Once upon a time, Wizards of the Coast said they weren't working on 4e, and then announced the release of 4e two weeks later...... I don't want to spring changes on people, so I'm giving a heads up.
We've got a major development brewing, but it's not inked on a contract yet, so (a) this is just a general heads-up and (b) I will not give the names of the publisher(s).
(1) Likelihood of putting S&W into distribution (at brick and mortar stores) is just about at 99% probability right now.
(2) We will likely be working with a publisher, with ongoing support and new S&W products (not produced by us) also going into the mix.
(3) There will be advertising (internet, print, trade magazines, etc), there will be press releases, there will be an official "launch," etc. There will be sales through the publisher at conventions.
What does this mean for us here?
(1) We continue to hold the trademark; this is a licensing deal, not a sale.
(2) This website will continue at full steam, and there will, I think, even be a link to it on the publisher's site.
(3) I am very, very, very happy with this publisher. This deal is a partnership to boost the game, not just a profit-and-loss business transaction. Everyone will have a chance to meet the publisher and get comfortable, but as I said, that won't happen until the deal is done. This is just the early heads-up.
(4) The price of the rule book will likely double or more to the $22-$25 level. It's GOT to be that way - if people see a $10 rule book in a store they will instantly assume that it's crap. I will give people warning so that if anyone needs cheap rulebooks before this happens, there will be some time to buy them.
(5) The published version of the rule books has to have "something more" than the free pdf, or it spooks the hobby stores - who see free pdfs as competition. Most likely, I will add an appendix at the end with a couple of thief options and a couple of ranger options (I have heard on this board that younger players like rangers, so why not).
(6) Knockspell will still be run by us here, and won't go into brick and mortar stores ... most likely. I plan on advertising it on the net and in Kobold Quarterly, or other such places for direct sales at the publisher's online store.
(7) This doesn't entirely solve the problems with lulu, but lulu is definitely going to become the ass-end of the distribution process, if at all.
Once this deal is fully in place, there will actually be a fair amount of coordination for us to do - the release is planned for GenCon, so we'll suddenly have a headquarters at the convention.
I will have more details once we've inked a contract, which will probably be at least a week.