Friday, April 30, 2010

Rejoice all you readers!

My computer is working again! Give some love to my goatee wearin' brother who managed to cobble a new computer together, install Windows XP to it, give me a nice fat 120 gig harddrive, and recover almost everything on my old computer and install it over! Rejoice- my porn file is intact!

More importantly than my porn directory though is the fact I can write again.

I'm going to do a bunch of mini releases, in the range of 3,000-6,000 words to build up a backlog of product before I start up another big project.

Expect a 3,000 word or so Pathfinder product explaining what Common really is. That's already written, and I'll problaly have it out in a day or two.

Along with that, expect a short State of the Otherverse release dealing with facial recognition tech and countermeasures against it, inspired by an excellent article I read on Io9 about modern camo patterns.

After that, expect a couple of short, thematically linked Psi-Watch supplements detailing that universes 'homages' to X-Men staple concepts Morlocks and Sentinels.

Finally, I'll be re-releasing Freefrom Anthropomorphica sometime this summer. Expect a revision on the order of Psi-Watch 2.0, with three or four short campaign settings included. Each setting will probally run 20 pages each or so, and more on them later. i've got some fun ideas.

In other news, this last week a friend of mine has been down from San Antonio to take care of his mother. When he wasn't hanging with his family, we were hanging out and wargaming. I haven't done so much gaming since high school, and it was great. That said, expect a beta-test version of a minatures wargame based around Otherverse America's factions and fiction sometime this summer. It'll be free until I get the bugs playtested and than I'll have a art-heavy paper minis wargame set during the Abortion War sometime this fall.

Blessed Be,

Friday, April 16, 2010

"Of all the amendments, my favorite gotta be the FITH!"

One, two, three, four, FITH!

In the words of the immortal (and clinically insane) Dave Chappelle, it's my favorite number. FITH, Bitches!

Anyway, I'm now at #5 on the RPGnow best sellers list, and I definitely hope to climb to number one over the weekend. Okay, while waiting on my brother to fix up my P-O-S computer, I've started reading "Bio of a Space Tyrant" by Piers Anthony. I'd heard it was kinky enough to make even me sit up and take notice, so I picked it up this afternoon.

I'm about a hundred pages in and Helse just started describing her life as a child prostitute, in a little bit more detail than I had expected. Hell, there was a gang rape in chapter one, a fetishy urine scene a couple of chapters later, and a few hints at what I expect will blossom into full-on incest within the next few dozen pages. So "Bio' definately deserves its reputation.

It's decent enough though, but I'm actually wondering why Piers Anthony bothered to make it a sci-fi story at all. Aside from the regular (and tedious) digressions into the physics behind gravity lens propulsion, there's nothing really 'sci-fi' about the story. At this point, Hope Hubris and family could easily be a family of Cuban boat people... hell, the author even compares their 'bubble' starship (which I keep picturing as a much larger version of the junk-ship from Explorers) to a sail boat at several points.

I'm guessing that like District 9, Anthony is tyring to use the trapping of sci-fi to explore a real and depressing social issue- namely how refugees and illegal aliens are treated in the real world. That in and of itself is interesting enough, and I'm curious how Hope, if you'll forgive the analogy, becomes Dr. Doom, because at this point the obstensible main character is alot less interesting and compent than his father or his youngest sister, Spirit. I can see the anger there for Hope to become a dictatoral leader, but the basic skill isn't there.

Anyway, i'll probally be done with this by tonight, so I'm curious where it all ends out. Not that I expect to really reach a resolution- the book I have is book 1 of 5 or 6. At this point, the book is interesting enough to see it through to the end. I'm reserving judgement on finding the other books in the series till the end, though.

Talk to you later,

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Nothing is finer than seeing your PDF climb the charts....


A: Seeing your PDF climb the sales charts. Seeing other PDFs driven before you, and hearing the lamentation of their authors!

Less than a day after release, Psi-Watch: Unlimited Edition is at #17 on the hot sellers chart, and I expect it will keep climbing. To those of you who have bought it, thank you much, and I hope you have as much fun playing with the setting as I did writing it up.

For those of you who haven't bought it yet, go do so please. You're buying a repaired computer.

Anyway, now that Psi-Watch is out, look for Black Tokyo II, and the print or POD release of Campaign Overlay: Fantasy Firearms soon. That last one especially is something I'm looking forward to. After my unexpected and undesired hiatus from writing expect a bunch of other small releases in support of my three biggest lines: Otherverse America, Psi-Watch and Black Tokyo. (For Black Tokyo, how does a new advanced class called the Ceremonial Unbirther sound to you? If intrigue, arousal and squick is at war within your heart, good... that's exactly the idea I was going for.)

