Friday 14 September 2018

19 Things I Wish I Knew Before I Started

A friend was planning on doing OSR stuff 'full time' as work and asked me if there was anything I 'wished I had known' before I started doing this.


Here are 19 things;

1. It takes a very long time to get anything done and finished.

2. Most people in the OSR are a bit mad and/or flaky. Rely on as absolutely few people as possible to get things done.

3. MANY times people will promise something and get depressed and/or have mental health problems or just be a flake.

4. The three big time sinks are writing, art and layout.

5. >>> If you can learn In-Design you just became massively more valuable/powerful <<<<<

6. Printed books make a LOT more profit than PoD. Getting them to the US, or selling them in the U.S. is hard.

(I am working on this problem.)

7. It might be worth having a business account, if you don't already. Most banks have a thing where you can download a spreadsheet of everything that's gone into or out of an account. If you need to show the tax man what's going on then its easier of you can do it from one place.

8. I don't know what people want or what makes something popular. Skill, talent, bullshit and chance all play a role.

9. People seem to like hardback books with really good art and high quality.

10. The scene is dominated by large personalities who all have massive flaws. Never be in a situation where you *need* someone, including me.

11. If you get frustrated with someone you are in a project with, try to keep the relationship more important than the project. A list of people who don't hate you is a valuable resource.

12. (Also, people have internal value regardless of how useful they are for whatever you want and treating people like input/output machines, which you have to do to some extent when working with them, makes you slowly into a monster, so try to incarnate your humanity as directly as you can in each individual moment.)

13. Conversely, hatred never dies on the internet. If you shame someone, or they feel like you did, that will never go away. They will be like a shadow behind you forever and that shit builds up over time.

14. Learn InDesign (I haven't but you should).

15. Depending on how dedicated or conscientious you are, try to have somewhere you work that is not your home/bedroom. Like an office, library or somewhere. Have a schedule. Leave the house. Maybe have an internet blocker on your laptop and/or phone. Consider dropping or not using a smartphone.

16. If you are making something try to make it something you really like.

17. The proportion of people who are really into whatever you are doing is small, but the potential pool is worldwide and things can grow quite slowly.

18. Take care of your mental health. Its stressful, lonely, inconstant and links you directly to the evolving online omniwar, which you can't just ignore as its also where you sell your stuff and make contacts. If you feel like you are getting depressed or falling apart then treat it like an actual medical problem and dedicate time, energy and actual resources to dealing with it.

19. Oh and, even if things are going slowly, its very good to have regular, weekly face to face meetings with people you are working with, even if there is nothing much to discuss, it makes people feel a lot better and eases a lot of invisible stresses.

And here is that interview again. I thought it went pretty well?

It's not just about Silent Titans.


  1. This is an insightful list, much appreciated.

  2. Excellent as ever. PS that interview? Amazing. Have attempted to approach you at a couple of cons, you've always seemed a bit overloaded ( which is TOTALLY COOL, you're a goddam artist, not a performing monkey) but this interview was you being insightful and funny as per your writing. So, in many ways I don't need to pester you any more :-)

  3. Thanks for the tip. Hopefully it will pay off as all of our collective notebook scribbling become fully fledged projects.

  4. Really love this interview!

    The new top-of-the-page quote is pretty chilling, though...

  5. I appreciate the candidness of this. Not everyone is as honest.

  6. Good stuff nigga, do you have any idea how to promote a game without being a shill if you're not already involved in a community? I'm totally embarrassed about promoting myself so I have trouble getting my stuff out there, and I don't honestly enjoy getting involved in most online communities. In that vein here's a game I'm publishing soon that Scrap gave me a little help on:

    P.S. I can do stuff with Scribus, Inkscape and GIMP if you're ever desperate for help on that front.

    Also is there a list of OSR artists who actually respond to emails re: art licensing & commissions? Not to badmouth OSR guys in particular I've just had a lot of trouble finding anyone who'll do it.

    1. Essentially no. I am sorry. I have negative feelings about much of my whoring, which I why I came up with a 'WHOREDOM MODE' tag for the blog, and most of my creation sprang up from the blog with me just inventing a lot of stuff first and then that gradually turning into something else.

      I did that 'Artists of the OSR' post a while back. You can probably find it with a google.

      Calling people 'nigga' in an opening comment probably not a great contact building tactic. I don't really care but others very much will.

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