2015-02-14 : lumpley games 2014 biz

2014-01-05: lumpley games in 2011-2013
2013-02-28: lumpley games 10-year retrospective
2012-01-02: 2011 at lumpley games
2011-02-18: 2010 at lumpley games

The state of lumpley games, 2013, part 1
The state of lumpley games, 2013, part 2
The state of lumpley games, 2013, part 3
The state of lumpley games, 2013, part 4

Here are the boring numbers. These are lumpley games' sales, 2010-2014, quarterly. PDF and print combined. Direct online sales only; sales at cons, to retailers, bundles, whatever else, all are in addition to these numbers.

Sales 2010-2014
lumpley games' sales 2010-2014

I suspect that this graph shows Apocalypse World's peak in 2014 Q1, with 2014 Q2 beginning its decade-long decline.

You can also see that my short-term project, riding the brakes, as described in the "State of lumpley games, 2013" series above, is working. I haven't published a new for-sale game since 2012. I've been devoting time to my darling family and my Minecraft, not to this blog or cons or many of the things I did to keep lumpley games buzzing.

Otherwise, not much to say about these numbers! You can look back at past years for analysis, or ask me for any details you're curious about.

Here are each game's totals, lifetime.

Lifetime Sales
lumpley games' lifetime total direct sales

Cents Per Word
I did take the time to chart out how many cents per word my games pay me! It seems a going topic: What's a Freelance RPG Writer Worth? and Pie For Everyone, Just Sliced Very Thinly.

In the kind of publishing I do, you put in all your work up-front and your company pays you out over time. When I published Apocalypse World, for instance, I'd written 70,000 words, and also put in about 300 hours of non-writing work (let's say), all for no pay. I start to pay myself out with the game's first sale, and for as long as the game remains in publication, its payout rate per word just increases:

Cents Per Word
lumpley games' writers' rates, per game

Naturally the writers' rates are only half the picture. I arrived at these numbers by notionally splitting my games' margin 50/50 with myself, paying myself out half per word and half per hour of non-writing work.

Notional Payout Split
splitting the margin 50/50 with myself

That's with the exception of the lumpley games PDF library, as you can see. I decided not to notionally split the margin with myself as a writer for that product, since it was all already written and I already held the rights to publish it all, only to notionally pay myself hourly for putting it together.

I crack myself up.

Questions, comments, observations welcome as always!

1. On 2015-02-14, Ben Lehman said:

as always, thank you for posting this.

I cannot make any sense of your per word / hourly thing.


2. On 2015-02-14, Vincent said:

Ben: Sure thing!

So for instance, Apocalypse World has paid me $0.39 per word for my writing, PLUS $91 per hour for the non-writing work I put into it. It's kind of a joke to split it in half like that, or at least, it's arbitrary, but it probably makes more sense than reporting it as either $0.78 per word or $182 per hour.


3. On 2015-02-14, Nick G said:

I'm thrilled that, after the obvious top two, your best-selling game is kill puppies for satan :-)


4. On 2015-02-14, Simon said:

You are better at graphs than me.


5. On 2015-02-14, spigot said:

So what's fun about looking at RPGs as work and not play (but only so you can play around with the idea)? I'm curious!


6. On 2015-02-15, Gordon said:

Any clue what retailers, bundles, etc. add to your sales #'s? 10%? 50%? Double? (maybe in bundles?) $'s would be complicated, I'd think, but maybe in pure #'s a guesstimate could be close.


7. On 2015-02-15, Vincent said:

Gordon: Maybe 15%, depending on the game, except that the Bundle of Holding is thousands of copies.

Spigot: Fun or not, once a year I'm required by law to look at my business like a business. I figure that since I have the spreadsheets out anyway, I might as well look at my numbers and see what I can see.


direct link

This makes...
Spigot go "Law stinks!"

8. On 2015-02-15, Paul T. said:

Why is it that Dogs in the Vineyard seems to come out ahead of Apocalypse World in terms of hourly and per-word rates, despite AW selling almost twice as much?

Is it just that AW is a longer text, or something else?


9. On 2015-02-15, Vincent said:

Paul: Yep. Dogs in the Vineyard is the more profitable game per copy sold, and only half as many words long.


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