Nov 7, 2017

Shilling for the willing can be fulfilling

Holy Crikey!  Two posts in one year....setting a precedent here.

I have noticed (while refreshing my sadly outdated blog list) that we have lost a number of our fellow bloggers over the years.  Having just come back from the brink myself, I sympathize.  I offer to them a moment of silence to honor their past contributions.


Alrighty then, EXCELSIOR!

Lets talk about monetization.  Not the chicken-feed we get from the occasional Amazon click-through.  I'm talking about actual producing a product and selling it type of monetization.

One could say I have become pretty familiar with this topic over the last couple of years.  with the occasional interruptions caused by work and life, I have been single-mindedly pursuing the dream of making a gaming product that people will actually want.  I mean who wouldn't want to become the next Kobold Press or Monte Cook games?  We all want to do what we love for a living - especially when that is making games.  That is why I co-founded Byte Me Games, LLC.  Go ahead and look, so far we have produced exactly nothing, while spending several thousand dollars for the privilege.

I think going forward that I am going to try to focus on the production and business side of things as I continue to make mistakes and learn valuable lessons about publishing and marketing the products I have designed.  If you have any specific questions, or would like a deep dive on a specific issue, please feel free to email me or drop a note in the comments section below.

Something else I have noticed while refreshing my blogger feed is that a number of you have made the jump to actually producing salable materials.  This is great.  Problem is, most of you are self-publishing...which is not so great.  You probably know already why it is thus, so I don't have to explain it to you.

There are a lot of examples of self-published authors who have made good.  The Amazon kindle store if chock full of them.  Even the published word variety has its fair share of superstars - Hugh Howey comes immediately to mind, his Silo books were AMAZING.  Thing is, it was mass-appeal that brought the volume that led to success.

As awesome as our hobby is, mass-appeal has always been a weakness.  The hobby is a major commitment for any dedicated player.  We compete against pretty much ALL other forms of leisure combined due to the amount of time it takes to play + the cost of the resources.  My DM collection of 5E books is already northward of 250 dollars, and that does not include minis or 3rd party supplements.  Isn't there a stereotype of broke gamers?

But i digress.

Volume is one of two magic keys that unlocks success.  It is the power that reduces the bottom line for production costs.  Despite the prevalence of online and digital game aids (lol, game aids), paper is still the medium of choice by far.  The weakness of the medium, however, is the production itself.  Somebody has to own the press, employ the printer, buy the paper, move product from conveyor to box, and ship the box.  Even with the pathetic (trust me, I know this firsthand) wages paid to those who do this work, it adds up quickly.  Quite simply, the more you make/publish/buy the lower the overall cost.  I'll save the mathematical formulas for another post, as this is already going on longer than I thought it would.

Marketing is the other magic key.  also known as hype, finding your customers, buzz, and a hot of other terms.  Simply put, you can get a SWEET deal on printing, work with the BEST designers out there, and make all the superb product in the world...But if you can't find anyone to buy it - you still fail.  Makes sense, right?  Does this mean you need to hire a marketing firm to blast you across every corner of the web?  Maybe.  That costs money though.  LOTS of money that is on top of the money you need to spend just to get a pallet of product in your garage.

So there is a healthy heap of doom-and-gloom for you to consider.  If you are faint-of-heart, you should definitely think twice - then think a third time about how to go about mastering these two puzzles.  Or you could crowdfund it.

Yes, I am referring to the service that rhymes with Slick-Farter.  I suppose there is also the one that rhymes with Snow-fundy to, but I haven't worked with that platform yet - it has only a 10th of the userbase anyway.  And feels kinda dirty, doesn't it?  I admit, every time I get another solicitation from a certain custom dice manufacturer I want to puke.

We won't even get into the big video-game studios that shamelessly beg for money to make games either.  There are a lot of fleas on that dog....but I would point out that said doggo is still a doggo  -which is a noble creature deserving of your love.

There is ZERO wrong with crowdfunding your dream project.  You just need to do it right.

Do YOU have a kickstarter planned?  Want to know more about putting one together?  Hit me up or leave a comment.  I want you to succeed.  If I can help you, I will.

More to come.

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