07: Mastering Convention Spaces with Zac Goins

07: Mastering Convention Spaces with Zac Goins

Posted by Nicholas Ribera on

As co-owner of World of Game Design, Zac represents many artists and writers in the Role-Playing Game Space. He’s become a master of product demos and direct-to-consumer marketing on the convention floor.

You can listen to the episode here (or wherever you listen to podcasts) or read the transcript below:

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A Conversation with Zac Goins

Chain Assembly: Today I'm joined by Zach Goins, one of the founding owners of World of Game Design. I met Zach at Origins 2019. That doesn't sound right. Twenty. It was like the first one post pandemic. Origins is a board game convention up in Ohio. I was doing a seminar basically just kind of explaining little lessons I've learned from running my Kickstarter projects. Zach attended that. We got to chatting after that. And um. Well, Zach, I guess take it from here. Explain what you did, what we talked about and how we ended up getting connected from that little seminar. 

Zac Goins: Oh, no. Let's see. Well, yeah, you had a seminar and I was also there. Doing a booth games and a seminar. And my seminar was very similarly named to yours, because also about Kickstarter and certain things. And so I'm browsing the seminar list. I'm like. Oh, there's this Nick guy who's doing this. I want to see if he has stuff. He does stuff that I don't do or whatever. Let's go check it out. I sat in and was immediately like, oh, this guy, this guy's on point. And also he's organized way more than me at that point. He had like a handout of like data and links. And it was like, this, yeah, this guy's cool. We should, and then I went to your booth and I'm like, okay, well, he also makes cool stuff. So we should, we should be friends.

CA: I didn't know you had a seminar, too. I was there pretty much alone. I mean, I had my wife with me, but she was begrudgingly covering the booth when I had to leave. So I wasn't really able to attend any events, but I would have loved to see what you put together because I know your expertise on Kickstarter is pretty great, too. Yeah, it was like art. The seminar that I do a lot is basically about how do you get through the beginning stages of a Kickstarter all the way up until launch day? So it's about, you know, the backend of Kickstarter. If this is your first project, what, what are you trying to do? Like how, what does the backend of Kickstarter even look like? What sort of information do you need to have on hand? Like a bank account and a blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, right. And like, how do you market yourself? What pieces do you need to, to, to get ready for launch? What does your follower count need to be that sort of stuff? And then we kind of say, all right, so if you do all the steps here. Then you're ready to hit the launch button. And that's probably a whole another seminar in and of itself after that. 

CA: Yeah. So when I had the idea to do a seminar, I I was like, OK, I got to make sure I'm focusing on something small. I don't want to cover too many things. I don't want to tune people out. So like kind of the the thread that I decided to go with was just pointing out like one, maybe two things I learned with each subsequent project I did. So that's why I titled it Things I Learned from Kickstarter or something like that or running small projects on Kickstarter. Because each one I did got progressively bigger. I did something a little bit different. I had different failures along the way. So I thought it'd be kind of good to just focus on that. So it actually seems like it's pretty different from yours, which I think is good that you're focusing on like the start, the initiation, the launch. 

ZG: Yeah, yeah, it's fun. Well, it kind of goes along with one of the things that I do at the company is, or have been doing at the company is a lot of consultant work where I help people who are new to Kickstarter or too busy to do it by themselves to help them manage their kickstarters or their crowd funders in general. And so being a person who's coming to the conventions and saying, Hey, here's how to set it up. It's educational and it helps people like get all their ducks in a row, but it also is a great then segue to say, if this feels overwhelming to you, or if I sound like I know what I'm talking about and you want a partner, teammate, consultant, whatever, come talk to me afterwards, right? So it plays double duty.

CA: I don't want to say that I hate people like that. But like I have a lot of I've done consulting and stuff, too, for Tarot decks, specifically, and I'm I'm very excitedly going to help someone get their project off the board. But when they say, can I just pay you to do it for me? I don't know. I don't like that because I guess it's my main day job is tech support and working with tech support. And one of my biggest pet peeves is people who refuse to learn.

ZG: Uh huh.

CA:  So I think someone who goes from the I'm curious on how to grow this thing and then them transitioning into I'm shut down. I'll just throw money at you. That's not the place I want to be in. So I'm glad there are people like you who enjoy being in that place. 

ZG: Well, and, you know, I'll say just slightly in their defense, like it's a lot of work. It is. And if you're a creator and you just want to create like and you don't really like care about. Let me let me be careful here. There's all sorts of people on all spectrums of how much they want to turn their project into a business and how involved they want to be in that business. 

CA: Right. 

ZG: And so. You know, it's if you all you want to do is make a D&D zine two times a year, and you just want to get your creative bug out and make that. And you just want me to come in and share in the profit, but also share in an enormous amount of the work and handle the back end stuff so that you can just focus on creation. As long as that makes sense for both of us, I think that can be a win. I will say that I agree with you though, that like there is a turn off point when somebody not only doesn't want to do it, but doesn't care about it, that starts to be the red flags, right? Like, Oh, you don't need help. You're not just not, you're not just looking for help. You actively don't care about this and don't want to learn or care about it. And that means that it's going to be hard for us to communicate throughout this entire process. 

CA: So you don't have to name any names, but has that happened regularly? 

ZG: Not regularly, but it has happened. We've done just tune out. They turn off. They're like, I'm done caring about this. Yeah. Or they just, you know, you know. So for context, right? Like when I say that this has happened, we've done, I think, 48 kickstarters in the past four years. So it's going to happen when you have quantity. And it's been a very small percentage, but really what it comes down to is we set obligations upfront about what I'm going to do to help and what you're expected to do on your side, right? And what has happened in the past is that people haven't lived up to the full expectations on their end. That said, I'm sure that they would say that sometimes happens with me as well. And I feel bad when that happens. And we, I would like, you know, we try to rectify that if they feel that way, but you know, Of course, there's people to where we try to lay out clear ground rules and lines of demarcation where you're going to do this, I'm going to do this. But at the end of the day, that only goes so far. There's always going to be people who misunderstood or just life got in the way and they couldn't meet their side of the bargain. 

CA: That's also something that, again, I hate to say it, but I don't have a lot of patience for. An example being there is a Kickstarter project that I backed. It was a gay erotic space opera graphic novel and it was like delivered two years late. And when I did get it, it was only like 24 pages, but I really loved those 24 pages. And the whole time I'm like, how does it take someone so long to make this? And then I foolishly backed the second volume, which after three years, the creator said, I'm just not going to do it anymore. Sorry, everyone. If you want a refund, you can get a refund. And I understand things get in the way. But three years, three years, and then you didn't do it. But that's that's getting away. 

