Friday, November 9, 2018

Subscription based Crowdfunding on Drip ~ Observations and a working hypothesis


Art by: Alexia Veldhuisen
From: Monthly PDF release on Drip

Drip has been an interesting adventure.  I've now had the page running for one month and this morning I released the second issue of the monthly PDF.  From what I have heard from the subscribers thus far, these releases are a bit hit.  I am thrilled to be releasing monthly content and beyond happy that folks enjoy the content.

This blog isn't just about what is happening and how I'm feeling. We're here to discuss the adventure of writing, self-publishing, game design and all the steps (and missteps) so you can find what works for you.  So lets get into that!

My hypothesis on subscription based crowdfunding:  (be patient, it takes a moment to arrive)

I call it a hypothesis as I have not yet completed testing my premise.  Over the coming years we'll see how well my hypothesis holds up under the data that becomes available.

After reading several articles concerning Patreon and Drip, speaking with creators who have Patreon accounts, and speaking with people who support other creators through Patreon I arrived at the following data points which support my hypothesis:

1) Subscription based crowdfunding really works best if you already have an established audience.  This is a very common sense kind of notion, that is widely believed.   I support this as likely being true.  Estimates vary widely as to what kind of numeric conversion you should anticipate based on your audience size.  My best estimates put my regular audience, spread out between KickStarter, this blog, Twitter, Instagram, MeWe, and Facebook is somewhere around two hundred individuals.
(I know, I was surprised that number was that high too!)

Given that audience size, and an initial number of subscribers of seven (7).  I have achieved a 3.5% subscription rate for my audience size.  Remember that number, it comes up later.

2) For people to subscribe to your Patreon or Drip page they must see value in what you offer.  Okay, this is the "Duh" moment in this blog entry.  Basically, you have to be offering good value for people to want to support your efforts.    Presently, I offer three different subscription levels ($1, $3 and $6 tiers) with higher level tiers encompassing the benefits of the lower tiers.

As a creator, I like this approach to subscription levels as it gives your audience common ground for what you are releasing.  It also means that having created content for the $1 subscription audience, my $3 and $6 audiences have ready made content as well.  My thoughts are that this builds the value for higher tier audiences and doesn't leave folks feeling "left out" from other tier builds. 

Price points on the tiers need to reflect the value of the release. I confess that I looked at the Patron and Drip pages of other creators to see what the going tier rates look like.  I then realized it was unlikely that I would break even on art costs for my monthly release.  If you've been following this blog, you probably know what happened next.  That's right, I said 'So be it!' and marched forward.  So I'm losing money on my Drip page due to art costs, but its a loss I can absorb.  In the meantime, I'll keep working to promote the page and will (hopefully) reach the break even point within the next ten months or so. 

3)  My current subscriber base is too small to derive meaningful statistical data. {My fellow math nerds often disagree with regard to relevant sample size.  For purposes here, I'll assume the minimal, meaningful sample size for this topic is sixty subscribers.... yes, I know... flame away.}  At the risk of using entirely unsubstantiated data references, I've looked at my current subscription data points and discovered that my highest tier ($6) is the most popular with the second highest ($3) being the next most popular.  To coin a phrase from earlier RPG sessions, "I actively disbelieve!" that $6 will continue to be the most popular and will use the $3 as the most common or average projected subscription tier.  Knowing what I require to break even on art costs, I then project that will $3 being my expected average / most common tier, that I will need 60 more subscribers to reach that break even point. 

Now, why is that important?  Because you don't want to lose money on your crowdfunding (it defeats the purpose).

So, keeping in mind the 3.5% subscription rate to my audience size and the need for a total of 67 subscribers, I can rough out what I need to grow my audience to in order to reach my break even point.  (I know we're talking about math here folks, stick with me as if you begin a Patreon or Drip page you'll want this information).   So I'm going to need to increase my audience size to 1915 people at the current subscription rate, to break even.  OR, increase the percentage of the audience who are actively subscribing. 

I don't like the way that sounds "I'm going to need to increase ...."  it makes it sound like you can control who likes what you do and who doesn't.  That isn't realistic.  I create to the best of my ability, and I am fortunate enough that some people like my material and enjoy what I do.  So let us accept that we do not control who likes what.  Let us, instead take ownership of the work we do and move forward into the working theory I'm using....

Call it "Sam's Hypothesis" or whatever you like, but here it is:

The best quality work will receive the best possible interest from your audience and the highest possible subscription rate among your audience, while growing the population of that audience.  

So there we are.  As creators, using Patreon, Drip or whatever other site we like, we must produce the best quality work possible.  Not just to retain those people who already like our material enough to support it, but as a necessity to growing the audience and the number of subscribers.  Though you may be tempted to think of subscribers as being more important than your overall audience, I'm going to shout "DON'T DO THAT!" because the fact is that one is simply a portion of the other.  The entirety of your audience is important and equally as important as the portion who support you through subscriptions. 

But what about promoting my page???? 

Okay, yeah, do that too.  But first: Create the best, highest quality work, you possibly can and do that consistently.  I'm reminded (often) to work on my promotional skills, because they sort of suck.  Let's be honest, they do. I like having my work speak for me, which is not the most productive line of thinking in today's world.  I've been very fortunate to have several people within my audience who actively help promote my books through social media (Big shout out to John (all five of you), Miguel, Leslie, West, Draco, Nerdie, Rene, Mike, Michael, Jordan, Joto, Han, PrincessP., Josh and the other Josh(es?), all of the Chris(es?)... seriously its not easy pluralizing names..., West, the Shadowrun fanfic audience, and really to all of you who read this blog).  Without them I would just be another shouting voice in the void.

Now, for everyone who likes to point out that I have a small audience and may not be the best source for deriving theories on this topic:

1) You may be right.  (Seriously, anyone who reads this blog knew I was going to admit that.) Having said that, I have asked subscribers and other creators about this topic and used their feedback for developing this working hypothesis.  If you have other feedback please do post it below, I would love to get your insights.

2) See point one! (lol) No, but seriously now, yes I have a small audience.  The people who read my blog are likely in the same position as well.  Learning to grow your audience and what to realistically expect is, (I think) more useful than saying "first grow your audience to 10000 people who love your work!", because that doesn't exactly help people who don't have huge social media presence or people who are socially awkward to begin with. For that matter, it doesn't help people who are just getting started, or who (like me) are just into to their second year of content creation. So your feedback is certainly welcome, but please lets keep the audience in mind, shall we?

Cool!

This entry was titles ".... 'On Drip'" because that is the platform I'm using.  I had a brief appearance on Patreon, but shut it down for many reasons.  Nothing against Patreon, by the way, I just wasn't doing a good job with it and that goes against my primary convictions.  Do your best in all things, right?

