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Generating Sales away from DTRPG

This video was prompted by some of the stats and figures I was reading comparing DriveThru to Lulu and Itch.

The short version is that a) DTRPG will generate a ton more traffic to your products and you will earn more money from them, without having to do any advertising or marketing yourself. b) you will earn more money per sale from Itch than you will from DTRPG.

Both are true, getting 65%-70% of a big pie is better than getting about 85% of a cupcake.

Some stats show that Itch converts visitors into customers better than DTRPG. This I can believe. DTRPG gives customers many options on every product page that can distract people away from your products. That sounds bad, but it also means that your products appear on other people’s product pages, so it is swings and roundabouts.

With everything that is not DTRPG the secret is that you have to drive the traffic to the website, once their the site will handle the payments and fulfilment. That is what you are paying them a share for.

If I am going to have to drive traffic myself it make more sense to drive that traffic to my own store. There I get nearly 95% of the sales value, not 65%-85%.

So, how do I drive that traffic?

My answer to that question is through organic traffic, the free search engine results from Google and Bing. About 8,000 people search for terms related to Star Wars RPG each month. I can tap into that by creating free content about the game, and solo playing it. Then I can rinse and repeat but this time talking about Alien RPG, then Star Trek, and so on.

What Google likes is longer, indepth articles. A full set of solo rules on a single page will tick that box.

I did a search before I started this, and I do not feature in the search results at all, which is no surprise as I have never done anything with Star Wars before. Having a blank slate means that if I do feature next week or the week after, it is proof that the search engines have picked up on the solo rules and are serving those pages to people searching.

Every free visitor from Google is a potential customer.

That is how I intend it to work for me. For any other publisher, you can do something very similar, decide what really describes your game, or supplements, such as Swords and Sorcery, or Space Opera, and write something that goes on for a few thousand words, like an entire adventure, that is rich in those words, and variations of it, but something that also showcases the best of your game or supplement.

You can even repurpose existing stuff that has passed its best. If you have a supplement that hasn’t sold a copy in months, why not make it into free web content?

So, that is my general plan.

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Lots of places to sell stuff!

It is no surprise that since becoming non-exclusive to DTRPG that I have been looking at other potential storefronts.

The challenge is that I cannot manage all of them at once. It takes time to create product pages, and how to best learn how to optimise for each storefront.

My current focus is Itch and Amazon. DriveThru, Itch and Amazon are by far the biggest. After that the best known names seem to be Indie Press Revolution [IPR] and Open Game Store.

From then on it is less clear cut. WRKS [pronounced Works] is very new, and looks much more sophisticated. In the same way that Itch is lightyears ahead of DTRPG in terms of features for product pages, so WRKS seem to have some really cool AI running in the background and is smart enough to link in with Google Analytics and Facebook pixel, allowing you to create a Facebook Storefront, as long as you are not just selling PDFs.

Gumroad looks very basic and barebones. Will I use it? Yes, I don’t think I could bring myself to not use a storefront that I know exists and is free to link on.

I will probably use it for PDF only titles and signpost from there to my own site for print copies. Do I expect it to sell much? No I don’t. Any site selling RPG stuff will have to overcome the barrier created by the massive libraries of PDFs that people already have on DTRPG and Itch. That existing library is a very clever way of locking people into a particular store.

I send out discounts of up to 40% to my blog readers. To qualify all you need to is join my contact list, so I have an email to send the discount code to!

You can of course leave the list whenever you want. Your support is greatly appreciated.

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Coriolis Solo Rules [Zenith Solo]

Later on today [Monday 31st] I will be releasing my Coriolis Solo booklet.

The rules are called Zenith Solo, in a nod to the generation ship at the heart of the setting.

This will be the first book I have released in a very long time that I cannot put on my own store, Itch, Lulu, and Amazon.

Because it is part of the Free League Workshop, I am confined to selling it purely on DriveThruRPG.

Scroll Down to find out how to get a 40% discount on this title, and future releases.

Zenith Solo uses the standard Zero Engine dice pool. The yes-no answers start with a 6 dice pool, any sixes rolled count as a yes, and the more sixes giving a more emphatic yes answer.

No sixes is a flat no.

I decided against going down the No; No, but…; No, and…; route for this set.

The reason I didn’t want greater degrees of negative answers is because of the Darkness Between The Stars. While you are playing you can push rolls and pray to the Icons. This gets you a re-roll, either to try a failed skill test again, or to try and get a better success.

Every time you do that, the GM gets a darkness point that can be spent against you. You can also accumulate darkness points through your own actions and from stressful experiences.

In solo play, there is no GM to decide when to spend those darkness points. So, I put rules in place that when the pool of points hits a specific threshold the points get spent. This is a check that is made at the end of each scene, and the consequences happen in the following scene.

I use the standard adventure format, Prolog, Act I, II, III, Epilog and show how that uses the standard 5 room dungeon format. The Epilog is often the point where a final plot twist pulls the rug from under the characters. That could be unintended consequences, or problems with payment or the villain was not the one pulling the strings after all (your nemesis in the wings). The more darkness points you have in the pool when you enter the Epilog stage is worse the final outcome could be.

I have been doing a lot of d66 lists. I got into doing these for Wickedly Solo, a forged in the dark game. I have been playing Alien RPG recently and my house rules for that game uses themed d66 tables. These rules use 14 themed d66 lists, to pull inspiration prompts from. You pick two or three columns and roll for random words, then see what you make of them.

The rules also encourage you to start building your own custom lists, so you can flavor your solo game around the way you want to play.

Here are some sample pages, so you get an idea of what I mean.

This is really a whistle stop tour of the coriolis solo rules, it only has the three core ideas, yes-no dice pool, complex questions word lists, and an expansion on the 5 room dungeon format to make use of darkness points.

One reason the rules are so simple is because the year zero engine is so solo friendly by default.

These solo rules should be released in about 7hrs from now.

I send out discounts of up to 40% to my blog readers. To qualify all you need to is join my contact list, so I have an email to send the discount code to!

You can of course leave the list whenever you want. Your support is greatly appreciated.