Friday, 30 July 2021

Kickstarter AAR: The Pamphlet of Pantheons

In February 2021, during Zinequest 3, I Kickstarted a small project called The Pamphlet of Pantheons. This was something that came to me on the spur of the moment in late January when I was reminded that Zinequest was happening. I'd been thinking about the concepts behind it for a long time, and I decided that the resulting project would be a good size for Zinequest. I wanted to try out a Kickstarter before launching a possibly larger one for The Magonium Mine Murders, and the limited scope of Zinequest made it seem like this was a good opportunity. 

In this post, I'm going to go over lessons learned and look at some of the things I did right and wrong. Let's start with what I did right: 

Keep It Simple

This was the first thing I decided when I started planning the Kickstarter. I had no stretch goals, and only two reward tiers: digital and print. I knew that the more complex the project was, the more opportunities there would be for me to make a miscalculation somewhere. 

Do It Yourself

I did everything for this project apart from the cover art, which had both good and bad effects. On the one hand, I think you could call the graphic design and layout "functional," but on the other hand I learned a lot and saved some money. I also did all of the shipping and fulfilment myself, which did wind up costing me extra money and time at a time when I really needed to be focusing on other things. 

Be Lucky

Probably the best thing to happen to the Pamphlet was an offer, out of the blue, from a friend who arranged for my Tim Molloy cover art. In addition to just being a cool cover, this did several things for the project: 
  • It let me have a B&W cover but still look great, saving me some money. 
  • It gave me a great image to use on social media to promote the book. 
  • It added a little buzz and credibility -- cool Old School types recognise Molloy from Knock! 
Appeal to an Existing Audience

I would characterise myself as a "minor gaming community figure." I have about 900 followers on Twitter and a core podcast audience of probably fewer than a thousand people, of whom about 150 back me on Patreon. In absolute terms, that's not a huge number, but it's a lot better than shouting into the void, and it does mean that I have a platform to hawk my wares. It's possible that the Pamphlet would have done as well without Monster Man to promote it, but given the number of my listeners' names I recognised among my backers, I have my doubts. 

Benefit from Community Expertise

There's a growing number of RPG zine makers out there, and a lot of them have been through the bits you're struggling with. I received great advice about paper stock, cover weight, postage, and more. I'm very grateful. 

Of course, not everything went perfectly. Here's the thing I will definitely do better next time: 

Postage, Postage, Postage

Postage was by far the biggest expense of the whole Kickstarter. I did not anticipate how many orders would come from the US (over half of my print backers were in the US), and I calculated the postage a little too low on those orders considering that if you do postage through Kickstarter, it's counted as part of your Kickstarter and therefore Kickstarter takes a slice. I still made a profit on those US backers, but I could have done much better. 

Seriously, postage alone -- exclusive of packing materials -- cost more than everything else put together. 

Next time, I'm working out a separate US print run and getting myself a North American fulfilment partner. It will also save the nice people at the post office a lot of aggravation and I bet it won't be that much more expensive. 

Also, I ordered the wrong size of envelopes at one point, which cost me some money. Anyone want to buy some capacity book mailers? Going cheap!

Pricing

I have a bad habit of selling products at very low prices. This is partly because of, I don't know, low self-esteem or something, partly because I myself am very frugal, and partly because my mental index of what something costs in dollars is fixed at the last time I lived in the US, which was nearly 20 years ago. 

This was a bit of a mixed bag: I do think that there were a lot of people who shelled out for the digital edition of the zine because it was only £2, and since my overhead there was essentially nil, that's a good source of profit for me. But I bet almost all of them would still have backed it at £3 and been happy, and I would have made 50% more. And this low price was much more of a problem for the print edition, where there were real expenses to cut into my profit margin. 

Adding it Up

So here's a rough calculation of how the money went. Some of these expenses are functionally lower -- I'm registered self-employed and do report the income, so I'll be claiming the expenses as deductions. 