ZG: But yeah, I hear you. I hear you. 

CA: I guess I just expect everyone to work the same way I do. We're like I love every stage of it at the same amount pretty much. So I rarely lose interest, tuned out. I don't know. 

ZG: You're definitely a rarity there. Right. Like even I don't like all of the stages. So there's parts of it that bogged down. I'll tell you, like one that I despise is that final piece of production where you're working with manufacturers like that. That'll kill my timelines because it feels like there's always like three back and forth with tiny tweaks where you have to send things back to. You know, you're you're the you're the you're the buck stops here guy. You do all the, your own layout and things like an art and things. You need a small tweak from the manufacturer. You can go and do it. When I have that, I have to send it back to people and I'm telling, oh my gosh, that'll kill me. Like it just, you know, and then sometimes those artists or there's layout. People are onto new projects. Like, Hey, remember this thing that you did two months ago for a Kickstarter? Well, the printer now needs these three small changes made. Could you work that into your schedule?

CA: Right. Like I never thought about that, but that's a good point, because I'm always like annoyed that it takes 24 hours to get a response from my contact in China. Yeah. But it makes so much sense that larger projects that have multiple people involved are going to take even longer for just the smallest thing. 

ZG: Yeah, yeah, yeah. It can get it can stretch out. I'll give an example here. Like we had a Kickstarter that was supposed to fund like a year ago. Right. And we had one guy commissioned to do all the maps for this project. He did all but one and then disappeared. It's like, we shouldn't just go hire another person because now the maps aren't going to look the same. So it's checking in, checking in, checking in. Then three months later, he'll respond to be like, oh, I'll get it to you. Then checking in, checking in, checking in three months later, oh yeah. Take care of that, right? You look up and you're like, oh, it's been six months and we don't have this last map. We should just find somebody else. Well, now you've got to spend all the time finding somebody who can do it in a style that's going to match what he did. And then you got to get on their schedule. And that's how it turns into months and months and months and months of a delay for one small piece of the pie. Well, that's a lesson in getting as much of the work done ahead of time as possible, right? Because if we would have gotten all of that done before launch, that's one less thing that could have gone wrong. And to be fair, like that guy had a lot of things that came up in that interim period, could he have made a map? I feel like it could have, but, but at the end of the day, you know, an enormous amount of life got in the way between him and our project and we're not his full-time job, so I can only ask for so much. That's a good point.

CA: I liked your comment about finishing as much as you can before the project launches. I want to know what is your opinion on completion amount before you launch it on Kickstarter, because it's different for a lot of people. I have my own preferences and I'm just wondering where yours are. 

ZG: I love 80%. It's a good number. It's flexible though, but 80% can mean a lot of things depending on what the type of project it is, right? If you're designing a tarot deck or an Oracle deck. What does 80% even mean? Does it mean 80% of the art? Does it mean you have mockups for 80%? Does it mean that you have like 80% of the cards are laid out and ready for print? That could mean a lot of things. So to me, what I try to make it mean is of the things that I can do or my team can do, 80% is done. 

CA: So with that, like what I try to focus on as far as prioritizing getting things ready for a Kickstarter launch is anything that I want to have a mock-up for for the Kickstarter page. I want to at least have a first draft done and ready to go because no one's going to do the add-on for the bookmark if they can't see a mock-up of what the bookmark looks like. 


ZG: So even if it's something that I know is not going to be the final product, I want to have some type of graphic laid out, just as an example of a little 3D render of that. And that is kind of what helps me inform the way that I approach things. Like for example, if this project involves a manual or a paperback book, I just need to have a couple pages for the mockup, I don't have to have the whole book written. And in addition to that, I also try to think of the fact that I want to be able to turn this Kickstarter project around as quickly as possible so that I can launch the next one. So I don't want to collect money with the idea that it's paying me to design something. I want that money to be production costs and profit. I don't wanna pay myself hourly or anything like that. It's all production costs and profit in my mind. 

CA: I love that. 

ZG: That's exactly how I look at it is if a Kickstarter can pay for your production. That's really the goal in my mind is like, can I afford to get a print run done if I fund? If the answer is yes, then hopefully that print run is significantly higher than what you need to deliver to backers. And then your profit, assuming that you fund at a minimum level and you don't just do super well, then even at a minimum level, you've paid for your production. Now all that extra inventory, all those extra units can go to actually making that thing profitable over the next six months, year, two years, whatever. Yeah, that's one thing that I that I brought up in that seminar and I brought up to a lot of people is that you want to think about this not as a one off project, but you want to have a way to sell the additional inventory after the project ends. Because, yeah, the Kickstarter might not be profitable, but you are producing ideally way more products than you need to fulfill it. So having a way to sell those things left over will make it profitable in the long run. And you sent out like a little email questionnaire for me before this launched, right? And you said like, what are the best profit centers or whatever for your business? And I was like, oh gosh, that's so crazy because we do like the Kickstarters, which we talked a lot about, we do conventions, we do an online web star, we do all these different things, right? And I'm like, but I think the answer that I gave you is Backer Kit. 

CA: Yeah, I was curious about that.

ZG: Because I was thinking about like, what is the, what is the, the golden nugget, the golden ticket to actually like making every project profitable? Because a Kickstarter, you don't know how profitable it's going to be when you hit the launch button, hopefully it's profitable, quote unquote, to some extent. But, but you don't know if it's going to pay for all of your expenses, all of your time and all the production and you know, be a home run, or if it's just going to skimp by with, with just covering production. Backer kit is different. And so the big nugget that I can give is like, when your Kickstarter backers are ready to pay for their shipping, which by the way, this is a good note that I strongly, strongly, strongly recommend not charging for shipping on Kickstarter. Yes. But when they're ready to pay for shipping, sending them to backer kit to do that. And then having the backer kit storefront ready to go with all your other products, you will make money, so much more money than you ever expected doing it that way. And that is all what I call free money, because it's all inventory that you already have on hand and isn't costing you anything else to make, right? And if you're a Kickstarter company, hopefully you've already paid for the production and all that. So this is inventory that if you can just kick it out is profit. And it's so I'm telling you, like, it's so. Astounding how healthy BackerKit, a well designed BackerKit can make your company just in that, just insane. The people that pledge to this Kickstarter, I want to send them to a storefront to pay for their shipping where they can buy more of my stuff. That is a process that is a funnel that works. To tie into that.

