Lessons Learned, Issue 1: Monies Without Master

Originally posted November 6th, 2013, on G+, this is where I began talking about the business of putting out an issue of Worlds Without Master. It's reposted here with the only alterations being a little formatting and a grand updating of links.

Monies Without Master

Here’s how money has worked for Worlds Without Master.

Issue 1

Released on Sep 30, 2013 at 3:42 pm. At that point in time, the Patron Horde was 171 strong and had pledged a total of $978.63. However, one of those pledges was a misunderstanding. The Patreon interface is not entirely intuitive and one patron did not realize they were signed up at the $60 level! Fortunately, the Patreon system is very forgiving and allowed them to withdraw their pledge before they were charged. So the Patron Horde swiftly became 170 strong with a total of $918.63 pledged towards that first issue.

Patrons were not charged for their pledges until Oct 5, 2013. On that day I watched as, one by one, the pledges were fulfilled. Some were delayed. Some were declined. Nails were bit. But the vast majority were fulfilled. In the end, the Patron Horde supplied a total of $907.65.

Patreon’s fee is an incredibly reasonable 5% and the credit card fees were about 8%, which leaves us with $791.19.

This money hit my PayPal account on Oct 8, but it was an e-check, so I suspect it took a few days to clear. I don’t know for sure, because I was rolling in my fat e-cash on the beaches of Los Cabos, Mexico, at the time.

I returned stateside somewhere around Oct 15, and on Oct 17 I paid my contributors. The total bill for that was $931, which left me $139.81 in the hole.

So, for that first issue, I paid $139.81. But do not weep for me yet, because there were more sales to be made. To date, minus PayPal fees, I have made $167.44 in direct sales and $37.74 in OneBookShop sales. This brings my profit on the first issue of Worlds Without Master to a total of $65.37 as of this post. Yay!

This is grand news, because I owe myself roughly ten times that amount for all my writing and editing and whatnot. And if I don’t pay myself back for it soon . . . well, let’s just say that those are lovely typing fingers I have. It would be a shame if something bad happened to them. Just saying. Car doors, paper cutters, piano fall boards, accidents happen . . .

Now here’s how money will work for Worlds Without Master.

Issue 2

So I’m looking to release issue two at the end of this month, and I’m excited about it. I have a solid idea of what it’s going to look like and what it will cost. As of this morning, the Patron Horde is just over 200 and they’ve pledged an astounding $1,111.24! This, coupled with the fact that I’ll be doing both a story and a game in the issue, means I can afford a few slightly larger pieces of art.

So, what does this new hoard mean to my bottom line on issue two? Well, the total I received for issue one was about 19% off from the pledged amount due to credit card and Patreon fees and various other factors. Let’s give the margins a little more berth and assume 25% loss so we can have our gigantic mirths when we’re wrong instead of gigantic melancholies. That gives us a working total of about $833.43. The current contributor costs of is only $908 (cheaper than last issue because I’m still not paying myself and I’m creating twice the content). So if I were to release the issue today (ha!), I’d be paying $74.57 for the privilege. That’s only half of what it cost me before! Success! I get to keep my fingers for one more issue!

So that’s where that’s at. I wanted to get this out there, because Patreon is a cool, new thing and a lot of folks are trying their hand at it. Most are doing their own thing which has a ton less overhead than what I’m doing here. They are the smart ones in this scenario. But I know there are some of you out there thinking about doing a periodical similar to what I’m doing. This is largely for your edification.

This is no cautionary tale. I’m only publishing issues at costs I know I can absorb until the ezine starts turning a profit for me at a level of content I desire. I have the benefit of being able to leisurely pay myself through back sales. Which means I don’t mind these thin margins on the early issues. If, at some future date, it becomes evident that the combined might of the Patron Horde and direct sales can’t cover the content I’m buying, I’ll simply cut back on the amount of content. Right now, I’m pretty damn happy being able to deliver the art, fiction, games and comics that I am delivering.

And as always, if you’re reading this and you are curious about Worlds Without Master  you can...