On 2006-01-12, Brand Robins wrote:
Here is a freelancer's perspective on this.
From what I've gleaned from Vincent in the past about what he makes per unit, and looking at those numbers, I'd say Vincent and I made about the same amount of money off of gaming this year. Sounds nice, right? Well here is why Vincent is smart and I am dumb.
First, Vincent gets to keep everything he wrote. This means he has artisitic control, which I don't have. It also means that he gets to keep generating money from his work. I get paid and I'm done. Next year I have to write as much as I did this year if I want to make that much money again. Vincent, otoh, may be able to make more money without writing anything more.
Second, Vincent is in charge of his money and knows where things go. I would have made significantly more money this year, but I had a couple of publishers either go bankrupt or just decide not to pay me. (Because they didn't know my sister in law is a partner in a litigation firm...). Vincent may have to deal with retail shit, but he doesn't have to deal with that. Nor, like my publishers, does he have to deal with three-tier shit.
Finally, Vincent has managed—through his quality games and good web presence—to build himself as a brand name. This means things he does in the future will automatically get that "golden seal of Vincent coolness." I, otoh, am a lowly wage slave whose name is burried in the back of books and only gets brought up when the publisher wants a scapegoat for fan complaints. ("Don't blame us, it was our lousy freelancers!")
So for those looking to get into this shit, take heed: self-publication and control of your own material and distribution is the only way to fly. It won't bend you over a table like being a freelancer, nor financially destroy you like trying to open you own major publishing house to compete in the 3 teir system has done to so very many people.