CA: One thing that it took me a while to wrap my head around when I started working with Kickstarter in the beginning was traditionally you would say, OK, this item has a production cost of three dollars. I'll wholesale it for six, retail it for twelve. When it is something that has been funded by Kickstarter, those numbers go out the window because you can still use it to come up with your MSRP, but I can't sell a tarot deck and think “Oh, this was a $5 production cost because the production cost was all paid upfront. Yeah. So everything I'm selling is a hundred percent profit, not 65% profit or whatever”. 

ZG: Right. 

CA: So that took me a real long time to learn. But I mean, in lieu of having any like real math to solve what your actual profit percentage on each sale is, I still just kind of go with those basic numbers of what the production cost would have been if I had paid this all out slowly. 

ZG: Yeah, yeah, yeah. 

CA: And then regarding the backer kit thing, it's our recent project that we worked on together, the pilgrimage of the penitent, that I've used the backer kit for the first time. Thank you so much for setting all that up because it seems like a nightmare. 

ZG: It is, it is. It is, yeah. 

CA: But like you said, there's been a lot more sales in that post-fulfillment stage through the backer kit than I expected. Because before that, I've always just had people go to my online store, add the item to their cart, and I give them a coupon code that reduces it to zero dollars. Meanwhile, I do have other products for them to buy, but maybe five percent would convert to an additional sale on top of that. And it seems like that number is probably higher. I don't know if there's any numbers, but my guess is 10 to 15 percent. 

ZG: Yeah, 10 to 15. If you've got a really good target, like. If you're selling a D&D product. And then in the backer kit, you've got a lot of other DND products. Then you can get it up to like 20% maybe. Um, but yeah, 10 to 15 as, as a, as a very standard, very nice, uh, whole. 

CA: And it definitely helps too, that like, if I had done the original route of just doing it through my website, the way I traditionally did, I'd only have my own products listed there that they could add to their own things. And because you know, you represent different writers, different artists and stuff, you're able to add more thematic items to that checkout page. And BackerKit, as horrible as their interface is, from the consumer standpoint, it is very simple to follow. And it makes it very easy for you to just click add to cart on things that are just right in front of your face. 

ZG: Yeah, exactly. And that's been the secret sauce, right? I mean, there's probably a few different secret sauces, but one of the secret sauces is like, why we work with three dozen different people or whatever creators is so that we can do things like this because there's strength in numbers. And that comes on BackerKit where we can, we have more products. You know, we have like, I don't even, I shouldn't even start guessing, but probably like 700 different SKUs that we have access to at this point, right? Very, a small percentage of those is our own product. And a large percentage of it is every, all these other client products. And so we can target, oh, you know, you put out pilgrimage of the penitent, the Mork Borg book, we can put other more core books in there. The other way that we can, the other way that that works, right, is we have more bargaining power as a collective when we go to conventions and to things like that, right? So it's not just on BackKit, but by being a part of our team, by being a part of our client network, we are able to get sweet, sweet things like priority space on the convention floors, bigger appearances. We get special permissions and things because we're coming as a huge conglomerate. You know, we have the biggest booth at Origins this year. We're going to have the biggest booth next year. You know, that that wouldn't be possible if it was just us, but it's definitely possible now that we've got 36 cool people behind us helping us, you know, move that forward. So we've gotten into the weeds pretty quickly. 

CA: Let's pull it a bit back because I don't think we even really explained what World of Game Design is, what it does and how you help kickstarter creators.

ZG: Yeah, okay. Let's see. So, World of Game Design is like one part publisher, one part consultancy firm, whatever, that sounds too official, and one part product rep. So on the publishing side, we publish a bunch of game material for largely RPGs. So fifth edition D&D, mothership, Weihander, Mork borg, all sorts of different systems. We publish different books and different digital content for. We make dice. We do dice accessories like dice towers, all sorts of things that way. That's one piece of the company. And then another piece is consultancy, which is what we've kind of been talking about, where I work alongside creators to get their product out there in bigger ways, whether that's Kickstarter or different crowdfunding platform, or our web store or conventions. And then the last piece is representation of clients, which is taking your product to the convention and selling it for you, working with you to develop strategies for getting your product into more places like retail stores, and then also things like organized play or public play where we're actually bringing a bunch of team members to different events and different conventions to run your games. And again, that's building your community and driving sales. 

CA: Wow, that's a lot that you're in charge of. I'm definitely curious in using you for that game running portion. As I get closer to having my role playing game, Lies by Omission, designed and set up and ready to go, because I don't have any gaming group here. And right now, the whole thing just works in my head.

ZG: Right. 

CA: Not sure how well it'll be in print, but I'm excited about that. You also mentioned that you had the largest booth at Origins. 

ZG: Yeah. 

CA: When I first met you at that Origins a few years ago, your booth was I wouldn't say large, but it was still significant. Sure. So that's a huge growth in just the last couple of years. So kudos on that. 

ZG: Thank you. 

CA: And so why don't you tell me a bit about how now you're like representing some larger publishers officially, what, describe that more. 

ZG: Yeah, so that's where it gets a little bit weird and wonky, but also that's the new piece of it, right? So at the beginning of the year, we kind of started to dabble in it last year, where we have all these relations with other cool creators in the industry, and people were saying, hey, could you run my game or work with me at different shows and things, and yeah, sure, we can do that. Myself and some of our team members like Troy Sandlin, have a huge background in running public play events for different gaming systems. And so then, well, why don't we pitch that idea to where we can be a partner with different publishers to bring their product to a convention presented at that convention as, you know, a branded experience. And then also run games for them. And why don't we pitch ourselves as like a one-stop shop for that side of, of marketing. And so I pitched that I put together a little pitch and I took that to eight Publishers that I thought really needed it and that we were had some sort of a relationship with already, and I said, Hey, it'd be cool if two of these people said yes for this year. Well, all eight said yes. And so that's where, like we saw a huge amount of growth was we're representing some big, big companies and not just representing, but like working with them extremely closely in a lot of areas to, um, improve their outreach potential in every way that we can possibly do. And some of that has been what we just talked about. Some of that is, you know, some of these people are having us participate in the creation of their stuff at this point, right? A great example of that is Marvel. So Marvel's one of our partners. They have a new RPG that's coming out in a week and a half. Well, it'll be out when this episode airs, I think, called Marvel Multiverse Roleplay Game. They have their book ready to go, but they wanted convention representation and they needed, they wanted to have games running at that convention. Well, they didn't have modules that you could run at a gaming convention. And so they hired us to write those modules. So it's really, there's this cool intersection where being a rep for somebody and really knowing the industry and being comfy there allows us to then participate in really fun ways with those companies where we get to have writing opportunities or design opportunities or roles that would have been more difficult to get otherwise. It's not a guarantee, but it's a cool perk when it comes along. 

