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Saturday, 1 October 2016

What Kind of Month Has It Been? - September

September was a much more productive month than August. I feel like I'm settling in to the swing of creating things regularly again, and learning to manage my time a little better. I'm still not where I'd like to be, but I can see that I'm making progress and that's good.

Here's September, in bullet points:

Loot The Room

I said that Loot The Room was the thing I wanted to focus on the most (alongside Golem), and I've managed to make good on that so far. Dark Deeds was a little late, and didn't contain as much content as I intended, but I'm happy with the final product. I definitely intend to revisit it at a later date - possibly in November (more on why November in a moment) - to update it with the few backgrounds I didn't finish art for. As my first foray into self-publishing I think it went well; the product looks good, it's been selling steadily, and the feedback I've had on it has been overwhelmingly positive. 

Trinkets is something I wrote something like a year ago when I first started Loot The Room. On a whim this week I decided to upload it to DM's Guild just to see how it went. It's been up a little over 3 days at this point and has had just over 100 downloads - and that's without publicizing it at all. I imagine that's a to do with a combination of being on the front page of DM's Guild as a new product, and being free, but it's still nice that it's getting attention.

The series on Building A Campaign World is something I've been toying with writing for a while. when I started it part-way through the month I told myself I'd update twice a week. So far I've managed that, which I'm happy about. It's only been two weeks of sticking to a schedule, which isn't much to write home about, but it's better than I've done in the past - and I'm already seeing the results of having regular updates in the uptick of traffic Loot The Room has been getting. Again, nothing to shout about, but it's a start - and one that I'm happy with.

Other Writing

Golem unfortunately fell by the wayside a little this month, though I did make some progress on it. A friend of mine works in TV and asked me to write a screenplay with him - which he intends to direct - and I felt like I couldn't really say no to an opportunity like that. I can't say too much about it at this point, except to say that it's a mockumentary and that writing comedy is hard

Anyway, that - along with Loot The Room - took precedence over Golem, so progress has been slow. It's still happening, though, and with my Masters in Creative Writing beginning this month I'm sure I'll pick up the slack on it in the next few weeks if for no other reason than to have something to submit to my writing workshops.

Discipline has been the key this month. As always happens when I start writing again after an extended period of laziness, I've had a glut of ideas invading my thoughts. I've been very good about not allowing myself to become excited by them - I've jotted them down quickly, filed them away, and gone back to my priority projects. It's nice knowing that once the screenplay and Golem are done - and they will get done - I've got a ton of things to go to next.


The rest of this update is going to discuss money, and I'm going to be quite frank about it. If that makes you uncomfortable then I suggest you stop reading now.

The two products I've published on DM's Guild this month have done fairly well as far as downloads go. Dark Deeds went live on September 14th and, at the time of writing this post, has been downloaded 272 times. I published it under a Pay What You Want model, with the intention being to gauge whether people like what I'm doing with these books. I was also curious to see whether people would actually pay for it or simply have it for free (which is fine - if I had a problem with that, I wouldn't offer it for free in the first place).

Out of those 272 downloads, 24 have been paid for. The total amount paid for it has been $16.57 - with DM's Guild's 50% royalty, that's netted me $8.29. That's an average sale price of $0.69. I promoted it as much as I could without being annoying on Twitter (with a little bit done on Facebook) for the past two weeks, and deliberately didn't spend any money on advertising.

The second product - 100 Trinkets - I simply uploaded. I didn't announce it, I didn't tweet links to it, nothing. Since I put it up for sale on September 26th it's had 103 downloads, and 5 of them have been paid for (for a total sales value so far of $2.23, giving me $1.12). 

At the minute, I can't really infer anything from these numbers except to say that if I want to make money through writing RPG books, Pay What You Want isn't the right model. So far I've made $9.40 in royalties, which is around £7.20. That's enough to pay my web hosting for 6 months - and having said that, I still need to transfer both this site and Loot The Room over to my server; there's no point paying for it if I'm not using it! - which is great, and I'm very grateful to the people who have chosen to pay for these products. If I want to keep doing this, though, I need to be able to justify it beyond simply being a fun hobby. 

The next book - The Wheelhouse Prison - is an adventure module of sorts, and I'm hoping that it will prove to be more popular than a book of backgrounds and a one-page table of trinkets. With any luck it's a product people will be more willing to pay for. With that in mind, I'm putting this one up as Pay What You Want as well in order to see how it performs compared to the other two products. These are really the three kinds of things I enjoy writing most - random loot/treasures/etc., character options, and adventures in cool locations. Once I've seen how all three perform when given roughly equal treatment, I'll be able to make a more informed decision about pricing. (I'm also aware that I only have ~2 weeks of sales figures for Dark Deeds and less than a week on the trinkets, so it's stupid to draw any conclusions at this stage). It may be that I experiment with different price points for adventure modules - given that they're the bigger, more difficult things to write - and continue to produce smaller things that are Pay What You Want, but I don't know yet.

Beyond October

I'm aiming to try and get a new book on DM's Guild roughly once a month. So far, two months in to this Being A Better Me thing I'm doing, I've succeeded at that. November will have to be different, though. Come the end of October I'll be working on my first set of assignments for my Masters, which will mean having to cut back on the work I'm doing on Loot The Room. Rather than trying to produce something new in November, I might instead aim to roll out the updated Dark Deeds with the other 4 backgrounds. There's still a month to go before then, though, so we'll see what happens.

That's all for now. If you read all of this, give yourself a pat on the back. You've earned.

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