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Spectralballoons
Seeker

Pakistan
16 Posts

Posted - 27 May 2017 :  13:07:30  Show Profile Send Spectralballoons a Private Message  Reply with Quote  Delete Topic
http://dnd.wizards.com/products/fiction/comicsgraphic-novels/frost-giants-fury WoTC has stopped publishing novels for the foresseable future, but IDW's Forgotten Realms comics aren't dead yet.

Edited by - Spectralballoons on 27 May 2017 13:09:03

Irennan
Great Reader

Italy
2605 Posts

Posted - 27 May 2017 :  13:48:01  Show Profile Send Irennan a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Couldn't they just farm the novels to--say--TEGG like they're doing with the comics?

To all Facebook-using FR fans, you might be interested in checking out this page: https://www.facebook.com/groups/450517575051806/
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Spectralballoons
Seeker

Pakistan
16 Posts

Posted - 27 May 2017 :  13:50:49  Show Profile Send Spectralballoons a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Nah, the thing is that the novels weren't selling well and don't have enough of a following to make publishing companies interested.
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KanzenAU
Senior Scribe

Australia
634 Posts

Posted - 27 May 2017 :  14:53:09  Show Profile Send KanzenAU a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I still want to believe they're waiting for a "reset" period - long enough for new people to jump on board without worrying they haven't read the previous 30 years worth of books. While I personally still wish lots of books were being released, the amount of stuff already published is still HUGELY intimidating to relatively new readers like me. I've read about 10 or so FR books in the last year, and almost every one of them was built on a history inaccessible to me purely due to the amount of time it would take to read them all - time I don't have.

Regional maps for Waterdeep, Triboar, Ardeep Forest, and Cormyr on DM's Guild, plus a campaign sized map for the North
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Richard Lee Byers
Forgotten Realms Author

USA
1763 Posts

Posted - 27 May 2017 :  17:51:45  Show Profile  Visit Richard Lee Byers's Homepage  Reply with Quote
WotC tred a reset of sorts to create a good jumping-on point for new readers. It was the Spellplague and the 100-year time jump, and the existing FR fan base mostly hated it.

Then WotC tried to return to a more classic version of the FR with the Sundering event, and apparently that didn't set the world on fire, either, because they canceled the fiction line afterward.

So who the hell knows what the solution would have been? It's my personal opinion that neither the Spellplague event nor the Sundering event had a proper advertising push behind it (although the Sundering had more), but I don't know if more and smarter advertising would actually have made a difference.

Part of the problem may be that some highly placed person in Hasbro thought, We're a toy company. What are we doing publishing novels? I don't know that that happened, but it could have.
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Spectralballoons
Seeker

Pakistan
16 Posts

Posted - 27 May 2017 :  18:05:58  Show Profile Send Spectralballoons a Private Message  Reply with Quote
>We're a toy company.

Ahh, good 'ol misunderstanding your fanbase. So basically they're going the Games Workshop "We're a model company." route?

Honestly, I feel that the spellplague is unfixable. All the characters dead and buried after the 100-year time jump, the regions destroyed, the questions raised, how the relations and connections of the Forgotten Realms to Planescape was utterly changed and retconned, and then reverted and re-retconned, with everyone acting like no change took place (Although I saw a very good solution to this conundrum and it's implications on the The Piazzo forums.), and how spelljammer was destroyed as an independent setting, retconning established FR lore, and the dissapointingly brief and undescriptive SCAG have effectively alienated the readership.

Also, I can't believe I'm talking to an actual Forgotten Realms author here. Keep up the good work!
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Sunderstone
Seeker

50 Posts

Posted - 27 May 2017 :  18:16:43  Show Profile Send Sunderstone a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Richard Lee Byers

WotC tred a reset of sorts to create a good jumping-on point for new readers. It was the Spellplague and the 100-year time jump, and the existing FR fan base mostly hated it.

Then WotC tried to return to a more classic version of the FR with the Sundering event, and apparently that didn't set the world on fire, either, because they canceled the fiction line afterward.