CA: That's awesome. Have you noticed so comparing this last origins most previous most recent one from a few weeks ago to the other ones you've done since you've had all this new like official representation in that larger booth presence? I this is probably a dumb question, but have you noticed an increase in sales from that? 

ZG: Yes, yes. Very much so. So we went from a basically a 200 square foot booth at the previous origins to a thousand square feet at the last one. And we'll be at a little bit bigger than that, about 1200 square feet next year, I think. Bigger booth, bigger inventory count, and more inventory means more sales. And working with some of these cool publishers that have big brands like Star Trek and Dune and Marvel, allows us to also draw in more people. And once those people are in the space, then. You know, they might pick up Marvel, but they're also going to be right in front of other people's stuff. 

CA: Yeah, that's that's really exciting because like the fact that you are a big presence, like it seems important. That sounded weird. But like. When I go into a convention, there's tons of publishers and companies I've never heard of. Yeah. But if they have a huge booth, I'm going to be like, oh, I need to know what this is. 

ZG: Yeah.

CA: And that'll get me my attention more than the content of it. Just the fact that they're huge makes me feel like I need to be involved in whatever they're doing. 

ZG: And I'll say I like that. And I'll say that by the time this airs, this is going to be announced. So I feel safe in saying it. But we are rebranding our convention presence for exactly that reason. So World of Game Design is our publishing arm, and that's what we've been running under for a long time. But it really is meant it was meant to be a publishing house. And it's really, it can be really weird for certain other publishers. If we're a publisher and we're also saying we'll sell your stuff and now your stuff is competing right next to our stuff on the booth, right? Like, I will tell you, Oh, we're going to sell everybody's stuff at the same way, right? There's no preference points. But that doesn't mean that you believe that. And it doesn't actually even mean that it's true if we're being honest, right? Because I'm not the only person working our booth there's going to be other team members. They may not know your product as well as I do, right? So by the time this airs, we're going to have rebranded the convention presence as Tabletop Fanatics. And it will be kind of a white box approach where World of Game Design will be one of our many publishing clients. And there'll be, you know, that's an initiative that myself and Troy are heading up and we're going to really do our best to create an atmosphere that doesn't show doesn't even give off the appearance of showing favoritism to any publisher and is more of a, hey, we're collective and we're gonna treat it that way. 

CA: That is a really great idea. That's great. 

ZG: Thank you. 

CA: Did you have to do any like, like did you have to create like a new LLC or anything like that and a subsidiary?

ZG: We're going to see how some of this goes. So whatever I say now might be not how we approach it in an ongoing wave. Right now what we're doing is a, is a separate DBA for that. So it's still under the same corporate umbrella because the reality is that. Some of the decision makers for world of game design will be the same decision makers as tabletop fanatics. So we wanted to keep them there's a, there's a re there's reasons to keep it under the same umbrella, but at the end of the day, we're also open to see how this grows, right? We didn't expect to go from being a, like you said, a much smaller presence a couple of years ago to being the biggest. If that continues, well, it may come to a point where it's like, hey, we need to just chunk this off and make it its own whole individual. And that probably depends on team size and a few things like that as it grows. 

CA: When you kind of think about where this tabletop fanatics goes in the future, do you think you're always going to have it as one giant booth or would you extend the white labeling to really separate them into different spaces around the convention? 

ZG: Oh, it'll, there's something cool about it being all one space, but there's still a lot of cool things that you can do with that. Right? Like imagine a booth that goes, that runs on both sides of an aisle. Right? 

CA: Yeah. 

ZG: And, and with like an arch at the beginning and an arch at the end, that would be sweet. 

CA: Right. 

ZG: And each section is going to be branded as each RPG or each company, right? So you're going to have the medifia section and you're going to have the Mork Borg section and you're going to have the Mothership section. And there's going to be a big overhang over it all that says tabletop fanatics, right? That's a possibility. And we'd love to see that. But there's also exactly what you just said, you know, not every con does that. Is that going to work? And so we're completely comfortable with the idea of saying, Marvel is going to have its own booth over here because that's just how it needed to work on this con, and everybody else is gonna be over here. The white glove approach of it, the white, not white glove, but white box approach of it, really makes us, allows us to be flexible with how we place people to make it best possible solution for everyone. 

CA: So taking it back down to a smaller scale for artists who probably want to- 

ZG: Please, yeah, let's do that, yeah. 

CA: Try and build things out. One big benefit to working with you is the projects that we've worked on together. You're bringing them to conventions and selling them around the country when I couldn't do that at all myself. I can maybe go to one convention a year. My wife switched jobs, so no origins for me this year. We're trying to keep our spending down. So I got to ask, how did a ready play games do at origins? If you even brought it this time. 

ZG: I'm trying to think of what we brought to origins. And I'm going to be the wrong person to ask because at Origins, it happened exactly how you just described where we had a Modiphius booth over here. Cause we couldn't get them all clustered in a Modiphius booth over here. And we had a, everybody else over here. Well, I ran the Modiphius section and Troy ran the World of Game Design section, which had more core and everything else. I know that we brought it and I remember Troy talking about it, but, um, I will say that it was very exciting and we, we hyped a lot. And I know the new more workbooks that you put out Definitely sold so that was cool as far as the little card the card game RPGs that you have I don't remember on that so I apologize You'll get a report every quarter right like that. Yep, that's the we'll find out together

CA: Yeah, awesome, and I was really fun putting those zines together- so for the listeners, Zac wrote a great kind of little mini role playing game module. That was a stretch goal for the Kickstarter backers for the pilgrimage of the penitent project I did. And John Baltisberger, who is episode three. Yeah, episode three. He wrote another one. And so it was fun designing their writings into little zines that I think came out really great. I love it. Like art wise, they don't really match the main book, but they do match each other pretty well. 

