The Aruneus Project – a look at the cost of zombies and high fantasy

I’ve had a few people ask why I’m trying to raise $7000 for this project. Why that number and why that much?

Here’s a quick run down of the costs and what I’d like to use this money for.  For more information on high fantasy and the zombie apocalypse, see the Aruneus Archive or Wiki.

$7000 is a lot of money. If you’re thinking of investing in this, you deserve to know where the money will go.

Here’s the rough breakdown.

$700 gets taken out if I get funding. $350 by Kickstarter and $350 by Amazon who handles the payments leaving $6300 that gets distributed to me.

$2000+ will go to paying artists. This is important to me because not only does it highly improve the quality of the book but it gets artists who are not well known or currently working in the industry a job and an end product they can point to. That leaves $4300.

$500+ for Copy Editing and $750+ for layout of the 300+ page finished product. Again, work for people in the industry who may not find it otherwise. That leaves $3050.

A lawyer. Yes, I’ll need one. I’ll be using contracts, working with copyright, issuing 1099s and adding a significant burden to doing my taxes with a sole proprietorship over this. Luckily I know a good lawyer who specializes in this who’s willing to charge me a flat rate of $500 from soup to nuts, including advice on my taxes. That leaves $2550.

Then there’s web hosting. Buying a domain, hosting on a non-shared site (probably a VPS), getting some help in keeping a decent site, wiki and forums operating. I’m only budgeting for a year of this, as I’m hoping the book will actually sell as a PDF or print copy and make enough to keep it self sufficient. I’ve budged that out at $900 for the year, which is possibly a bit low. That leaves $1650.

Then there’s printing out and shipping the copies of the physical book I’ll owe to people who’ve become backers at that level, as well as those I’ve hired to work on the project, not to mention having a few on hand for sending to conventions, etc. For an RPG sized book (8.5×11 or slightly larger) I’m looking at about $12 a copy at a per copy cost or if I order 100 or more about $8 a copy. (that’s an average from several quotes I’ve gotten). Figure 100 copies and that’s $800. That leaves $850.

I was hoping to be able to pay myself a little bit for the work as well. I don’t think that’s going to happen though so I’ll hope to recoup some of the costs I’ll have (like the 15 hours a week I’m putting in to this that I used to spend consulting outside my day job) by selling PDFs or print copies after the project is complete and those who’ve been promised copies receive them.

I figure I’ll have put in about 40 weeks of work at 15 hours a week by the time this is finished, possibly more but that’s a good place to start. So take the entire $850 that’s left. At the 600 hours I’ll put in to this that equals roughly $1.42 per hour.

Realistically though I’ll need that $850 for other incidental costs and unplanned crisis.

Doing a co-op project with some folks is certainly an option but I wanted to explore Kickstarter and getting funding up front first. Getting the money up front makes everything work a lot smoother and will result in a smarter looking end product.

[tags]aruneus, rpg, role playing games, zombies[/tags]

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