So, woo! The Fate Core Kickstarter brought in $433,365. That’s money in the bank, y’all. We’re swimming in it like Scrooge McDuck, right?
At this point we’ve taken care of printing and shipping all of the physical reward components for the Kickstarter. There are still funded stretch goals that we’ve yet to get done, which we haven’t really spent any money on yet. Those are Do: Fate of the Flying Temple, Young Centurions, Shadow of the Century, and Dresden Files Accelerated.
So the question is, how much money do we have left to make those things happen?
- $433k to start…
- minus ~$22k for Kickstarter’s cut
- minus ~$20k for Amazon’s payment processing cut
- minus ~$20k for development & art of Core (not including printing)
- minus ~$4k for development & art on FAE
- minus ~$8k for development & art Fate System Toolkit
- minus ~$20k for development & art Fate Worlds 1 & 2
- minus ~$6k to get the art, Fate Core expansion, and index for Strange Tales of the Century (editing and writing had already been paid for outside of the kickstarter)
- minus ~$15k for development and where necessary art on other projects (Sally Slick novel, Freeport, Day After Ragnarok, Deck of Fate, the various consultations)
- minus ~$68k for printing Core, FAE, Worlds 1, Worlds 2, Toolkit, Strange Tales, and Sally Slick
- minus ~$24k in preemptive royalties paid to Jim Butcher for the essentially free PDF we’ll be giving backers of Dresden Files Accelerated once it’s done
- minus ~$120k for shipping all the physical rewards (rough estimate to include cost of sending replacements for lost and damaged stuff as well)
Assuming I’ve accounted for everything in the above — and it’s not certain that I have — and that the shipping estimate is accurate, that leaves us with about $106k to spend on the remaining four projects from the Kickstarter.
This is without accounting for the expense of supporting all that: my time, Carrie’s marketing time, Chris’s business development time, Sean’s project management time. I didn’t charge the company anything separate from my salary to do layout on FAE and Toolkit; I’ve spent at least a full month’s time solely on customer service and data-wrangling for this campaign. Carrie has been making sure we’ve got solid product message and marketing for all of that. Chris has been charting the trajectory for all this stuff and helped conceive of a bunch of it with me during the campaign. And Sean’s efforts are a big part of why we’ve been able to deliver so much in so little time. So what’s definitely not reflected in the above is a lot of additional sweat and the coin needed to turn up the heat.
Bottom line, I think there’s a chance that we’ll still retain a small profit after accounting for the as-yet-unpaid costs of those four stretch goal projects we have as yet to complete, but it’s in no way certain… and really, taxes on the income/“profit” we’re carrying into 2014 might eat that up right quick. So I’ve been looking at Fate Core as a “profit-neutral” Kickstarter.
Had we not managed to time the second wave of physical books such that they all came out and were able to be shipped at the same time, the additional shipments for those who wanted the split might have put us more firmly into the red. As it is, I’d rate this as a very approximated break-even, with our actual profit-taking to come in the sales of the product line outside of the Kickstarter campaign.
Which, at the end of the day, is pretty much as designed and intended.
Folks have joked that Kickstarter should be called “Kickfinisher” because you do best to bring a nearly-finished product to any campaign you’re Kicking; it’s not so smart to launch a campaign where you really haven’t started work yet.
But I think it’s in this kind of breakdown and analysis that the -starter suffix makes the most sense. Having crowdfunded an entire product line, with solid expectations that our costs will be all or close to covered by that funding, we’re now starting a new phase of Evil Hat with our most robust product line ever on offer. If there’s profits to be made, it’s not in the Kickstarter campaign and its fulfillment, it’s in what comes after, that the campaign made possible. We brought a near-finished product to get it going in the first place, yes, but we walk away with thousands of books in inventory and already paid for and ready for sale.
That is what we Kickstarted.