Sunday, June 1, 2014

Let's Talk Money

I know, it's almost sacrilege to speak about that abomination called money in this field, but I'm gonna.  I know there are lot of people who are already into making their own stuff or thinking about it.  Here's what it looks like in my corner of the self-publishing world.  I've calculated the gross, the cost and net of the past month.  This gave me, I had a bit of an idea, but not really sure until I ran the numbers, of how much I made and how much was going out.  These numbers are about as accurate as I could get them.  When I send out comp copies and freebies it's difficult to track their costs.
I broke down the sales in the different categories so I could see where the money was coming in.  The bundles represent the biggest money maker, but if you look at the per issue, single issues sold for $4.03 on average.  Where the bundles included 6 issues, averaged $3.52 per item sold.  Still, $685.50 for the month is great.  But now let's look at the costs.
Some of the costs were estimated the best I could.  Such as the ink and cardstock.  I burned through 2 ink cartridges this month and into my 3rd, but since I do personal printing on the same machine I just averaged it as best I could.  And the reason the paper was $0 was because I am very good at taking advantage of Staples rebates and all the regular paper I have has cost me nothing.  All the different fees from Paypal, Lulu and RPGNow are accurate.  Paypal has a fee system I don't quite understand.  If someone sent in me in $4 for the latest Manor, I get charged  a .42 cent fee.  If someone sends in $20 for the Manor bundle Paypal charges an .88 fee.  RPGNow is a straight 35% off the top of what you charge.  Lulu, about the same.
 So after a month of sales I was able to make $333.48 to the good.  I figured out what the average gross sale price was for each unit sold, average cost of each unit and how much profit I made on each unit.  These numbers are all based off of selling 208 units this month.

These numbers can be off putting.  This doesn't include all the time I put into printing and mailing these issues.  Which is a considerable amount.  The other thing is most of my products are below the $5 mark so there isn't a lot of room for profit.  But, I do this because I enjoy it.  The profit I make allows me to buy other OSR books and populate my shelves with a few other goodies.

There are a number of folks who get pissy about people making a little money off RPGs...ignore them.  People can figure out what they want to spend their money on without the help of those few griefers.  People can vote with their money if they are interested in what you're doing.  If your interested in publishing your own thing than I say give it a go.  It's a lot of work, but good fun.  I've met a lot of great folks because of doing this and have gotten a ton of support I never expected to get.

14 comments:

  1. Time, good work, great products and I'm glad to see you aren't in the red :)

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    1. As long as I stay away from some of those Kickstarters you post I should be able to stay ahead a little.

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  2. Very interesting. I think you're doing great. You made more money in a month on that issue than Weird Adventures has made!

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    1. Well, that's the combine of all the sales, not just issue 6, but it certainly was the driving force of the total.

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  3. I think Paypal charges a fixed cost plus a percentage of the transaction. The numbers you give work out close to $.30+3% ($20 should be $.90)

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    1. Just did a little research and this is what I found and you were right on.
      PayPal's fees are typically 2.9% + $0.30 USD per transaction for US sales.
      3.9% transaction fee plus a fixed fee based on currency received for international sales.

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  4. That's not a bad take-home, considering. Thanks for running them in public.

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    1. Thanks Peter. Yeah, its very cool and gives me a little working capital to invest in bigger projects.

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  5. Thanks for sharing! And keep up the good work.

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  6. Any time you're in the black while doing what you love, that's a good thing. Keep groovin', Tim!

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  7. Tim:
    I don't know that I've ever purchased one of your products; but I personally believe you're under no obligation to lose money. From my perspective, if you create a product that adds value to any enterprise, your time and effort should be compensated. After all, it's a busy life with multiple sets of conflicting demands -- you shouldn't be penalized for expressing your creativity; and if you choose to share it with the rest of us, we ought to be gracious about what you choose to charge us in order to recoup your expenses.

    Or, in other words, keep at it!

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    1. Will do. I've always said if I can make enough extra to pay for other gaming books I want than I am good.

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