Magazine idea

Time to go public with what may be a bad idea


Would Games From Folktales get more Patreons if I paid other authors to write episodes? GFF has enough support that it pays its hosting fees and a tiny bit aside, which I've been hoarding for Venice book art.

The thing is, people have noticed our English magazines aren't doing many episodes anymore. With enough support GFF's quarterly transcripts could become magazines, but I can't do all that writing and I don't want it to have a cover price / subscription because that just keeps new people out

Kickstarter for budget maybe? Letting people reuse material they've already published out on the web so I can pay lower rates? Any ideas?

(This has come up because I'm doing paid writing for another game, and working on Mythic Venice, so I'm having a hard time with new Ars material for the podcast.)


The question is phrased incorrectly, which affects your perspective. First of all there would be minimal if any gain in support simply because you started paying other people to contribute, since nobody is (to my understanding) currently refusing to buy in because you are not (for example taking unpaid contributions)
The issue is solely with the quantity of content. Quality might be a consideration in terms of some people's willingness to contribute, but it seems that has not been an issu expressed up to this point. It is worth keeping in mind since hiring other people is likely going to involve issues where content quality might be affected or, conversely, drama ad potential conflict with people you do not pay because you do not feel their quality is high enough.
The real issue you are facing (aside from the nightmare workplace scenarios of moving from author to editor) is whether you can generate enough in new contributions to offset the cost of generating new content. Unfortunately the only way to know for certain is to try. If you are going to do this my recommendation is that you incorporate the business first so that if it fails you do not find yourself on the hook or unexpected bills you cannot pay, and to be very diligent with how the contracts are written for paying for the material. anything you don't have absolute rights to your authors could turn around and open their own paetron business and try and undercut you on price after having sold to you. You might do some research on business in literary magazines and how those operate as well, since you would be in essence running a digital literary magazine that is highly focused.
The other thing to be aware of is what Atlas has for third party publishing rules (I wasn't aware they had finalized any) and how this might affect you if you do wind up being successfull enough that they might feel the need to defend their copyright.

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I would love to see a magazine again for ars. If it's not too much to ask what amount do you think you'd need to be hitting to support the level of output you're looking for?


Speaking roughly, if I pay for 10 minutes of podcast content (1500 words) per month at 5 cents a word, that's USD75 a month. Each quarterly produced would have three pieces from other people, and my usual stuff. Their contributions would have a stronger Ars focus because I'm working on the Mythic Venice project and some paid RPG writing, and this cuts into my research time. If people paid a heap more, then I can have more length, or I can pay for art.

My podcast host, Libsyn, lowered their costs last year, so USD5 a month gets me 140 minutes of podcasting space, so I don't need more space to fit that extra in.

Pre 2023, USD5 was enough for 50 minutes a month, and the slight extra that the patreons gave me was spent to upgrade to a more expensive plan every so often, so I could put in longer episodes (basically any episode longer than 15 minutes was a result of this). Now that's not necessary I've been saving up that extra to pay for maps / deck plans for Mythic Venice.

Recently there was a jump in my number of Patreons (huzzah!) so currently the income is USD25 a month. That means my "extra" at the moment is USD20, which I can't effectively spend on extra recording time anymore. This has been going on for a while, so the "extra" bit has built up enough to pay for a couple of bits of Venice art or alternatively 4 of these 75USD pieces, hence the idea.

Most real magazines get around these problems by having people subscribe in advance. So, one of the fanzines says "Pay USD4.50 to get our magnificent stuff." I'd prefer not to have a cover price, because it takes me more (unpaid) time to deal with subscriptions, and because Ars Magica is such a niche game I don't want to paywall material for new players.

I'm happy to put in unpaid time and my incidental expenses for research (the biggest bit), equipment and power, but I'm not wanting to constantly pay large amounts to do this, hence the Patreon in the first place. Moving to paid contributors is a big step (although its easily reversible since I'm not using a subscription system).

Thank you for summarising the issues so succinctly, but I'd like to mark one part where you've misunderstood what I'm suggesting, perhaps because I've not explained it clearly enough. Since my pay rate is so low, I may be using material that's licensed, rather than owned, and as such I don't care if the authors later use it for other things. Practically speaking, even if they did sign away all rights, I would not have the wherewithall to sue them for breach of contract anyway and the damages could only be meagre. Similarly, they can't undercut me on price, because the price is "pay what you want".

I'd note that my voicework for Librivox, for the last seven years, works on this model, except it is even more extreme. Librivox recordings, since they can't be defended, are put into the public domain as copyright free immediately and I wouldn't be doing that.