Designer Diary: The December Dip

I touch on a few topics in this video, The Wizards of the Coast [WotC] changes to their books has really had little impact on me. I own one Ravenloft book, but I haven’t read it, I also have the freebie basic set PDFs and the 5e SDR. By and large, 5e has passed me by (as did 2e, 3e, 3.5e, 4e and probably 5.5/6e will as well). I think I have played it twice with an actual DM. For the most part, all I can remember is rolling to hit, and rolling damage. Very little roleplaying took place. Whatever WotC wants to do with their books is totally fine with me.

The next one is Kickstarter. Blockchain is really bad for the environment, why one would want to do this is beyond me, but I am not part of the KS culture. I am on a discord of Mothership zine creators. ZineQuest is their god. The discord is a goldmine of information as they all collaborate to put together the best zines, and the best Kickstarter campaigns. They share data, contacts, and best practices. They cycle through project set up, running the KS campaigns, completion of the projects, and then because they are producing print runs of books, they share successful outlets, then the process starts again, looking to improve on the previous year. It is almost a zine factory of equals.

The TTRPG Creators discord is another one that is heavily invested in KS. The 5e creators I talk to all seem to aspire to run kickstarters.

If there is a boycott of Kickstarter it is going to hurt a lot of people. If there is a migration away to other smaller crowdfunding platforms, that lack the audience of KS, that could hurt a lot of these projects. It all seems a lot of stress about what is essentially putting the success or failure of your projects in the hands of a single company, which is never a good idea.

I suspect that if KS had made a commitment to net-zero emissions that would have been a much better PR move than jumping on a buzzword that is falling out of fashion.

The third most common topic I am seeing is publishers bemoaning the poor sales this month. December and January are always poor months. In the lead up to Christmas people have other things to spend their money on, or college groups break up so they stop playing, and stop needing adventures. After Christmas we tend to have two good weeks during the New Year New Game sale, and people have Christmas gift money to spend. By the third week that is all spent and the credit card is looming, and January is a long month with payday a long way away.

If you are a small press publisher, and if you recognize the dip in sales, it is not you, this is normal, one of the natural patterns of peaks and troughs. The best thing you can do is schedule a release for early December, which will give your sales a boost. If most peoples’ sales are depressed than getting to the top of the hottest lists is somewhat easier. The earlier in December the better, before people start to run out of money, or start thinking about putting games on haitus.

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