 Hard examples:

There are a number of creators who have attracted a sizable audience of subscribers on Patreon and/or Drip.  Below are a few to check out, see how they do things, and learn from what is working.  I'm also going to put a link to my Drip page (as I do hope you'll check that out too):

Bully Pulpit Games (On Drip):   I'm not personally familiar with their work, but with 208 active subscribers (as of this writing) they are certainly doing something right.  I'll leave it to your best judgement to judge what that may be.  I first discovered their page by scrolling through every creator on Drip.  (There wasn't a search feature, no seriously, it wasn't there).  I check out this page frequently as I'm interested in what they do.  You should too.


Story Forge (On Drip):  I don't own any Story Forge products, but I'm taking a hard look lately. The content on their Drip page is intriguing! Their Drip page is particularly interesting to me and I'll be adopting their practice of linking the Youtube videos in the public posts.  I think this is a fantastic idea, that is probably a no-brainer to someone with marketing savvy or social media acumen.  Not being either, I'll just nod knowingly and trudge forward. Check them out.

Kobold Press (Patreon):  I am a long time fan of the Kobolds.  Having said that, I'm at a loss as to why they don't have more subscribers on their Patreon page.  The Kobold Press Facebook page and Twitter account are active, engaging and personable.  My only thought is that people may not be aware of the Patreon account and the benefits it offers.  As one of the bigger 'Indy' RPG companies around, Kobold Press has years worth of audience building supporting their efforts and quality has always been top flight for their releases.  (Told you I'm a fan!)  I would really like to see their Patreon subscriber base reach 1000 or more as more funding could potentially mean more cool stuff from these people.  Something I wholeheartedly support.

Terminally Nerdy (Patreon):  One of my favorite Twitter personalities.  Patreon creators take notes.  His page is full of transparent data that tells you exactly what you're getting, what he uses the money for and gives you a perfect sense of the value of pledging. If you're looking for quality content, he's got it.  You can follow his exploits on Twitter as well, and you should.  Take a few minutes and read up on what he is creating.  It is definitely worth your time.


W.S Quinton (Drip):  Yep, me. Presently, I'm providing subscribers with detailed behind the scenes information, access to play test material, how-to information on creating KickStarter campaigns, sneak peeks at art and material in development, and the art for my monthly publication is in color and commissioned specifically for that monthly release.  I'm striving to release high quality content from the beginning, and I hope to expand the content release as more subscribers come on (allowing me the luxury of affording more art).  So check it out (please) find a tier you like (I hope) and subscribe to help me create cool stuff. 

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Thank you for joining me on my adventure in writing, self-publishing and game design.
I hope this blog continues to provide you with insights that will help you in your own efforts, and help you to avoid my own missteps. 

As always, your comments/questions/criticisms are most welcome.

Until next time, remember: Adventure Awaits!





Monday, November 5, 2018

Helping each other, a bit of advice about KickStarter Live, and shameless self-promotion!




In the time that I have been writing this blog, I have very often made mention of my belief in building community with other creators.  I have personally enjoyed doing so, have benefited from sharing information, and have develop a few new friendships along the way.  It has been beneficial and personally it has been most gratifying.

One thing I like to do, is to reach out to first time Kickstarter creators to offer encouragement, of if they are slow funding I like to recommend free things they can do to promote their campaign.  It takes just a few minutes of your day to reach out to people (bloggers, podcasters, Youtubers, etc.) who use an interview platform and put them in touch with the first time creator.  This has the remarkable benefit of providing content and provides a ready made audience for the first time creator to be introduced to.  This works best when you maintain these relationships.

Support those who have supported your efforts, and support those whose work you respect.  If you'll look over to the right you'll see the "featured crowdfunding campaign" section.  Folks don't pay for that spot, I put it there because I think their creation is cool.  This is one of the ways I make an effort to help other creators.  Those of you who have a broader social reach (so really, just about everyone who reads this blog) can have a tremendous impact on the success of a crowdfunding campaign. Remember, if you think its cool then the people who read your material will probably enjoy it too.

It really comes down to building each other up.  Share information about each other's campaigns.  Point folks to print shops and manufacturers you've had good experience with (Thanks again, Adam!).   Use the social media sharing options on your crowdfunding campaign to spread the word on things you like.  You'll find that people are usually very willing to help you in return.

'Pro' tip:

Starting with The Steel Road, I began making a habit of using KickStarter Live (their live streaming utility) to stream during the campaigns.  I've found that this is a wonderful way to connect with your audience!  While I cannot say that live streaming has had a direct impact on the amount of funding raised (there just isn't enough to data present for me to attempt a responsible correlation calculation) I will point out that The Steel Road was a great success for me and Whispers of Persephone saw even more funding from its campaign.

Yes, I'm recommending that you use this feature when you launch a KickStarter campaign.  I'm also going to recommend that you not limit it to just non-stop prattle about your project.  I try to spend about five minutes an hour talking about the project and the rest of the time taking questions, talking with guests (get to that in a moment) and making it a fun activity for all.  Making it a fun thing really does take a lot of the stress away launching the live stream, so have a good time with it.  If you look forward to it, then others will as well.

I also recommend having guests on.  I've had live streamers, podcasters, Youtubers, artists, an author and friends on my own streams.  It keeps the conversation going effortlessly, makes for a wide range of appeal, brings in fans of the guests in question, and really does make for a fun evening.  People have said that I don't live stream "the right way" in that I don't spend a LOT of time talking about my own stuff.  I do, however, take questions about the project and address them as prompltly as possible.  As a great side effect, my relationships with those guests have improved, they've picked up more viewers as audiences cross populate, and I've found more support from some of their fans as well.  Get to know people, even if they have an audience of five people that is potentially five more people you can reach.

Shameless self-promotion:

Yes indeed, it is time once again for me to plug my own stuff.  Whispers of Persephone's KickStarter campaign is complete and I'm working hard to complete the last stages before sending it to be edited.  Once Whispers fulfillment is complete, I'll be launching a holiday book.  I would like to see that campaign launch on the 14th if at all possible, so I'll be working pretty hard in the coming days to make that happen.  It will have its own KickStarter campaign with a rapid fulfillment turn around. Wish me luck!

Drip

My Drip page has entered its second month.  This month (November) will see a monster character as the subject of the month.  It is being illustrated in full color by Alexia Veldhuisen.  I've seen the black and white (pre-color) version of the art and it is stunning.  I'm looking forward to putting that PDF out and sending out the Magic in the Mail cards.

Drip (and Patreon) are wonderful resources for creators.  It is surprising how just a little bit of support can go such a long way!  I am hoping, really hoping, to achieve a milestone of fifty subscribers by the end of April 2019.  That is a BIG goal, but would (most likely) make the Drip page self-sufficient (I commission original art for the monthly release and it does cost some money) and would eventually like to expand the breadth of the material released to the subscribers.

So here is my vision of what my Drip page releases will, eventually, look like:

1) Behind the scenes releases will continue to include play test materials for subscribers.  This is already happening and I'm cautiously optimistic that this will continue to be a popular point with the subscribers.

2) Monthly release will be gradually expanded to increase content provided to the subscribers without raising price points.

