Step 2: ???
Step 3: PROFIT!!!
Now that the Adventures Dark and Deep™ Players Manual has been successfully funded (thanks again to all who backed it!), I thought it would be a good idea to give a little insight into where I think things are going, business-wise, and what I'm looking at for a business model and so forth.
It should come as no surprise that BRW Games, LLC, the company I started to publish my gaming stuff, is not my primary source of income, nor do I expect it to be in the near future. It's a hobby, something that I do in my spare time (in and around my everyday job, my family, my religion, and other things). I confess I like the creative aspects like planning and writing considerably more than I do the tedious business aspects like promotion, accounting, etc., but that doesn't mean it can't be approached in a somewhat organized manner.
The "big picture" is that I want to get the ADD rules published and out of the way so I can get to work on new and more creative stuff. I've got a mess of adventure modules I'd like to publish, and a setting (Erseta) that I think has a lot of potential.
First, I want to finish up ADD. If I know the Players Manual is on schedule to go out the door by March of 2013, that lets me have the Kickstarter for the Game Masters Toolkit in March. Assuming that is also on the same schedule, I can have it out the door by June and do the Bestiary Kickstarter in June. And that means that I can have the Bestiary out in Q3 of 2013, which is something I'd very much like to do.
I've been working on these rules for more than two years now. I'm ready for the project to be complete, because I can't do the adventures and other fun stuff until the rules are done. And that will also mean the Kickstartering will be done for a good long while. (Yay!) Frankly, I only want to do Kickstarters for big huge things that I can't fund myself, and the Bestiary will be the last one of those for quite some time.
Once the rules are done and out, I can focus on writing adventures and setting type material. Some of it will be free stuff that I put out here (like the Gazetteers for the Lands Beyond the Flanaess that I still want to get to, plus one or two Greyhawk-specific projects that I've been wanting to do for years), and others will be sold on RPGNow.com and its sister sites.
That brings up a point about the business model. Everything is done on a shoestring, and everything is as self-sustaining as possible. By using print on demand, I'm able to significantly lower my up-front costs, which in turn makes everything possible. It is true that RPGNow takes a cut of my sales, but for my situation the cost is worth not having to deal with the hassles and costs of shipping, warehousing, and up-front printing. I figure my time not spent going to the post office (figuring my hourly rate from my day job), plus the money not spent on storage space for stock, is worth the minor chunk that RPGNow takes from each sale. Plus it's pretty much profit from day one; I don't need to worry about selling X books to recoup the cost of a print run.
What sort of other stuff do I have in mind? Well, there are a lot of little adventure ideas that I'd like to commit to paper. Some of the stuff will be spinoffs from Castle of the Mad Archmage (publishing in the first half of 2013 by Black Blade Publishing), some will be completely stand-alone adventures that can be plugged in just about any campaign, some might be specific to Erseta. They'll need a few pieces of art, but nothing near like the art the rulebooks need, and I can fund that with the profits from the books and such. The whole thing then becomes self-perpetuating, and all is right with the world. No more Kickstarters unless something huge rears its head.
I do have at least two other games on the drawing board, in various states of completion; Adventures Great and Glorious (a combination of "domain management", mass combat, and political intrigue that can be played separately or in connection with ADD) has not been forgotten, and Sail the Solar Winds (a space opera RPG) is still knocking at the back of my mind. But new games are way down on the list. Like 2015 or later. I just want to relax and write some fun stuff that shows off the rules I've already got.