Tuesday, December 30, 2014

State of Rite Publishing 2014

Lost in Dream 
Illustration by Jason Rainville

One of Our Best Years Ever!

This year really fought hard to be out best year ever but it was just impossible to surpass the success of the Lords of Gossamer & Shadow Kickstarter from 2013.  It was however still an amazing year.  

Here are some of our highlights:

We won an ENnie award our first ever for The Demolished Ones (FATE). I can’t say enough about the amazing folks who made this happen, but especially author Brian Engard.

We saw the Lords of Gossamer & Shadow (Diceless) product line surpass our 3rd Party Support for Pathfinder over all in terms of direct sales, as the core book has become a very powerful evergreen product for us.

The big geeky fanboy in me got to publish products by Matt Forbeck, Rob Donoghue, Cam Banks, and Andrew Peregrine further strengthening the Lords of Gossamer & Shadow (Diceless) product line.

Matt Banach not only introduced an amazing line of products with our Gossamer Worlds (Diceless) series, but also wrote our first novel (Lost in Dream), which we released this year.

We released Lords of Gossamer & Shadow Icon Deck with some amazing artwork, and had a successful Kickstarter for a second deck of NPC cards.

Just when I thought the 3rd Party Publisher Pathfinder Roleplaying Game market was slowing down In the Company of Dragons (PFRPG) by Wendall Roy comes along and blows away all my expectations.

1001 Spells (PFRPG) even 2 years later it is still our best selling product.

Book of Monster Templates (PFRPG) went platinum on DriveThruRpg, our only product to have done so.

Faces of the Tarnished Souk: An Npc Collection (PFRPG) our largest book ever, with over 300 pages, is in the proofreading stage and we are planning to start fulfillment to our Kickstarter backer’s next month.

We produced another 12 issues of our free Pathways e-zine, bringing us to a total of #45 issues so far.

We started a new product line the Rite Map Packs with cartography but the amazing Tommi Salama.

We continue to have amazing success with our Hero Lab product support (Thanks Andrew!).

We continue to be a part of the Bundle of Holding website and participated in two specials there this year of which I was quite pleased (Thanks Allen).

We branched out to support new product lines beyond PFRPG, FATE, and Diceless,  we introduced products for Dungeon World, 13th Age, and even 5th Edition using the OGL (in the same manner Goodman Game used for 4th and 5th edition support).

We are now playtesting the first Card Game we plan to publish!

We saw the fulfillment on 4 different Kickstarters, and the successful launch of two others, one of which is in proofing so we plan to start fulfillment next month.

Low Points:

But as anyone will tell you, one cannot have peaks without valleys, and while Rite Publishing’s victories far outnumber our failures we do have them, here they are:

Adventure Quarterly #6 (PFRPG): Although its very late, it is done, and it will release in January. The lesson I learned here is that we have certain bottlenecks in our production process, because I over rely on extremely talented people who always deliver. Then when they have an issue beyond their control such as a death in the family plus a medical issue, I wait to long to bring in a substitute to do the work while they are out. I won’t do that again, but I hope I don’t run into that kind of issue anytime son.

The Martial Arts Guidebook (PFRPG): the book that has taught me never to use IndieAGoGo for a Table Top Rpg  Crowdfunding project, it was an experiment and it failed and continued to fail. However it now has a finished and edited manuscript,  a mock layout has been done, along with a new trade dress, we will be sending out art descriptions to our lead artist next week and plan to release it in March/April of 2015.  This is our oldest project on the books, and one I want it off my plate

Questhaven Campaign Setting (PFRPG): my pet project saw only two major updates this year, this is entirely my fault as I  have spent too much time and too little time writing. So I have set up one day a week where I will be doing nothing but writing for this project, it is another one I want off my plate.

Kaidan Campaign Setting (PFRPG): I will never start a Kickstarter again without a finished manuscript. This project is overdue, but we now have laid out, and art orders made, we still have chapters though we are still awaiting some finished chapters from the lead author (I have written a chunk of one chapter myself), again this is my fault, and the fix is hiring freelancers to come in and assist the lead writer.

The Long Walk: Life Along the Grand Stair: I had hoped to have this big diceless adventure/supplement for folks to play out by now, but its in editing, and will be out by April/May 2015 so I am quite happy with it right now. 

Distribution: The collapse of our print/distribution partnership with Chronicle City, my failure to move right away into getting our books into the traditional distribution channels, something I plan to correct in the coming year.

My friend and colleague Joshua “KTFish7” Gullion of AdventureAWeek.com died. He was an awesome person who I miss talking to.

Personal Highs:

Did I mention my company won an ENnie award!?

For the third year in a row, I am living the dream, and get to do this as my day job!

The two packed seminars I gave at Gencon!

I got my work published in my favorite monster book the Advanced Bestiary (PFRPG) by Green Ronin Publishing!!!

While at GenCon this year I was hanging out with a fellow game designer/publisher who I am a fanboy fan of, and whom I consider not only a mentor but a personal friend, while walking back to our hotel he and his wife mentioned how proud they were of me, and what I have accomplished. Damn but this room is dusty!

Final Thoughts:

This year reminded me why I started Rite Publishing, because I was ticked off at other publishers for doing things wrong. I have learned many things since then, but I continue to strive to do right by our customers, our freelancers, and by myself. I am reminded every day of how lucky I am that I have a job I love and of how successful we are both critically and commercially. I love every time I get to talk to a freelancer, colleague, customer, reviewer, or fan. I even found a perverse joy in firing an unreasonable customer because it was the right thing to do.  

This year also reminded me of what I wanted Rite Publishing to become, and while I still have goals that I have yet to achieve (like a stable form of traditional distribution), I am very much where I wanted to be.

Thank all of you for helping me get here!

Steven D. Russell
Rite Publishing

1 comment:

  1. Congratulations on your great successes in 2014 and a heartfelt well done on what you have learned from the challenges as well. You have shown wonderful growth from it all and I have greatly enjoyed our conversations throughout the year. I appreciate your transparency regarding Rite Publishing and have grown from your personal mentoring. I wish you and Rite Publishing well in 2015.