3) Subscribers will have the first choice option for limited availability tiers for coming KickStarter campaigns.  One of the first examples of this will be with Tarot Adventures, Book Three: Death comes to Glenfallow.  For that campaign, I have arranged to have a fully illustrated map developed.  On that map will be ten (10) locations that KickStarter backers can pledge for to have the area named after themselves.  Drip subscribers will have the opportunity to pledge for this limited reward prior to the KickStarter going live. I'll reduce the total available tier slots available before launch.

Long term goal for Drip page:

Okay, so this is a bit of misnomer... Drip is shutting down next year and the Drip creators are being migrated to a new site.  I'm not certain what the new platform will be named so for now I'll just refer to it as Drip.  Also, I originally drew up three different long term goals but they are all dependent upon the goal below.

1) Reach 1000 subscribers!  There are a lot of reasons I want to reach this goal.  It would allow me to expand the amount of content released each month (as above), help fund the art and development for the Tarot Adventures and would (potentially) allow me to commission art for my own RPG (currently in development).

https://d.rip/w-s-quinton


You can click on the image to check out my Drip page ... I'll be updating the video in the coming days.

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Thank you once again for joining me on my adventure into self-publishing, writing and game design.  I invite you post your comments and/or questions below.

Please do remember, this blog records my experiences and thoughts. I recommend that you conduct your own research and make your own determination as what has worked for me might not work for you.  The thoughts and opinions expressed in this blog are mine alone (except where other people are quoted).

I hope you'll join me next time, as we continue my new adventure in game design, self-publishing and writing.

Thank you all!











Monday, October 29, 2018

Kickstarter campaign and fulfillment, then "What's Next" and other stuff

Art from Whispers of Persephone was created by Christian Martinez
Copyright (c) 2018 Sinopa Publishing
All rights reserved








































The KickStarter campaign for Whispers of Persephone has been a tremendous success.  I want to thank all of you who have supported the campaign, shared the links and helped to reach all of its stretch goals.

This campaign was full of pleasant surprises.  The backers came out in force, seizing the backer reward tiers of Necromancer, Acolytes of Death and Fallen Heroes (all slots were claimed as of this writing).  As I write this, there are 37 hours left in the campaign.  I'm writing up material for the backer reward tiers, naming the Acolytes of Death and creating their character / NPC information based on the date provided. I am also formulating the obituary pages for the Fallen Hero backers, telling stories of noble effort and ignoble death.




Art is very nearly complete, and I am hoping to have the book in front of Pat for edits before the end of the week. With 24 pages of character data to complete, 12 pages of Acolyte background, 6 obituaries, and a smattering of quotes to insert, I am optimistic that I'll get this book to her shortly.

Fulfillment:

One of my favorite things about crowdfunding campaigns is sending out the material once it is completed.  Of all the material that goes out, I think the signed copies are my most favored.  With Whispers of Persephone, I will be fulfilling the PDF and PoD codes once I have the final editorial changes done and the book uploads (PDF), for the PoD codes I will fulfill those once the printer approval of the book is back (which usually doesn't take long).  Copies for signing will be ordered before the PoD code is released {this is because I'll already be in the Drivethru system, so I'll order those copies then build the PoD code}.

What's Next!?!? 

Santa Dragon Claws' 25 Holiday Magic Items 2018 (tm) ~ coming this holiday season!

Saturday I announced that I had recently had a flash of inspiration.  This inspiration gave rise to a new book, which I am working on now for release this holiday season.

That's right, I intend to release it in the next few weeks.  That is because it is a shorter book and I've already managed to create much of it.   Art is coming in starting this weekend.  The art for this project is created by none other than Zack Viola (of The Steel Road fame).

As a fun thing to do, we've created 25 new, holiday themed magic items. Zack has sketched them (in the same style as The Steel Road) and we're going to release that book this November. The really neat thing though, is HOW we're going to do that.

We're going to have a short KickStarter campaign, with a small goal.  We're setting it to fund at $600 and it will only last for a few days (seven at most).  With this campaign we're going to have only one reward tier.... $4.  That tier will get you the PDF and a print on demand code for the book in hard cover. 

Content:  6x9 hard cover, 25 magic items with each detailed on a full page, each item illustrated by Zack Viola on the adjoining page (so you don't have to page back and forth, they are right there together), Introductioni from Santa Dragon Claws and an illustration of the holiday dragon.  Due to the time constraint for people to get this book in by the holidays, we will NOT be including backer credits in the book, but we will be placing those on the product page attached to this blog.

Now this campaign happens fast, and here's why:

Drivethrurpg suggests ordering books by the 25th of November to have them in time for the Holiday season.  So we want everyone to have their PoD code well before then.  So we're ending the campaign on the night of the 21st of November at 10:45PM EST. 

But wait, there is more to this...

The campaign will end that night, while I'm live streaming.  I will then trigger the backer survey to get the email addresses for PDF fulfillment.  But I will also be sending out the Print on Demand code to all backers that night! 

You heard it, we're going to get those print on demand codes out just as soon as we can, the same night the campaign ends.

From Zack Viola and myself, we hope you will all enjoy the campaign, cherish the book, and check out the cool stuff we have coming out for 2019 as well!


This will be the final KickStarter campaign of 2018.  Death comes to Glenfallow is being moved up to 2019.

Other Stuff:

Drip ~  What is Drip?















Last week Drip announced that the platform was shutting down next year and migrating all users over to the new platform.  My hope is that this will facilitate the implementation of several new features that are curiously missing from Drip in its current form.

Keep your eyes open here for more news on this as it breaks!

My own Drip page now has six subscribers (thank you all) and we're coming up on the end of the founding period.  My drip page offers truly behind the scenes information, news and access to play test material at the $1 level!  The monthly PDF release (currently one character, companion, creature or monster) comes with full color art and pages of content (stats, narrative, story hooks, treasures, example skill results, etc.) and is available at $3 and included the lower tier material as well. The Magic in the Mail tier subscribers receive all the benefits of the $3 tier plus a full color post card of the subject that month (it is sent in an envelope so it doesn't get marked up with postmarks) signed 'thank you' from me to the backers.  The post cards have a few notes on the subject to help with game play use.  Check it out below:

 Link



Thank you for joining me on my adventure in game design, writing and self-publishing.
As always, your questions are most welcome, so feel free to post them below. I'll respond as soon as is possible.

Until next time, Adventure Awaits!






Monday, October 8, 2018

Drawing inspiration from your audience

Art by: Christiam Martinez
From: Whispers of Persephone

I enjoy interacting with my audience.  These are the people who have taken a chance on me as a new writer and who have made it possible for me to release books.  I've been fortunate in that my audience has also been vocal about what they liked in the books and what they would have liked to have seen within them.

There it is, that feedback we should all be listening to, 'what they would have liked to have seen'.  What better source of inspiration could we need when we know what our audience wants?  As examples of some of the things I've heard:  a new weapon book (like The Steel Road) that covers a particular region in great detail; random encounters in adventure modules; 'white hat' style necromancers who lay the dead to rest.  After hearing these same three things from several of the people who have been reading and using my books, it seems pretty clear that there is a demand that needs to be met.

