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Friday, March 25, 2016

The Future of Old School Quarterly - The Future is Now

Regular readers of The Tavern shouldn't be surprised I've been closely following the progress of Old School Quarterly. It's a project that is close to my heart as I'm supposed to supply +Jason Paul McCartan with a series of Kickstarter related articles. Alas, my work schedule was preventing such from bearing fruit and Jason had a series of events on his side that slowed progress on OSQ but now the planets have aligned, signs and portents have been interpreted and the wind is blowing from the proper direction. 

What I'm saying is, OSQ is a "thing".

Fuck it, let me just quote Jason - and go to the Original Post at OldSchoolQuarterly to get the pretty post will all the snazzy links and pics.

So, it’s about time that we updated everyone on what’s happening with OSQ, because we’ve been far too silent on the subject (mostly because we’ve been getting everything all sorted out and making it right – this takes time).

Over the past year there’s been some illness and a bunch of other things going on, including InfiniBadger Press, the publisher of OSQ evolving into the next phase of its growth. We also dropped the ball on the original release plans for OSQ due to scheduling issues and a number of other things. Mea culpa.

The time wasn’t right for OSQ to really be developed and released.

The time is right now, though.

So, what’s changed?

Well, for starters, there really is no other ongoing magazine publication catering to the old school gaming community any more, as Gygax Magazine ceased publishing back in January. This leaves an opportunity to step up and take its place and fill the gap. There’s a huge zine movement for other games, but there’s no real magazine-style publication that caters to multiple games at the same time available right now. There have been plenty of other publications that have also ceased publishing or reduced publishing over the past few years.

Secondly, our short term and long term business operations and objectives are now established and aligned. Most small businesses survive their first two years of business and about half make it to the five year mark, but a lot of that depends on the individual industry. InfiniBadger Press has been operational for about two years now and has been mildly successful. It’s now time to develop and grow the business, and a multi-year roadmap has been put together to develop a number of unique properties, including this magazine. The waters have been tested, and we know a little about what we want to create and what sells, and how to connect both.

Thirdly, the use of crowdfunding has been shown to be a great way to help support and grow small creators and companies and help them get their products created and released. After some analysis about how best to use this approach, the best way forward to help support the ongoing publication of a quarterly publication is through Patreon, and so, we’ve decided to launch a Patreon campaign to help support the magazine!

The magazine will still use advertising to help support it as well as post-release sales online (here at the OSQ website and many other online stores) and in retail, but the Patreon allows us to offer a more modern take on being a magazine subscriber:

YOU get to choose how long to be a “subscriber”: 1 issue, 2 issues, or more! Simply pledge during the periods you want

Get your digital edition from three different locations:
-the OSQ website
-OneBookShelf’s family of websites
-the InfiniBadger Press website

Get large discounts on the digital and at-cost POD versions of each issue
-$6 for the PDF instead of the final MSRP of  $9.99 
-$12 for the at-cost POD instead of the final MSRP of $19.99. Get a code and buy the physical copy when you’re ready at cost

Upgrade to the POD version at a discounted rate later if you just get the PDF for one issue
Get an additional 36 page supplemental publication called OSQ MORE that’s ONLY available to Patreon backers every issue

Of course, OSQ is still going to be doing things differently from the way traditional magazines do things. Most traditional magazines focus on print first, then digital, most often only printing in specific territories and costing a great deal to ship beyond that overseas. We’re focusing on digital first, then print using POD, allowing you to choose how to receive print copies of the magazine, if you even want to do that – using POD means being able to print near to where you live, and help keep costs down on international shipping. This approach can be called “just in time” printing, because you don’t print it until you want it or need it. By being a “subscriber” through the Patreon, you can even save yourself some money doing that!

Right now we’re updating a couple of the documents and pages including the Issue Zero page,  Submissions Guidelines and the Advertising Kit to include details of the Patreon and the new operations. We’re also setting up our online webstore, where you’ll be able to purchase digital versions of the magazine, as well as be directed out to other sites where you can buy that same issue, such as OneBookShelf, Lulu, and CreateSpace, allowing you to choose where YOU want to receive your digital or print issues from.

The plan is to release the OSQ Issue Zero in Fall 2016, which means an October 2016 release date. We’ll release an issue every quarter after that, with the support of the Patreon, advertisers, and sales of individual issues.

