RPG Freelancer Scott Fitzgerald Gray Shares Deep Dark Terrible Secrets of RPG Industry (and Tomb of Horrors) with Id DM
Scott Fitzgerald Gray has a bunch of high-profile RPG writing credits under his belt, including the 4E version of the classic Tomb of Horrors. He recently did an interview with one of my favorite gaming blogs, The Id DM, that touched on the necessity of being a renaissance man in the gaming business, how awesome it was to work on Tomb of Horrors, and a lot more more.
The interview is massive and includes tons of great information. It’s a great look at the life of a successful gaming freelancer, so you should definitely stop by The ID DM and read the whole thing. Here’s a short excerpt:
The Id DM: You offer great advice for others out there who are trying to break into a certain industry – keep developing various skills and do not allow yourself to get pigeon-holed into a single role. What are other suggestions you have for aspiring writers out there trying to wedge into the RPG industry?
SFG: Well, the bad news is that the tabletop RPG industry is shrinking, as most people know (even as the hobby, as distinct from the industry, seems increasingly robust). The good news is that freelance labor still largely drives the industry, which means the opportunities are there. I assume that anybody reading this knows that Wizards of the Coast is in the middle of its fall submission period for Dragon and Dungeon, and the second-best advice I could give anyone who aspires to design for D&D is to take advantage of that and get a pitch in. The actual best advice I can give always runs the risk of sounding snotty, but here it is anyway — your work has to be great. Not just good; not just original; not just imaginative, but the absolute best you can make it. It gets mentioned a lot but it’s worth repeating: Dragon and Dungeon are pro markets open to unsolicited pitches by new writers. In the drastically shrinking marketplace for freelance writing, that’s increasingly rare. Wizards of the Coast pays top rates because it expects top-quality work, so make sure your work is that good. Chris Perkins had an editorial in October 2011 talking about the pitch window; inhumanly prolific designer Rob Schwalb wrote a great blog post last summer taking a solemn look at the realities of RPG freelancing. Rob’s piece isn’t for the faint of heart, but I think it’s good for aspiring writers and designers to know what they’re up against.