Saturday, January 20, 2018

Third level Publisher: I think I just leveled up!

Cover Art by: Brian Lee
Lettering by: James Lee

I'm really very happy about how this KickStarter campaign has been progressing.  So far, nearly half of all the backers who supported The Draw of Glenfallow have already come out and pushed this campaign past its funding goal and very near to the first stretch goal.  {Thank you all for coming out early and making this campaign so very exciting!}

This blog is really about sharing my experiences in writing and publishing (that last part is a lot more complicated than I originally thought).   Those of you who are just now reading this blog for the first time are encouraged to go back and read my posts on who you're writing for and growing your audience as we're about to go into some of that.

Here's what I'm thinking, today January 20th, 2018 as I look at my KickStarter campaign that has been going on just a little over seven days.  As I look back to my first Kickstarter launch where I launched Tale of the Wizard's Eye, I didn't know if people would be interested.  I knew I had created an interesting adventure and that I had some really great art (thanks team!) but I wasn't certain how it would be received.  It took weeks to reach the funding goal.  When I launched the KickStarter campaign for Tarot Adventures, Book One: The Draw of Glenfallow  I saw an amazing turn out from those backers who had enjoyed ToTWE, and The Draw of Glenfallow funded fully in just a few days.  It went on to fund at more than 400% of goal and I could not be happier at the response I've received from those backers.  Throughout those campaigns I really tried to encourage questions and feedback from the backers. I want to create the best books I can, and knowing what people want to see is incredibly important.  I received some feedback that was surprising and very helpful (for example, I hadn't seriously contemplated adding in pre-generated characters but it turned out to be something that several people were wanting.).  So I am writing for and toward my audience as I continue the development of the Tarot Adventures, because I'm creating it for those backers who make it possible.

This goes back to my earlier statements about building and respecting your audience.  Your audience is NOT your personal money machine.  They are the people who are making it possible for you to create something and bring it to the world.  If you should make some money, that is great, I'm very happy for you and I hope you do make some money.  We all need to eat, after all 😉.  That said, be reasonable and fair to your backers.  Personally, I have a very narrow margin on my KickStarter campaigns.  I read somewhere that you should aim to make 30% in profitable revenue from your crowdfunding campaigns.  I have not been doing that.  Part of that is in my print costs and shipping costs.  I own that, and I'm not complaining, I just don't feel justified in jacking up costs for backers so I can line my own pockets.  My books are getting made, my artists are getting paid, and I'll make revenue on future sales I'm sure (once I become better are marketing those titles I'm sure).  So if you want to follow the model of making a profit on your crowdfunding, make certain to find a way to cut your print and shipping costs, but make certain your quality doesn't suffer.  Therein lies the trick.

What I want to point out to you is that Tarot Adventures, Book Two: Comet over Echo Rock had the same goal as TotWE and TDoG, and funded fully in just under four hours!  Yes the banner on the image above gives that away.  I was beyond thrilled when I saw that happen.  Almost all of the backers those first four hours were backers from TDoG.  I have to tell you, it felt amazing to see that kind of support.  I've been very fortunate in that I've had backers come back and support my titles because they have enjoyed what I've created in the past.  There is a certain amount of pressure to perform that is starting to grow on me, but I can handle that.  I want to continue to earn the support of my audience.   I like knowing that people are using my books in their games, and they are having fun, and that in some small way I've helped bring them a bit of joy and contributed to the memories they build together.  I think that is the real joy of writing whether you are a novelist, a comic book creator, a game designer, or a blogger, or what ever; there is a joy to be had from knowing that your words have an impact on people.

The Echo Rock Silver Mine by: Christian Martinez

The other thing I've noticed is the presence of my readers on this blog.  You've stuck by me here through shameless self-promotion.  You've been here reading when I've shared my mistakes.  You've been here when I've done things that weren't stupid and shared in my experiences as I've worked and struggled to grow Sinopa Publishing LLC.  Thank you for coming along on this adventure!

As it stands I feel like more people are finding my work, and joining the audience I'm writing for.  Each and every one of those people is important, not just for the money they spend, but for the experience they share with others.  My thought is that for each game master who buys my adventures, there are two or more people who are playing through those adventures.  So while one hundred and twenty-one backers made TDoG a reality, I am convinced that at least two hundred and fifty players explored Glenfallow Keep.  I can't put a price on that, and I hope you wouldn't either.

So I encourage you to create, and to do your best work each and every time.  Write because you enjoy it, design because its fun, and publish so that hundreds of people can explore your vision.  There is a lot to be said for bringing adventure to so many, and for playing that small role in helping friends build happy memories of their time playing together.

I hope you'll also help to support my work and spread the word to others.  So please do take a look at the KickStarter campaign for Comet over Echo Rock, support it if you can, and please do share the link with others.  Each share on social media gives others the chance to join in this shared experience, and I appreciate every player you may help bring to Glenfallow to explore the Tarot Adventures.

In coming entries I'll be speaking about other projects coming from people who I'm acquainted with.  I have friends who are producing a card game, and I've been fortunate enough to get to the know the folks at Darkslinger comics who are producing an amazing title called Ghost AssassinI'll be writing a review of it as I get glimpses into that.  That review will be in my book review blog.

Thank you all for joining me on my adventure into writing and publishing.  I hope to see you next time!

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