So, a while back my friend Wolf started a new way to finance rpg products through the Open Design patronage project, where subscribers to the project can request specific topics be included. It's proven v. successful, so much so that now it's been announced as one of the finalists for this year's Diana Jones Award, a quirky award intended to reward excellence in the hobby gaming community. Here's the award site's official description of Wolf's project, and why it deserves to be a nominee:
OPEN DESIGN/WOLFGANG BAUR
Open Design began as an experiment in funding the development of roleplaying game supplements. Wolfgang Baur—a highly respected, long-time Dungeons & Dragons editor and designer for TSR and then Wizards of the Coast—went back hundreds of years to dig up the concept of patronage, add a few modern twists to it, and apply it to the problem. He posts a project and publicizes it along with a monetary threshold. When the funding his patrons chip in reaches that threshold, he starts on the project in earnest. Baur supplements his exemplary work by letting his patrons suggest various directions for each project and then allowing them to look over this shoulder as he works. Each project becomes a master-level class on adventure design for those privileged to be a part of it.
For more on the award, see http://www.dianajonesaward.org/08nominees.html