So who the hell knows what the solution would have been? It's my personal opinion that neither the Spellplague event nor the Sundering event had a proper advertising push behind it (although the Sundering had more), but I don't know if more and smarter advertising would actually have made a difference.

Part of the problem may be that some highly placed person in Hasbro thought, We're a toy company. What are we doing publishing novels? I don't know that that happened, but it could have.



I think it's the manufactured nature of the Spellplague and the Sundering that has hurt the fiction. The FR as it existed when it debuted and had been, percolating, and growing naturally for 20+ years and felt like it had real world depth. Some of the stories existed in Ed's head and had yet to be told but all of his secondary world development was organic and consistent with much of his original imaginative vision. Was it as vast or as developed as Tolkien's secondary world behind the LotR and the Hobbit? No. But it was in that vein and that of the world building GRRM had done. I think it carried over to the Authors and their books in the early days.

When the 100 year reset happened, the Realms lost that. It fell like it was losing a little of it's soul with the repetitive need for RSEs but that capped it. It's not to say that the 4th ed and on books are not readable. Many of them are but they no longer capture the world behind the story but the secondary world now feels artificial. This is all IMHO but if you look at the most popular fantasy fiction, the secondary world matters. And in the Realms case, the RSEs were changing it and 4th ED. was coup de grace.
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Richard Lee Byers
Forgotten Realms Author

USA
1763 Posts

Posted - 27 May 2017 :  19:38:30  Show Profile  Visit Richard Lee Byers's Homepage  Reply with Quote
If i'm understanding you guys correctly, you're saying that the Spellplague killed the fiction and the setting, and there was no fix possible. That's a depressing perspective, but that doesn't mean you might not be right. I guess it doesn't matter anyway now that WotC has pulled the plug.
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Sunderstone
Seeker

50 Posts

Posted - 27 May 2017 :  19:50:54  Show Profile Send Sunderstone a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Richard Lee Byers

If i'm understanding you guys correctly, you're saying that the Spellplague killed the fiction and the setting, and there was no fix possible. That's a depressing perspective, but that doesn't mean you might not be right. I guess it doesn't matter anyway now that WotC has pulled the plug.



If I were king for a day I would have used some comic book type plot device with AO for the Sundering with some shunt point pre-Tot where reality branched so that the TOT, Sundering etc., had all taken place in what was now some alternate reality. Everything from that point was now some legends or elseworlds story and the prime timeline pre-ToT would have been restored to a point it was still the old Gray Box realms.
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Spectralballoons
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Pakistan
16 Posts

Posted - 27 May 2017 :  19:52:40  Show Profile Send Spectralballoons a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I'd set that point at just before the spellplague, then go and re-introduce alternate reality versions of characters from the post-sundering novels.
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Irennan
Great Reader

Italy
2605 Posts

Posted - 27 May 2017 :  21:09:32  Show Profile Send Irennan a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Richard Lee Byers

WotC tred a reset of sorts to create a good jumping-on point for new readers. It was the Spellplague and the 100-year time jump, and the existing FR fan base mostly hated it.




It wasn't really a reset, when the whole set of changes that they started at the end of 3e and completed with 4e deleted a lot of things that people enjoyed about the Realms. It was bound to alienate the existing fanbase, they couldn't have not known (besides, other authors (James Lowder), when asked about it, even warned WotC that the existing base would have little reason to keep reading the Realms).

The lore baggage for newcomers has a much more practical and non-destructive solution (which alas they only remembered about in 5e), I really don't see why they really had to blow up the world. WotC knowingly gave up the existing FR fans for a chance that other people would have liked the Realms, and that those other people 1)wouldn't have liked it anyway--or even more--before (after all, why would people be drawn to the Realms over other generic fantasy settings if not for its depth?) 2)would have been numerous enough to more than compensate for the loss of customers. To me, this never made any sense tbh.

To all Facebook-using FR fans, you might be interested in checking out this page: https://www.facebook.com/groups/450517575051806/

Edited by - Irennan on 27 May 2017 21:10:36
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xaeyruudh
Master of Realmslore

USA
1807 Posts

Posted - 27 May 2017 :  22:59:13  Show Profile  Visit xaeyruudh's Homepage Send xaeyruudh a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Richard Lee Byers

WotC tred a reset of sorts to create a good jumping-on point for new readers. It was the Spellplague and the 100-year time jump, and the existing FR fan base mostly hated it.


