Category Archives: Blogging

One Bookshelf Affiliate Sales Totals for 2017

I decided to take a look and see what my annual sales through my OBS (DriveThruRPG, RPGNow, & DMsGuild) links generated.

In total, I earned $37.10 for 120 individual products. Six products had multiple sales. The big seller was five Hex Kit Volume 1: Fantasyland Tileset, [Affiliate Link] for use with Hex Kit [Affiliate Link]; and two sales each for the remaining 5 products. 114 products had a single sale.

Of the five products that had two sales, three are familiar: Dungeon Grappling [Affiliate Link], Players Handbook (1e) [Affiliate Link], and White Box Omnibus. [Affiliate Link] The other two, I have never heard of.  The Downtown Dataheist [Affiliate Link] and Cross-Class Subterfuge [Affiliate Link].  I don’t know those last two, so I can’t recommend them.

$37.10 isn’t bad. If I hadn’t spent most of it buying other products, I could use it for a few years of my domain name, or about a third of my annual web hosting fees.

I have no illusions of getting rich or quitting my day job, but it would be nice to beak even on my efforts at blogging my thoughts and reviews. If you like what I do, please consider buying your OBS gaming materials through my affiliate links.

I’m also a Game Science affiliate. Please consider your next dice purchase through my site.

The Amazon Affiliate program is tough to get a sale. I have links to things at Amazon, but not so much on my blog. I have added an Amazon Affiliate badge to the main page of my blog. I include links to the D&D 5e books, and the equipment I use for YouTube videos.

I’m debating starting a Patreon. I told myself that I wouldn’t even consider it until I reached 100 YouTube subscribers. That’s a milestone I reached in early January. Do you value my stuff enough to pay for it? I’ve been infrequent in posting lately, but with a Patreon, I would have at least one blog post a month, and one YouTube video a month. I would structure it for a flat monthly fee, if I did it.

I’m curious what you all think of that. My habit is to deny that I’m any good, and am not worth it. However, I don’t see the value of my efforts the way others might. If you think what I do via my blog or YouTube channel has enough to merit a Patreon, please tell me in the comments.

2017 In Review

2017 was quite the ride.

Internet/Social Media Stats

Only 73 blog posts for 2017. I have a total of 680 published blog posts. I have 26 posts in draft. Some just need to be deleted, and others I need to figure out what I was trying to say and finish the post. I’m not sure how many of them can be salvaged.

I started posting videos on YouTube and have 61 videos, and 97 subscribers. Most people are finding my channel via my series Roll20 For the Absolute Beginner. I finally got the right camera and editing software, when my computer died. That threw a wrench in the works that I haven’t gotten back into my stride. It took a lot of energy to get my new PC up and running, and I still have a lot I need to do.

I post on Twitter regularly, and am up to 388 followers.

I don’t post much on G+ if I’m not posting blog articles, but I’m up to 351 followers.

My Facebook page has 45 likes and 44 followers. I don’t promote Facebook as much as other media.

I have a Reddit account, but don’t post enough there to get a subreddit, I did switch to their new page, and posted there for a bit, but no traction there. I don’t care for how Reddit works. I understand it, but it’s so jumbled up and busy. I don’t like the interface.

Conventions

I went to Gary Con, Grand Con, Gamehole Con, and UCon. I ran games at Gamehole Con and UCon.

I backed a ton of Kickstarters, see my Outstanding Kickstarter Update for details.

In 2018, I will go to Gary Con 10, and will be running games. I will go to Marmalade Dog, since it isn’t the same weekend as Gary Con, and run games. I will also go to UCon and run games. I will probably go to Grand Con. Not sure if I will run games.

Playing

I am still playing in the AD&D Wednesday night game on Roll20. We just hit session 183, and I still haven’t missed a session.

I have played a several sessions in a game ran on weekends by another player in our Wednesday night game.

Another player in the Wednesday game also has ran a few sessions on the weekend that I played in.

Running

In addition to the games I have run at conventions, I started running a new area of my AD&D campaign world on Roll20 with some of the guys from Wednesday night. We got up to session 25 on December 10th. I had to take a break as this is my busy time of year at work and the non-stop all day long just fries my brain, and I just need a break. We’ll resume after January.

What’s to Come in 2018

I already started some of it. I am working to get a review published on the blog for every Kickstarter that has fulfilled. I did a bunch of easy ones for smaller products right at the end of December. So this backlog will be much smaller.

I will also do a review for every product I told people I would.

I would also like to post more often on other topics on the blog.

After my busy time of year is over, I will resume my Sunday afternoon AD&D game on Roll20. I might even open it up to a new player or two.

I resolved my transportation issue so I also plan to start running games at my FLGS Fanfare in Kalamazoo, after January. I’m not sure what day. I know it won’t be Wednesday or Sunday. I’m also not sure how many times a month. I’m considering dipping my toes into running 5e.

