All RPGs and Storygames by Tod Foley are now available at DrivethruRPG and RPGnow. Bring these games to your table!
Welcome back, folks! I hope you found Part 1 enlightening because we are going to take it a level deeper today. You’ve crafted your beautiful D&D work and now you’re ready to publish it. But I want to talk about some of the foibles of publishing on the DMs Guild, because it’s not quite like publishing anywhere else. This is where I think I’ve tripped up the most, so come and learn from my mistakes so you don’t have to make your own!More Bubble-Bursting
Oh hey, remember how last time I started with the less-good stuff? I’m going to do that again. Some things on the DMs Guild don’t sell as well as other things, by a fairly wide margin. I didn’t include this in the previous article because I think it’s more important to write what you want to write than to write what you think will sell well. But since we’re going to talk about marketing, I think it’s important to bring it up now.
Player options like character classes or subclasses, character races, new spells, and new magic items sell very well in comparison to DM options like written adventures, monster and NPC stat blocks, or DM guides. It makes sense when you think about it; there’s at least a few players for every DM. Sure, a lot of players become DMs, but plenty don’t. In my experience, this can be a drastic difference in sales expectations.…it’s more important to write what you want to write than to write what you think will sell well. Share15Tweet18+11Reddit1Email
To give you an example – my best-selling adventure, up until recently, had only sold about a third as many copies as my worst-selling compilation of magic items. To put that another way, my “worst” magic items still sold three times as many copies as my “best” adventure, if we were to use sales as a measure of quality (spoiler alert: sales are not a good measure of quality).
I’d like to reiterate – this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t write the adventure you want to write. You very, very much should. Writing just for sales or writing only what you think will be popular is a much faster route to failure than writing what you have a passion for writing.Pricing and Payment
One of the things I struggled with the most when I first started out was how much to sell my products for, and I think this is still confusing for a lot of newcomers. There’s three options on the DMs Guild: full paid, “pay what you want”, and free. Free is pretty self-explanatory – you aren’t getting paid for this, it’s being given away. Don’t undervalue yourself. It’s fine to do promotional items for free, but I wouldn’t do it for much else.
Full paid is the flat rate for your product. I didn’t know this when I got started, but many writers on the DMs Guild use this very simple formula: # of pages x $0.10, then round up to the nearest 0.99 or 0.95. For example, if you have a 25 page product, that puts you at $2.50, then round up to $2.99. And yes, not bringing it up to exactly $3 is surprisingly important. I dropped several smaller products from $1 to $0.99 and I saw a fairly significant jump in sales. I don’t know why the human brain is this way, but it sure is. You can charge more, you can charge less, but this is a solid baseline, I’ve found.Don’t undervalue yourself. You have a valuable skill and you deserve to be paid for it. Share15Tweet18+11Reddit1Email
“Pay What You Want” is, and I’ll be blunt here, the worst of both worlds. 95% of the people who download your product just won’t pay anything or will pay a pittance. Again, this can work for promotional items, like one stat block from a larger collection that you’re advertising… but then just go with free. This is my experience; your mileage may vary. Don’t undervalue yourself. You have a valuable skill and you deserve to be paid for it.
As for what you get paid, well, you get 50% of whatever the item costs. If someone were to buy my example $2.99 adventure up there, I would get $1.50 and Wizards of the Coast and OneBookshelf would split the other $1.50 (full disclosure; I do not know what their agreed-upon split is and it probably isn’t pertinent here). This is… fine. This is part of why I mentioned going direct to DriveThruRPG way back in Part 1. When you publish on DriveThruRPG, you receive 65-70% of the item’s cost, not 50%. Again, use your best judgment.Marketing and Social Media
So, let’s get to the really good stuff here: where and how to market your product. Yes, I do strongly recommend marketing it across social media, though which social media platforms will do well for you depends on what your product is. There’s just enough stuff being published on the DMs Guild that people aren’t so likely to just stumble across your product very often. So here’s my breakdown of the big social media platforms.
- Facebook – there’s a few Facebook groups I recommend joining and promoting your products there. The first is the official “Dungeon Masters Guild” group, created recently by the new community manager, Lysa Chen. The second is the “Dungeon Masters Guild Creators Circle” group, which served as an unofficial primary group until the official one was created. The third… if you really must, is the main “Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition” group. Your posts will be buried quickly, but it does have massive reach.
