I’ve self-published products across various platforms for 5E. I’ve learned a lot and I want to share that. Maybe you can use what I’ve learned and maybe not. At the very least, I hope it’s interesting and gets you thinking.
What You Need To Know First
Unless asked, I try to steer clear of advice. So what follows are my observations. To make those meaningful, you need to know a little bit about me and my current situation.
- I do this for fun. It’s a hobby and I’m not trying to make a living off of it.
- I have a small social media presence. 500+ followers on Twitter. That’s it.
- I don’t spend money on advertising and my marketing strategy is unsophisticated (if not non-existent).
- I have a dozen email newsletter subscribers. This is new and I didn’t have it for most of the products I’ll be talking about.
Why am I writing this as a small, hobby publisher with very little reach? Because I think that’s the situation for the majority of creators. If I can provide any insights, I want to.
I like raw data. So here it is. All products have been published for right around a year or less. Anything marked with an * is the suggested price for a Pay What You Want title.
|Infinite Menu||Random Table||$0.99*||529||$21.48||$10.87||DM’s Guild|
|Doom on Starspell Mountain||Adventure||$3.99*||337||$58.56||$29.35||DM’s Guild|
|Physician Background||Background||$0.99*||191||$6.90||$3.48||DM’s Guild|
|Freeblood 7’s||Mini-game||$4.99*||156||$7.08||$1.78||DM’s Guild|
|Astronomer Background||Background||$0.99*||156||$3.49||$1.76||DM’s Guild|
|Woodland Tavern Map||Stock Map||$1.99||3||$5.97||$3.00||DM’s Guild|
|Brewery/Roastery Fantasy Map||Stock Map||$2.99||2||$2.99||$1.50||DM’s Guild|
|Court of the Gem Dragon Map||Stock Map||$2.99||2||$2.99||$1.50||DM’s Guild|
In my experience as a smaller creator, products get more traffic on the DM’s Guild. “But, Kirk, you only have one product on another platform!” Not quite. I only have sales for one product on another platform. I have 11 products on Ko-Fi, 9 on the DM’s Guild, and 3 on DriveThruRPG.
There are advantages and disadvantages to each platform. But for me, the DM’s Guild has been the best.
Obviously, Pay What You Want gets you more eyes and downloads. It removes the “price” barrier. Every priced product from my list has single digit units sold. Every PWYW has 100+ units sold. That’s pretty revealing. As a small creator, it’s been a great way to get my products into people’s hands.
Surprisingly, my adventure Doom on Starspell Mountain has made the most money. It’s worth noting that it’s also been published the longest by about a month or two. But it makes me happy that even 19 people decided to pay when they didn’t have to.
Did the adventure turn a profit? Not even close. But that was never the goal. If it was, I wouldn’t have spent over $250 on amazing, original artwork. But I want to surface that to set real expectations among young or smaller creators.
I hope you found something useful or at least interesting here. I don’t mind being transparent about this stuff. Especially if it can help you.