The Traveler’s Guide to Drachzee finished funding on June 16th. It had 276 backers and raised $4,237.
I’ve already got the Traveler’s Guide to the Elemental Chaos written up, so I may as well Kickstart that and see how it does, but this isn’t sustainable. The series can hypothetically go for two dozen books, but if 250-300 is the new plateau, I’ll probably have to shut it down sometime around book six. That does give me some breathing room to try and find a solution.
It’s possible that two of my previous speculated scenarios were true simultaneously: This series is picking up steam over time, but is also benefiting from a lot of returning readers from the first series who only looked at the first book of the second series. It’s worth noting that I did not post updates to the old series announcing the second book in the Traveler’s Guide series, but did post updates for the first. Theoretically, everyone who wanted to support the new series would’ve done so and gotten the update announcing the Drachzee book because it was posted to Darkwood, but it’s possbile some people expected updates for other books in the Traveler’s Guide series to be posted to the Chamomile’s Guide series. The final updates to the Chamomile’s Guide series explicitly stated this would not be the case, but you can really only be confident that an audience has received a message if you’ve told them at least three times (if you need to get something across immediately, tell people three times one right after the other in a single paragraph). These people might drift back into the series, and it might rebuild momentum over time. The series is presently unsustainable, but the first series didn’t really hit sustainability until book six (four and five were borderline, where whether the books were covering my monthly expenses depended on exactly what my monthly expenses were that particular month). Drachzee did way better than Irena’s.
I’m also accelerating my plans for what will hopefully be actually effective marketing by commissioning people who are popular enough on Twitter to hopefully expand my audience but not so popular that they won’t accept commissions. Drachzee’s marketing outreach was socialmedia-outreach.com, and it was also clearly a total failure. There was some kind of problem with their Facebook, so they offered me a partial refund and ran the campaign purely on Twitter instead, but also their press release was so clearly written from a template intended for video games that I had to edit it for accuracy to remove things like references to a gripping plot and characters (I guess the Traveler’s Guide series does strictly speaking have sort of a plot and a few characters, but they’re a faint outline intended to be fleshed out by GMs, not a major selling point intended to stand alone). My original plan was to give three of these crowdfunding advertising services a shot just as due diligence before writing them off as useless, but with the series’ health critical, I need to pivot immediately to things that are at least somewhat more likely to work.