While at my local gaming store, I was having a discussion with several RPG friends including the guys who operate Gamer Ingenuity, LLC and we started talking about the pay rates of well know writers. While I do understand why people get paid, I do feel some people are VERY MUCH over rated. The biggest overrated writer to me (in the non-RPG arena) is Warren Ellis. I have talked about Warren Ellis before and how I feel about him so I am not going to go over it here, but you get the point. While we were talking Monte Cook’s name came up in the decision. We began to think about it, what would Monte Cook be worth pay rate wise in the RPG industry for both PDFs and retail bookstore sales?
I know Monte is the pinnacle of writers and creative people in the RPG industry. His name alone on a project will help sales greatly. I know for a fact that Monte can and has sold more than 200 PDFs on the day he releases a PDF. How do I know this for a fact? Well when I released the original Power Corrupts for M&M Superlink, we sold 189 in the first three days that we released it and were #1 on RPGNow’s Top 100 list. On day three of our release, Monte just happened to release an OGL/D20 fantasy product I can remember which one but it really does matter for this tale. In less than a day, Monte blew past our #1 rating on day four, which had just hit over 200 copies sold, and in less than a day and he was #1 on the list. If the book had a price of $10.95 and RPGNow was taking 25% (This is WAY back in the day) of the sale Monte made $1,644 in ONE DAY. If the product did that well on one day I am sure it went on to sell well over 1,000 copies in its life time which comes out to be a minimum of $8,212.50. And remember that was just the PDF sales, I don’t even know what his print sales must have been like.
Now here is some more mathematics for you, if you take the $8,212.50 amount divided it by the amount of pages let say 96 you come up with $85.55 dollars per page he made. Now divide that number by 500 words (Bet most of you didn’t know that 500 words is the average amount of word per laid out page) and you get 18 cents per word. So at 10 cents a word, Monte would be a STEAL!
But then we started talking about other writers like Wolfgang Baur, Ken Hite, Chris Pramas, Sean K. Reynolds, Erik Mona, Jason Bulman, Bruce Cordell, Matt Forbeck, Keith Baker and John Wick. Are they worth in actual sales that amount they charge? Just something to think about next time you are looking for a freelance writer for a project. Talk to you later…