Writing things up.

So the whole “paper writing” thing has been going super well, at least the part where I’m writing on paper. Last week I spent a lot more time writing and was more deeply engaged in the writing I did, but there was also a lot of adjustments to my routine.

I learned that while it is no great chore to type stuff up after writing it, it still must be done. My day one solution of propping the notebook up against a random thing proved untenable in the long term… it was hard to find the sweet spot and harder to keep the notebook there. Also, my day one random object is my insulated mug, which is something I am ideally using for other purposes throughout the day.

Fortunately, my mother reads my blog. (How many times do you suppose that sentence has been typed in human history?) Through her auspices and the existence of Amazon, an office-grade book stand arrived at my door over the weekend. This was obviously going to be the long-term solution, but on my own devices I would have waited until after the next time I get paid to order it, as I was mentally classing it as “useful but non-essential”. In retrospect, though, it really is an essential part of the operation.

The exact model she got me is proving to be really great. It’s surprisingly versatile. The whole thing folds up into a flat, lightweight piece of inflexible plastic of just the right size and shape to slip under a notebook when I’m leaning back in my chair and writing. It also makes a great stand for a tablet; I don’t have a specific use for that function in mind, but it might be useful if I need to do an impromptu “two screens” set up for some reason. It can also hold something like a D&D book open to a specific two-page spread, which will be useful not only for my weekend DMing but will also make it easier to do things like reference the monster CR tables when working on my own materials.

Speaking of my own materials, at the end of my first month writing and selling my own D&D materials through the DMs Guild, I have a bit north of $400 gross sales on e-booklets selling for between $1 and $5. Not too shabby. Actually, that was the high end of what I was hoping to do. Now, at the 50% royalty rate that amounts to a little bit less north of $200, and I can’t cash that out until the sales are 60 days in the past, and this might be a fluke.

But if it’s something that sustains or even grows, dang, could this be exactly what I need.

I’m also coming into week five of my “forty things for sale in forty weeks” plan, right on target in terms of both output (four things, though I don’t think I’ve posted the fourth one, a collection of magic items, to my main blog here) and what it’s doing for my revenue. I really didn’t expect when I started that the first 10% of them would all be D&D things. I’m going to be focusing my energies elsewhere for a while so that I don’t wind up cannibalizing my own sales, to ride the fiction/prose groove that I started last week with the notebooks, and to watch what the sales numbers do there when I am not putting out a new D&D thing every week.

I’d also like for my next major DMs Guild release to be something more substantial than ~20 pages of character options or magic items. I started with quick little weekly projects because I’m coming at this from the standpoint that I know what my work is worth so I’m not going to be throwing out three pages of homebrew with a pay-what-you-want sticker on it, but there’s no reason for the masses of people browsing the storefront to trust me when I say that my work is worth $10 or $20. But the $5 releases can serve as a calling card, and the book of feats can be an even more entry-level introduction for people who can’t imagine putting down $5 for a 3rd party PDF supplement by someone they’ve never heard of.

On the subject of the feat book, I’ve currently got it listed for $1.99 just to see what happens. Originally it was the same price as the most popular feat supplement on the DMs Guild with twice as much content (and better content, in my opinion), just to see what happened. As I’d hoped/predicted, it became the most popular one and held onto that for quite a while, while also pushing the previous contender down out of the top five. I raised the price over the weekend under the theory that a higher price might be seen as an assertion of quality. I’m about to go and lower the price to $0.75 or $0.50 or pay-what-thou-wilt (not sure at the moment that I write this) to see what happens when it’s undercutting its nearest competitor in price.

Again, it’s kind of the “gimme” in the list, so I feel free to experiment more with it.