Sunday, 12 October 2014

Hitting the Books: The Current State of Killshot

Confession time. I haven't paid any significant attention to Broken Ruler Games over the past few months. Pretty much the entire past year. With a lot going over during 2014, all of this was put aside and left to run on its own accord. If you've tried to get onto the BRG site, you may have noticed the domain doesn't work any more. That's actually due to extremely annoying communication problems with the host and Google (with whom I purchased the domain name, brokenrulergames.com) and now the site is out of reach. Yeah, I've been a bad owner.

With a renewed fire under my belt (thanks to a certain vacation providing some time to think), I finally had a chance to go back over all the sales, checklists, emails, and everything. And in the interest of full disclosure, I'm happy to say that Killshot has made a profit. The below chart shows the entire line's total sales and earnings as of October 1, 2014.


After the additional costs of doing business (domain name, POD test copies, marketing, stock art, assorted business expenses) running at $506.21, what's left is $285.48. 

Killshot was an experiment in every way. I toyed around with stuff, tried out a few different settings, gave away a shitload of copies (61% of all sales were freely handed out by yours truly), and stumbled with Pay What You Want options (more on that in a bit). Not the least of which was to spend more than the money raised on the Kickstarter (unaccounted taxes and shipping being the usual culprits). Seeing these results makes it very worthwhile.

Though not profitable. 

The idea machine is clicking away on something and it's all thanks to my recent trip out to Prince Edward Island. Meeting with a couple of store owners about the possibility of carrying Killshot in their stores has lit a fire under my butt, yet it'll all be for not unless I get all the records caught up and stable so I can start moving forward on towards Phase 2. 

THE PWYW LEARNING CURVE

Over the past three months, there have been a total of 81 downloads for Killshot products. For a grand total of $0. Between free and Pay What You Want titles, not a single person put down a single cent. While very helpful for getting this game into as many hands as possible (particularly hands that are likely to actually read it, unlike those who receive them as part of a prize bundle), it does make things difficult when you are a small indie game. There's no reason for anyone to trust your enough to pay for it. The PWYW Learning Curve solidifies the greatest lesson I've learned throughout this entire endeavour: it's all about the connections. Whether its a pre-existing connection with your customers familiar with your previous work and ready to trust you once again with your next project or by meeting fellow designers, editors, and artists at trade shows, having connections goes a long way on the Internet. 

Do I recommend it for indie publishers looking to get their game out there? Yes, for sure. But do not depend your entire line on it. Tease, do not give away. Give them a reason to trust you, but don't allow yourself to be taken advantage of. 

With these updated numbers in tow, I'll be able to start looking at a few things. Time to perform the autopsy and see how it all went down so that we can learn and adapt. 


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