Of course, there are challenges ahead. A lot of business people say that’s magazines are dying because we’re looking at our phones, while a lot of other smart business people say that the publishing paradigm has changed and that we’re in a period of disruption. This means new business models and changes in the way things are done. It means trying out new ways to do things that are customer-centric and innovative. Even when focusing on old school games.

More news and regular updates to come soon. We’ll keep you posted right here at the OSQ blog.

Oh, and consider becoming a patron at Patreon if you want the best deal possible on the upcoming Issue Zero release. You save money, you get extra content, and you don’t have to pay anything until the issue gets released!

Holy bejeezus but +Jason Paul McCartan has a lotta links in there. I'll make it simple for ya'.

Back the Old School Quarterly Patreon - Click here!


  1. Ok. Another Patreon project supported, this is getting as bad as kickstarter at this rate lol

  2. Wait a minute, they want me to be a Patreon backer AND pay retail prices on the products?

    1. No. If you're a Patreon backer you're getting it what is more or less a subscriber rate. You're not paying retail. Retail is the MSRP prices of $9.99/$19.99. As a patron, you're paying $6/$12 and if you pledge at the lower level you can upgrade to higher level later. As a patron, you also get access to the exclusive patrons-only extra content.

    2. The $12 gets you the at-cost POD price so you can pay for the print copy at your leisure when you want.

  3. 200+ pages per quarterly issue? Good god, that's enormous! I'd almost prefer it smaller and monthly but it does certainly have my interest. Great price-point for that level of content. I'd been wondering why the $20 hard copy cost. Now I understand completely. That is totally reasonable.

    1. i think from the publishing end, quarterly is less stressful than monthly, even if the page counts work to be the same

    2. It is digest-sized (at 5.5x8.5), but Patrons always get another extra 36 page supplement as well full of additional content (which may or may not include a full adventure ;) ).

      Any advertising that comes in increases the page size, but also helps offset the cost of production, as well as increase the quality of available content in current and future issues too. So, the base target is 200+ pages of usable content. Any increase in size is offset by being paid for already.

    3. And yes, monthly is a killer from an operational standpoint, especially when it's a small business and there are other business operations and projects that need to be taken care of.

      Plus, the margins are already thin on the quarterly end until a certain number of sales. Going monthly doesn't actually increase the number of sales and profit any, and increases the cost of doing business.

    4. As someone who publishes one of those "mostly focused on a single game" magazines, I'll second the idea here that monthly just doesn't make sense. There's a lot of work that goes into getting one of these out and it just isn't doable for a small (in my case one person) operation to really handle unless you're doing something extremely small (say <10 pages).

      I cap my magazine at 45 pages of content each issue and even quarterly that can keep me busy.

      And for those that are interested, the magazine is the Frontier Explorer (http://frontierexplorer.org), a fan magazine dedicated to the old school Star Frontiers game although we accept submissions for any sci-fi game system. It's free, I'm working on issue 16, and you can get at-cost POD copies of every issue on DriveThruRPG.

    5. And a great little publication it is too!

      One of the big things that I'll be talking about later in a blog post at the OSQ website is "the magazine economy", and whats involved in generating income so that you can pay people to create content as well as make a profit. Because ultimately if you're doing a lot of work and just breaking even and doing it for the love of it, that gets old really, really fast and leads to burnout. There has to be an endgame, and everybody that's involved should be rewarded for being part of the process and the journey. But it's all interconnected with a lot of complicated factors tied up ultimately in making something that people want to buy. Sometimes it takes a while to get right.

  4. I have to admit that I read this thinking it was another KickStarter rant and was waiting for a "gothcha" moment up until the very end. There were several comments that sounded eerily similar to other recent posts covering slow-to-complete/never-to-complete KickStarters:

    "my work schedule was preventing such from bearing fruit and Jason had a series of events on his side that slowed progress,"

    "because we’ve been far too silent on the subject,"

    "Over the past year there’s been some illness and a bunch of other things going on,"

    Good to know that this is really happening and it certainly does pique my interest!

    1. It's always good to admit where you ballsed-up and take ownership. I really do believe in the magazine and what it can be. It may not be perfect starting of (and hasn't been) but try, try again, and get things up and running.

      Failure is the automatic result of not even trying, right? ;)

  5. Awesome. Supporting, and submitted my name as an art contributor.