Hall of Judgment hits $10,000; Print and Ship Commentary

We hit $10,000!

I mean, the trajectory and usual Kickstarter behavior (where your last two days are about 60% of the first two days) suggested this anyway, but still, seeing it is astounding. We also surpassed the total number of backers for Dragon Heresy, my full 288-page RPG, which was 328 during the campaign itself, plus a few pre-orders. We’re at 334 as I write this, which means no matter what, we’ve passed both.

The next “can we get there” milestone is to pass Dragon Heresy in terms of funds raised, which is a higher challenge. Our first two days were astounding: $6566 raised! Then we kept up at a $440 per day rate for the next 6 days, and since then, the pledge rate has leveled to $200 per day. The final two days can be up to 70% of the first two . . . or they can be “just another day.”

That means that at the low end, the next 13 days of the campaign could bring in another $2,500 and 85 people . . . which is awesome no matter what. Or they could bring in another $7,300. Who knows! The key will be getting the word out, and that depends on you more than me.

In any case, the campaign has already been very successful, and each day makes it more so.

Printing and Shipping

I had a question come up on the SJG Forums, and I thought I’d open the kimono a bit more about where we are, and where we might go.

I have four vendors I use for printing. DriveThruRPG, Publisher’s Graphics, a UK company that does short-run, high-quality digital print (Call it Company C), and a Hong Kong company that only deals in 1000+ quantities (call them Company D).

DriveThru and PubGraphics both have online quote generators open to all. DriveThru uses Lightning Source for printing, which has a UK branch; this means “not the USA” uses Royal Mail for shipping, which is much less expensive to y’all. A full 30% of backers to this project fall into that category (double the usual!) so this is a real consideration; the lowest cost to get a package out of the US to London by USPS is about $25. Royal Mail does that for $5-6.

But printing! The basic factor here is the quality and cost per book. I find PubGraphics quality superior to DriveThru. The paper is a bit better, the binding MUCH better, and the color more vivid. They’re also roughly 2/3 the price per book, but charge a setup fee. In short, somewhere between “I order 8” and “I order 32,” it’s cheaper to order from PubGraphics even including the ridiculous shipping cost to get it out of the USA.

But I will be ordering a minimum of 200 books, because you guys are great.

Let’s hit the other extreme. I can’t order fewer than 1,000 books from Company D. So that’s a dollar amount threshold, full stop. That, however, means that I will have something like 700 books sitting in my house. If I can sell them? FANTASTIC. That’s extra revenue, and the cost per book easily supports a distribution model. That’s an additional $7,000 in revenue (with associated licensing fees to SJGames!) over time, though not front-loaded like the Kickstarter.

In the middle, between 345 orders and about 720 orders, we have Company C. Their stuff is going to arrive with much thicker paper (140gsm vs 105gsm; 93# paper vs 70# for us Americans) and still be perfect bound like DriveThru and PubGraphics. Originating in the UK means that the costs for international shipping are lower, though I will need to find a good partner to split off 30% of the orders and get them to international folks.

So where are we for printing? We’re just at the cusp of kicking over into the wide territory where Company C wins the cost/quality battle. If I wind up ordering about 50% more books than actual print backers, then once we hit 230 print backers, we upgrade to the thicker paper. At 475-480 print backers, we get the sewn binding.

I’m working now to find a good partner for this in the UK. If you know of one (a game store that also fulfills international orders at a reasonable cost, perhaps), please let me know.

Nerdarchy!

I was on Nerdarchy on Friday, and we had a good conversation. There was a lot of stuff on shields and D&D, because that’s the crowd. I tried to keep the conversation at least mildly focused on Powered by GURPS and the DFRPG, though!

Progress

Writing continues, as does map creation. I just did a quick layout trial, and the current text – with no maps or art of any sort – runs over 75 pages. Add on the “Thegn of Your Own” backers, five full-page maps, six half-page encounter maps and we’re at 88 pages with zero artwork. Given I like to put something every spread or two, if we budget a quarter-page of art every four pages you’re dealing with another five or six pages of art.

And there’s a lot of dungeon and wilderness encounters and lions, tigers, and bears, oh my yet to do. (No tigers, actually. But lions and bears play prominent roles, so there is that). “Town” itself is 18 pages long, which makes for a nice, robust starting place with lots of things to do, and good embedded culture and entry points for adventurers to explore.

So we’re definitely trending to the 96 pages or more endpoint, which is fun for a book that started at 64.

Today is a “write all day” budget, so by day’s end, hopefully I’ll have most of the prose done. That would mean the big job is converting to Powered by GURPS numbers and stats. That’s a challenge, but it’s a direct one.

So I’m going to get to it. In the meantime, a bit of “yay, team!” on social media would not go amiss.

Thanks!

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