Yep. Worst decision in the history of gaming. The WotC powers-that-be had completely lost touch with what made the Realms magical in the first place. It was a mistake to think they needed to blow things up in order to attract new readers. At least, it's been my impression that Salvatore's novels (using him as an example because the Drizzt novels started at/near the first publication of the Realms and have continued ever since) have been successful all along. If any change was necessary, they should have looked back toward the old gray box in order to recapture the readers they lost in 2e and 3e. That first introduction to the Realms is what inspired authors and drew novel readers as well as setting fans. It wasn't broke, but they "fixed" it, and that BROKE IT (duh) and they "fixed" it again, which broke it MORE... and they just kept going down that road instead of making a U-turn.


quote:
Originally posted by Richard Lee Byers
Then WotC tried to return to a more classic version of the FR with the Sundering event, and apparently that didn't set the world on fire, either, because they canceled the fiction line afterward.


To the extent that the Sundering sucked, it was because it was another RSE. Big world-shaking events can work in other worlds, but (imo) they will never work well in the Realms. WotC has some excuse in that they're really the M:TG company, not the D&D company, and in M:TG it's fine for the "story" to be disjointed and the "world" to be a wacko place. The M:TG universe was created that way. D&D has a certain margin of forgiveness too because each edition has changed the game significantly, so the 4e *rules* changes were expected to change too. However, the Realms setting in particular isn't designed to blow up every few years. The 4e changes in the Realms look to me like a M:TG strategy applied to a campaign setting... and the result was predictably destructive and stupid.


quote:
Originally posted by Richard Lee Byers
So who the hell knows what the solution would have been? It's my personal opinion that neither the Spellplague event nor the Sundering event had a proper advertising push behind it (although the Sundering had more), but I don't know if more and smarter advertising would actually have made a difference.


You could be right about the advertising. I tend to think that more/smarter advertising wouldn't have made a *lasting* positive difference, but I'm biased by my status as a fan of the setting as a functional whole as opposed to a fan of one particular city or character. The Spellplague was a Michael Bay sort of thing, and that definitely has its own fanbase... but that wasn't what the Realms was about, so losing a lot of current fans was inevitable with that approach and there's no excuse for not seeing that in advance. If WotC wanted a Michael Bay setting, then they should have made a Michael Bay (or Azeroth) setting, and marketed *that* to draw new fans into the fold. Fans going into bookstores looking for the WotC trademark are going to notice other settings including FR, and check them out. If they hadn't mucked up FR, then many of the newcomers would appreciate the Realms for the contrast it offers, and delve into it as well. Meanwhile WotC would have a new setting which is drawing its own fans in droves. Instead, they screwed up the one well-developed setting they had, presumably to trade their remaining loyal fans for a hopefully larger group of new fans.


quote:
Originally posted by Richard Lee Byers
Part of the problem may be that some highly placed person in Hasbro thought, We're a toy company. What are we doing publishing novels? I don't know that that happened, but it could have.



I agree with this, but I'll generalize it further: "We're a toy company; what are we doing publishing RPGs?" Maybe Hasbro felt that WotC wasn't pulling its weight in *3e* and told them to "do what you're good at; blow things up" and WotC didn't have whatever it would take to defuse the situation. I dunno. But that direction was definitely an epic fail, and it's not just hindsight -- a lot of us could have told them it would be, if they'd made a setting-specific outreach like they made for 5e rules during the D&D Next development phase.

