Well, a few months ago I made a big relaunch of OD&DITIES, and managed to get out three issues of the magazine before deciding – reluctantly – to pull it back again for a while. Its only fair that I explain why…
When I re-started OD&DITIES, I had the idea that I would write the first issue all myself, 75% of the second issue, and 50% of the third, and would subsequently write 25-50% of the magazine myself, meaning around 2,500 – 5,000 words per month, a level I thought I could sustainably maintain. (Some of this would be elements like the Editorial, of course.) A normal issue of OD&DITIES was running at 10,000 – 11,000 words a month, and to be honest, I didn’t think I could do that much myself in the course of a single calendar month. Certainly not with room for any other projects.
Sales were the other factor. I had decided to budget for around $100-150 for each issue of OD&DITIES, and figured that I could afford to run it at a slight loss or break-even. I didn’t think a profit was ever on the cards – if sales had been better, then I would have increased the size of the magazine. Sales for Issue 13 were very good – we were top-rated on RPGNow for nineteen days, and more than a hundred issues were sold. Fourteen was less successful, selling around eighty, and Fifteen was down in the fifties. I had expected that lose around 20% of the readership after Thirteen (novelty wearing off, not being what they expected, etc.), but this plummet was a bad sign.
And the contributors I had hoped for simply did not materialise. I had one excellent article in issue 14, and of course my good friend Mr. B, but that was all. Fifteen was all my own work, and I was beginning to burn out. To the point that for Sixteen, I was struggling to come up with article ideas that met with my standards for quality. The deadline for Sixteen passed and I hadn’t done any serious work on it, and hoped that by bringing in a friend I might turn things around a bit…but again, this led to nothing.
So at present, there it stands. There are a lot of excellent magazines in the field at the present – Fight On!, Knockspell, Nod, Oubliette, and so forth, and I suspect that if I was to continue OD&DITIES, I would end up having to do the bulk of each issue myself…
Am I totally out of the game? Not in the slightest. I have a few ideas for future products that I might have a go at, probably Labyrinth Lord-related, maybe towards the end of the year. As with all things, they key is to do this for the love of the game. If it begins to affect that, then stop at once and get back to your roots. (One of those products is A Thousand Monkeys: Publishing a Fanzine!)
One thing I am doing is launching a new blog, Tales from the Dusty Valut, which is going to principally cover reviews of OSR products, something that is rather lacking at present. I’ve got dozens of books on my shelves that have not ever been reviewed…I hope to correct that.
I guess that’s about all for the moment…
Will OD&DITIES come back? Well, I didn’t think it would the first time…and never say never again…
Editor Emeritus (Again),
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