You are NOT limited to just feedback from your own titles.  Quite often you'll hear or read something from someone that will give rise to inspiration.  During my latest KickStarter live stream event, the topic of OSR products came up. Having never produced an OSR book I asked questions, received feedback from the audience, and I confessed my own concerns and lack of knowledge in that area.  I was pleasantly surprised when members of the audience provided much of the information I would need.  Now, THAT is inspiring.

Listen to your audience, take the opportunity to learn from them.  Many would call this by market research (of the most basic type), but I like to think of it simply as 'listening'.  People will tell you what they want to see, and you can draw inspiration from that to create new books you may not have conceived of before.

Cherish your audience, listen and enjoy writing for them.

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Thank you for joining me on my continuing adventure in game design, writing and self-publishing. I hope my experiences and mistakes will help you in your own efforts.

You can see my latest book, Whispers of Persephone, on KickStarter at the link above.  I'm hoping to reach both stretch goals ($6500 is our highest), so please do support the campaign if you can and share it with others.

I have also launched my creator page on Drip (which is owned by KickStarter), where I'm releasing subscriber only content.  Subscribers are getting behind the scene glimpses into my creation processes, and will be getting access to play test materials and early drafts.  I am also releasing a monthly PDF containing a character, companion, creature or monster of the month which is also available for subscribers.  This monthly PDF contains all original art and more.  Check it out on my Drip page at https://d.rip/w-s-quinton

Thank you, and I hope you'll join me next time as the adventure continues.

Friday, October 5, 2018

Creating content: What is working for me...







I set my pen aside for many long years.  It was the nineties and I had basically given up on the idea of becoming a game designer.  In short, I gave up and took on a different line of work.


In 2017 I returned to writing with a vengeance.  I dug out old ideas, brainstormed new fun things, and wrote as quickly as I could.  I wrote quickly because I wanted to get the ideas down on paper (and I mean that literally, I like to write on paper) and I promised myself I would work on cleaning up the content once the work was roughed out.


When I have a flash of inspiration I write it down, I outline, I plug in stray thoughts associated with the concept and I write as much as I can about it as soon as possible. When I run out of immediate ideas, I set that aside and focus on a project I'm actively developing.  I am finding that this tends to clear the stray thoughts out of my mind and allows me to focus on a project.  It also gives me that little jolt, that quiver of excitement about a new idea to explore without the guilt of not acting on it.  I know I'll come back to it in the due course of development.


If I'm tired of working on a particular project, I don't move it on my development timeline.  I keep it there.  I alleviate any weariness by playing a game, baking treats for my daughter, reading something by Charles Stross, watching anime or writing fan fiction.   This last option is, I believe, most useful.  Writing fan fiction refreshes me.  I know I'm writing for me and a few people who happen to enjoy my stories.  I also base my fan fiction on old game session and campaign happenings so I reminisce about old friends and fun times while I write.  It is a liberating experience and one that I find makes writing more enjoyable overall.


I have been refining my processes with each book.  My current process is loosely laid out below.  Please note, that as I continue to evolve my processes this may change with each book.  The process described below reflects the process used in the development of Whispers of Persephone (now on KickStarter).  Please do keep in mind that I have only been doing this for a year, so if you have suggestions on how I can refine the process please do comment below.


Development:
Once I have my concept written down, I gather any and all notes on it and from those I construct an outline.  Now I realize that writing from an outline seems old fashioned and like it adds work but I have found it most helpful when I want to define what actions are placed in what order and as a means by which to chart the flow of the narrative.   By way of example, when I wrote Comet over Echo Rock I had a section in my outline that mentioned natural hazards but I hadn't defined them yet.  Looking at the placement in the story from the outline was easy.  This also allowed me to plan out the encounter with an eye toward total party attrition and how it affected the narrative.


Following the outline provided me with a roadmap through each section.  Introduction, background story, new NPC's, and encounters all flowed into place with remarkably little effort.  I soon had a first draft I could send to my first round play testers.  Next step, leave the play testers alone and wait for feedback.


Waiting is hard.  Getting feedback from your play testers is well worth waiting for.  Collect their feedback and let it weigh in on whether you need to make any adjustments to your project. This play test version can be a little rough, formatting can be imperfect, but it must be complete conceptually.  You don't want to test half of an idea.


Once I have the information from my play testers I evaluate the entirety of the information.  Don't try to please everyone, take a look at the things they point out in common and work to remedy those common issues first.  Once you've done your rewrite, clean up any loose grammar and work on the formatting to bring it into line with what you plan for final release.  This still doesn't have to be perfect, but I find it useful to start getting the product together throughout the process as it makes for less work in final editing.  I'm specifically talking about RPG work here, for comics it is critical to have your concept format laid out ahead of time. 


Second Round of Testing:
Once I have addressed issues identified in the first round of play testing, I take the document and put it out to the rest of my play testers. These folks get to dive upon the document now that it has been prepped into a document that almost resembles final product. These folks have the benefit of a document that is largely fleshed out with full text descriptions, narrative segments, (full game play mechanical data is done before going to the first tier play testers so these guys have a more polished version of those mechanical elements), and any art that you may already have for the book. 


Feedback from this second tier of play testing is (generally) more specific in its criticisms. Be thorough in your analysis as play testers are people and can suffer from observational bias.  You'll want to polish your rough spots, refine those problems that are identified, and realize that you'll never satisfy everyone.  There will be things that some people don't like which other people think are fantastic.  Weigh those opinions against your own concept of the product in order to determine whether you change it or not.


One thing I did for Whispers of Persephone it that I ordered proof copies of the play test edition.  Weird, right?  It was incredibly useful.  Not only did I have the book in hand to help with future edits, it also gave me an appreciation for what the book would look like in its final format and helped me to identify problems with color saturation, font issues, and how border art was affecting the overall feel of the book.  I recommend this for any book you release, as it really is that valuable a tool in your development process.  A side benefit of this, I had a physical copy to show during the KickStarter campaign.  I'm convinced that this helped my funding efforts.


Editing:
I edited my first book release.  That was a horrible idea.  Have someone else, or even a few people, review your final draft for edit purposes.  Run your spell checking application before handing it to them as you don't want them distracted by bad spelling when they are reviewing the text.  Grammatical corrections are important as they make the difference between a book that is easy to read and one that is difficult to comprehend. 


I find it wise to have your document reviewed twice in your editing process.  Editing it following the first pass, then a second pass after you have made those first corrections.  This has worked well for me in the past.  You may still find things that need corrected afterward. Be patient and fix those problems as you find them.


