2007-03-21 : lumpley games in 2006

Accounting for a small business is wicked annoying, but I can tell you what I told the IRS:

lumpley games grossed over $13,000 in 2006, almost $5,000 of which went >plunk< straight into my personal checking account. That's after cons, travel, web hosting, buying my friends' games, everything (and believe me, I included every expense I could).

Dogs in the Vineyard sold just over 700 copies. As always, about a third of them were pdfs.

My sales to retailers were up up up. This is super good and not so good - super good for exposure and legitimacy, not so good for cash. In balance, good.

I'm a happy geek.

1. On 2007-03-21, Matt Wilson said:

Nicely done, sir. I have to get my receipts in order too. Thanks for reminding me.

My retail sales are rocking so far this year. It makes me glad I did the giganto print run (I actually make some money), but still a little nervous about all those books in my closet.

How much of your net is Dogs, and how much is the other stuff? Just looking for a vague idea, ifn you don't mind and all.


2. On 2007-03-21, Vincent said:

Dogs is the overwhelming majority of lumpley games' money. Mechaton is at most, like, 10% of it; kill puppies for satan buys me an occasional lunch out.


3. On 2007-03-21, Vincent said:

Oh, for comparison: for 2005 lumpley games reported a gross of not quite $14,000. I don't know offhand what my sales were that year; my sense is that they've increased, but that the proportion to retailers has increased even more.


4. On 2007-03-21, Sydney Freedberg said:

> My sales to retailers were up up up....not so good for cash

Because retailers demand discounts, I presume?


5. On 2007-03-21, Vincent said:

Yep, steep discounts. I think that IPR charges retailers 60% of the cover price; I used to charge them 50%, when I was fulfilling the book myself. So selling to a retailer drops my margin by, oh, ten dollars a book.

I don't begrudge them - that's how they make any money at all.


6. On 2007-03-21, Sydney Freedberg said:

How does IPR make its money off a book sold to an individual customer (e.g. me)? Do they take a slice off the cover price, are their costs & profit all in shipping & handling, or what?


7. On 2007-03-21, Vincent said:

IPR takes a (very reasonable) slice off the cover price. Then they also pass all their shipping costs, web hosting costs, advertising costs, and warehousing costs along to us publishers, their clients.

They're a fulfillment house. I still own all my books, even if they're in Brennan's garage. (Or wherever they physically are; they aren't actually in Brennan's garage anymore.)

A distributor would buy the books from me, then turn around and sell them. Do distributors ever sell direct to customers? Maybe they do, but I've only heard of them selling to retailers. When you sell to a distributor, you sell at basically 25% of the cover price, so that the distributor can sell the book to a retailer for 50% and still make money. (Ouch!)


8. On 2007-03-21, Kalyr said:

I bought a copy of Dogs from a (UK) retailer last weekend.  Does this make me a Super Good or Not So Good person?


9. On 2007-03-21, Moreno R. said:

Good! And that didn't even count Meg's sales!

How many total copies of DitV did you sold until now? And how much is your profit-for-word for it? There are some people in that are talking about "successful" game designer right now that could use some actual data...  :-)

Even more useful for a comparision: someone know how many rpg still sold 700 copies in a year, after two years without publishing no new edition, no supplement, nothing, only on the attraction of actual play?


10. On 2007-03-22, Vincent said:

I stopped keeping track! A couple thousand copies of the game, and it must be around 40¢ per word by now.

Here's why I think that the per-word pay is a good measure: That's 40¢ a word after printing, web hosting, cons (including travel and food), and buying all the Legos and roleplaying games I want. The time to develop and write the game, vs. the time to develop and write fiction - maybe the game took longer than a novella would have, but probably not. Even if it did, how many writers my age can sell a novella to a publisher for 40¢ a word? (Answer: approximately none.)

To look at it another way, I probably spend ... 100 hours a year supporting Dogs in the Vineyard, outside of cons. Read my Forge forum, you'll see - about 2 hours a week. Cons are already paid for, so that means that in 2006 Dogs in the Vineyard paid me close to $50 per hour.

Like I say, a happy geek!


11. On 2007-03-22, Uriel said:

Impressive I'd say. Whip out some new products, like Afraid and In a Wicked Age, and quit your day job. Become a full time geek.

btw how many Mechaton copies have you sold so far? Check you mail and add 10 to that number.


12. On 2007-03-22, ethan_greer said:

Dude, that's awesome, I'm very happy for you. But I'm a little confused. Why are you telling us this? I mean, I don't mind that you're doing so; you can do what you want, of course. And I'm not questioning your motives. I'm just wondering what they are.


13. On 2007-03-22, Vincent said:

Fair question, Ethan.

It's always been part of Forge culture to make reports like this. When it started, we didn't know if this thing we were doing would even work - well, Ron knew by experience that it would, but the rest of us were going on hope. Sharing our sales and profit info was a) the natural conclusion of sharing our design and publishing work, plus b) mutually reassuring.

Am I posting this out of nostalgia for those innocent days? I'm sure that's part of it. Crowing is part of it too, of course. But mostly, (a) is still true and still very important to me.


