This post covers the relative success of the different lines of lines of products. If you have any questions, post in the comments.
Core Book Sales
This pie chart shows the proportion of sales we’ve had for each of our core lines, since we started. The second, how each fared in 2011.
What I note from this:
- Ashen Stars has quickly caught up with Fear Itself and Mutant City Blues. It remains to be seen if it has long-term legs. I suspect the print run will last through to March 2013.
- Night’s Black Agents has only been on sale for a couple of months, so not much to say there other than it’s matching Ashen Stars pre-orders. I am hoping that Night’s Black Agents will be an evergreen product.
- Trail of Cthulhu is still the dominant force, and that will continue. We sold more Trail in 2011 than 2010.
- Trail, Esoterrorists, Mutant City Blues and Fear Itself all sold 10% of their total sales in 2011. Dying Earth core book sales were lower, unless I take into account the Loot sale we did, in which case, again, 10%. I think there is something to learn there, but I don’t know what it is.
These charts combine supplement and core book sales.
- Because we’ve sold so many Trail, Trail supplements sell well – enough to do offset print runs in many cases. So, unsurprisingly, we do more of them, and sell more of them.
- In 2011 Bookhounds sold through its print run, and Arkham Detective Tales with its new lease of life as the Extended Edition, Rough Magics and Armitage Files topping 1000 copies.
- The Occult Guide was a surprise hit – nearly 1000 copies sold. We’ll be doing another of those, for England / Britain.
- Releasing DR7 with Ashen Stars was a good move – it’s matched 45% of the print run of Ashen Stars.
- We released a fantastic number of small supplements for the Dying Earth – love more than money, really, hence the high percentage of unit sales over all. I expect the Revivification Folio to live up to its name on the DERPG line.
Publisher Rules of Thumb
From all this data, and some other, more sensitive stuff, I have some publisher rules of thumb:
- 3000 copies is the true sweet spot for a core book. If you are producing quality print supplements for such core books, you can be sure to hit 1000 copies of them after about two years.
- The Print Bundle of PDF products is worthwhile.
- For an evergreen line, expect to sell 25% of your first year sales each year.
- Extended editions are definitely worthwhile. On this basis, I’m hoping that second editions are, too.
- Release your first supplement with your core book. Compare the Fact Book (31% of Esoterrorist customers) with Dead Rock Seven (45% of Ashen Stars customers).