Kickstarter (after fees etc.): £1378
Direct and distro sales: £90
Online sales: £270

Total: approximately £1738

Software: £24
Packaging and stationery: £75
Printing: £140
Postage: £385

Total: approximately £624

That leaves me with a profit of about £1114, which is better than a slap in the face but not exactly retirement money. 

Now, the good thing is that at this point a lot of my main expenses are done but there's nothing to stop the book making more money. At present, I'm not promoting it very hard on DTRPG, but I still get a steady little trickle of sales, essentially money that I don't have to do any work for. Same goes for digital sales on Itch. It's also definitely done a lot for my follower count on social media and on Itch. I wouldn't be surprised to learn that some of my new Monster Man patrons came to the show via the Pamphlet

Also, while it seemed to me like I never shut up about the project, that doesn't mean that much outside of the communities I belong to. Big boosts to my sales post-KS always came from posting in relevant FB groups or having other people talk about the Pamphlet on social media (one Instagram post in particular got me a pretty substantial sales spike). Do more of that next time. 

So, for next time: 
  • Price more realistically 
  • Work with partners for international shipping 
  • Be as loud about the project as I thought I was this time
  • Explore new avenues for promotion
Overall, not too bad for a first Kickstarter: the backers got their books on time or close to it, I didn't lose money, and I learned a lot. 

27 comments:

  1. his is very good content writing, I like the way you describe everything. In this profile Number Picker, you'll find some tips that will help you use a number picker wheel correctly.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I have to search website blogs with relevant niche information and provide them to teacher our opinion and the article. I gain more knowledge after reading your posts. I seriously love your site each post and I have also sharing with my all friends. I am so blessed guys. Thank you and Please keep doing like this work in future also. Online Assignment Help Australia - Assignment Help in Melbourne - Best Assignment Help in Adelaide - assignments help

    ReplyDelete
  3. Free vashikaran specialist Vashikaran “Sanskrit language, which is used widely in the field of astrology, is a word. It’s the Sanskrit language Free Vashikaran Specialist Vashikaran will not be an obscure term for you if you have been searching for a vashikaran expert and looking for one here too. Vashikaran Specialist in Bangalore However, vashikaran was also utilized at the time of kings and queens to control the brains of individuals related to them. Love Marriage Specialist in Mumbai Astrologer Rohit

    ReplyDelete
  4. Mostly people prefer to use vashikaran to let their love life better. Thus for this they can take Vashikaran Specialist near me . His address makes them to get in touch of a right person and let their troubles to get solve. A simple Contact number of vashikaran astrologer makes one to call him anytime. Astrologer Swami Ji in India
    A person can call an astrologer and discuss their problem. It is the easy way for a person to make everything well.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I feel so happy after visiting your website, This website shared with me, My Indian friend Ankit, His right and I am agree with you and Ankit. Your many blogs is very unique and fresh to me. I have a hard time describing my thoughts on your content, but I really felt I should here. Your blogs is really great, trust me admin. I like the way you wrote this information about any topic. Thank you so much and have a nice day. homework help cpm - college essay help - homework help math - help with my assignment

    ReplyDelete
  6. Thank you for sharing this valuable information.

    Apparrant is the leading UX UI Design agency having experienced designers and developers working throughout the year on important and life changing products. We have been awarded as top UI UX Design agency in India by multiple agencies. If you are looking for best UX Design Agency in Noida, UI UX Design Agency in Faridabad, and UX UI Design Company in Delhi then Apparrant is best for you.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Nice Information. I really liked it and admire you for posting it on the internet for the benefit of a larger Audience.

    If you are looking for best App design and development company in Noida, Delhi NCR, Gurgaon, Faridabad and India then Apparrant is Awesome. We have been known as leading Mobile and web application development company in Noida, India. Work of Apparrant can be checked on our website along with the processes we follow in to the web or App design and technologies we use at Apparrant.

