I finished my first adventure "A Little Bit of Thievery". You can download it here. It's free. Publishing this was a personal goal for myself and here is what I learned while putting it together:
- It takes a village. I have friends who volunteered their time to help me get it right. Sure, they get a profit percentage, but we are talking about $15s of dollars right now, so it's a volunteer gig. I had an editor, another editor and graphic designer, and an artist all pitch in. Without them this adventure would be eight pages of boring, unintelligible text.
If you are going to publish an adventure, don't go alone. Pitch it to your friends, players, and other DMs. See who will help you.
- Edit. Edit. Edit. Before this, I had only written TPS reports, blog posts, and college papers. Writing an adventure to sell is totally different. It took me 8 hours to slam out the rough draft. It took another 4-6 hours of edits before handing it to the editors. It took another 4 or 5 rounds of edits. There were occasional looks from editors that said "you went to college, right?"
Just remember that each edit made makes the adventure better.
- You will learn a new set of skills. I was constantly be beset by problems and questions. How do I format a picture in Word so it fits with DriveThruRPG's standards? How do I use their clunky interface? How should I format all of this? Should I have a price, or should it be pay what you want?
There is no perfect guide, and there are infinite options. You are going to have to research and choose (among other things) publishing software, a format style, and an online site. For me, I formatted the adventure in Microsoft Word and used DriveThruRPG for sales.
- Edit. Edit. Edit. The internet will find errors. Fix them. Thank the people that found them. Review it again. Find more errors. Fix those too.
- Be Humble. People fear criticism. You shouldn't. Yeah, the internet is a scary mean place sometimes, but there are people out there that want to help. Dive in and see what people think. Remember, criticism is the only surefire way that you get better. It helps you figure out what works, and what doesn't. If you are just starting out, you are going to make mistakes. Take it in stride.
That doesn't mean you have to accept all suggestions, but each should be considered. If warranted, changes should be made. I probably agreed with 80 to 90% of edits suggested.
- Pass it on. I put my adventure as "pay what you want". As it turns out, people are willing to pay for your content even if it's free. You should pay it forward. Find self-published content you like and toss them a few coins.