James Raggi updated the LotFP blog for the first time in three years earlier today. Here is the relevant news:
THE CURRENT SITUATION
This one is for all the marbles. As you're probably aware, LotFP has gone through a rough patch the past year and a half.
The tldr is we're about 90,000€ in debt, 60,000€ of which is due in about a month or we're done. And we have so much more to do.
So if you want LotFP to continue, you need to buy something, preferably a lot of somethings, and very soon, when the new books go on sale. If you don't want LotFP to continue, you don't have to do anything. You're good.
A more thorough explanation for those who will surely ask:
After a record 2018, webstore sales hit a wall in January 2019 (I assume because of increased Finnish postal costs; November and December 2018 were strong and then *bam*), but we were supposed to have a new US-based webstore opening in the early summer. So I was confident that I was in for a fifth straight year of growth and prosperity, and made plans to take care of that.
The exact same week the Zak allegations hit in February 2019, I received the last of series of business loans totaling just about 70,000€. These would cover a number of reprints (which sell slowly and thus take more time to recoup their costs, making them very difficult to finance from normal cashflow), and convention expenses for the year. I secured these loans based on the fact that I'd grossed over 250,000€ the previous year, had two new Zak books set to come out in 2019 (not to mention Red & Pleasant Land as one of the reprints), with a few other new books on the schedule as well.
The fallout from the Zak situation was that his upcoming work, and the Red and Pleasant Land reprint, were canceled. Everything else went into disarray and only one full-fledged (not limited edition) release happened all year, and that was a low-price short adventure. The US fulfillment center fell through and didn't get going until over half a year later than scheduled.
Even so, convention sales in 2019 were greater than 2018 (and we did one less convention in 2019!), retail distribution sales was about even year-to-year, PDF sales were down a bit... but direct webstore sales were down 80% for the year. And direct sales are where we traditionally make most of our money. Webstore sales plummeting has almost killed the business: Gross sales were in total 40% down, and the profits (AKA my personal income) went from (rough numbers) 45,000€ in 2018 to 3,500€ in 2019. That's not a typo.
By last fall, I started falling behind in loan payments. By spring this year, just as the world at large was beginning to fall apart due to the pandemic, I started falling behind on royalty payments to the talent. There's only so long I can shuffle money and beg for patience...
And now with the pandemic, conventions for the entire year are gone (conventions accounted for 25% of last year's gross income). Distribution/retail sales (by far the biggest income source last year) were wiped out completely for a time due to shutdowns and at best will be weak for some time to come due to the pandemic.
And so here we are. Pretty much all of these new items were financed on credit, sparing no expense to make these the best books we could, and it's time for what just might be the last stand. It is my hope that not only can we clear this debt, but we can get a bit of a cash stockpile so we can make sure the next batch of books (and the next, and the next...) are up to LotFP standards of quality and deliver significant royalty payments to their authors.
It's up to you now.
Posted by JimLotFP at 12:28 AMThen there was this regarding the LotFP Referee Book:
February 2020 Update!
The big news: So we've got what I'd consider a complete draft in hand. 296,000 words.
As far as I'm concerned, this is it. Not throwing out large chunks wholesale, deciding entire sections need rewriting from scratch, or any of the other nonsense that has turned this into a hellscape forever project.
But it will need editing. I'd estimate it's going to lose 10-20% of the word count through this process, because right now it's not tight. There are a few other things that are going to press imminently so those have to be shepherded first, but as of April 1 doing this will be my sole priority.
After that we'll know what sections need to be shored up, plus the promised supplemental stuff that needs a tight draft prepared first in order to do, and then we start putting together the final layouts.
And the part that will cause trouble saying it out loud rather to the group than replying individually... there have been refund requests. I can't do it. The money simply isn't laying around. Over 7000€ has been spent on the project just the past 14 months, the whole thing is already way over budget, and I'd estimate there's five figures additional expense on the way getting this thing finalized and ready for print... and then there's the print cost which is going to be another five figures.
This has turned into the Homer and I can't see how it'll retail for less than 75€. Maybe significantly more than that (Veins of the Earth is about 100,000 words and that's 368 pages) and now that I see that written down, maybe broken down into multiple books (which you'd all get as backers at no additional cost but shipping).
So that's not bad for those getting in for 30€ or 38€ books, and we've now got a US fulfillment center so it won't be necessary for those of you around that area to pay shipping from Finland.
And that's just the main Ref book. Doesn't count the screen, slipcase, or the monster book due.
It should be quite the exciting end part of the year.
(I just jinxed it, didn't I...?)Tavern Chat Podcast episode covering the current situation
YouTube of the same podcast episode (all episodes are available via YouTube)