Final Proofs:
Once final edits have been completed, order proof copies of the book so you can conduct a final review of your product before release.  This is an amazingly cool moment for me, as I am still struck with wonder when I hold a book I've written.  I hope you have that same experience. It is a great feeling!
*****


This has been the briefest of overviews on the processes I've been using to get my books out. Whether you have been releasing titles yourself or are just starting, I recommend you research as much as possible before settling on your method as you may find processes that work better for you. I continue to revise my processes as I learn more from each release. In all things do your own research, your own due diligence, to arrive at your own method. 
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Thank you for joining me on my adventure in game design, writing and self-publishing.
I write this as way of recording my own experiences and sharing my insights and failures.  It is my hope that people who are interested in developing their own games from learn from my failures (and avoid the same mistakes) and that they can take the productive experiences shared here and use them for their own success.  Best of luck to you!


I hope you will join me next time as this adventure continues.


At the time this entry was written I have my latest book "Whispers of Persphone" live on KickStarter seeking to fund its art (and fulfillment) costs.  I hope you'll check it out, support it if you can, and please do share it with others.


I have also launched a Drip page, where people can subscribe to support my creative endeavors. I have a monthly release available there and all subscribers get behind the scenes information on coming projects.  I hope you'll check that out as well.


Thank you! 




Tuesday, October 2, 2018

The Drip Platform from KickStarter: Some useful information


Hello everyone!

If you read my post immediately preceding this one, you know that I was planning on launching a Patreon page, and documenting the promotion, use and results of that effort.  That plan changed when I received an unexpected invitation to become a creator on KickStarter's Drip platform.

At this time, I have halted my Patreon page development and I am focusing on the development of the Drip page. By the time this entry is public, my Drip page will be active.

As Drip is invitation only for creators at this time, I thought it would be useful for people to know how the platform works (from a new user's perspective) so you can know what to expect once it becomes available to you either by way of invitation, or once it becomes openly available.  It is my hope that you find this informative and useful, so lets get down to it.  All of the forthcoming data is from my experience with the platform to date, and links go to the Drip resource pages,  FAQ, and an article I read earlier this year. 

If you aren't familiar with Drip, don't worry not many people are aware of it yet. KickStarter's introduction post to Drip is here:  https://www.kickstarter.com/blog/introducing-the-new-drip

You can find the Drip FAQ page here: https://help.d.rip/hc/en-us

Also see an interesting article about KickStarter and Drip here:  https://www.theverge.com/2017/11/15/16652582/kickstarter-drip-creator-subscription-service-announced-perry-chen-interview


Getting Started: 
Getting logged into Drip was simple.  It appears to clone the credentials from your KickStarter account, but you can change those easily.  

Once you are logged in and ready to start work on your page, you'll find that your image and video upload points clearly indicate available file formats.  Having a recommended image file dimensions would be nice, but the lack thereof didn't cause me any real difficulty.  Choosing the image and creating the video for the page were far more time intensive.

Choosing the page image ~ I elected to use the illustration created for Tale of the Wizard's Eye by Phoenix O'Faery.  I secured permission to do so (seriously folks, make sure you have rights/permission before using someone's art), and had the image loaded in seconds. 

The Video ~ My webcam is a decade old.  No, seriously, it really is. It doesn't have great resolution, and I'm going to need to replace it soon.  This means that I didn't want to, and fortunately I didn't have to, shoot the page video on that old hardware.  I had help from my friends at Digital Eden Entertainment, and had a new video with much clearer resolution in a matter of minutes.  To develop the video content I looked at resources on Drip as well as information from articles I had read on creating Patreon pages. We did the video in two shots, as I fumbled the first attempt.

Page description ~ The Drip platform has little helpful tips that populate along the side of the page as well as links to other Drip pages in your category.  I found it particularly useful to look at the pages of the two other game developer creators I could find.  Both were receiving what I would call significant support from their subscribers and followed a similar outline for the page descriptions. I told myself not to try to reinvent the wheel, and outlined my own data in a similar fashion.  Let me be clear, I didn't copy and paste anything, I just chose to structure my description after the same fashion  (so introduction, what I do, what I'm making available, etc.).   I like the natural flow of that format and I'm planning on sticking to it.

Category ~  Your drip page is limited to one category.  My page is categorized under games.  As all of my currently published work has been role playing games, that makes sense to me.  I have a friend who has been invited, and his is in comics.  You can offer a wide variety of materials, but you'll only have the one category.  Keep this in mind as people exploring Drip for people making comics are not going to find you if you are in games and vice versa.

Subscription Tiers ~ Setting up subscription tiers is remarkably easy. If there were something I would like improved, it is the ability to feature an image with the Tier.  Presently that isn't available like it is on Patreon.   One thing you do need to differentiate in your tiers is whether it is a monthly subscription or a one time (pay this amount and get X) tier.  I've set up three different tiers of monthly subscriptions.  I won't set up one time payment tiers until I have a developed item for such a tier. Presently, I'm planning no more than a quarterly release of such material as I don't want to over burden my work load (which is already pretty heavy).

What you do with your Tiers will vary as widely as the material we all create. I think most of us will focus on digital rewards only, as it is the most cost effective and easily fulfilled.  Having said that though, I like physical rewards as a way connect with my audience in a very real and tangible way.  Consider those physical rewards carefully, do your math and check it twice, and make sure to leave yourself some room for things to go wrong and for you to pull in revenue.  Drip is intended as a way for people to support your creative endeavors, so make certain you do see some of that money in your hands to help keep the lights on.  I know that is what I'm hoping to see.

Promoting your Drip page ~ I'm not great at self-promotion but I've had some success and I've done some research on the subject. I recommend you do your own research as well.  This is a good example of the scientific method of testing theories devised by others and looking at the results to reach your own conclusions.  Pretty much every source says utilize your social media, place the links online, network with others and have them help you spread the word.  I agree with all of these. Place the link into your pages, remind people of how they can support you, and as in all things, be honest with your audience.  When people ask, "what are you doing with the money",  tell the truth. I'll be using it to commission art, help keep my lights on, to put food on the table for me and my kids, keep my car running, etc.  Whether I find $20 a month or $200 a month, every bit helps.  Be honest about that. People will relate to you and be more likely to support you.

*****

I made my Drip page live just before posting this entry.  You can find it HERE

Take a look at it, and keep it in mind for your own page (should you decide to launch one). Maybe it will be a useful example of how to set one up. Maybe it will be a cautionary tale of what not to do. Only time will prove if it was successful or not.  I hope you'll take what you like from the example and make good use of it in the future.

Oh, also please do support the page. Your subscription is very appreciated.  I will give my best effort with each release.

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Thank you for joining me today as we continue our adventure in game design, writing and self-publishing.  My book "Whispers of Persephone" is currently on KickStarter.  Please do take a look, support it if you can, and please do share the link to the campaign to help me reach my funding goals.




I will be updating information on how Drip is working for me, things I learn along the way and what I'll be offering on that page.  If you have questions, please feel free to contact me through blogger, through KickStarter messenger, on Drip, or on my social media channels. This blog is a means for me to convey my experiences, help you avoid my mistakes in your own endeavors, and to chronicle the material I've been developing.

