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Ramen Sandwich Press in 2018: Expansion, Not Modification; "And," Not "Or"

posted Jan 1, 2018, 12:19 AM by Douglas Sun

As the sun rises, bringing with it the new year, Ramen Sandwich Press and I have a couple of announcements to make in the spirit of looking forward to 2018. The profile that we cut will look a little different by the end of the year than it does now, but I want to emphasize that these changes are a matter of addition and expansion, not major shifts in direction.

First announcement: I have launched a Patreon page, live as of December 31. Over the last year, I have relied heavily on Kickstarter to fund Places by the Way, running four successful campaigns and getting valuable support from some wonderful backers. I’m happy with our results there. But we live in a time when the audience for just about everything is fractured and scattered in various ways — there are so many voices to listen to, and so many different places where you can hear them. If you confine yourself to one place, you miss out on people who would enjoy what you’re doing, but they’ll never know that you exist because they don’t visit that one place where you’ve taken root.

So I want to give Patreon a try to get more exposure for Places by the Way and keep growing its audience. I’m going to keep running Kickstarter campaigns. Even if Ramen Sandwich Press could fund production without the pre-publication revenue that they bring in, the campaigns are just too much fun to give up. But I hope that Patreon will bring in additional supporters who haven't backed the series because they simply aren’t Kickstarter people.

As an aside, I’ll share something that I learned from Ramen Sandwich Tees: Our original plan was to rely exclusively on Merch by Amazon for sales as well as printing. Everyone shops on Amazon, right? Well, Amazon would have you think so, but that’s not really true. So we set up listings on Etsy and eBay as well. And you know what? This past Christmas season, we sold more shirts through Etsy than through Amazon. It pays to spread your presence to different venues. In fact, we plan to set up on more print-on-demand platforms in 2018, but that is another story.

So as much as I enjoy running Kickstarters, I want to see if Patreon can do something for me, too. I figure they’ve had time to wipe off all the rotten fruit thrown at their office windows by now.

The second announcement has a similar theme. Our next Kickstarter will probably launch at the end of the month, and we’ll try to gin up support for a new product line, Found by the Way. It’s going to be a parallel series to Places by the Way, with each module compatible with the Pathfinder OGL instead of Dungeons & Dragons 5E. I’m going to go back and retrofit Places by the Way #1-4 for Pathfinder to provide the rewards, and if the campaign suggests that there is an untapped reservoir of support out there among Pathfinder enthusiasts, we’ll publish a Pathfinder-compatible version of each new module going forward under the series name Found by the Way. So when we publish Places by the Way #5 late in the spring, there will also be Found by the Way #5.

Again, this does not mean that I’m giving up one for the other. I want to embrace both D&D and Pathfinder. It seems to me that we live in a remarkable time for roleplaying games, in that I can’t remember another period when two high-profile rules systems in the same genre co-existed, sustaining themselves on large and stable fan bases, for this long. When Pathfinder first split off from D&D, I thought for sure that one would subsume the other within a few years. And yet, almost a decade later, D&D 5E is flourishing, and Pathfinder seems to be doing just fine, too. It’s a sign that the hobby is popular and healthy, so I’m happy that I was wrong.

I don’t want Ramen Sandwich Press to leave money on the table because we’ve chosen one system over the other. If there are potential readers who have skipped over Places by the Way because it’s not Pathfinder-compatible, I want to change that. I don’t know how many such people are out there, but it’s worth a test. Hence Found by the Way, and using Kickstarter as a test case.

I’m looking forward to 2018. I’m excited about introducing my work to more and more people. I’m excited about joining Patreon and keeping up with Kickstarter. I’m excited about writing more modules and sharing them with Pathfinder fans and D&D fans alike. I’m excited about ideas that are just, “Hmm. Maybe we could…” thoughts right now and will probably have to wait until 2019 or so. I hope that you’ll be entertained, as well.