- A Year in RPG Self Publishing: Year 1 by Ian Yusem. This is a great peak behind the curtain on some of the realities of self publishing. Ian does a great job of consistantly opening their practice (and a few of their blog posts about Kickstarters are linked in the funding page).
- Zine or Pamplet? The format you choose to present your writting will be a factor when trying to market your game. Jared Sinclair (bookseller for spearwitch, editor, and writer) wrote a great thread of the financial considerations to choosing your format.
- My Adventures In Selling Stuff by Sean Patrick Cain is a fantastic series of twitter thread that detail Sean’s journey in printing, selling, & shipping his book Long Haul 1983.
If you are selling your digital game, two major market places for selling digital games are itch.io as a physical game (yes, ttrpgs are tagged as physical games even though they are PDFs) or on drivethrurpg.
So you’ve put your game on itch or drivethru and you want to get a print run going. Here are some resources that can help guide you in the right direction.
- So You Want to Make a Zine: Printing by Mazirian’s Garden expands on the different ways you can print a zine (use a copy machine, print at home, print at a print shop, print through an online printer).
- Indie Game Publishing Resources by Lone Archivist collects many different avenues you could use for getting your game into print.
- The Printing Process Demystified For TTRPG Creators by Ghost Lore. This helpful guide goes over the different aspects of printing.
There are a few different options in terms of printers that you can use. This is by no means an exhaustive list, but is a place to start.
- Mixam is probably the most common/popular way to print physical ttrpg zines.
- Tabletop Hotdish is a newer small business printer who has been working with indie zine publishers (and does free print proofs). Currently they are launching a full website, but dm on twitter to see about starting a partnership.
- short Run Printing
- Jukebox is another web based printer that offers a ton of different formats (stickers, booklets, brochures, etc). Often seen as a good mixam alternative.
- Spencer Printing offers both offset & digital printing, as well as short-run book printing.
- Taylor Specialty Books
One option for funding a print run is to partner with a publisher/distributor. Many indie storefronts regularly partner with game writers to get a finished game to print. This tends to involve a partnership where the store fronts some (or all) of the cost to print. Afterwards they handle distribution, and after the print costs are recouped they pay regular royalties to the game’s designer. This is the avenue I went through for Liminal Horror (I had it published through Exalted Funeral Press).
- Chapbook Co-op is a new venture by Monkey’s Paw Games, Loot the Room, Spear Witch, and rattiincantati that aims to provide funding and distribution for ttrpg zines (without the kickstarter). Not only do they help with printing, but having the storefronts in multiple markets. This model of co-op funding is one that hopefully we see more and more.
- If publishing it yourself is out of reach (logistically or financially), it is worthwhile to reach out to one of the great small ttrpg retailers listed below. Sometimes all it takes is emailing the right person to make a connection that can help you get into print.
One option for selling your printed game is to sell it yourself (on your website, as an add-on on itch, or using some other platform). The other option is to try and get some of the fantastic online sellers to carry it. This means reaching out to their buyers. Below are some different sites that sell ttrpg zines along with where they are based out of. If they are located in a different country, it may be benefitial to coordinate with them about doing a print run near them to cut down on international shipping.
- Starting Guide to Pricing by Jared Sinclair (bookseller for spearwitch) gives you a good idea of a starting point for pricing physical copies of your game.
- Exalted Funeral (US). Their purchasing agent is Fiona and can be reached at email@example.com
- Floating Chair Club (US). Contact them on their twitter or at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Spear Witch (US). Contact them at email@example.com
- ratti incantati (CA). Contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Four Rogues Trading Company (CA). Contact them at email@example.com
- Monkey’s Paw Games (CA). Contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Cardboard Monster (AU). Contact them at email@example.com
- Melsonia Art Council (UK). Contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Soul Muppet Publishing (UK). Contact them at email@example.com
- Rook’s Press (UK). Contact them here.
- Iglootree (UK). Contact them here.
- All The Problems In This World (Germany/EU). Contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org