It’s my practice to be pretty transparent about the cost to make my games. So, with no further ado, here’s the end-of-project view on “where will the money go?” for Lost Hall of Tyr which funded at about 200% on Kickstarter.
Writing and Editing
The basic cost to write the book and make it readable. These are almost always “per word” charges, and will typically range from 0.03 to 0.10 per word depending on the writer and editor’s rates. John is very public about his rates – they’re published on his website at 0.03 to 0.05 per word; my own assumed writing fees are 0.05 per word.
As such, writing and editing show a total cost of $1,540.
Layout and Art
Layout and Art are the bulk of any project’s cost in my experience. Of course, one of my goals is to make a book that’s awesome to look at as well as great fun to play. The components of “art” in this book include the Cover, Interior Art, Layout, and Maps.
Layout was done by Todd, and in this case, we worked out a fixed rate in advance. Which honestly wasn’t enough and he’ll be getting more money than we initially agreed due to scope creep and iteration.
Maps and Interior art pay by the piece, with the artist setting their own rate and I either say “yes, I accept” or “no, thanks.” I never dicker with the artist over what they want to charge (well, that’s not true; I’ve several times paid more than what the artist quotes).
Total art, layout, and art direction for Lost Hall: $3,500
Printing and Shipping
These will float a bit until I actually know the real numbers, but approximately 114 physical copies were procured by the Kickstarter. I’ll probably order another 25 to act as physical inventory for myself to fulfill future orders through my website.
Shipping costs are variable, but mostly will be about five to eight dollars each. Call it about six.
So printing and shipping the books should run about $1,550 in round numbers.
Management (and Marketing!)
There are many bits of project management that come up in running a Kickstarter or publishing project of any size. Done well, they blend into the background and seem effortless and worthless. Done poorly, they result in crap projects, ill will with the creative team, and late or unfulfilled Kickstarters.
The two areas that really hit here are overall project management (including contracting) and Art Direction.
Marketing is something that really should be a line item as well, but right now, it’s just “post a lot on social media” and I handle that myself as well, so I haven’t figured out what to charge for it: I lump it in with Project management.
Art Direction involves hiring the artists, contracting, deciding the base composition for each piece, and nudging the process along. Because that’s subsumed into “project management,” and it’s all me, it’s also (like writing and project management and marketing) something I budget for but don’t include in my Kickstarter basic goals.
The two together are estimated at about $1,100.
Total Costs for Lost Hall of Tyr
So there you have it:
- Text Content: $1,540
- Graphic Content: $3,500
- Print and Ship: $1,550
- Management/Admin: $1,100
Total Cost: $7,690
If we subtract the fees I might charge for my own work (writing, management) and shipping (because it’s a pass-through done in Backerkit), we’re left with about $5,000 in out-of-pocket expenses to make the book.
It was another good experience, though, and the final product is going to be fun to play and very attractive. As always, your feedback on what you liked about both the product and the Kickstarter (planning, execution, and eventual delivery) are appreciated!