Friday, 9 October 2015

Notes on micro-publishing, part 2

Oddpool has been out for a month - there are only a few print copies left - and because I want to make self-publishing RPG things a part of what I do, for fun and for profit, it seemed like a good time to look at the numbers and process involved thus far.

This not a "how-to": I'm just going to say what I did, what I think went well and what I think I could do differently, and some little things I've learned along the way. Like I said yesterday, I had three goals with making Oddpool:
  1. To have fun making something and sharing it.
  2. To learn a little about the behind the scenes logistics of this kind of enterprise.
  3. To raise some money towards artwork for future releases.
Yesterday, I shared some of the practical details of how I made Oddpool. Today, I'll look at what I did to set up a payment process, and how I went about sharing Oddpool. Tomorrow I'll look at the numbers of all this, and what I learned by doing this small project.

Selling and Sharing Oddpool

I have some webhosting for my main business, so it was simple enough to setup a new email address under that, and then create corresponding Paypal and Payhip accounts to correspond with that. I've used Payhip before, and decided to put Oddpool on sale there as a pay-what-you-want download.

It took me about half an hour to figure out setting up an item inventory for the print copy on Paypal, but it was time well spent and I'll know how to do that in future. The time was mainly spent on getting the button and drop-down box to look the best that I could.

In the week leading up to releasing Oddpool I shared it a lot on G+: both generally from my account and directly to a couple of communities that I'm a part of. I talked about the background for Oddpool, why I was doing it and showing some of the artwork that I'd created. These posts tended to get boosts of +1s and reshares, particularly if I tagged people like Chris McDowall in (who created Into The Odd, the game that Oddpool supplements).

When it was finally out, I shared the link like crazy on G+, repeating what I had done before but more so. I found myself checking my email compulsively to see if there were any more notifications from Payhip or Paypal! I checked in with G+ several times over the weekend to keep reminding people - hopefully in a non-annoying way - that it was available.

Shipping Oddpool

Getting the supplement in the post was not difficult: I was putting two small A7 booklets in a little envelope. I live less than five minutes walk from a Post Office, and I had been there previously to check the weight - Royal Mail have a handy online postage cost booklet - so all I had to do was ask for stamps and airmail stickers.

As I launched the booklet for sale on a Friday afternoon, I waited until Monday to ship the first wave of orders, which was about half of the print run. Over the next few weeks, whenever I put Oddpool in the post box I sent an email to buyers to let them know it was on the way, and it's been pretty nice to get responses or notes via G+ when it has arrived!

I've been keeping records along the way; I had a spreadsheet that I created in advance to estimate costs, fees and profits and then compared that with the reality. I'll say more about the numbers tomorrow, as in some cases these estimates didn't line up with what happened (Paypal fees for example, when a couple of extra pence would be taken for exchange fees that I had not anticipated).

Tomorrow I'll look at all of the numbers that I've got so far, what I've spent, what I've taken in, how pay-what-you-want worked out so far, as well as looking at what I've learned from this process - big and small. Any questions or comments, then let me know here or on G+. Thanks!

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