Saturday, October 6, 2012

Tome of Horrors Complete "Kickstarter" Results

The final "kickstarter" results for the Swords & Wizardry version of Tome of Horrors Complete are ...

$30776 raised / 330 backers
(That's for the Swords & Wizardry version only. It does not include the payments from the backers of the Pathfinder version.)

Now, this wasn't actually hosted on, nor was it funded using a kickstarter-like ransom model. It was really a pre-order, so the book was coming out regardless of how many folks pre-ordered. It all took place over a year ago, so this isn't a particularly recent event. And the numbers above are actually just estimates, as explained below.

But let's look at the pre-order as though it were a crowdfunded project...

Announced: 2011 Jan 3 or earlier (source)
Pre-order start: 2011 Mar 6 (source)
Pre-order end: 2011 Jul 5 (source), though it was originally slated to end Jun 1 (source), and already had one prior bump out to Jun 30 (source).
Price: $89.99 for pre-orders, $99.99 afterward (source)

Estimating the Number of Backers

The exact number of pre-orders was never made public. But enough info was made public to allow a reasonable guess at the number of backers. Bill Webb (the chief dude of Frog God Games) is the primary source here, but Matt Finch also chimed in with some details that give insight.

549 copies were printed (source) in total, but not all of those were pre-ordered, because some of the print run was reserved for other purposes:
  • Some number of "authors copies" were reserved to give to the authors (source)
  • Some number were reserved for "other commitments" (source)
  • 50 copies to sell at the North Texas RPG Con (source) (source)
  • As many as 150 (source), or perhaps as few as 70 (source) were reserved for general sale after the pre-order period. It's not clear whether that 150 number includes those in reserve for NTRPG Con. Matt Finch guesstimates that 100 copies would be available for general sale (source), beyond pre-orders, and beyond those reserved for NTRPG Con.
  • Matt Finch guesstimates that 300 - 350 copies were sold during pre-order period (source), including some of those going directly to vendors. But this was potentially based on inaccurate understanding of the print run size; he thought the print run was about 500 (source)
It's reasonable to think around 25-50 copies were reserved as authors copies or for "other commitments". Authors sometimes receive multiple copies, and other members of the production staff sometimes receive a copy. There are a bunch of people listed in the credits.

So we end up with 549 copies, minus 50 copies for NTRPG Con, minus 70-150 copies for general sale, minus 25-50 copies for authors & such. This gives a guesstimate range of between 299 and 404 pre-ordered copies, which aligns with fairly well with Matt's guesstimate above.

I split the difference and went with 352 copies pre-ordered.

However, about 25 of those copies went to resellers/vendors (Noble Knight, Troll & Toad, and Jim Raggi – source). So 25 of the pre-ordered copies were actually represented by just 3 "backers."

Which yields a guesstimated backer total of 330. (352 - 25 + 3)

Estimating the Funds Raised

327 of the pre-ordered copies were bought by individuals who paid $89.99 per book.

The 25 bought by resellers were almost certainly purchased at a discount. A standard reseller pays about 60% of retail for the stock, so $53.99 per book.

327 copies x $89.99, plus 25 copies x $53.99 = $30776.48, which I rounded down as the revenue raised, way up above.

It's still available ... for now, anyway

As of this writing, there appear to be a few of the 549 copies still available for sale through the Frog God Games web site. There will be no more print runs of this format of the S&W version of ToH complete, and who knows how much longer they'll last, so – if you want one, grab one now!

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