- Twitter – there’s no denying it, Twitter is a very useful cesspit. There’s a small handful of hashtags that I recommend using: #dmsguild #dnd5e #ttrpg are the main ones. If you use more than two or three hashtags, your tweets are more likely to get flagged as spam and hidden from people’s news feeds, which is the last thing you want. Twitter tends to serve most people well, in my experience.
- Reddit – I don’t know how else to put this, but Reddit will probably only serve you well if you have free or pay-what-you-want products. Reddit likes free things. I don’t know why it’s so different from the others in this regard, but it sure is. I’ve seen massive threads turn into flamewars that have to be locked by mods because people seem to think that D&D writers shouldn’t need to be paid for what they do. r/dndnext is the biggest and most active subreddit. There is one for r/dmsguild but I hear it’s not very active at all.
- Tumblr – there is a really significant D&D subculture on Tumblr, in large part thanks to The Adventure Zone, and to a lesser extent, Critical Role. If your content is the kind of humorous, even zany stuff that TAZ specializes in, you may do very well on Tumblr. The Tumblr community is also kind to works that include strong elements of social justice, like the recent “Blessed of the Traveler: Queer Gender Identity in Eberron”. It can be hard to build a following there, but once you do, you have a built-in fanbase.
- Instagram – yes, Instagram! If your work includes evocative or eye-catching art, definitely use Instagram. It’s not as useful for strictly-text works, but both modern and historical art tend to do quite well there. Even moreso than Twitter, Instagram is a game of hashtags, and using many, many hashtags is encouraged by the almighty algorithm. It’s not uncommon to see a post tagged “#dnd #dnd5e #dmsguild #art #vintage #fairies #fantasy #writing #rpg #ttrpg #gaming”. Again, your mileage may vary, but since it’s so easy to cross-post to and from Instagram, you might see very big results for very little effort.
There is, of course, an initial boom around the first week or two of a product’s release. The longer you stay in the “Newest DMs Guild Titles” promotional ribbon, the better. But what happens after that?Hope for the best, prepare for the worst. Share15Tweet18+11Reddit1Email
Well… a long, slow drop. Or a fast, sudden drop. I’ve had products see a trickle of sales for months; I’ve had others not sell a single copy a few weeks after release. I don’t have a good way of predicting this, unfortunately. But do know that unless you see massive, breakthrough success, your product is not going to keep selling in the same kind of numbers as it does the first few days. Never expect to have massive, breakthrough success. Hope for the best, prepare for the worst.
Sooner or later, most products outside of the top bestsellers hit a point where they’re kind of “dead”. They’re not really selling except maybe one or two spotty, inconsistent sales. That’s okay. That’s like the circle of life but for art. You can keep promoting them, but if you keep hitting up the same few sites, you’re going to reach a point of saturation, where everyone who’s going to buy a copy already has. You can stave this off to some extent by staggering your promotions. Maybe Twitter in the first week, Reddit in the second, Tumblr in the third. It’s not guaranteed by any means, but it can help.What Next?
You may not want to hear this, but the best thing you can do is get another product out the door, and the sooner, the better. A “career” of any kind of longevity on the DMs Guild depends on regular, semi frequent releases. If you can get a product ready every few weeks without burning yourself out or sacrificing quality, go for it. Link to your other products in each new release. There’s a ribbon on every product page for “Customers who bought this title also purchased” and if you can gain a consistent following, that eventually just advertises for yourself.
If you can build a reputation for quality, the work will speak for itself. Don’t rush releases if you are feeling like burning out. It’s better to release better work less frequently than crummy work more often. This is where the Facebook groups I mentioned earlier really come in handy – a lot of people work on collaborations for the Guild. Many of the most successful products are the result of many D&D creators working together. If everyone contributes a small piece of a release, it’s easier for everyone. Six or ten or twenty heads are better than one.
If you like RPGs other than D&D, there are other community content programs, though none are quite so large as the DMs Guild. There’s also the Miskatonic Repository for the Call of Cthulhu system, and the Storyteller’s Vault for the White Wolf series of games like Vampire: The Masquerade and Mage: The Awakening. I’m sure there are more in the works, in no small part because publishers have seen the success of the DMs Guild and want that for their own games.
So, that’s what I’ve got in terms of wisdom, folks. I hope it helps you and I wish you all the best when you publish your own DMs Guild content. Don’t be nervous, you can do it!
