The Call of Cthulhu… is Calling You to Self Publish
Horror is my happy place. It’s a great contrast to my typical exuberant, happy self. Horror can truly pull the curtains back on human nature and give you some great perspective on what makes people tick. Personally, I love the type of horror that makes people think. Historical horror is my favorite playground.
If you’re into horror gaming, you’ve probably comes across one of the most famous and widely recognized horror TTRPGs in the industry: Chaosium’s Call of Cthulhu. If not, check it out! You won’t be disappointed.
Based on the works of H.P. Lovecraft, Chaosium is on its 7th Edition of Call of Cthulhu. Statements from leadership suggest that we’ll be enjoying this edition for quite some time (i.e.: don’t worry, it won’t jump to 8th Edition by the time you finish this article). It’s not the new Samsung, Apple or D&D 3.5 product. cough cough
Anywhoo, Chaosium affords creators a unique opportunity to self-publish their 7th Edition Call of Cthulhu games online for sale (or for free)!
Wanna know how?! Feeling excited? Been thinking about writing a Call of Cthulhu game? Looking to support some creators? This article will briefly tackle some of the heavy lifting and serve as a reference resource.
Per their page, The Miskatonic Repository is an official online collection of user-made content, allowing creators to sell their own original Call of Cthulhu material. Creators can make money from their published community content or make it freely available – it is entirely up to the creator.
Publishing on the Repository is fairly easy! There are no fees involved. You don’t have to secure an independent license. You can reference materials such as the Call of Cthulhu Keeper Rulebook, Call of Cthulhu Investigator Handbook, Keeper Screen Pack and even Pulp Cthulhu! Chaosium even provides templates to help you format your game (in both Word and InDesign). Best part? You can sell, sell, sell!
Seriously, I get paid?
Oh, for sure! You can list your product for free, PWYW (pay what you want), or for a fee.
Once you list your product, the math is pretty simple. You keep 50% of the sale price. The other 50% is split between Chaosium and DriveThruRPG (well, their parent company, OneBookShelf).
The entire process is automated, so you don’t have to be a bookkeeper to track your sales. You can log onto your account and see exactly how much money you’ve made and how many sales have been completed. Cash out via PayPal or keep the money in your account and use as a credit for future purchases!
Are you ready to publish, but not sure how to price your product? General rule of thumb is to charge 10 cents/page. So, a 30-page scenario would be listed at about $3.00. However, if you really broke the bank on some spectacular art, outsourcing editing/layout, or whatever else… increase the price accordingly.
You’re excited now. I can tell.
Okay, what exactly can I publish?
Things can get a little interesting here! I’ll review broad strokes, but listen, as the creator, it is your responsibility to know what is and what is not allowed. At worst, you can open yourself up to lawsuit. At best, your product may be pulled down if you color outside of the lines.
Also remember, the Miskatonic Repository focuses on playable content. Here are some guidelines to follow.
Read them. Seriously. It’ll make your life easier. I promise. I know that it’s a lot, but listen… the best way to eat an elephant (metaphorically speaking, please don’t eat elephants), is one bite at a time. Take your time. Go through these. Still have questions? Ask them!
Ummm… I still have questions and I need support.
Lord, don’t we all? Okay, so look, I’ve self-published on the Miskatonic Repository. I 100% would not have gotten as far as I did if I didn’t have the best support network EVER! Allow me to share these resources with you!
This is a private Facebook group for Miskatonic Repository creators. This is a great place to soundboard, ask questions, solicit feedback, gain advice, and to connect with other creators. There is a direct Chaosium ambassador in the group who does a phenomenal job of keeping us current and informed (Allan Carey—thank you!). You can even solicit help for proofreading, editing, layout and play-testing.
Earlier this year, the Miskatonic Repository Creator’s Group hosted an AMA with the one and only, Mike Mason, Chaosium’s Creative Director. There are FAQs, documents and so much experience there. Seriously, join it today!
- Evan Perlman, a phenomenal content creator and all around amazing and supportive guy, put together an awesome step by step guide to assist creators with navigating (I should say hoop jumping) the upload process of DriveThruRPG. I literally have this document up anytime I upload a document to the page.
- The Miskatonic Repository offers additional support here!
This document is also a lifesaver in so many ways! It’ll help guide you from avoiding clichés, tips on the mythos, tone, and technical tips! It also includes great resources for art.
- Art can get tricky (if you allow it to), so here are some bonus tips!
Images printed prior to 1923 are considered public domain. So, go wild with those. Looking for something recent? Check out Pixabay, Unsplash, or Wikicommons for royalty free images. Just be sure to cite it correctly if it’s creative common. Always give artists credit, if not money if you can. Also, never sleep on the great Google. You can adjust your settings to include royalty free art! BOW!
The FAQ of FAQ’s
Nick Brooke and Allan Carey compiled a list of FAQs for publishing on the Miskatonic Repository, and it is incredibly thorough! I still learn new things as I reread and reopen this document.
As your product grows in sales, you’ll achieve metals, sponsored by DriveThruRPG.
- 50+ Copper
- 100+ Silver
- 250+ Electrum
- 500+ Gold
- 1000+ Platinum
- 2000+ Mithril
- 5000+ Adamantine
**Note, metals are awarded once you cross the tiers above. So, 51 is a Copper.
These are really cool to achieve and should be worn as a badge of honor. Each time your title hits a new tier, remember to upload your cover page displaying your new fancy badge!
Fun note! Chaosium will not immediately allow you the option to send your product to print, however, if it reaches Electrum or by their own invitation (don’t reach out to them, they’ll reach out to you), you could very well have your own creation in print!!!
Author’s Note: When you support the Miskatonic Repository, it’s kinda like supporting local. The MR gives us new creators an opportunity to race for the stars. Please support us. Check out our products. Run our games. Join in on the discussion tab. Leave ratings and reviews. We work really, really hard… for YOUR enjoyment. Looking for some great MR Content? Chaosium ambassador Nick Brooke has a living catalogue of every Miskatonic Repository submission! See it here!
I know that this is a lot of information to digest and navigate, but know in my heart of hearts, this is not here to overwhelm or discourage you. I’ve written this to inspire and encourage you!
If you love Call of Cthulhu and you think others would enjoy running amuck in your mythos imagined world, you have options! You can self-publish on the Repository. The most important thing? You don’t have to do it alone. We all started somewhere. So, whether you have a nagging scenario idea chewing a hole through your brain, or you have a fully completed scenario hiding in the dark recesses on your hard drive…
Maybe it’s time to bring it to the light.
What other questions do you have about publishing on the Miskatonic Repository? Creators, what has been your experience publishing? What did I miss that someone desperately needs to know? Are you finally ready to descend into madness and bring everyone with you? Tell us in the comments what you’re working on!