I am using my YouTube subscribers as a generalization of my overall growth for the business.
Last year, I was tightly focused on solo roleplay, that is what my brand is all about, where my audience is, and my reputation. My YouTube channel is the primary source of patrons for my Patreon. The bulk of my email newsletter subscribers is made up of solo roleplayers.
In late 2021 I realized that I was hitting barriers. The top-selling games either did not allow 3rd party supplements, so I could not write for them, or I already had written for them. The middle-order is much the same, and I had supported the bulk of those that could be written for. The smaller games could still be written for, but the returns were diminishing. If no one owns a game, they are unlikely to buy supplements for it.
The easiest solution was to diversify into adventure writing. Not all adventures are born equal. I could pick a niche within adventure writing and build a new audience in there, while maintaining my solo audience and when opportunities presented itself for new cool solo tools, I could create and publish them.
What I did is place too much emphasis on the adventure writing and take my eye off the solo ball.
My YouTube audience growth has slowed to a 10th of what it was last year, my mailing list is the same, and my patreon has stopped growing.
I need to do more solo, but the problem of diminishing returns remains.
One option is to turn more of my solo booklets into card decks, and GM screens, creating more physical products. I can also get more of my PDFs into print. The first two approaches have the advantage of being new products, so they get homepage exposure, and the hard work is already done, cards and screens are more an issue of layout that game design. All three ideas come with the downside of increased time to create, waiting for print proofs can take up to 7 weeks for cards. There is also a slight expense in creating them, but this is negligible.
The other option is to try and build different solo tools. Possibly generic solo tools that appeal to that more generic audience.
The more I think about this the more options I see. I think it just took a wake up call to kick my brain into gear.
At the end of the day, giving the customer or audience what they want is not a new idea.
And, at the same time, I can continue to build up my audience for adventures.