Designer Diary: Low Goal Kickstarters

With these designer diary videos, I have always assumed that you would be selling on DTRPG, or possibly the Guild. From there you can expand into the Open Game Store, Amazon, or where ever.

But, I am coming around to the idea that going straight to DTRPG may be bad advice.

The downside of DTRPG is that they own your customers. You may have the option to email them, but you are restricted in what you can send, for example, I could not make a video on youtube and then tell my DTRPG customers about it.

But, what if you started with Kickstarter. You do everything the same as if you were intending to put your creation on DTRPG, and even set up the finished title on DTRPG but do not set it public.

Now, you set up a pre-launch page on Kickstarter, and fill out your project page. You can honestly say that there are no threats to the success of the project because the thing you are making is already complete.

You can create stretch goals that are related to upgrades, such as bespoke art. If you hit the goal, then you commission the art, if you don’t, you are still ready to go. If you do commission art, then you make sure you have exclusive rights. This is a little more expensive, but it means you can reuse the art as often as you like, and it won’t turn up as stock art on DTRPG at a later date.

If you are clever with your commissioned art, you make sure you are buying stuff you really can reuse. If you make a new monster, make that one of the pieces, now you can build that into a bestiary later and you already have the art. Commission a view of a city, and you are one piece closer to putting your own setting together.

So, you then run through prelaunch, launch the project page, and use a pledge manager, just as if it was a major project. Once you have fulfilled your pledges, you turn on your product on DTRPG and see what organic sales you get going forward.

When you cycle through this again, you will have a small, but existing mailing list from which to start.

Cycle through it again and you will have a slightly better idea of how much you can really expect to earn from these small projects, after platform fees, card transaction fees, refunds and cancellations, and taxes to pay on the income.

Once you have run half a dozen of these, Kickstarter will let you start a new project before the previous ones have fully completed. If you have the production capacity, you can start to increase your production rate.

There is no reason why a project shouldn’t fail to fund. I have seen projects with goals as low as $13. I think that was the price of a single proof copy. But, even if it funds but at disappointing levels, you have lost nothing compared to putting it straight on DTRPG.

It is certainly worth considering.

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