Tell us what you’re working on in the comments!
Today I turned forty. This morning, Axl and Stan surprised me with coffee in bed, served in a special birthday mug that they created.
When getting ready for a birthday party this weekend, I shaved not only my beard, but also my nose and ear hair. It sums up turning forty nicely.
Much of the things they say about turning forty are true: getting adequate sleep has become a priority, you no longer recognize celebrities in magazines, forgetfulness starts to become a bigger issue, and when you bend down to pick something up, there is no guarantee that you'll make it back up.
I can't complain though. On days like today, when looking back at the previous decade, I'm reminded how lucky and privileged I am.
Much like I hoped I would when I turned thirty, I have accomplished a lot in my thirties — both personally and professionally.
Drupal, Acquia and Open Source have been at the center of my professional career for the last decade and it has changed my life in every way. I'm lucky that my work gives me so much purpose. My desire to create, build, sustain and give back is as strong as before — there is not much more I'd want professionally.
Throughout the past ten years, I've also accomplished a lot of personal growth. I smile thinking how I have become more generous with my "I love you"s. I've gained not just weight, but also a kind of resiliency and perspective that enabled me to better deal with criticism, conflict or setbacks at work. I've learned not to sweat the small stuff and I take pride in acting with integrity on a consistent basis. From that point of view, I look forward to growing up more.
I've seen more of the world in the last ten years than in the first thirty combined. My wanderlust continues to grow and I look forward to exploring more of the world.
I've also been writing on this blog throughout the past decade. That might sound odd to call out on a day like today, but it's an accomplishment to me. My blog could have faded away like most blogs do, but it hasn't. It is one of my longest running projects and a highlight of my thirties. Blogging has made me a better communicator and a more critical thinker. It touches me that some people have been reading my blog for over a decade, and have followed me throughout my thirties. Thanks for sticking with me!
Entering my forties, part of me has zero desire to slow down, while another part of me wants to find more time to spend with Vanessa, Axl, Stan, family and friends. By the time I'll be fifty, Axl and Stan will likely be in college and might have moved out. There is nothing more satisfying than spending time with loved ones, yet it is so hard to pull off.
Dynamic Field allows you to create widgets that will contain dynamically reassembled fields based on a settings.yml file linked to each widget.
The module contains only one field that can be linked to any Drupal entity.
Once the field is set up, the widget starts by scanning the components directory to load the configuration of each widget.
This configuration is presented to the contributor as a form.
Once the latter completes is validated. The module retrieves the data and stores it as raw serialized data in the field.
A small module which will force the uniqueness of entity titles.
Delicious. Sweet. Yummy. You may taste the jam and say these words or just the thought of jars containing jam stacked together may propel you to blurt out these words. Talking about the stack, in the technological space, we no longer talk about operating systems, specific web servers, backend programming languages or databases. In the web development arena, we think of different sorts of development stacks like the LAMP stack, the MEAN stack etc. And there is a new kid in the block called JAMstack which is not about specific technologies but a new way of building websites and apps.
What is the concept behind JAMstack?
To build a web development project with the JAMstack, three integral criteria should be met namely:
- APIs: Abstraction of all the server-side processes or database actions into reusable APIs is done which are accessed over HTTPS with JS (e.g. Twilio, Stripe)
- Markup: By leveraging a site generator for content sites or a build tool for web apps, templated markup must be prebuilt at deploy time (e.g. Gatsby.js, Webpack).
- High performance: When it comes to reducing the time to first byte, pre-built files served over Content Delivery Network (CDN) enhances web performance. You do not have to wait for the pages to build on the fly as JAMstack allows you to generate them at deploy time.
Source: DareBoost Blog
- Robust Security: Abstraction of server-side processes into microservice APIs minimises the security threats. Also, the domain expertise of specialist third-party services can be utilised.
- Better Scalability: CDNs are a great way of ensuring scalability when your deployment amounts to a stack of files that can be served anywhere.
- Great developer experience: More targeted development and debugging can be done by the developers with loose coupling and separation of controls. Moreover, the need to administer a separate stack for content and marketing goes away with the expanding selection of CMS options for site generators.
- The entire site must be served on CDN. Rather than living on a single server, JAMstack projects can be distributed as they do not rely on server-side code.
- Atomic deploys should be employed. This ensures that no alterations go live until all the changed files have been uploaded.
- Governance of instant cache purges by CDN ensures that when a deploy goes live it really goes live.
