Monday, December 30, 2013

State of Rite Publishing 2013

State of Rite Publishing 2013

Illustration by Dennis Darmody

Best Year Ever!

This is the third year in a row I have gotten to make this statement, and I have no idea how we will top it next year.

I will give you a quick rundown of some of the highlights:

  • We finished up the Faces of the Tarnished Souk Npc series (PFRPG) and started work on a compilation of all 30 of these complex NPCs.  
  • Jonathan Roberts (who won an ENnie this year for best cartography and had me accept it for him) started his Fantastic Maps Iconic series moving away from battle maps to overland maps you could use in your campaign with customizable icons.
  • We released Heroes of the Jade Oath (PFRPG) as a full-color hardback to both critical and commercial success; this project had been in the works for over 3 years and was my #1 focus for the first part of 2013.
  • We launched a new series called 20 Foes by PFRPG stat-block master Justin Sluder accompanied by newcomer Elaine Betts with a focus on high quality art as exemplified by its first release 20 Variant Foes: Red Dragons    
  • We released The Secrets of Adventuring (PFRPG) our largest page count print product to date, and it has received extremely high reviews and critical praise even as a compilation of a number of small PDFs.
  • We had a surprising best seller with In the Company of Fey (PFRPG) by Wendall Roy, standing out from all the other playable monster class PDFS we created, finding financial success on both DrivethruRpg/RpgNow but on as well.
  • We started selling our Pathfinder compatible products through Herolab, it has been extremely successful, and after a few kinks on the business side at the start, I am really looking forward to continuing this trend.
  • We were part of a Bundle of Holding for the very first time, and I must say I was well pleased by the results, and look forward to doing this again.
  • We participated in a very successful steam-like deep discount sale via DrivethruRpg on our book 1001 Spells; in addition, have begun a higher focus on making print products available via DrivethruRpg’s partnership with the printer Lightning Source.   
  • We completed another full year of our Pathways e-zine (make it our third year for pathways!). With original cover art by a new and different artist each month, as well as moving that product from being Free to a “pay what you want” model with the help of DrivethruRpg, along with Herolab and Realmsworks becoming our official advertising sponsors of the e-zine.
  • We finished the first 4 issues of Adventure Quarterly and then launched a Kickstarter for the next 4 issues so that we could do all original artwork and hand drawn cartography, I am really looking forward to issue #5 next Quarter.  
  • We released our first stand-alone game using the FATE system The Demolished Ones by Brian Engard, it is an amazing Victorian, noir, steampunk, lovecraftian horror, murder mystery, quest for identify, roleplaying adventure game
  • We forged a new print/distribution partnership with my friend Angus Abramson and his new company Chronicle City and got to enjoy Gen Con selling The Demolished Ones (FATE) in the Chronicle City booth.
  • We had an amazing Kickstarter and retail release of our second stand-alone game, Lords of Gossamer & Shadow (Diceless Role-Playing). We went way over goal, and we released it to both backers and to retail on time, so this made me immensely proud, as I believe it is the best thing Rite Publishing has ever done.

And those are just some of the highlights and do not even cover them all, however with any high there are also lows and I will point out a few of these here.

  • The Martial Arts Guidebook: I will never do IndieGoGo again for a Crowdfunding project it was an experiment and it failed. We lost focus a lot on this one and that is my fault as I was off focusing on older projects like Heroes of the Jade Oath, The Demolished Ones, and Lords of Gossamer & Shadow. This has become the focus of my administrative duties. I am happy to say that authors and developers finalized the manuscript just this month and it is now in editing; with that manuscript done, I a requiring that the project move more quickly now.
  • Questhaven Campaign Setting: my pet project saw only one major update this year, this is something that has to change, and so it has become the focus of my writing. This meant sacrificing writing for the 101 Series, Lords of Gossamer & Shadow, Adventure Quarterly, and a host of other projects, as well as my goal to release a new product every week, and a new print product a month, but I need the framework done so that I can bring in freelancers to work on specific sections.
  • Dissolving our print/distribution partnership with Cubicle 7: I really like the folks, who work there, but from a business standpoint, it was a bad relationship, and it took us both a while to admit it. They have their focus on The One Ring Rpg, Doctor Who and the host of other games they do, and no longer have a need for partnerships. Because of the needs those other projects have they don’t have the ability to maintain the kind of business relationships I was used to with them, and to be honest what a partnership like that requires. Ultimately, this is my fault I should have acted sooner.  
  • I pitched a licensed miniatures skirmisher game to potential licencor and after some initial excitement on their part, the potential licencor went silent on us, maybe we were competing with their own plans for a similar game, but I really felt this was a major missed opportunity. Nevertheless, be on the lookout for what we do with this idea next year :0

Personal Highs

  • The University of Northern Texas had me give a guest lecture for their geek week, and I got the opportunity to talk about Kickstarter.
  • Another RPG company asked me to write a forward to their book. (And of course, I said yes!)
  • DrivethruRpg removed Rite Publishing from the small-press list (wait when did folks start considering me a big boy, I don’t want to grow up?!)

Final Thoughts:

It has been a glorious year, I have gotten to work with a massive number of amazing and talented people, and have enjoyed both commercial and critical success. I have also found happiness in my personal and professional life this year, when I look back, I immediately start looking forward not just to what we are releasing next week, next month, next quarter or even next year but what Rite Publishing is going to be doing over the next 5 years especially with our stand-alone games.   

All I can really say is thank you to our customers, fans, and all our staff. It really has been the Best Year Ever!

Steven D. Russell
Proud owner of Rite Publishing


  1. Congratulations Steve! A glowing year. I wish you a better one for next year!

  2. Congratulations.
    Note: You should've added some of the great stuff you've got in the queue for 2014.

  3. Congrats on the great year! Here's to 2014, may it be even better!