ZG: Yeah.

CA: And if anyone's ever curious, you can get really great free for use public access imagery from the Smithsonian online archives. Yeah, I use a lot of really old vintage photos and stuff. Doctor it up to make some cool stuff. 

ZG: There's also Library of Congress, and then there's like the London Museum of whatever, and there's like between like half dozen. You can get like access, like four million images, illustrations, photos, things that are all completely free and make for cool stuff.

CA: So, Zac, when it comes to you looking to partner with a creator and operate a Kickstarter project for them, what do you look for in a project that you want to work on and or a creator you want to partner with? And what do you typically do for them? 

ZG: It feels so. So I'll get to that just a second. I will say it feels like every time you ask a question, like, oh, this is a whole can of worms that we get to open and eat together. 

CA: I'm trying not to spend the whole time talking about just one thing. 

ZG: No, it's great, it's perfect. Because I know we could. I'm having a blast, so you can keep me here all day. I will note before I say this that because we're expanding so big on the convention side, we're going to do like 15 conventions next year. 

CA: Wow. 

ZG: My role is going to kind of I'm going to share this side. So whatever I say here is true for Zac, but it may not be true for who shares this role going forward. So prefaced asterisk now will say, right now we look at projects that have that 80% completion rate to some extent.

CA: Right. 

ZG: That a creator's already done a large amount of work to get it done and close to the finish line that we can then. Be find a spot that we can help them, whether that is, hey, I've written 80 percent. I need help on Kickstarter so that I could pay for art and layout. There's a role for us there. Or someone who says, is that usually what you see someone who's done writing and they need art and layout? That's what we ask for. 


ZG: If they're a writer, if they're an RPG designer, like, here's the deal, right? Like, I'm not an artist. I can do some things. If you told me I had to be 80 percent, like, completely done with a book before I came to you, I would be like, I'm sorry. That's not going to happen. Right. So we asked for, you know, 80 percent what they can do. And so, yeah, a lot of times it is a lot of people will come to us, though, with like 40 percent or 50 percent done. And we'll say come back when you're at 80 in a nice way. 

CA: Yeah. But. We're so you're coming, but it is mostly writers you're working with, then. 

ZG: A lot of them are writers. Yeah, absolutely. There are there's every once in a while it is like an artist that'll come in and say, I have this. I've already partnered with a writer with a few writers or I want to partner with you guys. Yada yada yada. And that's great, too. Like like every once in a while that happens and I'm all about it. You're one of those people in the sense that you are. I consider Nick to be first and foremost a designer and illustrator and Secondarily Eve a great writer, but a writer, right? No, if you came to me and you said I have 80% of all the graphics done But I haven't really started on the writing that much. I wouldn't be as worried right tonight. That would be fine I'd be like 80% for you really is art So I say all that to say so we're looking for people who are designing an RPG who are around 80% done and who are looking for help to get it over the finish line and are looking for help in ways that we feel like we are most skilled at, right? An example of something that we wouldn't be a good fit for is if you said, I can handle everything. All I want is marketing help. And really what I want is someone who knows Instagram and Twitter to come in and really boost my sales there. I'd be like, we are not going to be a good fit for you. But like, it's not going to work. Like, certain marketing aspects, but we're not perfect at everyone. We don't sell ourselves as a marketing firm. And so, you know, there's going to be people that we don't have a good fit for. But if you're if you match all those right. 

CA: Yeah. Marketing wise, one thing you guys do really have is a very fervent email list. 

ZG: Yes. 

CA: People are excited to support your creators, support your projects. That's definitely a very valuable marketing asset, but that isn't anything you could pay for. That's something you have to grow organically over time. And you guys have done all the hard work to get that.

ZG: We've got about 10,000, 12,000 people on our internal newsletter mailing list, and then we've got another, and there's gonna be some crossover here, we've probably got 8,000 people on our Backerr Kit contact list. So yeah, we've got a fair amount of people that we can reach out to for project promotion. So if somebody meets all those qualifications, and we feel like we're a good fit for them, and they feel like we're a good fit for them because one of the first things that we do is we set up a call where you'll chat with one of our team members and just have a conversation about your project and what you're looking for and you know, what your vision for it is. If all of that checks off, then we dive in together and that can be a, you know, however long that process is really depends on how much we're doing for you. If you're, if you really just want us to help you, that's like a second set of eyes on your Kickstarter and to promote. And that could be a very quick relationship. If you're wanting us to help design the page, you want us to help edit and layout your project, and you're looking for somebody to help fulfill it and distribute it on the backend, this could be a relationship that starts now and goes on for years, right? So I think the fastest, easiest way, and this might feel like a cop-out, but it's free and you can do it in like two seconds, fastest, easiest way to see if we're gonna be a good fit for you and if our services are going to work is to go to our web store. WOGD.com. On that there is a spot for potential clients to go look at a checklist of everything that we can offer. If you go look at that checklist and you're like, I need these things. Yes. And if you look at our website and you say I make these types of things that they're already promoting, the answer is we're probably a good fit for each other. If you look at that and you're like, my stuff doesn't look like this, I design other things or I create other things, we may not be a good fit maybe. And if you definitely, if you look at the checklist and you're like, well, I'm looking for stuff that's not on this list, then that probably is also an indicator. 

CA: Since you're primarily role playing games and stuff like that, have you tried doing more complex board games or you still just want to kind of keep it in the book realm? We've done a few board games. We've sold a few board games. Um, we, we are looking to probably expand that side of it next year, but for right now we feel really good about. Promoting ourselves to RPG creators because we know we can help them and we know that market super well. If you're a board game creator or you're a graphic novel creator or you're whatever, right? That doesn't mean that we can't maybe help you, but we're going to be walking in with less expertise in your field. And, you know, we've talked like I did a board game for one of our clients this year, and it did very well. I think that one did. We did one that did like 1.3 million and one that did like 400,000 or something like that. Very big client, but I'll say like that was interesting because I'd never done a board game before. And they said, can you consult on, on this for us? And I said, yes. Um, did I feel a little bit like I was swimming in deep water? Absolutely. Cause I had no idea what that had very little context for what that market would behave like, but you always got to start somewhere and it was fun to learn that and I think we'll, we'll move that direction next year a little bit.

