Thursday, 31 October 2013

To Kickstart or not to Kickstart?

I'm hoping to get the PowerFrame core rulebook squared away early next year, and have it ready to release commercially. I'm looking into options, and seem to be at a bit of acrossroad: do I Kickstart it, or just put it up on DriveThruRPG when it's ready to go?

There aren't all that many reasons for me to run a Kickstarter that I can see. It would be nice to have an up-front lump sum so I can afford to spend some quality time finishing off the document, and it would be pleasant to get a return on the capital outlay I've made on Adobe CS software over the years. And it might give me an idea of how much interest there is in the game, which would be a useful gauge - do I keep writing and developing things for it, or should I move on to something else? Kickstarters also tend to garner quite a bit of attention and publicity, and I would probably access a wider audience of potential customers than through my current social media channels.

On the flip side, I'm not planning on doing an actual print run. If anything, physical copies will be print on demand. Apart from that, I don't want to complicate a Kickstarter with physical rewards even though custom dice would be cool. And even if nobody pays me a cent, I can keep working away on the document in my spare time until I'm happy to release it. Kickstarters also demand a fair amount of effort to simply run the campaign, and there are logistical considerations such as taxes to take into account. I'm not entirely sure I have enough on offer to actually raise a decent amount.

So my other option is to work on the game until I'm happy with it, and then simply publish it on DTRPG for PDF and POD sales. I would then promote it through my various channels, and probably generate a small volume of sales in the "long tail" model. I could also develop and release additional material if and when I develop it, without being beholden to Kickstarter deadlines.

So, opinions? For a game that's almost finished, and for which my production costs (apart from prior investment in software) are negligible, is it worth running a Kickstarter? Would it simply be easier and just as good in the long run to just publish it on DTRPG?