I’ve embarked on writing for Saga of the Sea Peoples, and in doing so, I’ve started to consider the costs that would be associated with bringing it to actual fruition, meaning distributing it beyond Patreon. The costs for doing a print product – something more than 100 pages – are pretty prohibitive. A ballpark estimate puts the Kickstarter goal at about US $11,500. My biggest success for Kickstarter was Centurion: Legionaries of Rome which brought in around $5,900 USD. Nefertiti Overdrive only brought in about $4,900 CAD, which was about $3,800 USD.
It’s possible to produce a 125 page book without editing or certain sections I’d like to include – such as considering migration and integration in the context of the Sea People – and using stock art. That goal would be about $3,000 USD so a Kickstarter goal of $4,450 CAD . . . or, to be more careful, $5,000 CAD.
A PDF-only product, substantially shorter, and using stock art, would have a goal of $4,500 CAD. That means I would need 350 backers at $13.50 CAD (around $10 USD) a pop to hit that target. Were I to do the base minimum – editing, consultation, extra sections, and more art as stretch goals – I could set the goal at $2,000 USD, meaning I would need about 150 backers.
Centurion only had 180 backers, Nefertiti Overdrive had 302 backers, and Sword’s Edge had 144 backers. So far, it looks on the edge of do-able, but with definite failure potential. Failure is fine – it means the market isn’t interested and if I want to pursue it, it would be on my own dime with minimal expectation for sales.
One thing I learned from the Centurion vs. Nefertiti Overdrive Kickstarters was the value of high ticket pledge levels. Something like creating one of the iconic characters for the game or being a model for a piece of art can support a pretty heft price tag, but does it help?. For the art, I would have to actually increase the goal of the Kickstarter to compensate for the added cost – three openings for modelling for art would increase the cost by almost $600 CAD while bringing in a maximum of $750. That's about eight extra backers, so there is some potential but it's not significant.
In the end, I’m going to push forward with the writing, and can promise you the rules portion. There’ll be some historical discussion thrown in there, and I’m continuing to research the era and the Sea Peoples, as it has turned out to be fascinating, but I won’t have a “history” section per se unless I’m able to finance this some other way. Kickstarter looks like a possibility, but it needs more analysis and consideration.