CA: And I'm sure it's not just context, it's also contacts, not to be sassy by making things rhyme. But yeah, like your email list is people who expect to get role playing game stuff. And the reviewers and things that you can put products in front of them are people who review role playing things and their audiences expect role playing things. So yeah, that's kind of one of the difficult there in transitioning to a different type of product, even if it is similar. 

ZG: I'll tell you, that's a great insight. Our open rate on a lot of our emails, if we're going to do an RPG that fits with our audience, it's about eight to 10%. If you're doing a lesser known RPG, but one that we still have an audience for, you might get four or 5%. If you have a brand new RPG that doesn't have any brand recognition and whatever, like we're still going to get an open rate, but it, depending on the RPG theme and ideas, like the open rate could be anywhere from one to 4%, right? So you're absolutely right that the further we get from our base build of clientele, the less valuable certain aspects of our company are gonna be to you. Yeah, that's kind of an interesting trade off when it comes to like, I guess, an issue I have is that when I'm, I'm constantly jumping from project to project from the completely unrelated things. So I'm really expecting my audience to follow along with me on the things that I'm interested in, in the hopes that they're following me as a creator, not the things I create, which is a really hard distinction to make when you're interacting with an audience. And it's gonna be true for a percentage of your audience, but not for the majority, especially when you're talking games, right? You just did a Mork borg game, Pilgrimage of the Penitent, right? And you got quite a few backers on that. There's gonna be a percentage of those that are like, Nick makes cool stuff. Oh, he's doing a tarot deck? Next, I think that's something that I want to participate in, right? Like they're going to follow you. But a large chunk of that audience backed your project because it was Mork Borg version for most, right? 

CA: Right. Yeah. 

ZG: And so their game for another Nick project as soon as you do another Mork Borg one, right? 

CA: Yeah. So I was always surprised looking at each Kickstarter project. I did. I was always surprised at how few backers are people who already knew me or my brand. So the way I read that is something that I always say is that Kickstarter's biggest value is that it is exposing your brand to new people every day. Even if after the project ends, I get tons of people who find my old project on Kickstarter, hit the link, go to my store and buy something. Because it's going to be there in perpetuity and it'll always have eyes finding those older project’ audience there, right? 

ZG: And so there's a couple things you can do that way. If you're finding that you're not getting return customers, one of the things that I would ask is like, and not every this is these things are, you know, trial and error and you see what works and what doesn't. It's gonna be different for different people. But you're like, Hey, I'm not getting a lot of return customers. My first question is, I know this isn't true for you, but my first question is, well, did you deliver on your past kickstarters? Because if you didn't, that's probably why people aren't coming back, right? Then the second part is, do they know about it? And it is across the board true that we as creators feel bad about putting our product regularly in front of our audience. I don't want to bug them. I don't want to be spammy. I don't want to whatever. The truth of the matter is that you're going to get a few people that grumble and are like, why are you spamming me? I don't need this. I saw this two weeks ago. But the majority of people, what we find is every time you send out a new email, every time you put up put a Facebook post out, you're in front of people who didn't see the first one or the second one or the third one, right? And so making sure you put your stuff out there. And then secondly, are you actually using the features of Kickstarter to regain that Kickstarter audience? So one of the things is when you fund a Kickstarter project, you can then put out updates for that project in perpetuity, right? That's a great opportunity because they get an email notification and a Kickstarter notification when they get an update, you've got another project coming out, put out an update on your last project that says, Hey, my next project coming out. Not only that, but you can send a private direct message to every one of your backers on a previous project and you can say, Hey, I've got a new project coming out. Why is that important? Well, because some backers are super anal like me and clear their inbox of their private messages all the time. 

CA: Right.

ZG: I don't read every update that every creator sends me. I have back like 300 Kickstarter projects at this point. I'm not going to be able to read everything, but I clear my inbox. Well, now I'm you're getting in front of those people, right? Like. Find the end. There's a better open rate from a Kickstarter update or a Kickstarter direct message than from your own newsletter. Always. So finding ways of saying, okay, well I have all these Kickstarter backers from the previous project, how can I make sure that I'm getting in front of them? Use the access points that they're already interacting with you on, which is Kickstarter updates and Kickstarter messages. 

CA: Yeah. I mean, the general rule for marketing is it's not about convincing you to buy this product. It's letting you know this product exists. 

ZG: Yeah. And yeah, that's the hardest thing is just finding the people who might be interested in what you have. 

CA: Yeah.

ZG: You're a little bit different in the sense that, and I'm speaking a little bit out of turn by evaluating you instead of you evaluating yourself. But I'd say like you're a little bit different in that, like an Oracle deck or a tarot deck can massively appeal to someone because they're horror fans and you've got the goracle. I want this. This speaks to me. And then you do the eros tarot next. And that exact same audience for the exact same type of product maybe has a fraction of people cross over and pick up that, right? So it's cool because it's communicating to the Nick Ribera fan. The, the expanse of your interest in your art styles and flavor, and those people are going to love it. But the horror fans who bought the Goracle and don't really care who the creator was of the Goracle are not going to shift over to grab Eros Tarot in the same way.

CA: Well, this wasn't definitely this definitely wasn't the intent with the goracle, but I noticed that my Facebook ads for it were incredibly targeted. And I got a lot of good response rates on those because I could easily target people are into divination as one subject and horror films as another. 

ZG: Right. 

CA: And like the Venn diagram of that isn't the biggest, but I would just imagine that if someone is into both of those, they'd be excited if they found something that covered both subjects. 

ZG: Yeah. Venn diagrams are a great way to look at this, right? Like, how much does, so there's obviously some amount of crossover. If you insert the arrows, tarot in there, you've got a little bit of crossover, a lot of crossover with divination, right? With people in that audience, but how much crossover is with horror, right? Erotic material, tarot, horror. What's that crossover point looks like? And my guess is that there's a crossover between eroticism and horror, but it's not, it looks like a figure eight almost, right? 

CA: Yeah.

ZG: Yeah, it'd be hard to target it to with the Facebook. 

CA: Yeah, exactly. Interests you can select. 

ZG: Yeah, but that's cool. Like before we get off that, like I will say that's not a bad thing because at the end of the day, the goal is not for Nick to make or me to make the best, most marketable product ever. Our goal as a creator is to make the thing that we are passionate about. And if that means that you have wildly different creative things. Well, it may mean that you have to, you're gonna do more marketing work and more effort to get more of an audience, but that doesn't mean that you're doing something wrong. It just means that you have varied tastes as an individual and that's cool. All right. 

