In January, Cat and I take stock of our previous year and look ahead to the next one in our Annual Partnership Meeting. We hold this on the dry Friday before WarpCon, a games convention based in Cork, Ireland, primarily in the student union bar, which means good minutes are essential. The Book of Demons is ready to print, and Cthulhu City is available as a PDF.
Fun With Data
2017 was our second best year in terms of USD sales. The first best year was 2014, but that included two Kickstarters.
To give you an idea of how things compare through each channel, we have this.
Sales through distribution (and hence retail) continue to decline, but they are still at historically high levels, and unit sales though distribution of print books continue to be much higher than through mail order. Now on to something stranger!
Unclaimed Digital Rewards
This shows the digital rewards for various Bundles of Holding and Kickstarters which remain unclaimed.
For Bundles of Holding I understand, because we send out a single email, and most backers have already claimed their rewards on DriveThruRPG. For Kickstarters, some we provided downloads with direct links, then followed up with Bookshelf – so you’ll see Hillfolk and 13 True Ways are mainly unclaimed, but that’s just because they already have their books. But for TimeWatch, a large proportion of people have simply not snagged what they pledged for. Likewise, in 2016 and 2017, more than 1000 people placed orders (mainly print orders) and didn’t claimed their free PDFs. This just involves registering for a free bookshelf.
Don’t go rushing to support – we’ll send follow-up emails in the next month or so.
For a long time, we’ve aimed our production schedule at Page XX – ensuring that we have something new out each month to coincide with its release. Likewise, we’ve concentrated heavily on getting books out for Gen Con. This has turned into a grind, and held up production of larger books. In addition, the fixed costs and sales of smaller PDFs makes them less worthwhile, unless we’ve got non-commercial reasons for doing it.
So, you’ll see releases coming out less regularly, but with greater frequency. 13th Age is its own thing, with Rob Heinsoo running that line in parallel to the other books.
Fall of Delta Green
The PDF is in the hands of Arc Dream, and we hope to have it out to backers next week. The final layout will go to the printers at the end of next week, too. If takes a couple of months to print and ship at least.
It will go on general preorder in the Pelgrane store at the end of February, to be shipped out after the backers have been sent theirs.
Swords of the Serpentine
Kevin Kulp and Emily Dresners’s GUMSHOE game of cities, secrets, and sorcery has now hit 150000 words, and is being polished ready for external playtesting. Kevin has run it himself for more than 100 playtesters. When designers run their game, it helps them hone their design fixing weaknesses and flaws, but it’s very hard to know if the text does the job of transmitting the game they want the players to experience without sending it out for external playtesting. Playtesting also shows flaws in the design, gives us an idea of the market for the game, but making sure people are playing the game we intended is pretty high on the list.
The Book of Demons is uploaded to bookshelves, and is on its way to the printers.
A Final Word
I’ll leave you with this snippet – the most popular article in the last year is What’s Your GUMSHOE Size? a guide to which GUMSHOE system might suit you.