I acknowledge that I'm coming at the situation as a DM, rather than a novels-only customer, but I think what has in the past drawn readers to the Realms as opposed to other settings has been the continuity as well as the shared-world status. Ed's characters in Waterdeep and the Dales are in the same world as RAS's characters in Icewind Dale and the Underdark, and the same world as Richard's characters and Erik's characters and Elaine's characters and Erin's characters, ... and we can see that because they occasionally visit each other's places, and the front-page maps overlap, etc. Changing those maps (3e as well as 4e) was a mistake. Timewarping 100 years forward and killing off a bunch of characters --and even *places*-- was a mistake, and it's hard to grasp how they could fail *that* hard on their wisdom checks. It was only a DC 5 or 10 check, but they rolled a 1 and added -20 in modifiers.
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xaeyruudh
Master of Realmslore

USA
1807 Posts

Posted - 27 May 2017 :  23:04:46  Show Profile  Visit xaeyruudh's Homepage Send xaeyruudh a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Sunderstone
If I were king for a day I would have used some comic book type plot device with AO for the Sundering with some shunt point pre-Tot where reality branched so that the TOT, Sundering etc., had all taken place in what was now some alternate reality. Everything from that point was now some legends or elseworlds story and the prime timeline pre-ToT would have been restored to a point it was still the old Gray Box realms.



Yea, I thought they should have adapted the Arcane Age idea they used for adventures in Netheril and Myth Drannor to a futuristic product line for the TOT and Spellplague and their aftermaths. Offering us an *option* would have resulted in many of us buying into both product lines, rather than many of us rejecting the only option they gave us.

Edited by - xaeyruudh on 27 May 2017 23:12:12
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xaeyruudh
Master of Realmslore

USA
1807 Posts

Posted - 27 May 2017 :  23:07:11  Show Profile  Visit xaeyruudh's Homepage Send xaeyruudh a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Richard Lee Byers

If i'm understanding you guys correctly, you're saying that the Spellplague killed the fiction and the setting, and there was no fix possible.


Ehh... no fix that they were willing to give us, but there were options right up until the moment they decided to put all the eggs in the Spellplague basket.

That being said, I'm cool with the 5e Realms... to the extent that it's a reset to the 1e Realms. I didn't want them to stop publishing novels, but I do like the "back to the foundation" feel of the Realms setting right now.

quote:
Originally posted by Richard Lee Byers
I guess it doesn't matter anyway now that WotC has pulled the plug.


*sigh* Yet another ill-considered and unfortunate decision.

Edited by - xaeyruudh on 27 May 2017 23:15:14
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xaeyruudh
Master of Realmslore

USA
1807 Posts

Posted - 27 May 2017 :  23:09:01  Show Profile  Visit xaeyruudh's Homepage Send xaeyruudh a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Spectralballoons
Also, I can't believe I'm talking to an actual Forgotten Realms author here. Keep up the good work!


Yea! Thanks for keeping tabs on us Richard!
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Spectralballoons
Seeker

Pakistan
16 Posts

Posted - 27 May 2017 :  23:14:15  Show Profile Send Spectralballoons a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Honestly, I feel that a proper, comprehensive 5e campaign guide would have gone a long way towards renewing interest in FR.
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xaeyruudh
Master of Realmslore

USA
1807 Posts

Posted - 27 May 2017 :  23:19:28  Show Profile  Visit xaeyruudh's Homepage Send xaeyruudh a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Spectralballoons

Honestly, I feel that a proper, comprehensive 5e campaign guide would have gone a long way towards renewing interest in FR.



Totally agree.
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Aldrick
Senior Scribe

713 Posts

Posted - 27 May 2017 :  23:45:31  Show Profile Send Aldrick a Private Message  Reply with Quote
The mistakes are so numerous there are too many to name. However, I believe three things ultimately sealed the coffin.

1. Not understanding the shifting times. Honestly, I see the future of most tabletop projects being crowd funded. WotC has one of the largest fan bases to draw upon, and could probably fund any product they wanted through crowd funding. The fact that they did not go this route is either because of Hasbro or foolishness on their part.

2. Not understanding their player base. There are the 4E changes, of course, but even 5E was a bust. They really needed to put out a campaign setting guide or simply do a full on reset. With no real guide or explanation of the changes, most people were left with going... "Huh?" Post-Sundering. It was handled poorly. I think they had something else in mind, but changed their mind midstream or, more likely, they simply ran out of funding.

