13 April 2013

Monster of the Week: Year One

As I find reading about other game publishers' sales interesting, I thought I would give you a summary of how Monster of the Week has gone, now that it's been about a year (specifically, a little more than a year since the IndieGoGo campaign ended and a little less than a year since my first print run).

First up, the campaign gave me 50 electronic and 123 book orders). I put pre-order buttons on the website after the campaign was over, and got a few pre-orders a month.

The first print run was at the end of June, of 200 copies. Shipping out the funder copies and pre-orders took an evening of packing and a morning at the post office. The number of packages was too much for their receipt printer, causing some consternation.

I also set up the book to print on Lulu at this point, hoping that this would lead to more reasonable shipping than I could offer from the antipodes. I also made the PDF available on DrivethruRPG/RPGNow in November 2012.

As I was getting pretty low on copies, I had a second print run of 150 done in December.

Moving into just plain sales, I've had the following results since July 2012:

MonthDirect PDF SalesDrivethruRPG PDF SalesDirect Book SalesLulu Book Sales
July 201220N/A919
August 201220N/A1112
September 201226N/A119
October 201218N/A52
November 20121321512
December 2012634514
January 2013730143
February 201342160
March 201343444
Totals (including campaign and pre-orders)18414020075

That's total sales of 324 PDF and 275 print copies, making 599 all up as of the end of March (up to 608 as of today).

I'm not sure what conclusions to draw from such a small amount of data, but here are a couple of things:

  • DrivethruRPG/RPGNow adds a significant number of sales (I took part in the GM's Day sale, too, which gained a number of extra sales).
  • I noticed a few cases of a mention somewhere leading to a few extra sales, and also from some convention games.
  • There's definitely a big burst of sales followed by a slow dropoff. I had a couple of things (Christmas, DrivethruRPG sale) that bumped sales out of the dropoff temporarily.
In terms of money, the fundraiser just managed to cover the costs of all the stretch goals, editing and art, the first print run, and shipping. Since then, overall steady sales have led to a modest profit over the year (enough to buy me an Xbox 360 and XCOM to play on it, as well as paying some bills) but unfortunately not anything like enough to consider giving up my job as a software developer.

On top of my own sales, there's an Italian translation that's just been launched (via Narrativa) and a Russian translation on the way (via Studio 101). The Italian edition includes all new art, which looks very nice (although I haven't seen a copy in the flesh yet, just photos of them).

Overall, I'm very happy with the results! I was confident enough of the game that I knew it would sell, but I was expecting sales more in the range of one- or two-hundred in the first year. I've made contact with a number of fans over the course of it all, which is great - especially hearing about other people playing and enjoying themselves!