Sunday, February 22, 2015

Micro-Adventures Hits $100 and Breakdown of How it Works for Me and the Patreons I Support and If You Think This Title is Long Wait til You See the Post

After looking at +Dyson Logos+matt jackson and +Michael Prescott Patreon page and how well they were doing I thought I would give it a try.  At the time the Manor's expenses were increasing, I had more writers contributing content and I wanted to be able to pay them more than just a thank you.  I drop $50 to $125 on art for each issue.  And when you make about a $1 to a $1.50 an issue it takes time to get your head above water.  But its doable if you keep at it.  

I saw Patreon as a good way to supplement the cost of The Manor and my compulsive buying of game books.  I'm a bit of a game book junkie.  

I got the idea of laminating the adventures because I draw a lot of my maps on notecards and letter-sized papers.  They would get damaged by me squishing them, eating a butter bread (I recently discovered) or a knocked over ice tea disaster.  I bought a laminator to protect the maps I liked.  I started printing maps on the notecards and then taking a second notecard and printing a small adventure.  Then I would laminate them together.  I can't remember what I did first.

On June 11, 2014 I set up a Patreon page featuring micro-adventures.  I was going to model it off of Dyson, Matt and Michael's model where as the content is free to the public.  There is no requirement to grab a copy of it and have patrons who just liked the work and wanted to support it.  

For my high-end patrons ($2.50+) I wanted to give them something cool, something they could physically hold.  That's when I tried out laminating my micro-adventures and it worked!  Although the font is wee, I try to make it as readable as possible.  And some of the micro-adventures are big micro-adventures requiring a more than a notecard.  So they become little zines.  These go out to my whales ($5 patrons).  

I've lost a batch of folks over time, but gained back more patrons.  I like that folks can grab a copy for free, but if they want to leave a tip they can.  That is the beauty of Patreon.  And over this weekend +Erik Tenkar (who has his own Patreon page, Old School Gaming Blog Posts, that I have no doubt will take over the world) gave me the privilege of being the first in his series of Patreon Highlights.  And because of his boost, my micro-adventures reached the $100 plateau.  I never thought I'd reach that goal.  

I thought I would breakdown a little of what I do with the mula. 
  • Patreon charges 5%.   
  • Credit card charges of 4%.
  • Paypal charges 2% for the transfer, up to $2.  Although I have seen different amounts.
  •  I's a patron to 12 other creators.  I really like what people are going and I like having the ability to tip them.  Some are per project and some are monthly fees.  Right now I have $36.90 going out to others.  Below I've listed who I support.
  • Postage and envelops, laminating material and notecards, all cost a bit.  When I send out a micro-adventure I thin I figured it cost me around $13 in postage and another $1 in materials. 
So I have a lot going out, around $61.50.  So out of that $100, I get to pocket around $38.50.  But that's only if I do one micro-adventure a month.  My patreon is set up per project.  So folks give me a tip each time I produce a micro-adventure.  Here's the other very cool thing about Patreaon, you can set a monthly limit so not to go over your budget.  So there are some who drop out after the first project or second or third.  I'll break it down here.

Micro-adventure 1: $100.50 (44 patrons support)
Micro-adventure 2: $ 94.00 (41 patrons support)
Micro-adventure 3: $ 91.00 (39 patrons support)
Micro-adventure 4: $ 89.00 (37 patrons support)
Micro-adventure 5: $ 69.50 (28 patrons support)

...and so on.  I make about 2 to 3 micro adventures a month.  About what I have time for and can do a decent job.  So that $38.50 is just for the first adventure.  I can make a little more money with the later adventures.  The other thing I HAVE to take into account is this year I will make over $600 so I will need to pay taxes.  1099 tax forms gobble up a ton of your income.  So I need to keep money back for that next year.  That will be the most difficult for me since I suck at the business side of these things.

Okay, enough of that annoying bookkeeping stuff.  Necessary, but fucking annoying.  Onto the good stuff.  People I back on Patreon.

+matt jackson supporting for 428 days.  His Patreon features Old School Maps.  Matt is one of the best known old school map makers around.  I've always loved his approach and cool maps.  You can find them in a few issues of The Manor.  Plus, last year he ran a charity run for the Wounded Warriors Project and raised over $1000.

 +Courtney Campbell supporting for 385 days.  His Patreon feature Blog Posts from his Hack & Slash blog.  At first when I heard he was doing this I was curious how someone would do a Patreon by blog post, but Courtney is a different kind of blogger than most.  His posts are professional article with research.  Well worth tipping his efforts.

+Michael Prescott supporting for 335 days.  His Patreaon features Adventures.  His one-page adventures are not only kick ass, but they are accompanied by the best 3D maps you'll find anywhere.

