I was reading today about social media influencers and Patreon. The gist of the article was that, in the early phase of a SM platform, they need high profile influencers to use their network, to draw in users. Typically, SM operators do this by paying influencers a revenue share of advertising income. Once the operators have an established userbase, they withdraw or restrict the earnings. This saves them money.
We saw this with Youtube that used to allow just about anyone to monetise their channels, now you need 1000 subscribers and 4000 hours watch time per year to maintain your monetised status.
This is standard practice, and good business sense.
There has been a counter movement starting in the past couple of years. The old dynamic was that the SM platforms had the audience, that influencers wanted to reach.
Now, the influencers have the followers, and they could make or break a social media network.
If you have your own following, you could in theory take them anywhere.
Patreon, Itch.io, Kickstarter
This is where Patreon and Itch.io and even kickstarter come in. These sites don’t promise you thousands of people will see your wares. They expect you to bring your own audience. What they provide is the technical back end to handle the communications and financial transactions.
I am always interested in innovating, trying new things, and learning about this industry. Ideally, I will never stop learning.
Last year I tried crowdfunding [Devil’s Staircase] , and I have run a successful campaign. I followed Kevin Crawford’s advice on running successful kickstarters and it worked. What I learned was that you must have the audience first. This is golden rule.
If you don’t have enough reach to get your message out, there is no one to fund your project. You see projects that go tens of thousands of dollars over target, I managed to go just $48 over target. It was touch and go for a while if I would even get funded! Before you are funded it is highly stressful, once you are over the line, it isn’t so bad, but not something I would consider again until I have a much bigger following that I have today, which basically means never. What I do is pretty niche at the best of times. I don’t think solo play will ever have the massive numbers needed to support meaningful kickstarter campaigns.
This year I have been dabbling with Itch.io. I have sold some stuff, I am building a small following, but at the moment, I am not creating enough, frequently enough to generate any momentum. Azukail Games is a lot more committed than I am and as a consequence they are reaping much bigger rewards.
In 2021, I will fully commit to Itch.io and put out some unique content. The important word in there was unique. I want to write solo rulesets for some really weird and wonderful games. Stuff that is strictly speaking no commercially viable any way you look at it. I would not be surprised if I write 50 rulebooks and only sell one of each a year. I could be wrong, but the combination of solo play as a niche aspect of the hobby and then taking on the least popular games, is not a recipe for making millions.
I found myself on the Endzeitgeist website last week. Endzeitgeist reviews RPG materials. What is particularly interesting is that the book reviews are requested by his Patreons. This brings me back to the three platforms that I mentioned above, Patreon, Itch.io and Kickstarter. I have discounted KS, I am on Itch.io but should I be on Patreon?
If I set up a single tier Patreon, you are in or out, no trying to upsell for more rewards. Patreons could then request solo rules for the games they play. I will then buy the game, play it and get to know it and then write solo rules that dovetail in with the rules. Patreons would then get the rules for free. If it is legal to do so, copyright-wise, I could then put these niche rulesets on Itch.io.
If the solo playing community that I can reach, think that a game is worthy of having solo rules, then the chances of other solo players, the ones that I cannot reach, may also be interested.
The added interest for the patreons, would be seeing rules for games they may never have heard of, games that they may enjoy. This will not be the sort of thing that has me churning out book after book. It takes time to read, learn and play games. Being a patreon would not cost you a fortune. That much I can promise you.
Is this a good idea?
So, if I do this, I will document the entire set up, any research that I do and give progress reports, using my YouTube channel. I am guessing that there are other people who are just as interested in Patreon and how it all works.
To make life easy, and I am all for an easy life, I have made a direct subscribe button below. You can also join my contact list, I use it once a week, at most, to send out discounts and news. Very occasionally, I like to ask your opinions on things, rather like this post today.