Bowing Out of the Horus Heresy Series - Page 17 - Wargaming Forum and Wargamer Forums
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post #161 of 205 (permalink) Old 06-09-15, 03:04 PM
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I think Black library lost focus. The recent novels that have been publish is not too important to over all story for the heresy. Either the writers are having writer's block or as other have mentioned there is a lack of true direction.

I remember I used to get excited looking up what new novel will come out or whenever I go to the book store I would check out the War hammer novels.However, lately just lost allot of interest.

Honestly I have no idea what black library problem is. I mean in the beginning they were producing some decent stuff but lately it's not that good.
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post #162 of 205 (permalink) Old 06-10-15, 06:48 AM
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I think BL's strategy of alienation can be stripped down to two decisions on their end: raised prices, and lack of communication.

Raised prices - BL stuff is (in the most extreme cases) first released in a form from $75 novels, through $40 novellas, to $2 quick reads that are only 1000 words long. That means that, for one cent, you get between 5 and 15 words. By comparison, a typical fantasy doorstopper hardback is around 300K words for $30, that is, about 100 words for each cent. And sure, after a year BL prints paperbacks, but so does everyone else.

Lack of communication - Even something as simple as the utterly terrible website. Not announcing future releases. And, also, the disorganization of the endless ranges that leads to stuff being released in various forms, in complicated fashion, in bite-sized chunks, without clear information on stuff like what % of an anthology is reprint material.

These combine to shrink the fanbase, destroy hype, etc.. Maybe BL is still making tons of money, but I'm pretty sure it's making it off of significantly fewer people, and those people are significantly less satisfied with the product (as evidenced by most discussion on forums like this).

Exhibit One: the Warhammer Fantasy End Times. First, look at all the excited proposals for a 40K End Times series. That's what the fandom seems to want, more than anything. Now, I didn't closely follow the discussion on the WHFB End Times (not being a WHFB fan), but of what I read, none of it seemed positive. Maybe that's because it was a series that should have been as big as the HH, condensed down to five books, released within the span of a few months.

...That's my view of the current situation, at least. For my own part, it's been a while since I've finished a BL book. Maybe I'll get back into the world eventually; I do still have interest in the setting. But BL's business model is not exactly helping.

I know what you mean. During the beginning of the Heresy change I thought it was a way of Black Library and GW trying to expand to more audience. Which... you can't really blame them for. After all, the amount of 90's and 80's veterans are dwindling. However, they made the hobby unsustainable to follow. To much loose crap going around, as well as the expense. Like whoa! Besides the literature, I also look at the stuff they are trying to do with games, and that nasty attempt at a movie and its like.... wtf... is going on.

You want more fans or no? Too many one hit fans. They try the game and the game pushes it away. In this case its the literature. GW seriously has bad marketing skills.
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post #163 of 205 (permalink) Old 06-12-15, 03:56 AM
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I
Exhibit One: the Warhammer Fantasy End Times. First, look at all the excited proposals for a 40K End Times series. That's what the fandom seems to want, more than anything. Now, I didn't closely follow the discussion on the WHFB End Times (not being a WHFB fan), but of what I read, none of it seemed positive. Maybe that's because it was a series that should have been as big as the HH, condensed down to five books, released within the span of a few months.

.
WHFB doesn't have the background that 40k does and that's why they could never do a HH type series of books. This end times stuff was born out of falling WHFB game sales, and again, that's a result of having no cohesive world structure. They are really piss poor with their fluff. It's always changing, its rarely linked, its cartoony and irrelevant and that's why its failed. But they cant see that.

If you look at the board of directors, they are financial people. Accountants. Everyone on of them. And that's reflected in how they conduct things. Its all about the money and screw everything else. Low cost, low quality, high prices, mass volume.
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post #164 of 205 (permalink) Old 06-12-15, 09:00 AM
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WHFB doesn't have the background that 40k does and that's why they could never do a HH type series of books. This end times stuff was born out of falling WHFB game sales, and again, that's a result of having no cohesive world structure. They are really piss poor with their fluff. It's always changing, its rarely linked, its cartoony and irrelevant and that's why its failed. But they cant see that.

If you look at the board of directors, they are financial people. Accountants. Everyone on of them. And that's reflected in how they conduct things. Its all about the money and screw everything else. Low cost, low quality, high prices, mass volume.
who else would you want steering a multimillion pound international business? Billy the trolley boy from the local Tesco? Plus you are taking the subject way off topic, this thread is about the HH series and why people have bowed out, has nothing to do end times or fantasy sales.

back on topic, lack of firm direction of the main story arc seem to be sighted as the main reason people have dropped off the series, over and over again its the same thing, its Horus Heresy, people want to read about how we get from horus being no1 son to getting his ass handed to him by his dad, and everything in between, that allows for massive broad strokes of story, but fleshing out every single facet about every single faction from mutiple different angles with no end in site and very little progress after almost 10 years is just milking the fan base.



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post #165 of 205 (permalink) Old 06-12-15, 10:30 AM
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A lack of narrative focus is certainly one of, if not the main problem. It's the dilution of the overall product experience that's the general term I'd use, and that does include business factors.

