Thursday, December 29, 2011

Another Year Come and Gone

Well, Christmas is over and done with. I got some quality time with my family and I hope you all spent some time with yours.

Now to take a look at the past year and consider what path to take in the coming year.

Achievements for the blog:

Most popular post: While my initial post about Oz: Dark & Terrible garnered the most hits in this calendar year, the most popular post that I wrote this year was How Not To Promote Yourself On The Internet. It also qualified as the most commented post of the year, as well.

Apparently, snark sells on the internet. I got a bit of that myself in November thanks to the Mistress of Doom. The Mistress' blog has been taken down, but that little bit of "special attention" did some good.

Speaking of the Kickstarter, it qualifies as my lowest low point this year. Sales of AiO had been pretty slow, and I felt like I may have hit a ceiling in terms of getting customers. I figured the best way to get in more customers (or at least money) was to release another supplement. In order to get the money to do it, I tried Kickstarter.

As the month wore on and it didn't look like I was going to get funded, I was getting ready to throw in the towel. While I wouldn't delete the blog or my products (I don't really do fits of pique), I was going to step back from it and maybe try something else. Another blog, another game, who knows?

Then Teach Your Kids to Game Week happened. That made November my strongest sales month of the year. Certainly not the time to call it quits. Life is a funny thing sometimes.

Thanks to that sales boost, 2011 netted me 99 sales to date. Along with 108 from last year, I'm now at 207 sales overall. Not terribly strong, and not to my goal of 300 yet.

The Characters Pack, my first supplement, pulled in only 36 sales this year. Which is not bad, considering that it has pretty much paid for itself at this point.

So what is the future of AiO?

Like I said last year, my goal is too keep things small and manageable. The big things need the money that the little things generate in order to come about. So no more Beyond the Deadly Desert talk for a while.

It has always been in my plans to do adventures for AiO and things are finally getting to a point where I can hire writers and artists and such to do them. But wait! Aren't I a writer? Why am I not writing the adventures?

Frankly, the big reason is that The Jaded City of Oz, the sample adventure in the main book, was so crazy-awesome that I don't think I can come up with anything in the same league. Once the adventure pool has diversified some, I can definitely see myself giving it a go, though.

The blog will be changing some, too. I had originally intended this blog to be a marketing tool, so that people could see what I'm selling and why it's so awesome. But my desire to keep the blog on a weekly update schedule conflicts with that sometimes and the blog has become a bit more general. So, in marketing speak, the blog has become more about "conversation" than "conversion." While I don't think I can switch completely into "shilling mode", expect a little more product visibility.

What about my goal of getting into stores? Hasn't left my mind. I've got things to a point where I just need a bit of money to afford my initial inventory.

TLDR: I have lots of things I want to do, but I need my products to sell in order to do them.


DuxColonel said...

I was sad to see the Kickstarter didn't make it, but not terribly surprised. Getting people to commit cash to a game they haven't played can be tough and your polling in the past has suggested Adventures in Oz is a "game I'd love to play but haven't".

There's also the fact that you asked for the cash during a hard economic time and in November, when some people will already be budgeting for Christmas. It was kind of a perfect storm.

I'm not sure quite what you could do in 2012 to help promote your game. I think adventures would really help, and are crucially an easy "cheap" PDF to put up for sale. I know you say you're having trouble following your previous one but I think two more adventures might help to make the line a bit more fleshed out.

George Q

PopsBlog said...

Hey There - Just a quick vote for some additional Adventures. I loved playing D&D & Call of Cthulhu in high school, and (after experimenting with running a D&D style game of Zork using my iPad) decided to try gaming again with my 7 & 9 year old daughters. I hunted around for RPG for kids for Christmas and AiO came up repeatedly as a great option.

My major hesitation in purchasing AiO however was the lack of adventures. I'm simply not a creative type - I never sought out the role of DM/GM, and I was looking for a game that had adventures/modules I could purchase so I didn't have to create my own. Especially since I haven't read most of the Oz books. I ultimately decided to go with AiO because (unlike some other games) it did at least include a sample adventure.

I'll be trying AiO with my girls in next few days, if it goes well, we may be in the market for Expansion Packs.

Good luck in 2012!

Baker said...

Adventure packs would be swell.

The provided adventure hooks are superb, but they can only take the ignorant so far.

I bought this game for my 9 year old, as she is such an Oz fanatic. In the two years since I have introduced her to the series, she has collected 10 of the hard-bound Baum books with her own money and read all but one of them at least once.

The problem I have with running games for her is that my knowledge of Oz isn't nearly up to snuff. I can wing it well enough, but am starting to get worried that she is soon to call me on stuff. And we can't have that. Heh.

Baker said...

... And while this is coming from a virtual stranger, I do suggest that you have every reason in the world to keep your head up, at least as far as Adventures in Oz.

You may not have reached your numeric goal (though perhaps you have by now). What you have done is reached an audience, whatever the number. And not too many people can say the same thing.

You've provided a means for my daughter and I to share a bonding platform together. As any parent can attest, that is something meaningful. And far too rare.

So perhaps you haven't hit wide numbers, but you have made a big impression on my daughter.

She simply can't wait until her character gets to Bunnybury!

And in the end, if you've made an impression on one person, you've won the game.

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