2005-07-19 : DitV: a Year's Sales

...Or not quite a whole year. I expect to sell a few more copies before GenCon.

Totals: 129 pdfs, 366 books, 495 together.

1. On 2005-07-19, Matt Snyder said:

Vincent, what's with the Feb. spike? You've probably hinted at this before, but I can't figure it out. New printing? Something else?


2. On 2005-07-19, Vincent said:

I don't remember, if I ever knew.

When was Dreamation? When was Clinton's awesome actual play writeup? Sometime around then.


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This makes...
NinJ go "Dreamation was the end of December."

3. On 2005-07-19, Vincent said:

This July spike is certainly DexCon's fault. Thanks to Tony and Luke!


4. On 2005-07-19, timfire said:

Hmm, you sold about twice the number of print copies as PDF's. I seem to remember Paul Czege saying his sales were 50/50. I can't remember who else posts their sales data. (Actually, Clinton does, but sales of TSoY are screwed 'cause he doesn't offer a PDF.)


5. On 2005-07-19, timfire said:

I bet the February spike was becasue of Dreamation.


6. On 2005-07-19, Vincent said:

"I seem to remember Paul Czege saying his sales were 50/50."

Yeah. I'm charging a lot for the PDFs, on purpose, and I think it's cost me sales. (I don't think it's cost me any money, and if it has, for certain it hasn't cost me much.)

My pricing philosophy is: the game costs $14. Printing and binding it costs $6 or $7; I'll print and bind it or you can, it'll cost you about the same either way. Then shipping it costs an additional buck fifty or so.

"I bet the February spike was becasue of Dreamation."

I bet so.


7. On 2005-07-19, Vincent said:

Oh and also - the 55 for August '04 doesn't include the 40 copies I sold at GenCon.


8. On 2005-07-19, Jay Loomis said:

So these numbers represent sales generated by what? Con presence and word of mouth only? Did you spend anything on advertising?

Also, I'd be interested in hearing how this stacks up with your expectations for sales.

And while we're at it, I remember you saying somewhere (Forge foums?) that you expected some interest from some LDS folks. Did you do anything to get those customers? And, if so, did it work?

I'm full of questions. :-)


9. On 2005-07-19, Matthijs Holter said:

The three RPGnet reviews on oct 1, oct 15 and nov 1 didn't seem to have a positive effect... in fact, they precede a big slump.


10. On 2005-07-19, The Metallian said:

Yeah, it was featured very prominently at Dreamation (that's where I bought my copy!) so that's probably the reason for the spike.


11. On 2005-07-19, Vincent said:

Jay: Con presence and word of mouth mostly. I've had a couple of ads in other peoples' games, but not for money, just for trade or neighborliness.

I've sold, oh, 10 copies into Utah, maybe 12? Plus I presume a PDF or three. I didn't do anything special to get any LDS attention. I'm not sure what I could do!

If you'd asked me in July '04 how many copies I expected to sell by July '05, I'd'a said 100.

Matthijs: My experience is that an online review will generate something like 4-8 sales in the week it appears, and pretty much none thereafter. You'll be pleased to know that I sold something in that range to people in the Netherlands, the week of your review.


12. On 2005-07-20, Troy_Costisick said:


Vincent, just wondering if you ran a booth at Origins or was it not worth the trouble?



PS:  Grats on such a great year! :)


13. On 2005-07-20, Vincent said:

I've never been to Origins. Luke sold the 5 copies of Dogs he took with him to Origins and turned some people away, I don't know how many.


14. On 2005-07-20, Tobias said:

In fairness to Matthijs, isn't he from somewhere in Scandinavia?

(Whereas I'm in the Netherlands)


15. On 2005-07-20, Vincent said:

Is he? My face is red.

I have an American's sense of world geography. It's sad.


16. On 2005-07-20, Vincent said:

Yesterday and today I've sold 4 PDFs to people in Italy. Must be a review in Italian somewhere!


17. On 2005-07-20, Thor Olavsrud said:

I personally turned at least five people away at Origins after we ran out of copies.


18. On 2005-07-20, Matthijs Holter said:

Oh yeah, I'm actually from Norway. My name is Dutch, though. Hey, don't worry, I don't know what U. S. state goes where. (I hardly know what Norwegian city goes where, to be honest...)