I used to work in publishing and did a deal or two with BL back when Mark Gascoigne was around, but I haven't been in the business for years now. However, the HH series back when I was, was a new customer generator - it attracted readers. We're all aware of how popular it was / is.
While BL steadily served that customer base for some years, it at some point decided to treat the HH series like a high inherent value niche 'collector' product and bombard the market with five times or more the amount of product, at far less quantifiable value where value for money is concerned as well as add products that can literally initially only be owned if you went to one shop in the entire world one particular weekend (to take an extreme example), thus devaluing the brand, reader loyalty and driving a section of their reader base to casual status or just out.
Rather than take things back to a more welcoming level, they seemed intent on doubling down on hitting up the 'collector market' (ie the whales that can be milked for money of almost any amount as long as you slap enough of the brand signifiers on something) for as much as they can get.

And then they appeared to have internal scheduling problems that've shown up the weakness in not planning for consistent 'meaty' releases and instead jumping from quick buck to quick buck

Last edited by Mob; 06-12-15 at 10:32 AM.
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post #166 of 205 (permalink) Old 06-13-15, 02:51 AM
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who else would you want steering a multimillion pound international business? Billy the trolley boy from the local Tesco? Plus you are taking the subject way off topic, this thread is about the HH series and why people have bowed out, has nothing to do end times or fantasy sales.

.
How about someone with a background in marketing brands and serialisations.
Take a look at how TSR marketed the Dragonlance novels to promote their Advanced Dungeons and Dragons game.

And the way they have managed WHFB has everything to do with whats going on with HH. Go away, sit in a corner and don't come out again until you understand why.
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post #167 of 205 (permalink) Old 06-16-15, 06:58 AM
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Originally Posted by Mob View Post
A lack of narrative focus is certainly one of, if not the main problem. It's the dilution of the overall product experience that's the general term I'd use, and that does include business factors.

I used to work in publishing and did a deal or two with BL back when Mark Gascoigne was around, but I haven't been in the business for years now. However, the HH series back when I was, was a new customer generator - it attracted readers. We're all aware of how popular it was / is.
While BL steadily served that customer base for some years, it at some point decided to treat the HH series like a high inherent value niche 'collector' product and bombard the market with five times or more the amount of product, at far less quantifiable value where value for money is concerned as well as add products that can literally initially only be owned if you went to one shop in the entire world one particular weekend (to take an extreme example), thus devaluing the brand, reader loyalty and driving a section of their reader base to casual status or just out.
Rather than take things back to a more welcoming level, they seemed intent on doubling down on hitting up the 'collector market' (ie the whales that can be milked for money of almost any amount as long as you slap enough of the brand signifiers on something) for as much as they can get.

And then they appeared to have internal scheduling problems that've shown up the weakness in not planning for consistent 'meaty' releases and instead jumping from quick buck to quick buck
It seems like thats partly it. The thing is that I also think they are trying to be to exclusive. I just don't see how they could make enough money to sustain themselves by being as exclusive as they are.

You have to laugh at them when at one point their limited editions would make the site crash and now its taking months for some of those limited editions to sell out.
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post #168 of 205 (permalink) Old 06-16-15, 12:31 PM Thread Starter
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You have to laugh at them when at one point their limited editions would make the site crash and now its taking months for some of those limited editions to sell out.
Word.

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post #169 of 205 (permalink) Old 06-16-15, 10:04 PM
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Maybe they don't make enough money selling complete HH novels and its just not sustainable for them to do so?
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post #170 of 205 (permalink) Old 06-17-15, 12:34 AM
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Maybe they don't make enough money selling complete HH novels and its just not sustainable for them to do so?
I strongly doubt that was originally the case. Near the end of their mass market paperback release cycles the HH novels were hitting the NY Times Bestsellers list. After their switch to "limited hardback" -> "trade paperback" -> "maybe we'll eventually get around to a mass market paperback if we aren't busy reprinting old books and jacking up the price" policy? Not so much.

Not sustainable for them to sell novels of a bestselling series? Somebody's doing it wrong.

Frankly, I think BL has horrendously botched the management of their product lines. The true unsustainable model is what they're doing now: releasing less and less content for higher and higher prices, while utterly failing to communicate with their customer base beyond "Surprise! Here's another super-limited edition for a 120 page novella that costs $40!"

Their first mistake was coming to view their product line as some range of high-end collectibles, as opposed to what they really do, which is pulp tie-in fiction. And let's be clear: there's nothing wrong with pulpy fiction, in the same way that there's nothing wrong with a cheap and cheerful diner that serves up heaping platefuls of comfort food. It's just a different sort of product compared to, say, a three star Michelin restaurant that's all about the latest trends in locally sourced ingredients and experimental techniques. However, if that comfort food diner tries to market and present itself as that exclusive restaurant, it's going to fail. Black Library is trying to do just that.

Their second mistake was in their response to that dissonance when sales dropped. Instead of looking at why sales might be dropping, they chose to raise prices, and raise prices, and raise prices. Oh, and put out less product. Zuh?! Isn't that a classic recipe for a spiral of doom?
"Hey boss, people are buying less of our stuff."
"Great! Make it more expensive, that way we'll get the same amount of money even though we're selling less."
"Done! Uh, hey boss, people are buying even less of our stuff now."
"Great! Make it more expensive, again!"

At this point, the whole system is fethed. I just hope some of the authors who've put out solid work make it out okay.
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