I want to try Louis' suggestion of smaller 5-10 page 'micro-pdfs' each focusing on a few peices of gear, a few related feats, some tech, a single race or class, ect.... It seems like a good way to support the lines, and regular support helps move more product than irregular large sourcebooks. The sales of the Galaxy Command line versus that of Otherverse America bear that out (though subject matter probally plays a role too). One thing I do disagree with Louis on is pricing though. I can't in good conscience sell a 5 pager for $2.99.... that's damn expensive for a microtransaction, and while I would get sales at that price, as plenty of other PDF retailters prove each and every day, I don't think it's good for the long term health of the hobby. If 2.99 or 3.99 is too much to pay for a 22-26 page comic book, it's certianly too much to pay for a gaming PDF that's a quarter the size. I think sooner or later, these relatively high cost micro-pdfs are going to kill PDF sales (which aren't much more than subsistance level to begin with).

So the upshot: any micro PDFs I do will probally be under two dollars.

Anyway, look for a lot of them as soon as my computer starts behaving again.

Blessed Be,

Monday, April 12, 2010

I just say this on Louis' blog, and I want to repost it here, because this is amazing advice. Just saw it this afternoon and I agree with it fully. As soon as my computer decides to start working again (RAGE!) I plan to seriously follow his advice.


Friday, April 9, 2010

Cashflow and the Secret to running a extremely successful RPG Company…

Cashflow in the business world is your lifeblood. Keeping your cashflow going is how you survive. Since this is tax season, I have been looking at my company’s cashflow and have thought to myself, “How could I double our cashflow in a month?” Tough question to answer right? Here is a better question to answer, “How can I get something for free and make it so I could sell it and make a profit?” This is where the real money gets made. This is the basic concept behind webcomics. They give their online webcomic strips away to get you to come to the website where they make money by selling hard copies of the collected webcomics and online advertising at the site. Chris Anderson wrote a book called Free that many people might find interesting to read if they want to learn more about making money of free things. But this post is about CASHFLOW not about making money on free stuff.

How did I increase my cashflow? I did something radical. I stopped work hard for it. Let me tell you what I mean. Over the years of 2002 thru 2003 I have a 400% growth in LPJ Designs revenues, and over the years of 2003 thru 2004 I have another 400% growth in LPJ Designs revenues. These were the two best years I ever had growth wise in the business. What helped make such a massive growth in cashflow possible? I stopped working so hard in my business and started working hard on my business. What does that mean in plain English, well

#1) I hired freelancers do write roughly 95% of the work I was releasing at LPJ Design.

#2) I set the budget for making small 2 to 6 page projects to only $20 for writing and artwork.

That is it. That is the secret to making money in the arena of PDFs.

A typical PDF will normally sell no more than 50 copies, so you have to make as much money as possible within the initial 50 copies. If I make a $2 PDF and sell 50 copies I will make $100. Subtract 35%, the amount drops to $65 and then subtract the $20 budget to break even, I make $45 in profit. I then take the $40 and repeat this again twice, leaving me with $5 to place in the bank to save for a rainy day. Simple, easy and it work.

But here is the funny part of this post, most of you don’t believe me when I tell you this. You make up excuse why you don’t do or believe what I am telling you to do: “I can’t find people who work for that cheap” or “You have to pay people more money, it isn’t fair” or “You lying that can’t be done like that”. My answers are the same: “Yes you can find people” or “I pay what I can afford, they don’t have to work for me” or “Yes it can, you are just lazy”.

Once again I worked ON my business, NOT IN my business. I worked on the marketing, distribution, partnerships, accounting and manufacturing of my business. The hard and boring stuff creative people HATE with a passion. Not the making the cool fantasy world building, creating amazing NPCs and exciting magic items stuff. I worked hard on making sure I can pay my people on time and getting more products out to consumers as part of my business. Simply put, most people who want to work in the RPG industry, don’t want to deal with this side of the business. They want to be the name on the cover of the RPG book. They want to be the ones who the fans come to see at cons and sign their RPG books. They want to be the “ROCKSTARS” of the RPG industry.

I, on the other hand, want to be the “MAJOR RECORD LABEL” that makes and creates the rockstar, while at the same time makes the cashflow to create even more rockstars who make even more cashflow. See where I am going with this. CASHFLOW IS THE MOST IMPORTANT PART OF YOUR BUSINESS. Talk to you later…

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Remember My In Touch Weekly Rant?

A couple of months back, I posted an article about Sarah and Bristol Palin's loathsome little anti-choice cameo in In Touch Weekly. Here's a follow-up article from the blog Heartless Doll.

I'm glad somebody else out there is noticing these things. Thanks to Heartless Doll and Amanda Grimes for bringing this to their reader's attention.


Tuesday, April 6, 2010

And Why Are These Stories Not Being Covered More Enthusiastically?

Erlyndon Joseph "Joey" Lo, 27, of Plano, filed documents there Friday saying his religious beliefs entitled him to use deadly force to prevent an abortion. He listed the name of a clinic, its address and the time he was going to show up — noon that day.