 +Dyson Logos supporting for 269 days.  His Patreon features Maps & Adventures for OSR RPGs. The beast map-maker of the OSR.  He's probably not known as well for his adventures, but Dyson can write.  Make no mistake.  I remember for a time there were contests for this and that on the blogs and damn it if Dyson didn't seem to win everyone I entered.  I'm very glad to be back Dyson, his maps make up a big part of the spine that is the OSR.

+Simon Forster supporting for 182 days.  His Patreon features Maps.  There is something about Simon and his maps I just enjoy.  It goes beyond the squiggly lines and green fields.  His maps have this cool style to them that no one else could duplicate.  His maps inspire stories and adventures.  

+Johua De Santo supporting for 173 days.  His Patreon features 'ventures!.  He calls them 5-minute or one-page romps.  Another creator of small adventures that can be plugged in quickly.  He's been very busy lately with his Kickstarter, Pyramid of the Lost King: Adventures in Basq.  When it gets funded he's asked me to write a little something for it.  And Johua contributed to issue 7 of The Manor.

+Jim Magnusson supporting for 164 days.  His Patreon features "the Lost Monster Manual" page postcards.  Jim did the cover for The Manor, issue 7.  And a lot of the interior artwork.  I have all his postcards.  I love his work.  A cool guy with a fast pen.  Fastest artist I know.

+Frank Turfler supporting for 43 days.  His Patreon features Stuff for Storytellers and Game Masters.  They are printable tiles that have a 3d effect.  I believe his term for them is 2.5D.  These things are cool.  I don't see anyone else doing this kind of thing.  He's got a variety of setting, including a fricking basketball court.  

+Kristian Richards supporting for 29 days.  His Patreon features Dungeon Maps.  His maps are amazing.  They are digitally drawn, they are clean and probably the best kind to use for on-line play.  And he has a lot of them, here's a sample of what he creates.

And recently I started supporting a batch of new folks.  

+Christopher Stogdill aka The Frugal GM.  His Patreon is featuring Role-Playing Game (RPG) Aids.  He's created maps to use and looks like he's got some plans for a variety of products.  I do believe I saw the word zine somewhere!

+James Spahn of Barrel Rider Games.  His Patreon features Old-School Roleplaying Games.  A creator of games.  He recently released the very successful White Box Companion on RPGNow.  And that is just one of his products.  He's got a ton of great supplements for OSR sysems.  So if he wants to create new stuff and permit me a peak at it, I'm in.

And lastly +Erik Tenkar of Tenkar's Tavern.  His patreon features Old School Gaming Blog Posts.  I back Erik because he's a big pain in the ass.  heh.  Erik, whether you like him or loathe  him, is a critical part of the OSR.  his blog is a hib of activity and he's the go to guy when you want to know about what's going on.  He posts 300 times a day.  The cool thing about hs Patreon is he takes the money he is getting and invests it back into the OSR community by backing more folks on Patreon.  And, his wife gets to give away some of his gaming stuff.  Which cracks me up, but I also have to keep an eye out on Ivy now.  I don't want her getting any ideas.

Whew.  That's it folks.  Thanks to all my patrons for the support.  I probably could have made two micro-adventures in the time it took me to write this post.


  1. Thanks for the kind words Tim. I love getting your adventures in the post :)

  2. Thanks Tim! Hope you've been enjoying my stuff as much as I've been yours!

  3. Thanks Tim, I am really glad to see you doing so well, I utterly enjoy getting your adventures in the mail.

  4. Fine words brother! Thank you and congratulations. Looking forward to $150.

  5. It's a pleasure to be a pain in your ass, Tim.

    Wait. That sounds wrong.

  6. It's a pleasure to be a pain in your ass, Tim.

    Wait. That sounds wrong.

  7. Spend a little money on a Tax Man (or woman) who is familiar with Schedule-C 1040 work (and can prove it). Business is boring and accounting is worse. Having Uncle Sam fist you for taxes plus penalties is . . . wait, that sounds wrong to steal a phrase but it's going to feel all wrong, too.

    Plan for success just a little. Yep, boring. But every guy on here, and every creator in this field is generating material with a forty year shelf life (you aren't selling flowers and muffins) and you've got the market, you've captured the niche, you have a durable business portfolio - as in you make shit, not just promise it - and you have the Following.

    The speedbump is the Tax(es) thing and you don't want that long shadow cast on your door.

    Save versus Needless Anxiety. Fix it, forget it!

  8. Hand over fist, my friends.

    Paying taxes on your creative income is a sign you're doing something right, IMO.
    : )