3. Once again, not understanding the times. They attempted to make a pivot with Gleemax, but it was an utter failure. WotC needed to get D&D an online presence, some type of virtual table top, some way to help facilitate matchmaking to play the game online with friends. Many gaming groups have broken up over the years, and many struggle to find groups locally. The internet is the obvious solution to the problem. There are some decent virtual tabletops out there, but WotC really should have pioneered their own. The easier it is to form gaming groups, the more people out there who will buy the products. The bigger the fanbase, the easier it is to crowd fund.

Honestly, I think--and still believe--if WotC was unshackled from Hasbro we could see a new Golden Age not seen since 2E. The will and desire is out there. WotC just has to be willing to tap into it, and I honestly think a lot of the problems come from them being shackled to Hasbro.

Someone remind me, isn't it in Ed's contract that if he does not get to publish something for the Realms at least once a year, that all the rights to the setting revert back to him? I think it was something like that, does anyone know if that still holds? If so, maybe we could help fund a lawsuit to help Ed win back the IP from WotC.
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xaeyruudh
Master of Realmslore

USA
1807 Posts

Posted - 28 May 2017 :  00:04:42  Show Profile  Visit xaeyruudh's Homepage Send xaeyruudh a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Aldrick
isn't it in Ed's contract


I believe THO has said something to that effect, but I'm guessing it won't become a lawsuit. Either they will publish the one novel a year, or they'll renegotiate the contract, or Hasbro will close WotC to nullify the contract and retain all the copyrights etc. I dunno how it's worded, but I'm sure Hasbro's legal dept knows and has figured out what they want to do when the time comes.
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Irennan
Great Reader

Italy
2605 Posts

Posted - 28 May 2017 :  00:35:35  Show Profile Send Irennan a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Aldrick

Someone remind me, isn't it in Ed's contract that if he does not get to publish something for the Realms at least once a year, that all the rights to the setting revert back to him? I think it was something like that, does anyone know if that still holds? If so, maybe we could help fund a lawsuit to help Ed win back the IP from WotC.



I think being involved in one of the WotC's APs, or the adventures that he'll publish through the DMGuild count towards that.

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sleyvas
Great Reader

USA
5348 Posts

Posted - 28 May 2017 :  01:14:41  Show Profile Send sleyvas a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by xaeyruudh

quote:
Originally posted by Aldrick
isn't it in Ed's contract


I believe THO has said something to that effect, but I'm guessing it won't become a lawsuit. Either they will publish the one novel a year, or they'll renegotiate the contract, or Hasbro will close WotC to nullify the contract and retain all the copyrights etc. I dunno how it's worded, but I'm sure Hasbro's legal dept knows and has figured out what they want to do when the time comes.



Yeah, that contract was with TSR, who became WotC, who became Hasbro... lord knows what's in any agreements any longer, and even if he tried to pursue it, they could just hang him in paper. But, I could be wrong... oftentimes I am.

Alavairthae, may your skill prevail

Phillip aka Sleyvas
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Aldrick
Senior Scribe

713 Posts

Posted - 28 May 2017 :  04:57:45  Show Profile Send Aldrick a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by sleyvas

quote:
Originally posted by xaeyruudh

quote:
Originally posted by Aldrick
isn't it in Ed's contract


I believe THO has said something to that effect, but I'm guessing it won't become a lawsuit. Either they will publish the one novel a year, or they'll renegotiate the contract, or Hasbro will close WotC to nullify the contract and retain all the copyrights etc. I dunno how it's worded, but I'm sure Hasbro's legal dept knows and has figured out what they want to do when the time comes.



Yeah, that contract was with TSR, who became WotC, who became Hasbro... lord knows what's in any agreements any longer, and even if he tried to pursue it, they could just hang him in paper. But, I could be wrong... oftentimes I am.



That's probably all true. Sigh. I just wish there was some way to get the IP away from Hasbro. Ultimately, what is going to happen is that they are going to lock away the IP, and essentially let it languish and die off completely.

All the time, energy, investment, and love put into the setting is going to be gone. The Realms has been dying a slow death for a long time now. A lot of us held out hope that things might turn around at some point. It seems pretty clear now that is not going to happen.
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dazzlerdal
Great Reader

United Kingdom
3292 Posts

Posted - 28 May 2017 :  08:35:16  Show Profile Send dazzlerdal a Private Message  Reply with Quote
As always the big business failed to diagnose the root of the issue and focused on kewl results of targeted marketing surveys (which as always only showed what they wanted to see).