- Everything should dwell in Git. This minimises contributor friction and streamlines staging and testing workflows.
- Utilise modern build tools like Babel, PostCSS, Webpack etc.
- Automate markup builds. This is because JAMstack markup is prebuilt and content alterations won’t go live unless and until you run another build.
Jamstack is an alternative to the LAMP (Linux, Apache, MySQL, PHP) and MEAN (MongoDB, Express.js, Angular and Node.js) stacks.
LAMP is used to build dynamic websites and web apps. In this, pages are reconstructed from a database on request instead of being held as flat documents ready for delivery. It is easy to add content and modify them. However, JAMstack delivers content at a much faster speed.MEAN and LAMP are more similar to each other and are very different from JAMstack.
Web development projects that rely on a tight coupling between client and server is not built with the JAMstack. This comprises of a site built with a server-side CMS like Drupal, a monolithic server-run web app relying on backend language and a single page app that is using isomorphic rendering for creating views on the server at runtime. So, how can Drupal and JAMstack work together?
Gatsby is not a replacement for Drupal and Drupal would still control the content
In a session held at Bay Area Drupal Camp 2018, a demonstration showed a method of integration of Gatsby with Drupal. Gatsby is one of the leading JAMstack based static page generators. The demo showed that Gatsby is not a replacement for Drupal and Drupal would still control the content, site structure and how content is created. Whereas Gatsby would be governing little things like the public facing site.
It talked about ‘Gatsby Drupal Kit’ which is under development stages that can help jumpstart Gatsby-Drupal integrations. It is designed to work with a minimal Drupal install as a jumping off point and provide a structure that can be elongated to a larger and complex site.
The demonstration focused on a base Drupal 8 site connected with Gatsby and the best practices for making Gatsby work for real sites in production. The emphasis was also on the sane patterns for translating Drupal’s structure into Gatsby components, templates, and pages.Conclusion
Once you have fully understood the specific risks and put in place appropriate workflows, the JAMstack exhibits its share of opportunities. Creating a static site takes time and needs an architecture involving orchestration of several solutions. Today, it may seem intricate but so was your first dynamic site involving choosing a host, master FTP, juggling the web server logs and so on. With experience, JAMstack users would be more and more adept in leveraging its full potential.
OpenSense Labs has been making the digital transformation dreams come true for its partners with a suite of services.
The Drupal 8 Configuration Read-only module allows you to lock down some of your environments to prevent users from making configuration changes. This lets you use the Drupal 8 configuration management system to push up all your changes, while preventing you from changing any settings, content types, views, or any other configuration on your production website.Tags: DevOpsDrupalContribDrupal 8Drupal PlanetDeployment
This week's highlights include a look at the U.S. grandmaster vying for the world chess championships, a diary playing through Bethesda's oddly emergent Fallout 76, and more. ...
Index daterange field as granulated multi-valued daterange
The third major version of simple_sitemap has been seven months in the making. The module has been rewritten from the ground up and now features a more reliable generation process, a significantly more versatile API and many new functionalities.Major new features Ability to create any type of sitemap via plugins
The 8.x-3.x release allows not only to customize the URL generation through URL generator plugins as 2.x did, but also creating custom sitemap types that mix and match a sitemap generator along with several URL generators to create any type of sitemap.
This 3-plugin system coupled with the new concept of sitemap variants makes it possible to run several types of sitemaps on a single Drupal instance. Now e.g a Google news sitemap can coexist with your hreflang sitemap.
A sitemap variant can but does not need to be coupled to entity types/bundles. When creating a sitemap generator, one can define where the content source is located and what to do with it upon sitemap generation/deletion.Ability to create sitemap variants of various sitemap types via UI
In 3.x links form a specific entity bundle can be indexed in a specific sitemap variant with its own URL. This means, that apart from /sitemap.xml, there can be e.g
- /files/sitemap.xml or
All of these can be completely different sitemap types linking to Drupal entities, external resources. or both. They could also be indexing other sitemaps. The name, label and weight of each variant can also be set in the UI.
You will be able to create a simple link in your template to show a video tutorial. Individually for all Drupal pages.
drush en video_helper -y
Go to /admin/modules and enable this module
On page /admin/config/content/video_helper you can provide a link (youtube, external link, anything basically) what containts your video.
Wildcards are supported like node/%. This is meaning that you link will appear on all node pages.