About sales after a review: Huh. That's not a lot, is it? Around 1500 people check out a review (that is, click on the link), so... about 1 in 200 actually buy the game, probably.


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This makes...
XP go "I went to Norway once... loved it."

19. On 2005-07-20, xenopulse said:

As someone wrote on the Forge regarding DexCon, many people in the hobby just don't have that much money these days. I honestly have to think long and hard before I can spend $25 on an RPG, especially since my current group certainly won't play it.

500 is quite an achievement. Congrats!

- Christian


20. On 2005-07-21, Vincent said:

Matthijs: "About sales after a review: Huh. That's not a lot, is it? Around 1500 people check out a review (that is, click on the link), so... about 1 in 200 actually buy the game, probably."

A good actual play thread will sell twice as many, sometimes three times.


21. On 2005-07-21, xenopulse said:

It was an AP thread that finally pushed me to buy it (and made Lisa, a long-time freeform player, even consider playing a game with mechanics :).


22. On 2005-07-21, Matthijs Holter said:

So from a purely promotional viewpoint, it would be much better to give away a few "actual play" copies than review copies, if you had to choose between the two. (And from a game design viewpoint, that would also be more interesting, wouldn't it?)

OTOH - if you could be guaranteed that a review would generate 4-8 sales, it would still make sense to send out review copies as well.

(Now that I think of it, it's the AP threads that made me buy PTA.)


23. On 2005-07-21, Vincent said:

"OTOH - if you could be guaranteed that a review would generate 4-8 sales, it would still make sense to send out review copies as well."

Giving one away to sell 4 is pretty slim. There's some history here that let's not go into, and I'm not going to take sides - but for so little return, whatever a designer decides to do makes sense to me.

Me, I give review copies when I feel like it, knowing that it's not a real money-maker. Mostly it depends on how the would-be reviewer strikes me. I gave one to you and some other folks, I didn't give one to some other guy and some other folks, just because I felt like it at the time.

Some of the folks who buy the game are going to write reviews too, it's not like you don't get reviewed if you don't give books away.

Oh, that reminds me, I want to talk about giving books to "big names" too. Like giving your game to (for instance) Kenneth Hite - it probably won't make you any money, and if you treat him like an opportunity you're dehumanizing both you and him. That's why there are such bad feelings about it on both sides - each side is exploiting the other, so everybody resents it. The whole transaction is ugly.

My advice is to give books to those guys only if it's personal, only if you genuinely don't care what or whether they're going to write about your game in public. You owe yourself that dignity.

I gave a copy of Dogs to said Mr. Hite, for instance, because of his reaction to kill puppies for satan - my ego wanted to show him what else. Whether he liked the game or even noticed it, let alone wrote about it, was entirely beside the point; I put the book in his hands and I'd had my say.

...I'm pleased as punch that he liked it, don't get me wrong, my ego is all psyched and validated. But look: Matthijs has sold as many copies for me as he has. Judd's sold probably ten times as many! My interactions with Kenneth are just personal, not economic.


24. On 2005-07-21, Paul Czege said:

Free copies for actual play? Only once for me. Last summer I gave a print copy of My Life with Master to an Australian woman, after she emailed for a shipping/handling quote and told me a bit about herself. At one point she'd been in an all female gaming group, and we had some email conversation about what an all-female group might do with MLwM. I was seriously interested in seeing an actual play report of such a game, and she seemed interested in getting the band back together, so I sent her the game. I think they did chargen, and then lives intervened and the game itself didn't happen. But I don't have regrets. It was a small gamble for the possibility of something rare and worth seeing. I'd do it again if the circumstances promised something equally special.


25. On 2005-07-23, Matthijs Holter said:

"There's some history here that let's not go into"

Oops, not my intention to open any cans of worms, though I can see how it looked that way. Really just thinking out loud about what marketing strategies might/might not work.


26. On 2005-07-23, Matthijs Holter said:

Giving away books can be a bit awkward, especially in small subcultures where everyone knows each other. I find it easiest to give people books for doing specific stuff - playtest, reviews etc; they seem to find it less weird that way. A lot of the time, I'd have given it to them anyway, because they're my friends and gaming buddies. I've had several people refuse freebies because they wanted to pay for them, to support either my "writing career" or the publishers' decision to publish a Norwegian RPG.


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