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2 steps publishing, an alternative way to raise funds

4 replies [Last post]
larienna's picture
Joined: 07/28/2008

I had an idea that could be an alternative to raising funds through kick starter or pre-order and I wanted some comments. In the example below, I am using arbitrary number so the calculations might not be exact.

Let say I have a complete game: The game is working, the artwork is done, etc. I first try to make a small print run of 150 copies and also publish it as Print and play.

Considering I am only printing 150 copies, the price per copy should be higher. Lets asume it's 10$ per copy, that will mean it will cost me 1500$ from my pocket.

If I sell the game myself in my local area and through internet (+shipping fee), all the money would go to to me since there is no distributor and retailer. If let say I sell the game at 3 times the price 30$. That means that I need to sell 50 games to reach break even and that selling all games would earn me 4500$.

If the game took a lot of time to sell or received a lot of bad reviews, I could stop there. Else, if I consider that a lot more people are invested in the game, I could now make a 2nd print run.

Let say that for he second print run, I print 1000 games which each now have a print cost of 5$ each for a total cost of 5000$. Since I have accumulated 4500$ from the first run, I could use that money, add 500$ from my pocket to make the second print run that will now pass through a distributor and retailer since I cannot possibly sell 1000 copies by my self.

Let say the game is sold at 10$ to the distributor. Since my total investment is 2000$, I would need to sell 200 copies to be able to make the break even. If I sell them all, I would get 10000$ at the end.

Does that make sense?

I think the main reason why people are raising fund is to be able to finance artwork for their game. So this kind of publishing could only work if you can manage to make the whole game by yourself by using public domain art or pictures for example.

Dralius's picture
Joined: 07/26/2008
It could work assuming you

It could work assuming you have the skills to make the necessary sales and you adjust the plan. You are going to have to account for many other expenses than just getting the game made. A website, advertising, shipping materials, licenses, etc.. This and you won't sell every copy. You'll need to send out a few review copies and then there is always shrinkage.

Another down side is you have not included any salary for yourself. If you self publish you will be working many hours to get the game sold.

larienna's picture
Joined: 07/28/2008
More work is always a problem

More work is always a problem because the time spent there could have been placed on designing other games instead.

bluepantherllc's picture
Joined: 07/29/2008
Business Model

Sounds similar to our business model thinking when we started. Didn't work out too well for us til we started listening to other people's ideas. I thought everyone would buy games made out of wood. A fellow gamer suggested that we make piecepacks. Sold more piecepacks the first month than all five of our other titles combined. The other titles are long gone, but sales of piecepack continue years later. Good advice. The same person was one of the people who suggested we should start making dice towers. And that's when the business really started to take off - in fact I would venture to say that hobby gamers are still more likely to recognize our dice towers than any of our game titles.

The important thing about the business model you end up with is that you like doing what you do, whatever part that is. Some people can do it all - design, artwork, sell it, make it, demo it endlessly at conventions. Others are good at one or two of these things. There are much better salesmen than me, so I found one and now he reps us. He gets us places we wouldn't be able to get in otherwise with our products, points us to opportunities that we wouldn't find out about - he also advises on what will sell and what won't. In other words, he likes to do everything that I'm not particularly good at. For his services he gets part of every sale. Since many of those sales were sales I would not have made otherwise, I find it a very reasonable arrangement.

Also, we do alot of work with self-publishers. Sometimes it's making a few hundred games, other times its POD-based and even being the their sales and fulfillment arm to the trade and direct to the customer. Depends on the publisher's choice. This is a corollary to the "listen to other people, they're smarter than you" theory. Almost all of this now robust line of business comes from referrals from people we've done work for before. This seems to work well, people design games but don't want to mfr them, or go overseas where minimum order is 2k, 3k 5k, but we will do small quantities or even one at a time POD. Customers get what they like, we do what we like. Sounds simple, but it took a few years to figure out...

So figure out which parts you want to do yourself, then get some good advice from others who like to do what you don't do too well - and then I think you'll like the results better.

Izraphael's picture
Joined: 01/29/2010
Have you considered taxes? In

Have you considered taxes?
In Italy you're going to lose a good 30% of your gains. This usually is a pain for small productions, because the risk is not worth the gain.

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