Thursday, February 28, 2013

GM Games Sales Report

It's hitting the end of the month and I try to post my sales for GM Games when I have any to report.  Why do I do it?  I believe I do it because I like when companies let me peek behind the curtain.  To have concrete numbers that go with sales and gaming.  When I started, I had no clue how many I would sell.  I still don't.  But my guessing is a lot better.

In February I released the third issue of The Manor and participated in Jim Raggi's Free RPG Day Kickstarter.  The Kickstarter alone gave me more sales in PDFs than I had previously combined.  I sell all my print items from my home.  But I'm planning on doing a combo, issues #1-4 in a book form, but due to the new policy of RPGNow's printer they will not ship books to my PO box.  I'll figure something out.  The PDFs I have for sale are on RPGNow and Lulu.  I've inquired about selling them on FRP Games, but haven't heard back.

Here are the numbers for February.  I've broken them down to show where the sales come from. 

Manor #3
43 - Print Sales
 0  - Lulu PDF
 9  - RPGNow PDF

Manor #2
 4  - Print Sales
 0  - Lulu PDF
 2  - PRGNow PDF
70 - LotFP Kickstarter PDF

Manor #1
 4 - Print Sales
 0 - Lulu PDF
 3 - RPGNow PDF
92 - LotFP Kickstarter PDF

Knowledge Illuminates
1  - Print Sale
2  - Lulu PDF 
3  - RPGNow PDF
73 - LotFP Kickstarter PDF

The Kickstarter made a decent month into a stellar month.  I plan on storing the money from the Kickstarter to get art for the zine and other projects.  Also this month I had some people who ordered back issues.  It's very cool coming home after a long ass day of work and see a few sales in my e-mail.  But what I am seeing is a spiraling downward trend with PDF sales.  Here are the number of PDF sales I had for each zine in their first month.

PDF Sales 1st Month
Issue #1: 40
Issue #2: 14
Issue #3:  9

I'm not sure why this is.  I know Issue #1 had some difficulties and took me a few attempts to get them straightened out.  What I think I'm going to do from now on with the PDFs is get them cleaned up and bookmarked by someone who knows how to do it.  I'll be reading up on it so I can eventually do it myself, but may need to enlist someone already versed in that already.  And when I get the 4th issue released I'll start doing bundle packages.  I know I always look for those when cruising around RPGNow.

Speaking of the 4th issue, its coming along nicely.  Jason Sholtis is really putting in a lot of hard work with not only art, but content.  He's already done more art for this issue than the first three combined.  And it looks like the 4th issue is going to be a tad larger than past issue, I'm guessing it'll be 28 pages instead of the usual 24 pages. 

I also wanted to thank everyone who did reviews or gave me a shout out for issue #3.  That would be Tenkard's Tavern, Tabletop Diversions, Bat in the Attic, Lapsus Calumni, and I am sure I'm missing a couple.  Ivy is better at spotting them than I am.

Here are the total sales of each issue to date.
Knowledge Illuminates - 266    (released February 16th, 2011)
Manor #1 - 253    (released May 4th, 2012)
Manor #2 - 170    (released July 4th, 2012)
Manor #3 - 52      (released February 16th, 2013)
Cave of Seiljua - 231    (released September 9th, 2012)

I know I've mentioned this before, but Dak from CRAWL! and I have opened up a community on Google+ called RPG Zines.  If your interested learning about how to do a zine or have some knowledge to share please join.  There has been a lot of good discussion about the process and the culture of zines.  I'm learning a lot from the input.  So if that's the kind of thing that interests you, please join and say hello.


  1. Thanks again for sharing. I appreciate your transparency. I have two items:

    1) Were your LotFP Kickstarter sales for money, or free downloads? How did you get associated with that whole deal? It looks amazing from a numbers standpoint.

    2) The over Manor sales trend is a little disturbing. How do you account for the declination of sales from issues one through three?

  2. Hey Dylan,

    1) Jim contacted me and asked if I wanted to participate. Then we worked out an agreement of how much he would buy them for. So yep, I did get some money out of it.

    2) Since #3 has only been out only two weeks the sales aren't too bad. Plus the other two got a big jump from the Kickstarter and being out 6+months longer.

    I think the first Manor got a lot of reviews and that always makes a big difference. And at the time James Mal was doing reviews, when he does a review my sales have always got a big kick in the rump. Each issue has had fewer reviews than the previous and I think that's a contributing factor. And maybe people are ear marking their gaming dollars toward something else these days.

    As for why the PDF sales have plummeted I have no clue. I think the important thing is to keep plugging along. I like what I am doing and like what's in the zines. I think most people who get a copy can see that. Like a mentioned in the post, I've had people buy all three zines at once. So with each release of a new issue I always make more sales of previous issues. So when I release issue 4 I expect to get a sale bump on all the other issues.

    Knowledge Illuminates is its on thing. I may not sell a copy for a couple months and then for some reason I sell 10. Recently Matt Stater did a review on KI and that helped capture a few more notches on my belt.

    If you are so inclined I would love to see how your adventures are selling and what do you think your factors are for succeeding.

  3. Thanks from me too, and congratulations. It's always reassuring to see good work done for the love can pay well, and pay ever better with application. Hopefully, this is still just the beginning.

  4. Tim:
    You know I appreciate your hard work and The Manor (and KI) itself. It's obvious love and sweat goes into each edition; that's the joy of 'zines and always has been.

    That being said, I'm excited for the prospect of bundles...because then I can buy multiple multiples at once!

  5. Print count sold is easy; I've sold out print runs of 30 (Heap), 30 (Veiled Invocation), 30+20 (Extra Stout) and 30 (Menagerie).

    The PDFs are on RPGNow (in chrono order)

    Pilz - 60
    Heap - 25
    Veiled - 20
    Extra Stout - 10
    Menagerie - 12

  6. Interesting information, thank you for posting it. I am always curious how well things sell that I know are a matter of personal pride and hard of work (as opposed to being rich).