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Time and Money, thoughts on crowdfunding and the growing pile of projects on my desk


I have been remarkably fortunate with the success of my crowdfunding efforts.  Thanks to my wonderful supports on KickStarter, I've been able to release four books (so far) and my fifth book (Whispers of Persephone) has reached 72% of its funding goal in just the first four days of its campaign.  Things are going well, so why are projects piling up on my desk?

The answer lies in the age old relationship between time and money. 

While I make time to write in my evenings, money to pay for art is slow in coming.  It takes time to lead into a crowdfunding campaign, more time to make it through that campaign, then if it is successful it often takes as much as two weeks before you have your money in hand.  Time ticks away, leaving you with ample time to write but without art.  Once you have money with which to pay the artist, you wait for the art to be completed.  Time ticks away a bit more.  Assuming that your artists meet deadlines (and I am very fortunate in that the artists I contract with do), you spend time formatting the art into your book, correcting any problems with the text layout and putting the final polish on your book. 

Lately my question has been, 'how do I accelerate the funding cycle so I can keep the art coming in steadily and produce more books?'.  I look at the pile of projects I want to produce, the books waiting in various stages from outlined to 'just needs art', and I ponder how to get speed things up.

Whether or not you agree with old saying that 'time is money', it is a fact that if you are like me and lack the skill/talent to create professional grade visual art, then you need money to pay artists to create that content for you. You'll need time for them to create in, and you'll want that time spent in parallel with any remaining writing/development you are completing.  This will allow you to get the book/product out to the audience expediently. 

What has and hasn't worked:

I've had success using KickStarter and no success on other crowdfunding platforms (GoFundMe, Indiegogo and Patreon).  As I look back I realize that I didn't really give Patreon a chance.  I needed to provide more value for patrons, should have kept the page up and running, and really should have done more research before my first attempt at using the site. My Indiegogo and GoFundMe campaigns simply didn't get the attention that my Kickstarter campaigns have garnered.

Insanity or insight?

*Edit* Following the release of this entry, I received an invitation to become a creator on KickStarter's "Drip" platform.  After reviewing the data available on that platform, I've decided to launch my monthly subscriptions on Drip.  I'll be posting a new entry concerning my thoughts on Drip and pointing out some other creators who are already there.*

What is the definition of insanity?  Doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.  Or so the common wisdom would have.  So I have been taking a look at where I've failed in the past.  How do I utilize sites like Indiegogo, GoFundMe and Patreon to enhance my crowdfunding efforts?  These are big questions and I'm still working on some of the answers. 

I do have an idea on how I can use Patreon to some effect.  Whether or not it will work, remains to be seen.  As this blog is all about my adventures in game design, writing and self-publishing I'll choose to look at this as yet another encounter along my journey.  Time will tell if this was insightful, or insanity.  See what I did there?

Patreon, as I understand it, is premised upon people providing some monetary support that you then use to fund your creations.  While I understand that there are people who earn their primary income on Patreon, I am convinced that number is very small percentage of the overall Patreon creator population.  Fortunately, my goal isn't to earn a primary income, but to help fund art for my books.  So my page needs to be set up with this in mind.

Monthly subscription options, are one of the patronage types available. As I have a monthly product I want to release anyway this is something I'm going to offer for patrons. Patrons should receive good value for their support (see any of my prior posts about providing the best effort for your audience).  So, I want to provide something that is unique for those patrons that is manageable on a recurring basis.  Fortunately, I have something that fits the bill nicely.  I've set up a total of three monthly subscriptions, ranging from $1 to $5 (with the $5 having a physical reward).  These are to facilitate the monthly release, which will now be done exclusively through Patreon, and it looks like it will be easier to fulfill this through Patreon anyway.

One time payments are of particular interest for directly funding future products.  With this, I conceive of a tier where I would transmit a Print on Demand code as well as PDF for those patrons who pledge that tier (Pledge?  I wonder if that is correct terminology.  Donate?... please comment below which you think is more appropriate).  In this way it acts just like a KickStarter Tier.  I do have one bit of concern, which is that this may migrate many of my KickStarter to Patreon. I happen to really like KickStarter, as it has fantastic RPG and comic book communities.  The potential advantage is that I can deliver these rewards upon release of the title, while earning revenue to pay for art ahead of time. 

Content for the Patreon needs to be more than just product in order to deliver real value (my opinion, feel free to disagree).  So I will be posting exclusive behind the scenes commentary on development, project progress, triumphs and setbacks.  It will be more detailed than what I manage to squeeze in here, more raw in many ways.  Who knows, maybe it will help patrons develop their own content.  That would be amazingly cool!

That's the theory anyway.  Will it work? I don't know, but I'm certain it will be exciting.

______________________________________________

I want to thank you all for joining me on my adventure.  I hope that this blog will help you along in your own creations, and that you can avoid mistakes I've made. 
Presently Whispers of Persephone is live on KickStarter and doing very well, but it could use some help to reach its goals. Please do check it out (link below) support it if you can and please do share it with others.   Thank you!


Sunday, September 23, 2018

There are some really neat things on KickStarter right now (Comics, Fiction and RPG) here are a few of them!


KickStarter is full of exciting Role Playing game, fiction and comic titles right now.
Check out some of these great campaigns!

From Dragon Knight Publishing:


Neat art, a good narrative in the video to help catch us up on what is going on.
Give it a look if you're like me and a fan of small press role playing productions.
___________________

From Matthew Hanson:


I have to give Matthew respect.  He has come back to KickStarter to make this book happen and it looks really good to me.  Give it a peek, ask the man questions, and share this ambitious project around to help it see print.
___________________
From Joshua Palmatier:


 A collection of anthologies.  This campaign has only a week left as of this writing and could use some help crossing the finish line.  This just looks really interesting to me and more than 400 people already agree.
_______________________

From Counterpoint Comics:


 The sample art on the page grabbed my attention. It is nicely done, but be advised there apparently is 'topless' content available.  Not judging, just want to make you aware. The cover art is beautifully depicted and the interior art samples look really nice as well.  Definitely worth checking out.
__________________

From David Tramma:


We need more Starfinder content, fortunately creators on KickStarter are rising to the challenge.
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The RPG and Indie comic creator community have been successful thanks to the people who play their games, read their books and enjoy their comics.  Whether you can contribute money, share the links to their campaigns, or just talk about the campaigns with friends, each of these actions ripple through the community and help it to thrive as people help fund these great projects.

Take a look, explore KickStarter and the numerous creators making brilliant content.  Games grow, books see print, and comic heroes and villains leap from the imagination onto paper as crowdfunding brings new adventure to us all.
_____________________________________________

Thank you for joining me on my continuing adventure in writing, game design and self publishing.

Today's entry is a great resource for seeing how people create their crowdfunding pages in a variety of styles.  When launching your own project on any crowdfunding platform be transparent, honest and responsible.  Your audience deserves your best effort, make certain you give it to them in the product you're creating and in the presentation of your campaign page.

