Towards the end of December 2012, I indicated that I'd be playing with the promotional tools on RPGNow. The aim was to release a game (or two), then spend some of my accumulated "publisher promotion points" to highlight these games on the websites where they were available for sale. I also intended to get a bit of promotion out of Google plus, various Facebook groups and the assorted web forums I belong to.
I'm not going to get into specific statistical details, but I'll provide a general overview of the results.
First a baseline.
For the last year or two I've been sitting in the long tail end of publishers on the OneBookShelf websites, typically in the bottom 80% percentile. It probably doesn't help that I haven't really released a new product for quite some time (nor does it help that I've only been charging small amounts for the products that I have released). In the past, every time I have released a new product, I've climbed above this ranking group but have never made it into the top 50% of publishers.
If we work on the assumption that Zipf's Law holds true on these web stores, in much the same way that it holds true across almost everything else, then I'm still earning far less during these peak months, but it will take more work to get further (and I needed to know whether the extra work would be proportional to the extra income generated).
The release of Ghost City Raiders (and Tooth and Claw) at the start of the year, and the use of publisher promotion points catapulted Vulpinoid Studios into the top 10% of publishers for the month of January and brought both products into the top 10 listings for over a week each. The company earned more than ten times it's typical income during this period as well (which still isn't a whole lot for an indie RPG publisher, but it was enough to pay off a few bills and sustain my RPG hobby with a few more purchases).
I'm hoping to capitalise on this growth over the next year, with the ongoing experiments focusing on the development of a strong customer base through regular supplemental releases for my games while also producing a few new products.
The experiment of "nearly-daily" posts here at the blog seems to be doing well also. I've ramped up the posting during 2012, basically doubling the interest in the work Vulpinoid Studios is producing, and shifted up another gear during November 2012 for the NaGaDeMon game challenge, doubling the readership again. I thought this would drop back after November, but the new readers have remained (Thankyou), and that's definitely kept my motivation up for new projects an ongoing development on existing projects.
There was only one experiment that basically didn't see fruitful results. On the purchasing page for Ghost City Raiders I indicated that anyone who blogged about their play experiences or provided a review of the game would receive some exclusive content (a new character and scenario). No one has taken me up on that offer yet.
I'm thinking of expanding that concept across a few more products from Vulpinoid Studios, with the intention of making that a point of difference between my company and the others currently competing in the marketplace.
Things aren't perfect for Vulpinoid Studios, but they seem to be moving in the right direction.