Yesterday I bounced around the idea of running a Kickstarter for Slayers, and posted the thought on Twitter. After getting some good response, and brewing on the idea a bit more, I have decided to do it!
But I can't just jump into it and post it today. I need to prep and plan this out a little bit. What I'm going to do here is post the things that I need to prepare, address, and overall make sure I'm at least considering before hitting that button to launch a KS.
Didn't I just release Slayers? Yep, and you can find it on itch right now (it's also part of that mega bundle, so you probably already have it and might not realize it).
But as I've said before, Slayers is an ongoing and evolving project. What I would like to do with the game is getting it laid out properly, by a professional, get some art to make it pop, and do a print run so you can have a shiny version of the game both on your computer screen, and in your hands.
So what's stopping me from just doing it right now? Nothing really, other than the fact that it probably wouldn't do as well since nothing is prepped. When I ran my campaign for Score back during Zine Quest 2, I hit the launch button without really thinking if I was ready or not. I was impatient, and just excited to launch. It all worked out and the game funded much more than I thought, but I learned right away that I should breath and make sure I'm ready.
Part of preparing is getting people excited about the Kickstarter. I want others to be aware of it before it even launches. When I launched Score, I had virtually no online presence, just my small group of friends willing to spread the word for me. I have the benefit now of having a small presence, but a presence nonetheless! On top of that, the game is on itch, and people are aware of it, so I'm not coming out of nowhere. But still, I need to build up the hype, get the KS page together and have eyes watching it before it launches. Gotta learn how to do that.
Thankfully I've already started with this one! The art in the current version of Slayers is stock art that I have licenses for, which works in a pinch, but ultimately doesn't create a tonally consistent experience. Right now I have a fantastic artist working on character art for the four classes of the game, and should have more to share on that soon. But this will be one of the places where a lot of the funding goes. Paying artists to make the game look awesome.
Slayers has my incredibly mediocre layout skills displayed to the world right now, if you have the version on itch. I am in no way a graphic designer, don't really have an artistic bone in my body. There was a great thread of layout professionals that popped up when I asked TTRPG Twitter for advice, and now I have some people in mind for this who will make this look like a proper RPG book.
Price & Funding Allocation
This is the one that I'm probably locked up on the most. I am extremely fortunate in that I do RPG design as a passion project and hobby, and that I don't rely on income from games to pay the rent. So I want to make sure that the price is approachable for others, but also enough that I am properly supporting my artists and designers, as well as covering costs.
Looking at previous Zine Quest Kickstarters (since I'll be publishing it in zine format), PDFs for high quality games usually are around $10, though some goes as low as $5 (I did with Score, again because I was a nobody just wanting to make a thing). Prints can range $12-15. Again, with Score, I did $8, because I just wanted people to back it.
But I'm not so desperate to have the thing fund like I was with Score, so I want to price up a bit from what I did before. Currently I'm thinking a $10 PDF, $15 PDF and Print set of tiers. Money is again being mostly split between art, design work, and the actual printing, so I don't need to worry about padding my wallet, but I want my artists covered properly.
Printing & Distribution
It's going to be printed in zine format, and from where it stands right now, is looking to be in the 40-48 page range. I used Mixam for Score, and they were wonderful, so I'll use them again. I did all the mailing myself once I got Score. I threw things in envelopes, labeled them and shipped them in waves at the post office. I'll likely do the same thing, but I have one big hangup: international shipping.
When I ran Score, I only opened up the print copies to people in the US and Canada, to keep things simple since it was my first KS. I don't want to do that again, I want to open Slayers up to everyone. But I have NO IDEA how to handle shipping zines internationally, in a way that is affordable. Speaking of affordable, last time with Score I made the huge mistake of not charging people for shipping, and I won't make that one again haha. But yeah, how do you charge people for international shipping fairly, how to I package it so it is cheap but gets there in good condition? These are things I need to find out.
Ok so those are my initial thoughts on the whole thing. I am super excited at the prospect, and can't wait to start prepping it proper. If you have any thoughts or advice, leave them here, you can always email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, or you can grab me on Twitter @GilaRPGs. Thanks!