Thoughts About Commerce (Buy Rodger a Coffee)

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This is tangential (but not unrelated) to the discussion I’ve seen bits of on various platforms over the question of selling products versus just giving them away for free. I don’t believe it’s a simple black-or-white issue, and I certainly don’t have the answer to the question.

{And after writing this, but before it posted, I was listening to the Thought Eater podcast (Ep. #65) where, in the last segment, Jeremy discusses the same question with some good points and a perspective I think is worth pointing you at. And the post that got Jeremy going was from Tales of the Grotesque and Dungeonesque.  I think they’re both worth your time.}

I’ve put stuff online – that other people might consider a finished product – that I’ve given away for free, in that perspective. Every blog post is time and effort spent without payment.

I’ve put things on DriveThruRPG to sell them.  As far as I know, I’m the only publisher for DragonQuest-related products.  It’s  a specialty niche, and I’m not getting rich (or even breaking even) from it.  But for the time and effort that goes in to those products, I think it’s reasonable to ask people to pay for those.  We’re old-school enough that we’re still somewhat print-focused, even though we also sell a lot of things just as PDFs.  And print materials are always going to have a cost associated with them, so we sort of stumbled into the market that way.

I never really rolled out a Patreon page, and given what happened with that platform, I’m pretty glad now that I didn’t. I’m not interested in being a part of that system that doesn’t really want to work with me.

And the whole idea of asking for money for the work that I do is still more than a little off-putting.  This whole article started more than a year ago, and sat in the drafts folder because I wasn’t ready to address the topic.  We’re acculturated to be uncomfortable about money, and I think that’s in the subtext of what’s in the social media discussion I referenced above.  {Again, from Thought Eater: the idea that everything needs to be evaluated through the lens of commerce is just wrong. There’s nothing wrong with making things available for free.  And sales is a metric of how good you are at selling, not of how good your thing is.}

There are a host of different tip jar/buy a coffee/send a contribution systems available to support creative work that people are making available. I’ve seen a couple people using different versions of these, and now, I have decided to give one of these a try and added a link to Buy Me A Coffee for tips and contributions (near the top of the column at the right).  So, if you find the things I’ve been producing to be worth a little support, you could do that here:

https://buymeacoff.ee/AntherwyckDQ

There are two main categories of things I’m working on: RPG maps, and adventures and materials for DragonQuest.  If we’re able to raise another $150 or so from sales and contributions, my plan is to get some additional software to use for further project production.

Since it’s a new thing, I’m not sure yet how much I can do with rewards and benefits for those who have contributed.  If you would be interested in being a supporter, let me know what kinds of things between those two categories you would be most interested in seeing as a premium for your contributions.  I should be able to do small maps on a somewhat more regular basis, so if you’d like to make some suggestions for one of those, that’s one option.

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