I haven’t done a Kickstarter post-mortem for a while. Partly, that’s because they were getting kind of old. For the first six or seven, I didn’t have a whole lot of data points for what to expect, so each Kickstarter gave new information about how the next one might go, and I would speculate about what the next one would indicate based on how well or poorly it did. By Caspar’s and especially Ozaka’s, the numbers were pretty much in and there wasn’t much speculation left to do.
It’s also partly because what speculation remained was about whether things were going to stay the same or get worse. Improvement was basically off the table, as Caspar’s dwindled from Kessler’s 442 down to just 402 backers, and then Ozaka’s stabilized at 400. Cora’s is currently at 426 with six hours left on the clock, so it seems like 400 to 500 is the range I can reliably bring in, probably trending closer to 400 to 450, since Harlequin’s was likely benefiting from a short-lived after-effect of the Witchlight spike that benefited Celawyn’s.
This is pretty solidly middle of the pack compared to the data I have on 2019 Kickstarters, although the project I sourced the data from got 2020’d so I don’t have any more recent data to go off of. For now, my assumption is that I am indeed doing pretty average (in the category of people who run successful TTRPG Kickstarters at all) with regards to everything except the frequency of my projects. The good news is, that’s firmly enough to live on. The bad news is that I crunched the numbers and it’s gonna be pretty tricky to save for retirement on that, especially since I’m doing my best to pay my freelancers a reasonable amount, something which I’m struggling to do even with the small team I’ve got working with me right now.
Plus, there’s the looming problem that the series is almost over. Cora’s is the second-to-last book in the series. The last, Orrinyath’s Guide to Dragons, will Kickstart in January, because my year is blocked around the pagan calendar for its evenly-spaced holidays, which means it starts at Imbolc on February 1st. That seemed totally fine back at the start of 2021 (and in 2017, when I first switched to this system) because my schedule affected basically nobody but myself, but now it means the climax of my series comes in January and not December. Is that good or bad? Maybe it’ll mean that I’m the only one building to a big finish in January and I’ll stand out, or maybe everyone will be all climaxed out (Archer joke) and won’t have any energy left over to get excited about dragons. Or maybe even any money. I’m not super concerned about that, because the books are only $5, so surely most people can manage that even in the aftermath of Christmas, but you never know, world’s getting crazy.
However Orrinyath’s turns out, the big question at this point is how the new series (as yet unnamed) is going to turn out. It’s going to have fairly similar content to Chamomile’s Guide to Everything, with new classes, sub-classes, races, and so on, but it’ll be a lot more location focused and a lot less generic, with an emphasis on an open source setting to go along with all those open source illustrations I’ve been releasing. I think a big selling point for Chamomile’s Guide to Everything is that it’s content you can drop into whatever game you’re running right now, and while I’m going to try and make the open source Weskven setting something that’s easy to disassemble and drop each individual piece of into a homebrew campaign setting, it’s really hard to bring that across in a title and cover illustration. Maybe this combination of more story and worldbuilding along with more player options and GM content (including new monsters and the like) will prove to be even more popular, or maybe this is where it all falls apart.