Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Community Content Programs For RPGs Are Another Avenue For Authors To Get Paid

If you're an author, you know there are basically two roads to make money when it comes to writing stories. The first is to submit your work to a publisher, have them do the brunt of the heavy lifting (formatting, art, editing, distribution, etc.), and share the profits with them. The second is to go it alone, and to self-publish your work. You don't have to share the profits that way, and with the variety of tools available today there are all kinds of roads you can take to getting your books out there.

Pick your path, and start storytelling.
However, this hasn't been the case in the past for roleplaying games. For creators who've wanted to work in this field, you've either had to design your own game from the ground up, or work with a publisher who was willing to let you use their intellectual property. Sometimes they would have an open game license (or OGL) that lets you use parts of their game to make your own, but even those licenses don't let you use everything in an existing game.

If you've ever wanted to try your hand at writing stories for games like Dungeons and Dragons, Call of Cthulhu, Pugmire, and others, though, there are some community content programs you should be aware of, though.

Who With A What Now?

A community content program is, essentially, a way for anyone willing to put in the time, energy, and sweat to create supplements for a roleplaying game, and sell them. These programs allow you to use the rules, setting, and other intellectual property as part of your supplements, giving you the creative freedom to add your own touches, flair, and stories to the setting.

Within the rules of the agreement, of course.

And then money?
Yep. As long as the content you create falls within the program's guidelines (every program has its own specific rules about what you can and can't do within their specific games), you are allowed to publish it through the community content program, and to sell it to the gaming community the same way you would other self-published work.

There are a few caveats, though.

The first is that if you create something through these programs, you don't get the rights to that material. It's made as part of that game's setting, and with their intellectual property, and all the rights to that content stay with the company. You'll still get paid for your sales, but the company might decide to make reference to your work in other editions, or outright re-publish it in later releases. And the parent company is more than allowed to do that without consulting you. Secondly, you can't just throw up anything your heart desires. Each community has specific rules about what kind of content you're allowed to make, and what sources you're allowed to draw on. In some cases you may be allowed to write additional rules, for example, but you may not be allowed to create new races, or to make new locations that have not been detailed in the game's canon. You may also not be allowed to put up fiction.

If you can work within those guidelines, though, and you're willing to sweat the details in order to create attractive, fun, playable content for some of your favorite games, then you should check out the Drive-Thru RPG Community Content Program rules. Remember, each one is unique, so make sure you read the fine print before you get started on your next project.

Also, if you'd like more information on tabletop RPGs (playing, running, and working in the field), tune-in to my sister blog Improved Initiative. And if you'd like to open up your options for making money writing whatever you want to, I'd also recommend taking a look at my previous posts Make Money Writing (By Joining, and Want To Make Money Writing? Check Out Vocal!

That's all for this week's Business of Writing. If you've got advice on how to work within these programs, or if there's something else writers should know, feel free to leave it in the comments below. For more of my work, check out my Vocal archive, and to keep up with my latest releases follow me on Facebook, Tumblr, and Twitter. Lastly, if you want to support my work, head over to The Literary Mercenary's Patreon page, or Buy Me A Ko-Fi.

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