CA: And that also kind of goes back to something I've talked about with some other artists who primarily do like outdoor events and booths is like customers wanna be able to identify what you are in 30 seconds. 


CA: And if you say design a product that like this role playing game is fantasy, but it's just a little bit different from the fantasy you expect. But you can't really describe it in one like it's fantasy, but everyone is inverted. So their guts on the outside. That's something that people get like, OK, I understand that. How does combat work? Is everything slippery? But like if it's just, you know, generic and just like your slight, slightly different spin on it, it's going to be incredibly hard to target people who'd be interested in buying that. 

ZG: Yeah, yeah. That also makes, that's also a great reason why we don't, we don't push for board games right now, right? Because when we go to convention, I'm going to have 300 different RPG supplements and then up by the checkout, I'm going to have a couple of board games. I am not drawing board game fans in, right? Like that's just the sad, that's the unfortunate reality, right? Like I don't have the the the breadth to get that. And so, you know, can I sell them? Will I sell them? Yes. But it's going to be far fewer because I'm not a board game booth. Maybe next year. 

CA: So we're getting pretty close to an hour. But before we end, I want to also talk about how you're one of the main reasons I started this podcast, because you had me guest on your Geeks Can't podcast. I forgot what platform you're using, but I was shocked at how easy it was. So tell me about your podcast, what equipment you used, what services you used to put it together. 

ZG: Okay, so we use ZenCastr for our audio. And we are probably not optimized there, right? Like ZenCastr has a ton of features for video recording and transcribing and all that, that we don't really use a lot of. But ZenCastr is great for audio capture. And it does local recordings like Riverside that you've got here does local recordings. It's very reasonably priced. I want to say it's like $10 a month or something like that. But as long as you're doing more than one episode a month, that's not hard to justify. We use Zenncastr for that. And then we also live stream our recordings to Facebook, YouTube, and Twitch. And we do that twice a week. 

CA: Is that something that Zenncastr, you manage from the Zenncaster side? 

ZG: No. So we use Streamlabs, which is a free program that you can access that you can basically log in on Streamlabs, like connect your Twitch and your Facebook and your YouTube. And then when you fire up Streamlabs and you go live, it goes live to all of those platforms. And so we use that for our live output and we're just recording the audio alongside it in Zencaster. 

CA: Okay. 

ZG: It's pretty easy at this point. There's things that we could do better, but at the end of the day, we're not really a, I mean, we have a lot of fun with the podcast and with the live stream, but that's not our bread and butter as a company. So we do it because we love to do it. But I'll say that YouTube, YouTube, YouTube, YouTube, we have so many more views on YouTube than we do anywhere else. So if you're a podcast, I would strongly encourage you to find a way to put it on YouTube as well because you will see your audience grow so much faster and If you want to interact with a live audience twitch twitch twitch twitch twitch YouTube You won't get anything so I will I'll just just as a note for people who are considering that you want a live stream Definitely do twitch if you want to grow your audience Find a way to get on YouTube. 

CA: I do put these recordings up on YouTube But it's just a static image of the thumbnail for my podcast and the thumbnail for whoever I'm talking to I just have it up is the audio. I have not looked at any of the data if anyone's listening there, but I'm doing this one through Spotify for podcasters, and it gives me lots of demographics on all at least the Spotify accounts that listen to the podcast so I can see ages, genders, how often they're listening to an episode and stuff like that. But it is still pretty early for me on getting those numbers. 

ZG: Another thing that I'll suggest is for our podcast hosting, we use pinecast. Pinecast is super cheap or it was super cheap. I've had it for, oh gosh, it's been almost, I shouldn't say that. It's probably been six or seven years that we've had Pinecast and that I've been doing podcasts of some sort. Pinecast is great because it hosts all of your episodes and it will spit it out to every single podcasting platform out there. So you'll get Spotify, you'll get iTunes, you'll get Google Music or whatever it is. You'll get Amazon, you'll get everybody all at once. Once you've linked it up, it drops it to all those different hoppers. 

CA: Same thing with Spotify. There's no monthly fee for it, which is nice. And it also has tools to help you manage advertisers who come to you to want to advertise on the podcast. I haven't had anyone with that yet, but as that happens, and you know, in a sense of transparency, I'll let everyone know what that interface looks like. So I also want to ask you about equipment. I'm using a Blue Pro Yeti X

ZG: Yep. 

CA: I know you mentioned that you have one, too. Has that worked out well for you? 

ZG: It has, though. So what I'm using right now is a Logitech headset, right? It's not the cheapest one, but it's also not, you know, crazy expensive. 

CA: It sounds great, though. 

ZG: Yeah, thank you. It works very well. And that's why I've kind of let go of the Yeti. You mentioned with your Yeti, I think, on a previous episode that the Yeti picks up a lot of ambient sounds, right, which is part of the Yeti's design, right? It's not a flaw, it's a feature. But it can be a flaw when you live in a house with children in the middle of the town, because the Yeti will pick up kids running through the background, it'll pick up your chair squeaking, it'll pick up your neighbor's dog, you know, all of that. And I just decided at some point that I was going to be a little bit lazier, and we edit all of our podcasts in audacity, which is a free program that you can use. I think you use Adobe. 

CA: Audition. 

ZG: Audition, yeah. Yeah, Audacity is free. And if you don't want to mess with Adobe, it's easy. Audition looks really cool. And at some point I'd love to get into it. But Audacity is really free. And there's some great tutorials for it on YouTube. But I say that to say that I got to the point where when we were using the Yetis, it was worth spending two hours editing this podcast. If we switch to our headsets, we're spending 20 minutes. And no one is commenting on the lack of the downgrade of quality, because I think their headsets are pretty good. So we just said, you know what? We'll probably eventually get back to the Yetis. I still use them for specific things. But for right now, we're just going to use the headsets and be happy. And like I said, I think it's working out. I know I just said like six different programs that we use and I feel really bad about it now because that's not helpful to somebody who's wanting to like. 

CA: If I was listening to a podcast and I was just barely curious I would want to know all of this stuff so. 

ZG: Let me make it really simple for you. If you're just recording locally I would suggest and you want it to be free just use Audacity. It's free it's easy and you can record locally. If you're wanting to record people across the interwebs this riverside looks awesome. Zen casters great and then follow up with audacity or something to clean it up. That's way easier than the convoluted mess that I just spewed out to you. 