14. On 2007-03-22, Vincent said:

Hey - I'm looking through the internet of yesteryear, and it looks like Dogs' 2006 sales are about exactly even with 2005's. Lifetime, as of the end of 2006, somewhere above 1600 copies.


15. On 2007-03-22, Vincent said:

Kalyr: super good, of course.


16. On 2007-03-23, valamir said:

The State of Illinois just sent me a nasty gram letting me know that I failed to pay my Ramshead sales taxes for 2006 that were due in January...oops...

Once I get caught up in all that I'll post the Uni numbers.  2006 should be a pretty decent year thanks to the new edition.

Hopefully I'll get Robots out early enough in 2007 to make a difference for this year.


17. On 2007-03-24, Matt Wilson said:

I posted my own 2006 sales info.

Earning money from sellng games: Cool.

I'm interested to see if having a second RPG on the market will have any impact on sales for the first. Does releasing Star Wars d20 help sell D&D?


18. On 2007-03-24, NinJ said:

For comparison, Vincent makes ~3.5x what I do.

Matt, *totally* make sure that people know that it's by you, and that you're the guy who wrote PTA. Your name is your brand.


19. On 2007-03-27, Pelgrane said:

Congratulations. These are nice sales. It's likely that the IPR direct-to-retail sales will increase your total revenue through impulse purchases rather than cannibalize your mail order sales, especially this far after release.

In answer to Matt, for Pelgrane, releasing a new product absolutely does increase orders of existing products in direct proportion to the success of the new release. The PDF products that Ian Thomson has been releasing has helped keep Dying Earth sales buoyant. This might not apply if your new release is in a very different category to the previous one.



20. On 2007-03-27, mazirian said:

"It's likely that the IPR direct-to-retail sales will increase your total revenue through impulse purchases"

I can attest to that.  That's how I came to purchase DitV recently!


21. On 2007-03-29, Fred Hicks said:

I try to post quarterly numbers on my Live Journal for Evil Hat; I'm skipping out on the dollar amounts, focusing on volume.  As the Lulu numbers for the quarter and IPR numbers come in, you can expect posts there...

What have your year-to-year numbers been like on Dogs?  I'm curious about its long-term trending (in the interest of extracting vague notions of what to hope for in my own stuff).


22. On 2007-03-29, Angus said:

It's good to hear that DitV is still selling well. It's certainly one of our best sellers in the UK - Indie Press or not!
In many aspects people over here are still only discovering it. The repeat sales are good and more and more people seem to be hearing about it and seeking it out.
I hope sales keep up during 2008. I would certainly expect to sell as many as we did last year - probably even more as we're about to embark on quite a heavy (for us) convention schedule which will be highlighting the Indie titles we import.
Well done, Angus


23. On 2007-03-30, Vincent said:

Dogs came out at GenCon '04. The annual sales have been like:
'04: 200
'05: 700
'06: 700


24. On 2007-03-30, Fred Hicks said:

Thanks for the info, Vincent!  (And I'm pleased to hear what Angus has to say as well, heh heh.)


25. On 2007-03-30, Vincent said:

Sure thing, Fred.


26. On 2007-04-16, Valamir said:

Ok, finally got my 2006 inventory and sales reporting done and shot off $214 to the nice people of the Illinois Department of Revenue.

So, Uni 2nd printing sold out in 2005 and the new Revised version hit the stands late June 2006.  So basically 1/2 a year.

Total Sales:  378

Sales to distributors through Key 20: 143 (38%)
Sales to retailers through IPR:  39 (10%)
Remaining sales were direct from all sources.

So roughly half my volume is discounted, half is full price.

So if Uni can do half of what Dogs did, in half a year, I'm pretty pleased by that.  I'm also very pleased by the way Key 20 and IPR complement each other.


27. On 2007-04-17, Vincent said:

Here's another interesting development. There was just a 40+ page flamey thread about Dogs on RPGnet. While it was active, I sold only one Dogs pdf. I suppose it's possible that Brennan's been swamped with book orders, but it seems likely to me that I've (finally) tapped out RPGnet as a market.


28. On 2007-04-17, Ben Lehman said:

I think that we, as a group, worry way to much about RPGnet.  Polaris rarely gets mentioned on RPGnet (from time to time it gets name-dropped as some obscure indie game) and my sales have been, uniformly, pretty darned large.  I assume that people are talking about the game through other channels, or through play.


29. On 2007-04-17, Vincent said:

Maybe we do. I'm not worried about it now. This is the first time I haven't seen a sales spike go along with a big RPGnet thread, is all. An interesting observation that goes alongside my observation that my sales to retailers are increasing.

Hm. I've clarified and it looks like a denial. So let me say to the point: we ARE too worried about RPGnet, it's true. Me too. I'm on there all the time trying to find out what people are saying about me, as though "RPGnet" and "people" were the same set.


30. On 2007-04-20, Matt Wilson said:

The only time I ever go there now is when someone sends me a link to weirdness and I can't resist a peek. I never browse.


31. On 2007-04-26, Blankshield said:

Another possibility is that Dogs has become well enough known in the RPGnet community that when a flame thread rears up, everyone knows what's being argued about now.  There's no more "Dogs?  What the heck are these guys arguing about?" market.



32. On 2007-04-26, Vincent said:

That's what I figure.


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