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Direct Current

Why and how I'm opening up direct sales.
09 Jan 2022
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After years of relying on other platforms to sell my games, I’ve finally taken the steps to let customers purchase directly from nothingventuredgames.com. What exactly does that mean? And why am I doing it now? Let’s dig in.

Last week, I talked about my experience with itch.io in 2021. While itch is relatively popular among the indie TTRPG community, and it sports good tools both for setting products up for sale and for analyzing performance data, it presents some annoying challenges as well.

I’ve been selling my products on DriveThruRPG (or OneBookShelf) for almost a decade. Setting up products on this platform is a huge pain, and they take a large cut of each sale (35% if you are not exclusive to OBS). The biggest plusses of DriveThru are overwhelming customer awareness and discoverability, instant access to funds, and the availability of print-on-demand services through Lightning Source.

But these are platforms that are ultimately controlled by other companies. Going forward, I want to have a sales channel that is as much under my own control as possible. Fellow designer Tracy Barnett (@TheOtherTracy) has been going at this same problem of late, detailing their own efforts on Twitter:

I knew I wanted something that could be integrated into my site without mucking about on the back-end. I also didn’t want anything with recurring fees, because honestly, I can’t expect this to make me all that much money, especially at first. With those criteria in mind, I found Gumroad.

Integration was a simple as adding a Javascript file and putting a link to the product on my page. There’s no recurring fees, and their cut of each sale actually decreases the more money you make. And most importantly, I really like their ethos of creator-focused growth and transparency.

On top of all that, their tools are robust, and it’s really easy to set up products. They handle tracking physical products (if I get into fulfilling those) and services (which I’m already planning to set up). You can also set up recurring memberships with multiple tiers, letting it work as an alternative to Patreon. (If you want to support me with an ongoing membership, you can find the link at the bottom of each page on my site.) And anyone can follow to be updated on new products and offerings (also at the bottom of the page).

So that’s where I’m at. Right now, every product here on Nothing Ventured Games is up on Gumroad, and you can buy them direct from their product pages. You can subscribe or follow me from the link and form at the bottom of the page. I don’t think this is the key to some great success, but it’s another step forward, and it feels exciting to see where it will go.

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