Celawyn’s Guide to Wilderness and Fey Post-Mortem

Celawyn’s Guide to Wilderness and Fey got 574 backers and raised over $10,000. Going by backers, that beats Thaemin’s Guide to Gods and Miracles by nearly sixty percent. This is totally unprecedented, and I see four possibilities for what might happen next. Unfortunately, due to the anomalous nature of this growth, it doesn’t tell me much about where the plateau might be, but that’s a cloudy lining on a big pile of silver, so I’m not complaining.

The spike behind Celawyn’s probably came because Wizards of the Coast announced their next adventure path, the Wild Beyond The Witchlight, was going to be Feywild themed, and I happened to have fey-related content positioned to take advantage of that just about perfectly. In a worst case scenario, the Witchlight spike may have carried me far past my plateau point, and I can’t get that high without some kind of special opportunity like this. In this case, the next guide, Harlequin’s Guide to Cities and Poison, will likely do worse than 425 backers (although it’s possible that the plateau happens to fall in one of the other ranges here, making it easy to confuse for an alternative scenario).

Just using the data from Natalia’s to Thaemin’s and ignoring the anomalous performance of Celawyn’s, you would expect Harlequin’s Guide to Cities and Poison to get somewhere between 425 to 525 backers, depending on whether you take 10% or 20% as the average growth. If it does indeed land in that range, that could indicate that all the additional backers from the Witchlight spike were purely a one-project thing, and that growth is continuing at the same rate without them, but it could also indicate that the plateau happens to be there. This would be a very nervous-making range to hit, because it could indicate that I’m on target for massive 1,000+ backer success by the end of the series, but it could also indicate that I’ve hit my limit. At least that limit is firmly in the range where it’s worth it to continue producing books to the end of the series, though.

There’s a weird gap here where if Harlequin’s gets between 525 and 600 backers, that indicates a plateau, because it represents trivial growth (or shrinkage) compared to Celawyn’s but is still far ahead of what you’d expect given the trendline without the Witchlight spike. 600 is one of the magic numbers, partly because it marks entry into the third decile from the top, which would indicate that I am actually quite good at this and have reason to feel confident in continued success, but also because it’s double the 300 needed to make these books worth it on absolute value (assuming average amount backed doesn’t decline). This means that when I transition to a new series in 2022, I could lose half my backers and still be making enough money on each book to justify the effort. Hitting a plateau just under that number would be unfortunate, but it would still mean that the series can most likely consistently hit numbers in the 500s through to early 2022, at least.

If Harlequin’s gets between 600 and 750 backers, that indicates growth in line with the 10%-30% that the series has been getting so far, which would indicate that the series is retaining the growth from the Witchlight spike and then continuing to grow at the usual non-Witchlight pace from there. This would be fantastic news, as it would indicate that the plateau is at least as high as the 600s and that, if the plateau doesn’t hit me first, I’ll be getting well into four-digit backers by the end of the series, which will again make it easier to transition to a new series without losing so many backers that it stops being worth it.

If Harlequin’s gets more than 750 backers, then that would be roughly 40% growth over Celawyn’s. That would indicate that the release of the Wild Beyond The Witchlight is actually coincidental, and what drove the success of Celawyn’s was just hitting some kind of threshold with backers where the Kickstarter algorithm looks favorably on me and starts showing my project to more backers. This is very unlikely, but if it happens, it could mean that this explosive growth is the new normal, at least until I hit the plateau (and the plateau – or the peak – has to be somewhere, even in the most ludicrously optimistic scenario).

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