I will continue my efforts on YouTube. I have several more ideas for my Roll20 For The Absolute Beginner series. My list of other blog ideas will also keep me busy for a while. I hope to resume regular posting to YouTube in the new year.

I keep thinking that I’ll actually publish something on DriveThruRPG or other OBS site, or Lulu. I’ve got ideas, but nothing close to presentable so someone else can understand it. I won’t promise this anytime in 2018, and let it remain for some time in the future. Adding running a second game and doing the blog and YouTube is more than enough to keep me busy.

Life is good and I am happy and in a positive frame of mind, most of the time. I’ve had a lot of fun meeting people online, at cons, and seeing the joy and success of friends in the RPG world. This is a great time to be playing and talking about RPGs. I hope to continue the trend and have lots more fun and adventure!

[EDIT: I realized that I left out the times I was interviewed or featured by others. So here it now follows. I also added it to my Social page for ease of future reference.]

My presence on other blogs & channels.

I was interviewed on the Tell Me About Your Character podcast Season 3, Episode 1 April 24, 2017. [I interviewed Steve Keller on Multiverse here.]

Nerdarchy interviewed me for their Live Chat feature on July 12, 2017. See that episode here.

My blog was spotlighted by Jorphdan for the RPG Community Spotlight on October 2, 2017. See his video here. He really like my

My contribution for the Six of The Best series on Hero Press was published December 31, 2017. Read it here.

8th Anniversary of the Blog

Today marks the eighth anniversary of this blog. Over 650 posts, almost 320 G+ subscribers, nearly 220 Twitter followers, and about 35 followers on Facebook. I’ve dipped my toes into YouTube this year and have a whopping 21 subscribers.  Last Wednesday I was interviewed on Nerdarchy!

This year I started off with a new social media avatar and blog header by +Satine Phoenix. Recently I added a second blog header by +Del Teigeler. Now there is a rotation of headers. Two styles by Satine and the one by Del. I opened a CafePress store to sell shirts and hoodies with the logo by Satine. She really likes the one I gave her at Gary Con 9.

Satine Phoenix Approves This Shirt
Satine Phoenix Approves This Shirt

I started off writing stories from “back in the day” and then telling about introducing my sons to D&D. I’ve done reviews, interviews, made tables, shared thoughts on settings and more. Most of my focus has been on old school gaming. However, I recently had my first review of a 5e module.

Elsewhere I’ve written that after reading the sentiment somewhere online, that I think I should at least know 5e well enough to run a game, since most people new to D&D will come to it through 5e. I’ll still have an eye to running with an old school style of play. I’m still looking to get into a 5e game to ease into the differences in the rules so I’m clear how to DM it without too much rules consulting.

I’ve been contributing to Multiverse for over a year, and helped promote the TopSecret: NWO Kickstarter, which wraps up in just over a week. I have written in multiple forums, in addition to my blog, that the new TSR has that name because WotC let the Trademark lapse. Some seem to think that owning the TSR trademark makes all the old TSR games that are no longer published under the new TSR. People confuse copyright and trademark for some reason. Owning the name and owning the right to the words on paper are two different things.

I’ve got a set convention schedule for every year: GaryCon, Marmalade Dog, GrandCon, Gamehole Con, and UCon. I may try to add in North Texas RPG Con next year.

Basically I spend a lot of time and money backing Kickstarters, going to conventions, and spending a lot to run a blog and now make videos. Adding in hotel costs, meals, gas, incidentals, web hosting, domain name, blog art, webcam, editing software, Kickstarters, etc. I spend a couple thousand probably about 3.000, but I’m a little afraid to add it up. My only sales on CafePress have been to myself for giving to family and friends.

I’ve made maybe ten cents on YouTube, and enough via DriveThruRPG/RPGNow/DMsGuild affiliate links to help buy products I use & review.

As long as I have my current job, I can easily afford this much spending. I like it and have made some great friends online and added them to real life friends at conventions. However, I should realistically look to at least negate my expenses. I have really slowed down on Kickstarters this year.

If you like what I do with my blog and YouTube, consider using the affiliate links and watching my YouTube to help offset my costs. I had an Amazon affiliate, but no one bought anything, so I lost it. I plan to try again, so things you can buy online will have those links. I might try to do a Patreon, but that won’t happen for awhile. I need to be more consistent in my blogging and videos. I don’t expect to make a living at this, but off setting a large percentage of my expenses would be awesome!

Here’s to more time sharing what I love about RPGs!

New Blog Header by Del Teigeler

Today I get to unveil a new blog header by +Del Teigeler! Check out his website here.

It is so awesome! I really enjoyed getting intermittent updates over the course of this project. I contacted him at about the same time I asked Satine Phoenix to do a new header and avatar for my online presence. Of course, Del has lots of other projects he had already committed to. He also asked me to let him work with only electronic tools, for the practice. You may have seen him share snippets of this image on G+. I think the end result is awesome!

