May 27, 2023

Wolves Upon the Coast Grand Retrospective 2

It’s been about two years since I started selling Wolves Upon the Coast Grand Campaign, and about 10 months since the last retrospective. I’m not going to repeat myself, so give that a quick scan.

Accountants Upon the Coast

Data taken 27/05/23.

Calculating exact performance is slightly tricky due to the bundles combining Wolves with Volume 2: Monsters & and &&&&&&&&& Treasure - I’ve tried to account for these, but only in very crude ways.

  • Total Purchases: 325.
  • Total Income: $14001.

These numbers are frankly fucking bonkers. I am deeply moved by the response to the work - especially for such a plain document bucking against so many trends in the TTRPG space. Thank you.

The more pertinent measure here is how sales have changed as the price point has increased - a $50 pdf isn’t common outside of big traditional publishers the done thing at all.

Breaking it down:

  • 65 Sales @ $5 minimum over 44 days.
  • 25 Sales @ $15 minimum over 64 days.
  • 42 Sales @ $20 minimum over 122 days.
  • 27 Sales @ $30 minimum over 79 days.
  • 52 sales @ $35 minumum over 187 days.
  • 21 sales @ $45 minimum over 33 days.
  • 103 sales @ $50 minimum over 83 days.

(These include the bundles which will be at higher prices, as well as people who kindly over-paid, hence the minimums being specified.)

In hindsight the $5 minimum was too low, although it may have helped with the main thing that drives sales: people talking about playing it, reading it and enjoying it. The huge increase is sales has come from those who tirelessly enthuse about the game and run it. You are all the real MVPs.

A rough-and-ready Twitter poll indicated that a few people would now be willing to jump onboard a slow-fund like this, although more said this only applied to me.

So the big question - does this work?

For me, yes. I’ve not seen anyone else do anything similar, so I can only speak for myself. To my knowledge, some of those buying in had not heard of me and my work before - but this was driven entirely by word of mouth, which is the thing I keep coming back to - success in something like this comes from people talking. There’s no art, no layout to show off. You have to actually read (or play) the game. That’s hard when you’re competing with the amazing visual talent on display in the scene. I would love to see more people operating like this, but I can appreciate why many don’t - it’s a big unknown right now, and might be too bundled up in the individuals involved to generalise anything.

Since last time, 2 people have confirmed they read the demo and went on to buy the full thing. If this applies to you, please let me know - I’m really keen to see if demos are a thing that might work in TTRPGS.

Fans Upon the Coast

More than anything, the best part of this is hearing about people playing games. The public posts and reviews drive sales which is nice but knowing that people are using the content and having a great time is why I do this. Everyone who has told me privately or posted publicly that you’ve played Wolves - thank you. The success of the project is down to all of you.

Seeing some of the stuff people are making and have made for Wolves is stunning. I’ve had people show me art they made for their games, which blew me away. I wonder if the artless nature of Wolves encourages this sort of participation. I know of at least three people expanding the Wolves map, or applying it to different settings entirely. Getting to make something that inspires others to create is an amazing feeling.


Eventually. Like, at the soonest next year eventually.

WHAT ABOUT okay, stopping the bit for a moment.

One issue with Wolves upon the Paper is that people have already bought something. I’m trying to look into ways to offer discounts or special features to those who already own the digital Wolves, but it’s going to be messy and complicated due to the shifting price point and the numbers involved. At the least, those who already own the book should expect some special edition of the print edition - even if it’s just a signed copy and/or an alternate cover.

The digital edition will be updated alongside the print text, so they will be identical in the end. This mostly means hiring an editor to tidy and clean up the prose.

I suspect the final print edition will remain artless bar covers. Currently, I want to do this as a box-set although that will depend on price point. The box-set would include Volume 2: Monsters & and &&&&&&&&& Treasure. I’m looking into a single big book” edition too, although my heart yearns for the box.

There will be no Kickstarter if it is humanly possible. More likely is a pre-order, so I can manage the number of copies printed carefully.

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