As the hobby grows and diversifies there has been a growing trend amongst indie developers to talk about sales and earnings. While I am only a small hobby publisher I wanted to put my numbers out there, partially so the info is available but also as a point of reference for myself for next year.
|Product||Release Date||2019 Sales (Paid / Total)||Total Sales since release||2019 Earnings||Total Earnings|
|Towerfall||05/2016||– / 18||207||–||–|
|Channel Surfing||05/2017||3 / 20||283||$3.50||$5.13|
|Missionary Opposition||12/2017||2 / 24||241||$4.55||$7.80|
|Lockdown||08/2018||4 / 37||162||$3.75||$5.77|
|Trick of the Light||07/2019||6 / 106||106||$7.02||$7.02|
|Talentless Hacks||12/2019||2 / 71||71||$0.70||$0.70|
|The Tannhauser Investment||10/2019||– / 299||299||–||–|
|The Synth Convergence||11/2019||17 / 17||17||$48.00||$48.00|
|Product||Release Date||2019 Paid Sales / Community copies / Total Downloads*||2019 Earnings||Total Earnings|
|Channel Surfing||05/2019||0 / 0 / 0||$0||$0|
|Missionary Opposition||06/2019||0 / – / 1||$0||$0|
|Lockdown||06/2019||0 / – / 1||$0||$0|
|Trick of the Light||07/2019||0 / – / 4||$0||$0|
|Talentless Hacks||12/2019||0 / – / 2||$0||$0|
|The Synth Convergence||11/2019||2 / 3 / 39||$10.72||$10.72|
Earnings represent my personal take home after deduction of marketplace fees and automatic payments to collaborators.
Not listed in those tables is the £60 for Ghosts of Iron as part of the Crystal Heart kickstarter or a small amount of affiliate link earnings, adding those in brings my total earnings for 2019 to ~£110. Not exactly much but definitely better than nothing.
Looking at the tables there is quite a stark difference between the two platforms. DrivethruRPG is the dominant marketplace for RPGs and the number of downloads reflects this. It is impossible, however, to determine how many of those downloads represent active engagement with the product versus people scraping the site and downloading every free/PWYW release.
With the exception of Missionary Opposition, which started as PWYW before I switched it to a $1.50 paid product, each of my adventure starters for Demon Hunters have been released as PWYW. The main reason for this is because I originally pledged to produce them as a way of supporting the Slice of Life kickstarter. I said I would make them freely available and I have but going forward my plan is to switch over to a predominantly paid model. The overall sales will be smaller but I would like to price future adventures higher to reflect the work that has gone into them. The question here though is whether there is a market for more Demon Hunters material.
The big seller was obviously The Synth Convergence, which has quickly racked up a number of sales. I’d attribute this to two things – The Sprawl is quite a well know game and it received a number of promotional boosts thanks to people retweeting or mentioning it. Even with that though the number of sales on drivethruRPG were higher than on itch. I’ve seen people talking about itch being a better platform and getting more sales than on drivethruRPG but I think that is going to be very dependent on what you’re releasing, whether you’re a known entity and the circles you interact with. I’m not going to stop publishing there but clearly it will require more work going forward.