didn't think it through. But all of these attempts to confuse the issue with doubletalk are an ominous sign. I might also add that the original infomercial-style pitch that Tenkar quoted said NOTHING about mentoring. Adding the whole concept as an afterthought could perhaps be seen as less than convincing.

      "We are not begging for money. We are looking for backers and providing different reward levels."

      Potayto, potahto. You have your hands out asking strangers for cash. That's fine, but maybe you should get your own company on a sound basis before you offer to "mentor" others - particularly for a fee.

      "If those reward levels interest you, back the Kickstarter at that level, if they do not, there are many levels to choose from. If you don't want to support the project, than simply do not back it."

      Thank you for offering me a choice of supporting your project or shutting up. I believe I will choose option c: exercising my First Amendment right to criticize a project which (in my opinion) potentially casts all of Kickstarter into disrepute by injected the widely reviled and unsavory practice of vanity publishing.

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    19. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    20. Okay. I will also point out that this is not my company. I am working for Vorpal Games on contract. The company I work for is Paizo.

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  10. Wouldn't the value be having your name as Class Designer or Race Designer in the front page credits of the book?

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  11. I don't know. They are a 1/3 of the way to their goals with 37 days left. They have already sold 4 of the $250 levels.

    Maybe we are the dumb ones for not thinking of this one ourselves.

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  12. I'd first like to point out I am not affiliated with Matt or his company. But a few points that I think would make this discussion a bit more fair.

    First, you may have forgot Kickstarter is a donation site, not a purchasing site. When you DONATE money to a project you are not guaranteed any sort of a kick back or reward. Also as its a donation website I would be willing to bet its against they polices to allow someone to offer any sort of a monetary reward for donating. On top of the fact that it kind of defeats the idea of you donating.

    Its like donating a short story to an anthology. You aren't getting proceeds from that book, its just out there.

    Speaking of authors I'd like to point out for then more so than most that time is money. So while $250 may seem high I don't know what a game designer or author makes an hour so its hard for me to say. But I imagine if Ed Greenwood is having to proof my work and skype with me to brainstorm that's going to take a lot of his time that he uses to write. So the cost may be logical.

    The entire point is that this is a donation. If you feel its too high don't donate that much. I think its a great idea to get mentored by some of these guys I think 250 is too rich for my blood. But that's me. Also no one will ever know if you, paid to be in the book, as you put it.

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    1. That's bullshit. Kickstarters are seen as a pre-order system with special goodies being offered. This donation crap is something that is pulled out when you get con men or idiots who either take the money and run or just take the money and spend and end up with nothing to send to their backers.

      Now what is being advertised is a big carrot for people who want a vanity publication credit and what brings this kickstarter into disrepute is calling these people Associate Game Designers and holding out the possibility of a paying gig down the road. If this was about mentoring they should just say mentoring. These Associate Game Designers are going to find that paying for a mention in a book isn't going to help them get hired by anyone.

      This kickstarter smells bad.

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    2. We don't see it as a donation either, Jason. Anyone pledging at this level is going to be mentored and allowed to design some content for the final publication. That's why we're calling it an Associate. They, as well, get all backer rewards from lower levels. The net is +$100. I'm not sure how much clearer it needs to be. We're not conning anyone out of anything, and have been completely upfront about it--to the extent of clarifying any discrepancy with the original text. If we're still missing something, let me know, and I'll do what I can to correct it.

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    3. Seen as that or not it is what it is. And as Matt has said he's not treating it that way. My point is that as a donation site they may not allow people to offer money back as a reward.

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    4. Calling a vanity press project "mentoring" is just a smokescreen - like calling a pyramid scheme "multilevel marketing". Legitimate projects either pay contributors or solicit volunteers. If YOU have to pay to be published, you're dealing with a vanity press.

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    5. You're posting all over repeating yourself. Did you not read any of the responses?

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    6. "You're posting all over repeating yourself. Did you not read any of the responses?"

      And you are posting all over in response to me, which begs the time-honored question: who is the bigger fool, the fool or the fool who follows him?

      I read the excuses, if that's what you're asking. So what? Don't you think Bernie Madoff had plenty of excuses for his "clients"? Now, to be clear: running a vanity press is NOT in any way a criminal fraud. It's a perfectly legal way to separate gullible and desperate people from their money. But it's certainly nothing to brag about, so I'm not surprised someone who is (in effect) offering a vanity press project would make excuses about it. That doesn't oblige me to take them seriously.

      I am a little disheartened to see gamers who are (purportedly) unconnected with the project also making excuses for it. Kickstarter has enough problems with projects that are late or dubious in other ways. Adding sleazy P.T. Barnum pitches and vanity press projects could be the straw that breaks the camel's back and puts Kickstarter out of business. Then a lot of truly worthy projects won't have any way to get funded, which would be a much greater tragedy than some gamers paying a few bucks to appear in a vanity RPG project.

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  13. I understand the reservations of the Grumpy Dwarf and the rest of the gang here, but kudos to Matt James for offering rebuttals/clarifications with civility and open-mindedness. That's a rarity when it comes to internet communication, as we all should know so very well. In his defense, it speaks to the potential validity of the project and lends creedence to the possibility that he's not trying to pull a fast one on folks.

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  14. I'll add to this post as well. I think snark flared a lot. To give some credit where it is due the people behind Red Aegis did change the wording mostly taking away the carrot of breaking into the industry (they still have one line about possibly getting a paid gig but it seems to be implied that it would be from them if it was good enough).

