Sorry to disappoint you, Evillene, but I've got some bad news for you.
One of my goals for a long time has been store availability. And not just general store availability, but game store availability. My plan was pretty simple, with only two steps. 1) Save up enough money from the profits of the game to order a modest print run of 100 copies. 2) Get a contract with Impressions to handle getting those copies into the hands of the distributors that sell to game stores.
I had paid everyone off by January of last year, so by this February I had completed step 1. I had the money. I didn't order the print run then, since I didn't have a place to put the books until I could foist them off on Impressions. So I moved on to step 2, contacting Aldo at Impressions to get things set up. And that's when I hit the big snag.
Getting set up with all of the other places I sell through has been remarkably easy. There's been little concern of rejection, since there's very little risk on their part. Digital storage is dirt cheap. The only time cost is an issue is when moving that file to the customer, either using internet bandwidth or paper and ink to print it into a POD book. At which point, the seller collects that cost from the end-user and kicks me back a royalty.
So I was more than a little surprised when Aldo politely but firmly turned me down. Since I only had one product out, he said, the chances of it making any money for him was pretty slim. If I had at least 3 products, then there was a better chance that at least one of the products would be successful enough to pay for physically storing and shipping those inventories. I've sat in on many seminars at DunDraCon with Aldo, so I'm going to trust him on this one.
Then came the death knell. Almost immediately after accruing that much money, I started spending it. Not because I wanted to. Because I had to. My day job was in panic mode over Obamacare, so they were trying to pull an Olive Garden and keep as much staff as possible under the 30 hour limit. So in order to make ends meet, I had to dip into savings and my game profits in order to pay rent or buy anything that couldn't be bought with food stamps. (For the record, I'm not blaming Obamacare. I'm blaming my employer's reaction to the law. Especially since the relevant portions aren't even in effect yet.)
Things are stabilizing somewhat. I'm looking for another job that will give me full time hours. My manager at my current job (who I game with) is giving me as many hours as he can without going over the limit. I've got room to breathe, if not actually relax.
The Wizard's Magic Bag is written, but I'm getting a few more eyes on it before I go further. (If you want to be one of those eyes, let me know!) The initial burst of publicity from my Pay What You Want offering should pay for most of the production expenses (layout and art) as long as I'm able to spend it quickly enough that it can't go to rent.
Where to go from here? Probably Indie Press Revolution. They do some distribution, sell direct via their website and go to cons. The main thing that's kept me away from them so far has been my fear of their content standard. While lots of people have told me that AiO is actually pretty awesome, and I've actually made more than a buck or two off of it, there's still this little fear in the back of my head that it might not meet their standards.
Wish me luck.