Why didnt new people want to take up FR. Apart from the obvious that it is old and therefore out of fashion, accessibility is the biggest problem. If you want to get involved you have to wade through hundreds of novels (a task marred by quality and quantity) and another hundred or so sourcebooks as well as all the web articles and magazine articles.

The solution is simple but laborious. A comprehensive and well structured wiki that is updated regularly so that all the information you could possibly want is available in one place.


WoTC took the easy option because it suited the agenda of their own creative team who wanted to stamp their mark on one of the best fantasy IPs around (undrrstandable but selfishly executed). Now we all have to suffer for corporate greed and short sighted stupidity (as always).




As you can guess im one of the die hard old editions fans. 5e does not reboot the setting back to its old grey box roots. It reskins it in a superficial parody of the old grey box that still suffers immensely from the kult of kewl mentality of the creatives behind it. Its shallow and uninteresting and gets worse with every RSE they unleash upon it (as happened during 3e) and it was already pretty bad to begin with.


Help us Ed Greenwood. You're our only hope.

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Wooly Rupert
Master of Mischief
Moderator

USA
29894 Posts

Posted - 28 May 2017 :  22:52:09  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Spectralballoons

Nah, the thing is that the novels weren't selling well and don't have enough of a following to make publishing companies interested.



From what I've heard, the novels were selling, and they were more profitable than the game material. The problem was that WotC didn't want to be a novel company.

I find it hard to believe that publishing companies wouldn't be interested in a line that included a New York Times best-selling author.

I think it more likely that as they've done in the past with magazines and with some settings, WotC is trying to farm out the novel line. I also tend to think nothing has been announced yet because WotC is likely wanting more than they should out of the deal (like they tried with the 4E GSL) and it's been a tough sell because of that.

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Spectralballoons
Seeker

Pakistan
16 Posts

Posted - 29 May 2017 :  08:04:23  Show Profile Send Spectralballoons a Private Message  Reply with Quote
The novels were definetely not selling well, mainly as a result of the incompetence of WoTC's marketing team. Basically, what happened to dragonalance/greyhawk/mystara/ravenloaft/eberron/spelljammer/planescape/etc novels and other fiction.

Edited by - Spectralballoons on 29 May 2017 08:06:25
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Ayrik
Great Reader

Canada
6194 Posts

Posted - 29 May 2017 :  09:01:38  Show Profile Send Ayrik a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I suspect the novels are not selling well because they're stupid eBooks. Not real books, although they cost the same. Locked tight, controlled, and full of DRM.

Not the sort of products I buy. There's plenty of fantasy novels (not published by Wizbro) which I can actually read without a device and keep on my bookshelves.

I'm also not sure Ed and/or RAS should be viewed as "last, best hopes" for Realms novels.
In fact, if anything, the evidence (lack of book sales, end of book sales) suggests these two authors have failed to keep the Realms alive.
They're basically the only two authors left who actually get any Realms stuff published with regularity, sometimes relentless regularity, and yet Realms novels just aren't selling. Not at all like the Realms novels sold when other authors were contributing. I'm not saying these two guys are bad authors, I am saying that two authors aren't as good as five authors or a dozen authors or (over time) ten dozen authors. Part of the appeal of Realms fiction was the sheer variety of styles and viewpoints and creativity and ideas (and even stupid ideas) involved ... and the two flagship authors of the Realms have basically spent themselves into the Realms so much that they'r boring old hats these days. I know there's tons of people wanting to read more about Elminster and Drizzt, et al, but (trust me) there comes a point where you've read enough and seen enough and simply want to enjoy something else which doesn't insistently keep stuffing the same (overused to the point of annoying) characters into your face.

Eat lots of garlic - it keeps the elves and vampires away.
Don't stick your sword into dragons, you just don't know where they've been.
Avoid stepping on halflings. They stick to your boots, will smell awful, and are impossible to scrape off.
Ah, of course. Never play leapfrog with a unicorn.
[/Ayrik]
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