I didn't start the year with the intention of...
I had set aside my personal Starforged game (burnt out; the threads spiraled out of control at points), but still wanted to play. And I wanted to write.
So, THUNDERFANG was born.
And the trajectory of my life changed.
I became more active in the TTRPG space on Twitter and saw all the great things happening. I got a chance to contribute to an amazing book of magic items and get my first writing credit. I turned my writings on this blog into ebooks to sell. I engaged with the Starforged community more and not only made a Notion template but also a one-shot that's been played by multiple people. I wrote an adventure for another game that I had barely played.
I had so much fun this year.
AND I MADE SOME MONEY. I always liked it when other TTRPG creators showed their income and what it comprised of, as it helped set expectations and helped me get my head in the right space. So, I wanted to do the same, even if I'm nowhere near as successful as them.
I have three different streams bringing in income: Ko-Fi, DTRPG, and Google Adsense—though that last one may also include ads from non-TTRPG posts. Also, I have no issue in (currently) divulging the exact amounts earned, so if that's not something you want be warned.
Ko-Fi Sales (someone purchased a product on my Ko-fi): $48.33 (38.78%)
- THUNDERFANG Vol. 1: MALICE: $6.97
- THUNDERFANG Vol. 2: LUCKY: $1.99
- THUNDERFANG Vol. 3: VISIONS: $12.89
- Rise & Shiningstar: $26.48
Ko-Fi Donations: $36.00 (28.88%)
Drive-Thru RPG Royalty #1 (from writing 1 item for Incredible Items): $0.35 (0.28%)
Drive-Thru RPG Royalty #2 (from "A Thousand Sweet Kisses"): $25.05 (20.1%)
Drive-Thru RPG Affiliate Sales: $12.72 (10.21%)
Google AdSense (ads are only on TTRPG blog posts, mostly DnD 5e, iirc): $2.19 (1.76%)
Total Earned: $124.64
- I don't consider myself to have done "well" in terms of advertising my blog, but I apparently did something. I started posting a lot in the Ironsworn discord, then started engaging on Twitter more and the occasional Reddit post. Shawn Tomkin is also very gracious with his RTs. #WIPWednesday and #SelfPromoSaturday were very instrumental in getting more exposure (as well as a super-random viral tweet about just wanting to roll dice!) I helped with the Starforged 2022 Jam over on Itch. Let's not forget that I appeared in/was featured on several other platforms, such as The Weekly Cooldown, The Bad Spot, and Errant Adventures, and Rise & Shiningstar was played on The Dragon's Den.
- I've grown to 60 subscribers as of this post. My initial audience was more than likely purely members of the Ironsworn discord, then a few people from Twitter. Ghost (the platform that hosts/runs my blog) recently added more analytics and I can see that some people (my latest, actually) came directly from Google. I can attribute some of that growth from the not-so-accidental-but-definitely-not-professional-level SEO I did on some of my TTRPG posts.
- I don't utilize my newsletters properly. I thought a weekly thing would be okay, but I'm seeing that I may be emailing way too frequently, and/or not giving enough value. The open rate is decent, but the clicks within the newsletter are next to none. I'm hoping to go down an ADHD rabbit hole and make my newsletters much better next year.
Plans for 2023 and beyond
My ultimate goal is to be able to retire from my tech job and do this for fun. I realize that the TTRPG industry does not pay that well, so I'll settle for a retirement job or just another stream of income.
I have a ton of ideas planned to keep this ship running.
- I know that THUNDERFANG will at least have a second season, with a third being the final. With it will come a ton of content that I'll make available for Starforged. While I did not win NaNoWriMo this year (made it to about 16.5k words before burning out), what I did manage to write down was amazing and will jumpstart 2023 for me.
- Also, I want to do my THUNDERFANG audiodrama. I've set it aside for now but I plan on jumping into that in the new year. This will bring me into the Youtube space.
- City of Mist is super fun, and while Merx isn't bringing in the same numbers as THUNDERFANG, I plan to do more of it and additional games. It's also the main driver of my DTRPG Affiliate Sales as far as I'm aware. I also want to make more City of Mist Garage content.
- I want to do more TTRPG blog posts, focusing more on solo- and play-focused articles, tips, and resources. This will help with SEO. (This and this post consistently bring in tons of traffic.)
- Would love to contribute to another TTRPG book in some capacity. My item was concise, though I think I'd want to do some worldbuilding or something.
- I also want to do some kind of paid membership here, but I'm unsure of what that looks like right now. I do currently have the option enabled, but I'm not pushing it just yet. I don't want to do this and burn out from trying to provide extra things.
That's all I got for this year. My goal for 2023 is to double what I've made so far. That's it. Should be completely doable, especially because I'm not starting from scratch and already have an audience. Wish me luck, and I hope to see you all next year!