So, we've reached the end of our first year of the Fate Adventures & Worlds Patreon!
In some ways it feels like we've just begun: after launching the Patreon in January of this year, we had Venture City Stories out within a few months (which we'd had in development already & nearly ready at time of launch). Then we had some hang-time while we got a group of writers together and their work underway. It wasn't until August that we saw the fruits of that, starting with Secrets of Cats, and moving from there to Save Game, the Aether Sea, and Romance in the Air. The Patreon campaign is still young!
Pledges have steadily crept towards $4000 and have hovered just above that mark for some time. We've consistently had around 20-or-so patrons with declined cards; further there are credit card processing fees, and Patreon takes its cut as well, so from Secrets of Cats on forward we've collected around $3200-$3400 in terms of actual revenue per release. That's _just_ enough to cover our digital production costs of about $3400 between writing, editing, development consultation, art, and art direction; Fred's layout is covered by his general Evil Hat salary, so that doesn't add to our costs.
Thankfully we've seen some decent success with the Pay What You Want releases on DriveThruRPG, so this isn't a profit-neutral calculation. Most of these products are still pretty young; the older ones have gained the most (net calculation after DriveThru takes its 35% cut):
* Venture City Stories: DTRPG net $3390 year-to-date (< 10 months)
* Secrets of Cats: DTRPG net $3026 YTD (< 5 months)
* Save Game: DTRPG net $1027 YTD (< 3 months)
* Aether Sea: DTRPG net $1188 YTD (< 2 months)
* Romance in the Air: DTRPG net $507 YTD (< 1 month)
Taking this $9k-and-change extra above & beyond the Patreon funding, and adding it to about $11k of our own funds, we're experimenting by taking Secrets, Save Game, Aether Sea, and Romance into print, as individual $10-cover-price softcovers, full color interior, all that (yeah, the total cost of that across all four is about $20k). Secrets of Cats hits retail in January, and we're hoping to have the other three out by March (tho that may wiggle a bit). We'll be watching the market performance of these titles in print to see how viable it might be to continue doing that.
(Venture City Stories isn't on the in-print list in part because we want to get Venture City Powers done, at which point we'll look at integrating the two into a single book, if it seems viable.)
Going into 2015, and with all the above in mind, we've established a couple new goals for the campaign.
If we can reach and sustain $4500 we'll work on providing Kindle and Nook formats of the adventures (going forward and retroactively). This goal's not that far off, so we're hoping we can draw in a few more folks to make it a possibility.
Then there's the big one — $8500. At that level, and with our observed actual net take, we will be able to _unreservedly_ take each new Patreon adventure into print format within a few months of its digital release. This is an aspirational goal; the closer we get to it, even not having reached it, the more easily we can consider taking any one given adventure into print. So ultimately, $8500 is the "no-brainer" number. Every point between $4500 and $8500 is an achievement that makes that outcome more likely. If we don't reach $8500, we'll still be looking into producing print versions — it just might take a lot longer (as we wait for the market to generate the funds), and in some cases might have to end up "stuck" in digital.
Because this is all speculative, we don't have a good solution in mind for doing any kind of shipped-product benefit for higher-level patrons. If we _do_ reach $8500, we'll also put in the effort to _make_ a good solution; we'd prefer not to ask people to increase their pledges on a possibility rather than a guarantee, so anything along those lines has to wait until then.
Also for 2015, we're looking for more ways to provide value to our $12 "insider" patrons. Voting opportunities, at least for the short to mid term, have slowed down, now that we've established our current batch of pitches, but we may return to that as new opportunities arise. (There are also some cases we have in early development where voting simply doesn't make sense, because there aren't multiple options to choose among.) We'll try to work out some good ways to give broader, more extensive sneak peeks at the content, but honestly, things move pretty fast once a World's text gets out of editing, so there's only so much time we have between text completion and product release. So, we're pondering what else we might do for our $12+ set! If you have any suggestions there, please do let us know in the comments.
Whew! Long post, but we had a lot to say about the year that was. The year *ahead* looks pretty damned exciting, too, and we can't wait to bring everything we've told you about (and more) in 2015, starting in January with the release of Psychedemia.
See you then, and thank you for your support!
— Evil Hat