Friday, September 2, 2016

In the red or in the black... Who cares!

Hi Folks,
In the interest of providing information for others that are interested in in publishing RPG stuff.  I want to be open about the numbers for WB: FMAG.

Here are the numbers after the game has been available for 1 month.


Black & White softcover: $1.25
Color Softcovers: $1.88

Color Softcovers: .70 cents

To date 28 print books have sold on Lulu for a total royalty of $47.65.
6 books have sold on Amazon for a total royalty of $4.20.
So combined print books are 34 books for $51.85.

The PDF has had 209 downloads on Lulu and 336 downloads on OBS, for a total of 545 downloads.  The OBS PDF is pay what you want, and I have received a royalty of $19.30.

So I have made a total of $71.15 so far in sales.

Now let’s look at the numbers for creating the book.
I spent a total of $330 for art. Which paid for art packs by William McAusland and a cover by Eric Lofgren on OBS. And it also covered commissioning Stefan Poag to do a cover.

So I’m currently in the red about $258.85! 

But this was all for fun as a fan project. Making money was not a primary goal. Although if I made enough to cover the art expense then that would be awesome! I sold some of my RPG collection to make back the money spent (my wife pretty much demanded it) so really the numbers are all good as far as I’m concerned.

The plan is to put any money made into future projects.

Hopefully seeing these numbers will help shed some light on this little part of the RPG landscape called the OSR.

Going forward, I'll update this post every month or so.

Fight On!

Addendum of Possible Interest to People Who Want to Make Lots of Dimes in the OSR Publishing Business:

Here is some great info from Guy Fullerton from google + regarding my post, I asked him to point out my strategy flaws in regards to making a profit (now remember, making a profit was not a goal of mine, I just thought his advice would be interesting to know).

Sure, but I have no experience publishing game systems, so that's gonna color my advice, and possibly make it invalid for people doing game systems (especially variations of systems already available for cheap).

1. Pick a price that gives much more royalty per sale. (In the case of something like White Box, at least $10 or $20 for the print version. Look at the pricing on White Star for example.)

2. Make a product more usable to a broader range of people willing to pay that higher-royalty asking price. (Like a module or supplement, instead of a variation of an existing game system trying to stand out among the free/cheap OD&D clones.)

3. Have a shorter first product, whose length that needs less art. (e.g., 12 to 24 pages, instead of 150+ pages.) Learn the ropes with less up-front art expense.

4. Don't pay for redundant cover art.

5. Use crowdfunding or a ransom model, so you know how much money is in your budget for artwork, before commissioning all the artwork.

6. Avoid pay-what-you-want on a product until it’s in the long tail of sales.

7. Make a hardcover option for longer books. You can squeak some extra royalty out of the hardcover asking price.

(Again, I think what you did is completely fine, considering your goals!)

Oh and also Kevin Crawford of Sine Nomine games also said on Google+ that when releasing a product you should have everything ready to go when you announce it. So the PDF and softcover and hardcovers. Which I definitely did not do! Oh well, you publish and learn.


  1. Boring or not, to me this is an interesting look at self-publishing and cost/revenue. Thanks for sharing.

  2. the drgaon cover is amazing, and thanks for sharing, very interesting to know

  3. I recommend NOT sharing how much you paid individual artists, unless both gave their permission to reveal their rates? They may not charge others the same amount, and it can cause problems for artists usually to have their rates revealed. Better to just list who did artwork, and collectively what your total art budget cost.

  4. My old accountant said that has long has you were happy it didn't matter how much the business made. In the future you might want to put a 1.00 as your minimum download price though.

    1. No I want to keep the PDF as free. The PWYW is just a bonus