Last week, threatening letters were sent to the offices of I believe 37 of 50 state governors. Each letter was a typical right-winger love fest, not-so-subtly implying that if the governors didn't immediately disband the government and bend over and take that big militia cock they were dead. Naturally, the FBI, Southern Poverty Law Center and others were concerned, and the major media buries the story behind a maze of story-links. Last Christmas, one idiot tried to detonate his C-4 Underoos and the media covered that story for days.

Here we've got evidence of a nation wide, well organized conspiracy, which is inspiring copycat acts of nut jobbery (see those two lovely little links above), especially the last ride of Mr. Lo, and guess what? I'm still the only motherfucker in the country who gives a shit.

Damn it, the bastards are waking up.


Amanda Webb finally has stock art!

After illustrating about half my Otherverse America releases, and quite a few cool products from Mongoose Games, D-3 Games and others, Amanda Webb has dipped her toe into the stock art arena! I'm hoping these packs sell as well, if not better than the LPJD Illustration Portfolios. It's art I will be using in alot of future products, and I seem to have a pretty good eye for artwork.

Go over to RPGnow, pick up Amanda's first pack. (There will be a second coming soon, and once Black Tokyo II hits, she's told me she plans to release an erotica themed pack including some of the illustrations she did for that setting). And say some good things about it on the review section, okay?

Blessed Be,

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Behind Enemy Lines

You know what Easter weekend means to a pagan?

It's a neon-lit billboard that says "One of your kind will never be President." The letters are an attractive pastel pink, white and gold.

Seriously, at this point Christmas is secularized enough that I can almost close my eyes and pretend its just a holiday where I get gifts for those I love and receive some in return. It's self delusion, but I can almost, maybe, just a little pretend that Christmas isn't simply a self-righteous, uncaring exultation in unquestioned cultural dominance.

But Easter.... it's a theological endzone dance, a celebration of smug religious superiority. Almost every fuckin' part of the holiday is stolen- blatantly plagiarized- from one of my people's. But that doesn't matter, because the winners write history, right? Sociological might makes political right, huh?

"Hey, little pagan," the Easter Bunny says comfortingly, "at least my celebrants aren't killing yours.... recently. You go ahead and enjoy your second class citizen ship, little pagan.

You enjoy the fact that though pagans serve at almost twice the rate of non-pagans in the US Armed Forces (18% of adult pagan population, vs 11% of adult non-pagans, according to they almost never have in-unit chaplains of their own faith.

Enjoy the fact that if you're unfortunate to be an imprisoned pagan, earning the right to celebrate your faith- something every fuckin other convict in the joint takes for granted- is almost as hard as escaping through a tunnel, Shawshank Redemption style.

Enjoy the fact that for Christians (especially wealthy ones), it's a three (or four) day weekend, while your underpaid pagan ass is sweating to cook food for people who believe that since you haven't accepted the light of the fuckin' Lord JAYY-ZUS, you're doomed to an eternity of torture, mutilation and devil sodomy.

Enjoy the fact that Pope Hitler Youth I and his inner circle seems to be above the law.

Enjoy the fact that in a "right to work" state, like say... Texas.... you can be promoted on Wednesday, taken out to a congratulatory lunch by the boss, not pray before the meal, explain that you're a Wiccan and don't do that, and somehow be fired for 'not fitting in with the corporate culture' on Thursday. And if that last example sounds a bit specific, that's because it happened to me in 2005.

But hey, at least the Christian majority isn't killing us.... like they've done before, many, many, many times.

This year.

They're just planning to (the Hutaree), or being sentenced for killing a non-believer last summer (Scott Roeder). Or working to restrict the rights of gays, pagans, and anyone who has the audacity to face Mecca to pray (almost every elected Republican in D.C.). Progress right.

Okay- this is a pretty dark, gloomy post. I'm in a fairly dark place- work sucks, I'm broke all the damn time, and my computer died yesterday, plus I always get depressed around Christian holidays, because of the sheer enraged lonliness I feel.

So let me end with a bit of light. There is one kid who comes into my restaurant about 3 times a week with her grandparents- little 12-13 year old kid, looks exactly like the comic book version of Kitty Pryde. Anyway, she came in wearing a pentacle one time, so I always make it a point to say 'hi' to her. (I think the grandparents believe I'm some kinda crazy pedophile at this point.)

So why? Because a lot of the time, I feel like a soldier trapped behind enemy lines, like a far less competent Chuck Norris battling the Conservative Christian version of the V.C. So this little girl- hell, I don't even know her name- I consider her my sister. She's like a fellow soldier, shot down in hostile territory. I can't do anything else to help her, but damn it, I can say hi every time she comes in.

Anyway, the point of this rant?
Fuck, I don't know. Maybe the moral of the story is this: if you know a pagan, give 'em a hug today or tomorrow. Buy 'em lunch. Something nice.

If they're anything like me (and in a lot of ways, I hope they're not) they could probably use it.

Anyway, Blessed Be,