I hope you'll join me again on the next entry in this continuing adventure!

Disclaimer:  None of the creators listed above have been interviewed by me.  I put this short list together after looking around on KickStarter and seeing some campaigns I thought were really interesting.  I do not accept money or product to post about crowdfunding campaigns (so don't offer).

Second Disclaimer:  My own campaign launched last night and is fixed in the featured crowdfunding slot. Please do check that out as well, share it with others and pledge if you can.  Your support is greatly appreciated at any level.













Friday, September 21, 2018

I write a little fan fiction ~ fun and a great writing exercise

Black cover edition of
Whispers of Persephone
Lettering by: Christian Martinez
Capture from digital file

Just like the title says, I happen to write a bit of fan fiction.  I don't claim to be good at it, but I do claim that it helps me to hone my craft.  Fan fiction provides an outlet for stories I'm interested in, while at the same giving me much needed practice as a writer.  If you need further convincing, I would also point out that fan fiction is a great form of content that allows you to connect with elements of your audience.  Give a little bit of yourself, paint a picture with words and be grateful to your audience for enjoying it.

I find that writing a series of stories is very useful, as it compels me to keep producing content for the readers who have become invested in the story.  It also allows me to explore the characters I've introduced in an effort to make them seem more lifelike. I can build and evolve the characters, stripping away subtle layers so that the reader gets to know the character more intimately in much the same way that people discover new things about friends and lovers as those relationships evolve.

Whether you are writing comic books, RPG material, children's books, or are a novelist yourself already, I firmly believe that committing yourself to producing is a great way to exercise your skill set. Give it a try, spin a yarn, tell a tale, write a little something that would be entertaining for you to read.  Enjoy the writing, and hone your skills at the same time.

My fan fiction is told as a fictionalized account of old Shadowrun adventures from a campaign I played in for years.  My latest story arc was the "Operation Emerald" tale, and occurs in Djibouti.  It was broken into chapters/entries for ease of reading.  The beginning of Operation Emerald 

So if you are developing titles, designing games, producing comics, or writing novels I recommend writing a little fiction (fanfic or otherwise) as a way to keep your work flow moving, to combat writer's block, and to provide your audience with a regular treat.  People read your work because they enjoy it, so spread the joy around.
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Now, a moment for something really important about the son of a friend of mine.




A few words about Coleson.  He was born very premature, to a mother who did everything she was supposed to in order to have the healthiest pregnancy possible.  He has endured surgery, and continues to improve after months in the hospital.  He will, hopefully, be going home in the coming weeks.  This GoFundMe was set up to help his parents obtain some things they still need for him.
Contribute if you can, and please do share this with others.
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Thank you for joining me on my adventure into game design, writing and self-publishing.  I hope this blog will help you to avoid the mistakes I have made along the way and I hope you'll join me next time!

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

The Art of Anthony Ojeda ~ Several original pieces are being made available for sale

Any of you who are familiar with the Tarot Adventures, Book One:  The Draw of Glenfallow, have been treated to the art of Anthony Ojeda.  His work is, quite frankly, exceptional. 

Today he told me he is putting up several pieces for sale, and I have offered to place that information here. This is to help great art find a new home, and as a way to showcase Anthony's talent.  Below are the pieces he is selling at this time.  If you are interested in a particular piece you can contact him (information on to get in touch with him is below).   These are his originals, and are fantastic examples of his work.

It should be noted that Anthony is available for commission work at this time.  I have found him to be a remarkable professional to work with and would recommend him for any comic or RPG project.

"Cadaver Man" by Anthony Ojeda
9 x 12
$130






















"Disturbed Guy" by Anthony Ojeda
9 x 12
$80

"Head Lopper" by Anthony Ojeda
11 x 14
$200





























"Mad Max" by Anthony Ojeda
11 x 17
$300


"Predator" by Anthony Ojeda
9 x 12
$150




























"Sandman" by Anthony Ojeda
9 x 12
$120

"The Batman who Laughs" by Anthony Ojeda
9 x 12
$80




























"Venom" by Anthony Ojeda
9 x 12
$90

"Venom" by Anthony Ojeda
9 x 12
$100





























If you are interested in any of the pieces above, you can contact Anthony directly.  I am not selling these myself, nor am I charging him for this, merely trying to help him find new homes for some great work by a very talented artist.  Look for more art from Anthony to appear in coming titles from Sinopa Publishing LLC.

Contact Anthony Ojeda at:

Anthonyojeda@kubertschool.edu  OR  on Instagram at: _Tonyojeda

DBJ SPECIAL EVENT - Sinopa Publishing (Interview with WS Quinton)




I want to thank DBJ for having me on!  The man is the Johnny Carson of RPG streaming, he really is that good. 


I came back to this post to add some information about Whispers of Persephone as these final days before the KickStarter launch have engulfed me.  I want to add a few notes about getting your launch together (as best you can) and about crowdfunding projects in general.




Today's edit (September 20th, 2018)




Illustration by: Christian Martinez


Last night I worked on the campaign video.  At this point I expect to complete the video Friday night, just in time for the campaign launch.  Nothing quite like cutting it close, right?!   The video I'm assembling is a simple affair, consisting of illustrations from the book, captions, and (if I can get it to work without corrupting the whole file) voice over work by yours truly.    Here's hoping it comes together nicely.


Here is some advise though:  If you are like me, and are not adept at creating video content, it is a good idea to find someone who is skilled in this area.  While I'm stubborn and trying to learn to do it myself, I don't recommend that for others.  My videos need help/work and really I should hire someone  This is a good example of what not to do.  If you want your campaign to look sharp, get a professional to do your video.





Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Checklist before Crowdfunding campaign launch



I'm counting down to Whispers of Persephone's KickStarter launch and the excitement is starting to build for me.  Excitement, stress, and that fierce pace to spread the word far and wide are common for me whenever I'm readying to push that "go live" button.  So, today I wanted to talk about a few things I have found useful to control the nerves and free up my mind to enjoy the excitement of a new crowdfunding launch.

1)  Make a checklist well in advance.  Define each step for your launch and make certain you actually check those things off once they are complete.

2) Check your print quotes (if any), shipping figures (again, if any), and run your numbers against your reward tiers a final time.   With this, you'll be checking the pledge level amount (minus the fees associated with the crowdfunding platform in question) then subtracting costs to determine how much this pledge level is benefiting your production cost total.

3) Look over your equipment.  This is an old hang-up of mine.  Before you go on "a mission" as it were, make certain that your stuff works.  In this case I'm checking my network, home system, webcam, mic (thanks Daniel for the new one!), and making sure that all are in working order for my live stream event.

4) Submit your campaign proposal for review at least four days ahead of time.  I've never had a campaign take longer than a day to be verified and approved by KickStarter, but they say it can take a few days on their site, so I respect that.  Give yourself that time so your campaign can launch on time. Related to this is your banking verification.  Do that at least a week in advance.

