Citadel at Nordvorn: Preliminary Financial Outlook

Things are starting to wind down on Citadel. Shipping costs are not yet quantified, but everything else has more or less settled. When I posted my Hall of Judgment analysis, I cautioned that that profitability (and it was profitable, if not hugely) was a result of the book being a revision and expansion, not a “from nothing” creation. I’d need a lot more money to be profitable on an equivalent book.

Well, I got my chance! Citadel wound up doing very well, and things are – at the moment – looking good.

Revenue

For a “just the books” Kickstarter, this one smashed all my previous records. 600 backers, and over $26,000 gross. So a really good showing.

  • Kickstarter Net Revenue: $23,790
  • Backerkit and Pre-Order: $6,250
  • No post-KS sales yet; it’s not for sale during fulfillment. That might change soon.

So total revenue has been just about exactly $30,000. This includes money reserved for shipping.

That’s a fantastic total. For a 128 page book, I’d expect it to run me $20K to get to PDF, so there’s still room for a print run and other stuff. But what were the actual, not theoretical costs?

Costs

So, this one was from scratch. 128 pages total, lots of art, etc.

  • The expenses for the project:
  • Writing and Editing: $4500
  • Production Fees: $3,700
  • New Art: $6565
  • Backerkit Fees: $780
  • Printing: $4,150 (Nordvorn only)
  • Other Printing: $5350
  • Shipping and Fulfillment: $TBD (estimated $5,000)
  • License Fees: Classified

So total cost to make the thing itself was just shy of $19,700. I had to print Fantastic Dungeon Grappling AND Hall of Judgment AND the bookmarks, which added another $5,350 to the tally, and then I’m guessing shipping and other fees will come in at a maximum of $8,000 more. That’s $33,050 total.

Note this looks like a “loss,” but it’s a book-keeping loss, not a cash loss. $6,000 of this total is my projected costs for writing and production, which I did myself. Another $5,300 is “I want to print more books than fulfillment requires, including a second edition of Hall of Judgment.” So out of pocket costs are looking more like $22,000, and I should have lots of inventory left over – fully paid up – for future sales.

Ultimately, I invested about $3,350 extra of my writing and production fees in extra inventory. Maybe 800 spare copies of FDG (nearly all that cost was setup cost; doubling the print run from 500 to 1000 was an esy call), and perhaps 300-400 each of Hall of Judgment and Nordvorn. Plenty of inventory to last a bit, and I expect that as my authors write Rosgarth and Forest’s End this year, some of that will get taken up by new customers wanting to catch up on the Nordlond books.

Of Lengi las Ekki

Too long, didn’t read? So, ultimately, the project was profitable, and would have been even more so had I not decided to invest in future inventory. That will wind up being something like $5-7K in print-and-ship costs, but hopefully represents $10-15K in future revenue. I actually expect FDG to do quite well: it does everything Technical Grappling does, but better.

Hall and Nordvorn will be solidly in hand, staged for several future Kickstarters worth of product. I made the best-looking book to date, and it’s utterly gameable. If you play it, you should have fun.

Big books are expensive and they’re hard to make money on at the price points folks expect. Even so, the GURPS crowd stepped up huge for me on this project and it made money (which I promptly spent).

Also: it was on time. I promised delivery of the PDF in May, and the print book in July. The final PDF was delivered in the second week in May (success), and fulfillment of international physical copies will begin mid-June. Some time taken to get the books to Studio 2 in Tennessee where they’ll go through Media Mail for US distribution should put them in folks’ hands by the end of July, as promised.

Successful project. Still not “quit the day job” success, but this is the RPG business, after all.

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