    So hopefully that tamps some of the anger. I think the only other thing they could really do is contact the people that did contribute $250 and make sure they are aware of the changes to the wording and expectations (perhaps they even did it) and if that is the case people who have already pitched into the KS project can decide to cancel the pledge before the timer runs out.

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    1. The change is certainly a positive one. If so, the snark did some good.

      This topic was flaring already on G+ before it was brought to my (and Grump's) attention.

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  15. Not sure about the kickstarter but "work for hire" is nothing new in publishing one can most certainly write, design, draw and so on and be paid for the work done at the time and never see another penny.

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    1. THEY aren't paying YOU at all. YOU are paying THEM for the "privilege" of being published. That's the definition of a vanity press.

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    2. I was restricting my earlir comment to those that believe getting royalties is standard in publishing.
      As for the buying mentoring to get your name in the book it sure looks like vanity press to me as well.

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  16. I've been published more than most and less than some. I was asked to do some writing for Red Aegis if it gets off the ground and said I was happy to do it for free - well actually I told Brian James to buy me a beer at the next GenCon I make it to, and we were square. They wouldn't have it. If it was all about taking advantage of the suckers I'm sure I would have been fair game. There is integrity in this project and the people behind it. My experience is testament to that.

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    1. There's a big difference between working for free, and PAYING for the privilege of being published.

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    2. I'm sure it does look like that from the cheap seats.

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    3. "I'm sure it does look like that from the cheap seats."

      I'm not surprised to read this reply. In my experience, arrogance and a desire to "fleece the suckers" go hand in hand.

      Your experience has nothing to do with the subject at hand. You offered to work for FREE; you weren't invited to PAY for the "privilege" of appearing in this work. That's what makes it a vanity press project. I also might add that "testimonials" from "customers" are another warning sign of hucksterism and a sleazy operation.

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    4. In my experience the anonymity of the Internet and a healthy dose of holier than thou self righteousness also go hand in hand. Thanks for saving the RPG world from the shysters. And yes, that was the lowest form if wit. This exchange deserves no more.

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    5. I'm pretty sure a statement has to contain at least a trace of something to qualify as even the lowest form of it, but I guess that's a philosophical question. I'm more of a meat-and-potatoes kind of guy.

      Speaking of which, you still haven't addressed the main issue. You offered to work for FREE. That's not the same as asking people to PAY to be published (i.e., vanity publishing). Your experience isn't a testament to anything relevant to this topic.

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  17. I really don't see how the "clarification" is any improvement. "You can pay $250 for opinions of your work." We all know what opinions are like (hint: it starts with "a" and ends with "ssholes") and I don't know how a whole bunch of what opinions are like is worth two hundred and fifty bucks.

    This whole thing reeks of vanity press.

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    1. No one has to do anything. You're grasping at straws. SRM summed it up perfectly, as did Matt. Did you just choose to ignore that reply?

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    2. "No one has to do anything."

      So what? Most victims of fraud and unethical practices aren't FORCED to participate; if you're FORCED to participate, it's called "armed robbery". That doesn't make the perpetrators of fraud any less culpable. To again be clear, this project is in no way a criminal fraud; it's a perfectly legal way to take advantage of people. That doesn't make it any less unsavory.

      "SRM summed it up perfectly, as did Matt. Did you just choose to ignore that reply?"

      I read their excuses, for what they're worth. They did nothing to change the fact that this is a vanity press style appeal. Furthermore, they added a layer of "but you get our valuable ADVICE!" obnoxiousness to the situation. Charging people for "self help" advice is another typically sleazy racket, so I actually think we may have a twofer here.

      If the people behind this project (which for all I know may be a perfectly good one on its own merits) really want to prevent this kind of criticism, they should rethink business practices that are generally considered disreputable and focus on delivering a good product for money. That's what ethical people who unintentionally veer into ethically gray territory usually do. Employing euphemisms like "mentoring" and doubling down is an entirely different method of handling the situation. I'll be interested in seeing what the people behind this project ultimately do.

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  18. okay. i didn't read all the posts. and i'm not going to. i'm going to do my best to address the article.

    first. your rant shows a lack of understanding of the gaming industry. you are trying to apply real world business sense to a hobby notorious for f**king over it's fans.

    so...

    yes. in a vacuum. $250 to get published is a lot of money.

    but let's look at the inverse situation. you write something for me for free. and i spend a day fixing that text. that's a day i'm not spending working on anything else. just fixing your text. i don't know how much money you make, but i know the margins on KS. and there is no way they are keeping all of that $250. they are lucky to keep $100 of it, based on that reward.

    so. i just lost a day's work fixing crappy text and i'm out a day's work. so. if you are a complete nobody with no background in the hobby, me charging you a $100 to fix your text isn't obnoxious.

    in addition, it's important to note that no one in this hobby makes money off of one chapter of a book. that make money off the value of the brand, a value that exists because you market and support your product as well as produce quality work.

    ideas are free. implementing those ideas costs money. i've charged people money to have their character appear in a book of mine, and in the end their character either added zero value or reduced the value of my book until i went in and did two hours of writing and edits. end result, i spent two hours on your idea and instead of on my idea.

    claiming they are going to be "game designers" is odious. i agree. charging someone to get their ideas into a book is actually how it should work. if your idea was worth more than $250, you would have published it already.

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