I had a conversation long ago about how pricing our stuff at just $0.99 was training our customers to expect the world for just ninety-nine cents.
The same is true for ttrpg creators that are building their mailing lists, in my opinion, by offering free downloads every month. I do worry about how many of their subscribers are just in it for the free stuff.
Having a mailing list is probably the most important thing you can do as a creator. Even if you don’t know what you would send, if you have the list set up, and a sign-up form, you can link to it in your author bio. Then it will be collecting a trickle of emails each week. When you are ready, then you will have a list waiting for you.
The people that sign up will be the people who really like what you are doing, and want to know more. They are your fan base. You do not need to be scared of them.
It is by far easier to sell 1000 copies of one book than it is to sell 10 copies of one hundred books. All it takes is a little regular marketing. Marketing is simply telling people what you do, and showing people what you do. Then, when they need what you do, they know where to come. It is not about dirty tricks or making people part with more money than they can afford. That is high-pressure sales, not marketing. They are completely different things.
Your own mailing list gives you freedom. If you list books on Itch.io, you can link to these in your mailings. Tell your fans where they can buy your books. They will thank you for it. If you have an ebook or pdf version on Itch, you can direct people to somewhere like Lulu.com or even Amazon for a print edition. You cannot do that with DTRPG’s email tools.
If you wanted to get into streaming, then you could just tell your mailing list when you are going live, and you will have an instant audience.
I have been half tempted to stream, but being in Europe I am well outside the US timezones and I suspect that the US is the prime audience. But, if I did, I know that I could reach out to hundreds of people and tell them when I was going live.
So, if you want to make a go of ttrpg writing, the one thing you need to do first is set up a mailing list. Do it today, if you haven’t done it already.