This image totally represents my character, Griswald, hiring mercenaries to go fight the bad guys and orcs, and almost always all being killed. On the left you see the happy and dedicated hirelings ready for battle, and on the right the results of following Griswald into battle. Griswald stands in the center. You can learn about Griswald’s story here.

I’ll leave Del’s version as the blog header for a while, then I will set the existing headers to rotate. I’m torn about whether I should add any text to this image, I don’t want to cover anything.

CafePress Shop Now Open

As you probably know, the current blog header and image I now use for my online avatar were done by +Satine Phoenix. I launched the new image on January 19, 2017.

Satine and I discussed the final product, and she commented on how she really like the image for the black background and would really like it on a t-shirt. I said, “What size?” She said, “Small.” I told her I’d bring it to Gary Con IX. She forgot we had that conversation and was so excited when I gave it to her. Satine was kind enough to model for a picture with her new shirt. She even laid it out in front of the table where she and her partner, +Ruty Rutenberg, the DM on Maze Arcana did a seminar on live streaming. She proudly told everyone, “I did that!”

Satine - Set Up Livestreaming Seminar at Gary Con IX
Satine – SettingUp Livestreaming Seminar at Gary Con IX

Ruty told us after the seminar that she was so excited about how it turned out that she talked about it for a few weeks. I thought that was so cool, and she is glad to let me use these pictures to promote my online presence. I also want everyone to check out Maze Arcana (on Twitch every Sunday, on YouTube, and see their Patreon), GM Tips on Geek & Sundry, and her website. Also check out her book, Action Heroine’s Journey on Amazon. She’s working on a new book, and you can help support those efforts at her Patreon.

CafePress Shop Now Open

Now I’d like to announce my CafePress Shop, where you can get my first offering of the image for the black background. More variations and other designs to come in the months ahead. Profits from the shop will help offset costs for running my blog, and social media channels. If I make enough from the shop, I can buy more art, or support more people on Patreon.

This design and future designs will also be available for giveaways as my channels grow. The fun and excitement of Gary Con last weekend has re-energized me. I’m hoping for great things in the months ahead.

If you like what I do and want more of it, please drop me a line. Tell me what you like and what you’d like more of. I’m becoming known to many for reviews. I do reviews anyway, but touch on all kinds of my tabletop gaming and geeky/nerdy interests.

Satine made a channel intro for me last year at Gary Con VIII. Here’s  the blooper reel.

Here is the video announcement for my CafePress Shop:

New Art For the Blog by Satine Phoenix

I’m super exited to share my new blog banners and icon/avatar by the talented +Satine Phoenix.

She gave me two versions of each, so I’ll have to put them on rotation, since I can’t decide which I like better. I really like how the image of the avatar is like an arrow pointing to the right. This fits right in with the left to right reading of the blog title.

You can see other examples of Satine’s work here. Her plate is very full, so allow plenty of lead time if you have a target date for art.

Be sure and watch Satine on her live play D&D (Eberron Campaign) show at Maze Arcana on Sundays 12-4 PST.

The new banners:

By Satine Phoenix
By Satine Phoenix
By Satine Phoenix
By Satine Phoenix

 

The figure in the avatar is from my favorite AD&D character, Griswald, and half-elf Cleric/Fighter/Magic-User, I have written about elsewhere on the blog. The shield design is based on one my brother, the DM drew. This gave rise, in game, to his nickname, “The Wolf”. My brother also taunted me with what I settled on for the title of this blog. Read more here, and here, and hear it here, where I attempt to emulate the way my brother says it.

Satine was also kind enough to record an introduction for my inactive YouTube channel at GaryCon 8 last year. Here’s the Blooper reel.

The new avatars:

By Satine Phoenix
By Satine Phoenix
By Satine Phoenix
By Satine Phoenix

Satine suggested the black background for a T-shirt. I’ll order and see how they look. Might be something I offer for sale in the future. Suggestions for online services that don’t require outrageous prices to make money on T-shirt sales are welcome.

I also engaged another busy artist for an art upgrade to the blog, and his preliminary sketch is so on target to what we discussed. I’m pumped to see his final work. I’ll announce who it is with the big reveal.

Blog Reorganization

I’m working on cleaning up the layout and presentation on the blog.

I’m moving and consolidating information from the right sidebar into pages. See links for pages at the top.

It’s a bit chaotic at the moment, and the information on the pages is in rough form. Trust me, I know it needs work.

I didn’t want to take the blog down while making these changes, so I didn’t have to deal with messages about it being down.

I’m debating whether or not to change the theme. However, organizing/cleaning up come first.

I plan to have a couple professional artists do up a new blog image for a rotation. One will be available soon, and the other will be sometime after the first of the year. SO COOL!