5) Reach out to your audience and let them know when the launch is happening.  It makes things easier on you when you hear from folks who tell you they are going to pledge for the new project.  I know this sounds like a lot of work, but it isn't.  I'm not talking about mailing lists (I don't like those), I'm talking about updates on prior campaign pages, social media interactions, and generally just giving folks a 'heads up' rather than an advertising blurb.

6)  Read over your campaign to make certain it says what you think it says.  Check the reward descriptions to verify that they say what they should about what rewards are going out.  Ambiguity in your reward descriptions is NOT your friend and is not friendly to your audience and backers.  Clean up any vague language prior to launch.

7) Get your interviews in!  Folks, I will tell you that a LOT of my new audience members discovered my projects because I showed up on a podcast interview, answered some questions from a blogger/reviewer, or otherwise just made myself available to talk to people who want you for the content you provide.  I like the shows I've been on and it is always a thrill to do an interview.  Swallow any stage fright, be open and honest, and try to have fun talking about your project.
{of note concerning point seven:  I usually manage to get in a plug for other creators that have cool campaigns out there.  This is certainly not required, but I think it is good for the creator community.  Just my two cents on that.}

8) Finally, make certain you launch on time!  Once you launch, share the link to all social media channels you have available (with groups, make certain you are following group guidelines and have any permissions needed from admins).  In short, follow the rules with regard to your social media channels.  Not only is it the right thing to do, it is what you must do if you ever intend to launch another project!

Stygian Mummy screen capture
From Play test version 3.5 of
Whispers of Persephone

That's pretty much it for the final days pre-launch.  Check your math, make sure you're ready, and do what you can to get the word out.  As I've mentioned before, be honest with your audience and set realistic fulfillment deadlines and you'll be fine.

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Thank you for joining me on my continuing adventure in game design, writing and self-publishing.  I hope that this entry is of use to you in your own efforts to fund and publish your work.

I hope you'll join me next time!

Look for Whispers of Persephone to launch on Saturday September 22nd, 2018 at
12:00 PM (noon) EST.

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Bringing darkness to the dark arts of the 5th edition (Final round of play testing is underway).

Ild, the dark prodigy
Art from: Whispers of Persephone
Artist: Christian Martinez
Whispers of Persephone has been an adventure in research, writing, and planning.  Delving into the design of rituals and spells meant to elicit the feeling of the macabre and to push well past ambiguity into the realm of deepest, bloodiest evil has been 'interesting'.

I'm pleased to report that the second round of play tests have begun, with one of the game masters reporting that the entire party was entirely freaked out by one of the NPC's included within the book, Ild the Dark Prodigy (see creepy picture of Ild above).  Certainly there is a hope that people will find a way to bring a bit of horror to their games with the material I've included in this book. Providing ample opportunity to players and game masters alike to flex their role playing muscles as they play characters so at odds with the heroic concept.  Some times it is fun to be the bad guy!

One of the play tester game masters
printed this page from the current
play test file.  

Presently, Whispers of Persephone is in its final play test phase.  I want to say "Thank You" to Daniel, one of the play testing game masters, who printed these two pages from Whispers of Persephone and discovered that the book is going to look pretty neat.  Speaking of Daniel, he was kind enough to provide a little bit of information about his players' response to their encounters with a particular NPC:


I've finished formatting the digital version of Whispers and am now formatting the print copy file.  I'm hoping to have that complete tonight, and to be ordering proof copies by the end of the week.
My goal is to have print copies in hand by the launch of the KickStarter campaign.

Title page from play test digital file
version 3.0 which weighed
in at 99 pages in length!
Christian Martinez has created stunning work for Whispers of Persephone and will be creating all art going into this book.  Presently, the cover, page background art, and the art included in this blog entry are done (with several works of art remaining).   Stretch goals will focus on adding more art to the book.

An enchanted skull cup, used in blood drinking rituals
This book is not child appropriate.  It contains explicit details of ritual activities of the most heinous sort. Sacrificial rituals, cruel spells, poisons, alchemicals, potions, and magic items are included to paint a vivid picture of horrific evil.

Promotion image using the art from
the section of the book containing
Stygian ritual magic

Whispers of Persephone is coming to KickStarter in order to obtain funding for art.  I'm working to raise $3500 to fund more interior art. Reaching the funding goal will allow me to include more illustrations from Christian Martinez, to make this book look its absolute best.

The KickStarter will be launching on September 22nd, 2018 and I will be streaming live on launch day.  That live stream event is planned and will incorporate a number of guests, who will be joining me to talk about Whispers of Persephone and to introduce themselves to the KickStarter community.  We're going to make a show of it, to provide some entertainment, and bring some real value to the launch day activities. I'll be announcing the line up once we confirm their time slots!

As always, your comments are question are most welcome!

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Ending soon on Kickstarter: Don't miss these




Something a little different this morning.

I was looking at different projects on KickStarter, seeing what is new and marveling at the creativity on display, and saw some projects that are ending soon and could use a bit of attention.  These are projects that, as of this writing, haven't funded yet but look very interesting to me.  Check them out, support them if you like them and can.

Please remember, that even if you can't support a campaign financially, you can make a great impact by sharing the link on social media platforms.  A single share can reach hundreds or more people and introduce them to new things to enjoy.

(Disclaimer:  I haven't spoken to these creators.  I will share the link to this blog with them after it goes live, so they know their project was mentioned here. These are projects I think are cool and I wanted to give them a little help. I do not accept payment for endorsement, reviews, or hosting the link in the featured crowdfunding spot on my blogs.)

L'gat's Tome of Amazing Creatures, Volume 2


I have a lot of respect for anyone taking on the work load that a trilogy of books entails.  The creator really nailed the backer rewards for this project and I particularly like the $20 reward tier ~ Knight Errant of the Sacred Flame.  As of this writing this project is only $125 (USD) away from funding and has 14 hours remaining. (Ends August 30th just before Midnight EST)


Bloody Handed Name of Bronze by Joshua Newman


This unique, ambitious project is unlike anything else I've seen this year.  The art displayed on the page really points to the primitive setting motif.  Its interesting, has a great potential for roleplay of classical myths, and comes from Joshua Newman (of Mobile Frame Zero and Human Contact). As of this writing the campaign is $527 (USD) from funding with 14 hours remaining.
(Ends August 30th just before Midnight EST)




Odie #2


I like comics and there are great comics that were made possible through KickStarter.
Odie looks really good and I lament that I missed the first issue, but that's okay because I can get digital of Issues one and two from this campaign.  As of this writing, the campaign is $404 (USD) away from funding and has five days remaining (ending September 4th). 

The art for Odie looks really good from what I've seen of the campaign, so check this out and see if it would look good in your collection.

*****
Thanks for joining me for this atypical entry.  I hope those of you planning your own crowdfunding campaigns will take a careful look at the different styles of these campaigns. Take note of what works for you and what doesn't and remember those features when you launch your own campaign.

Until next time.