Why create a new RPG Publishers?
It's a very good question and there's only one real answer to that - for the enjoyment of it. Just about every Role Player I've ever met has a dream of seeing their own work in print. There's a lot more good writers out there, than there are opportunities to get published. If you've no experience, nothing in print already, your chances of rolling up at the door of a major RPG house and landing yourself a job, either in-house or free lancing are minimal.
So how do you get started? Self-publishing? It's certainly a whole load easier than it used to be. Anyone can create a pdf book, and printing can be done more cheaply and in smaller batches than ever before. There are a whole lot of reasons for the starting writer to go along the self-publication route. You control every part of the process yourself and you keep every penny of any profits.
There's a whole lot of reasons not to self-publish though. First and foremost is the financial one - you take all the risk on any losses your work makes. You also need to be your own editor, illustrator, type-setter. You need to think about fonts, page layouts and a hundred other things that aren't directly involved in writing a book. Then there's getting noticed. You're competing with a thousand other self-publishing RPG writers. Getting anyone to pay any attention to you is tough.
So that's where this idea came from. We want a new generation of RPG writers to be able to take their first steps into published work with us. It's a largely philanthropic off-shoot to our main business. You're pretty certainly not going to sell 5000 copies of the first thing you write. You're not going to make much money. Neither are we. We're doing this for the joy of it and the adventure along the way. We hope that writers who join us will be in it for the same reason - the joy of seeing your work in print and the excitement of other people using something you wrote in their gaming.
It's going to take time, but here's the key benefits as I see them as I start out. Working with other writers brings the costs down. For example, to be taken seriously, a book needs an ISBN number. Did you know that you can't buy less than ten ISBN numbers at a time? That's expensive if you want to publish one book - it pretty certainly wipes out the profit from the first print run.
Working with other writers helps get everyone noticed. Having a series of products available from one website creates cross-sell opportunities. Having a group of products available under the same publisher on the main online RPG pdf sales sites does the same. And maybe... if we can get to a stage where we have a decent selection of good quality products available ... maybe we can interest distributors too. You never know.
So here's the plan. Work with as many Scottish writers as we can. Publish as many books as we can. Keep being open and honest with everyone about what we hope to achieve. If you're a wannabee writer, I'd love to hear from you later this year. If you're an RPG fan, I'd love you to spend a few quid on our first product - The Fires of Skinspeake. It'll help me convince myself I'm not nuts for trying this.
PS One final note - (at least to begin with) X'I Publications is a trading name of Bus Stop Toy Shop Ltd.