    ReplyDelete
  8. We are the india's best pharmaceutical distributors in india We at Mediseller believe that there is humanity in healthcare and strive every day to adopt these values in our services and products. With each passing day, health care tends to get more expensive. Our mission is to provide health care products and medicines at low prices and thus make them easily available to anyone around the globe.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. tadora force harshly affects nursing moms, and pregnant ladies shouldn't accept it. Drug aftereffects may likewise antagonistically influence the lungs, as well as hurting the liver, kidneys, and heart. Contaminations of the kidneys and coronary illness are models. Tadora's site contains extra data about contraindications.

      Read more ED pills...
      Penegra 50
      megalis
      Lovegra 100mg

      Delete
  9. Do you want to get Love Problem Solution on call? Are you finding a love problem solution online? There is no need to go anywhere to get a online love problem solution astrologer. ||Online love problem solution astrologer||Love Marriage Problem Solution Baba Ji

    ReplyDelete
  10. It's a great blog, shares a piece of good information.

    GIEC Global is the leading education and migration consultants in Australia. We are top Education consultants in Melbourne, Sydney, Perth, Brisbane, Adelaide and Australia. We are best education consultants for Canada in Australia. We also helps people in studying in USA and have been awarded as education consultants for USA in Melbourne and education consultant for UK in Australia.

    ReplyDelete
  11. The awesome blog shares good information with everyone. I will bookmark it in the future.

    France Education Consultants in Australia is GIEC Global. We are top Education consultants for Norway in Melbourne, Sydney, Perth, Brisbane, Adelaide and Australia. We are best education consultants for Netherlands in Australia. We also helps people in studying in Ireland and have been awarded as education consultants for Ireland in Melbourne and education consultant for Finland in Australia.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Nice Blog, worth reading it. I have also bookmarked it for the future.

    If you are looking to Work in Australia , Work in Canada, Work in USA, Work in UK, or Work in Ireland then GIEC Global will be the best consultant for you in Australia.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Good One. Worth reading it once.

    If you are looking to Visit to Australia , Visit to Canada, Visit to USA, or Visit to UK then GIEC Global will be the best consultant for you in Australia.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Apparrant Technologies - Best UX UI Design Company in India.Great, it's really good blog

    If you are looking for best UX Design Company in Gurgaon Haryana, India then Apparrant is Awesome. We have been known as leading UX Design Company in Pune , UX Design Studio in Hyderabad , UX Design Company in Mumbai , and UX Design Company in Bangalore .

    ReplyDelete
  15. Good blog. Keep sharing. I love them Are you also searching for Spanish writing help? we are the best solution for you. We are best known for delivering Spanish writing services to students without having to break the bank

    ReplyDelete
  16. Wow, what great writing. I liked the way you have explained with that much detail.

    Read about Wi4 Software Solutions including HL7 FHIR Development . We also deal with the data with program design and implementation . Know more about platforms and products offered by Wi4.

    ReplyDelete
  17. The new report by Expert Market Research titled, ‘Global Vegan Cosmetics Market Size, Share, Growth, Price, Demand, Report and Forecast 2022-2027’, gives an in-depth analysis of the global Vegan Cosmetics Market, assessing the market based on its segments like productivity type, sales channel, and major regions. The report tracks the latest trends in the industry and studies their impact on the overall market. Consumer awareness of cruelty-free goods is growing, as is knowledge of the detrimental consequences of chemical and animal-based products. As a result, there is a growing demand for vegan cosmetics. The major players in the market are Ecco Bella, Emma Jean Cosmetics, INC., Bare Blossom, Urban Decay Cosmetics, Arbonne International, LLC, and, among others. Expert Market Research provides according to the clients’ needs and preferences, providing them with valuable, exact, actionable and up-to-date insights into the market, thus, helping them realize their optimum growth potential. For more information, You can visit our website.

    ReplyDelete
  18. It was a pleasure to see this information presented in such a concise manner. Alteza is a Telemedicine app development company. I would like to share more information about this topic. Alteza, a Telemedicine app development company offers innovative solutions that are based on understanding the needs of businesses and implementing a solution that allows them to expand their operations via virtual platforms.

    ReplyDelete