Monday, May 24, 2010

The financial mathematic of making a profitable RPG product for FREE…

So a few weeks ago I spoke about Monte Cook’ site and How to do it if it was free.  So I  have been crunching the actual numbers and this is what I have come up with to do my own version of with a little spin on it:

Writing focus & Writing Cost: Unlike which is a daily updated traffic site, we are looking to do updates to this website twice a week (Monday & Thursday) or three times a week (Monday, Wednesday & Friday).  Also unlike, we are using the Adventure Path structure as our focus and basis for this new website.  We plan for our Adventure Paths to last only for 13 weeks. Each day that we do and update will be an encounter that links into the larger story the website is telling. We are planning for each of the encounter updates to be 1,500 words in length with a one cent a word rate.  So that comes to either $30 or $45 a week for this project.  Figure it out for the full 13 weeks and you get a total price of either $390 or $585

The web hosting: SubHub is exactly what I would be looking for.  After joining and looking around it for all the great stuff it has inside for gaming fans (and there is a lot of great stuff inside) I think this will fit me nicely.  The price breakdown that SubHub provides is somewhat reasonable at $97 a month.  $97 a month comes out to $22.55 per week for a 13 week total of $293.15.

Artwork: Stock art which I have TONS of it so no issue there.

Cartography: After experimenting with my Fantasyscape line I decided that I will be handling that myself so I save cost on that.

So the total to do this little project for 13 weeks would be $683.15 (for twice a week) or $878.15 (for three times a week). 

Now, the BIG difference between this site and is that we are giving this site and content away COMPLETELY FOR FREE.  If I am doing this for free, how will this site make any money?  Now it is time to think like our friends at and what I have read in How To Make Webcomics

First off, I have to know what is the minimum amount of money I need to generate per day to make this whole idea profitable.  So for twice a week version we will need to make $7.51 a day; while the three time a week version we will need to make $9.65 a day.  When you break it down like that it does not really seem like a lot of money.  How will I be making that money?  Let’s see…

Advertising: There will be ads from Project Wonderful where I will do a two skyscraper ads (160 x600 pixels) that will cost $1.50 a day to advertise on each ($3 total); one letterbox ad (728 x 90 pixels) that will cost $2 a day; six half banner ads (234 x 60 pixels) that will cost $0.50 a day to advertise on each ($3 total)

RPGNow Affiliate Store: I have an affiliate store that was created by and I am able to sell my products (and other RPG companies products). gives me 10% of whatever I sales that I generate at that site. So if I wanted to make $4 a day from the affiliate site I would need to sell $40 worth of product a day.  With all the traffic I would be generating from the interest in this site, I do think that would be an issue. 

And with those two little things I could generate a whopping $12 a day which would come out over 13 weeks to be $1,092.  Subtract the $683.15 (for twice a week) or $878.15 (for three times a week) and you get $408.85 (twice a week) or $213.85 (three times a week). Proving this could be a profitable venture. 

Now here is the fun part that many of you have not even thought of yet.  I could collect all the content we have written (39K words for twice a week or 59K words for three times a week) and make a PDF version and sell it at for $7 or $9 each.  Better yet, I can go Print on Demand with and sell them for $18.99 or $21.99 each. Since we covered the cost of the site with the advertising and affiliate store, all the rest is PURE PROFIT!!!!  Once again, all of it is PURE PROFIT!!!!!  Who would have thought you could make all that money giving stuff away for free?  Looks like I have some work to do.  Talk to you later…