CA: So the issue is having with the Yeti mic. I realized it wasn't so much the mic it was. So in an Adobe audition, you could have any number of effects applied to a track. I had a voice volume levelizer that was upping all of my audio that was below a certain decibel level. So when I didn't have that effect turned on, my ambient sound was almost unintelligible, but when it was on, all I could hear was breathing between all my speaking. And so that was part of it. And I've also been using the remove background noise feature of Riverside, which also just totally silences me when the other person's speaking, which is makes editing so much faster. 

ZG: Can I can I say one other thing? Can I while we're on the subject of like output like this? A big thing that we found last year and really we knew for a while, but that we really started working on last year is like growing your audience in different ways because if you're a creator, big thing is like, Hey, posting on Instagram or posting on Twitter, posting on Facebook or, you know, post, post, post, post, post. And I kind of like that part of it really is exhausting to me. And I do it. I do it especially on Facebook, but I said, what can I do to build our audience that doesn't sound exhausting to me? And my answer to that was last year and it continues to be this year is I love creating content that's educational for YouTube video content. So what I decided to do was a series that's how to play for different RPGs. And my commitment last year was once a month, I put out a new video that was with graphics, I used Adobe Premiere Rush for all my editing, because I'm I haven't missed it yet. I'm a neophyte. You probably are going to look at it and be like, why, why the hell did Zac use this? But for me, like-

CA: I feel like I would like it because like, I'm pretty good at Premiere Pro. But when I go into After Effects, it takes me like two weeks to relearn everything I forgot. So if it's somewhere between the two, I'd probably be really happy to be in there. 

ZG: Super streamlined, but there's not nearly as many tools. It's really for creating social media videos in fast output, right? That's what it's designed for. So the tool set is way reduced. And that was helpful to me as someone who was intimidated when I stepped into Premiere Pro, right? I say that to say, I committed. I said, I'm gonna script out a video. I love doing that. I'm gonna present it, I'm gonna record it. I'm gonna go into Rush. I'm gonna basically clean it up a little bit, add some graphics as necessary that help reference things, and I'm gonna put this out. I did that one video a month, all of 2022, and then I backed off to about one every two months for this year, and I sprinkle in like RPG reviews and previews, things like that. But the vast, vast amount of views that we get come on those how-to plays. As an example, we're the highest rated video for Mork borg, highest viewed video for Mork borg, highest rated video for Dune the RPG, for Alien the RPG, for Zyhonder the RPG, for all these games, we are the highest viewed video out there on YouTube in one year. 

CA: Wow. 

ZG: Think how to play Mork borg, which is not a big system, right, as far as like in the wider scope of things, we've talked about Mork borg a lot, we're both creators, but it has a fraction, tiny, tiny fraction of the RPG market. I've got 30,000 views on that video.

CA: Wow. 

ZG: There's no way ever my podcast would have gotten 30,000 views in its first year being on YouTube. That tremendously expanded our audience on the YouTube platform in a way that wasn't stressful to me, that didn't feel like work and was something that I really enjoyed doing. I get daily, weekly, I'll say weekly, but very frequently I get messages from people on that platform that are like Thank you so much. This is awesome. Can you make more? It's very encouraging messages, right? Which to me, feels me make more, right? And now we have a very nice, tidy, supportive YouTube community that I didn't have to feel spammy and didn't feel like work to make, but now we have it, right? That probably isn't gonna be the same for everybody, but thinking about how you can build your audience in ways that isn't a chore is a big, big path to potential success in my mind. 

CA: Yeah, that's one thing. I definitely struggle with social media because I I don't always have stuff to share. And I mean, the things that I do want to share happen organically in conversations like this. But I never want to be like, oh, I'm going to turn that into an image and put it on Instagram. 

ZG: Do you do you schedule posts on your social? 

CA: Yes. Yeah, I schedule posts about these podcasts. If I have a Kickstarter project that's like ramping up, I'll schedule a bunch of posts showing like graphics for it and schedule that. But as just like a normal, hey, this is my business. No, I don't. I probably should, but I don't. 

ZG: Can I all say like, I think you post enough. I'll put it that way, right? But but not. But but I would say I would be happy to see more chain assembly posts in my feed. I'll also say that the thing that sold me on doing it, so I'm not religious about it, but I do have a dedicated process where I will go in and schedule out all the posts for a month or two. Wow. And I started off doing it where I do posts on Monday, Wednesday, Friday every week. And I would say Wednesdays are promos to the web store. So just every Wednesday, schedule a post for the web store every Monday. I put a post about social media, blah, blah, blah, right? Promotions to my Discord, sign up for my newsletter, blah, blah, blah, blah, right? Just putting something on Monday that points them towards another touch point for me. Fridays or whatever they are, right? Like that's how I started it. Now I do it, I try to do five posts a week. I schedule them out. I'm very religious about it. Sometimes I'll miss it because I'm traveling to conventions or whatnot, but I always try to come back and schedule it. The reason though that it sold me is it's not just about being in front of people, it's also validating to potential customers because an enormous amount of your customer base, if they've never backed something from you, will go to your social media to see how real of a company are you. And if you haven't posted it in three weeks, you're not a real company anymore, right? 

CA: It's funny you say that, because a lot of times, like my wife and I will pass by a restaurant, we're like, oh, that looks pretty good. The first thing she'll do is go to their Instagram. And I'm like, well, why don't you want to go to their website? And she's like, because the website doesn't matter. It's the Instagram that lets us know, like if they're alive. 

ZG: Exactly. And so when I saw that, because I found I caught myself doing it right where I was looking at a project on Kickstarter and I was like, oh, what they're not really active on Facebook or whatever. I'm I don't know if this person is a real person. I mean, they're real, but like. They don't give me confidence, right? And I said, you know what, that's, it's not that hard, especially if you just have a formula and you say, I'm not worried about being original or creative or inspired, just worried about being consistent three days a week. And if I want to be inspired with other posts, I can always post in the moment, but at least I've got three times a week covered. I'll look like I'm active to some extent. And with the Facebook Meta Business Suite, you can post to, you can schedule posts for both Facebook and Instagram at the same time if you want to. Anyhow, I just super strongly recommend people diving in there, dig on it out. 

CA: One thing you just mentioned that also ties back to how you said you've backed over 300 things on Kickstarter. How often do you actually like research the creator of a project? 

ZG: The more money I'm spending, the more likely I am to do it. 

CA: Oh, OK. 

ZG: If I'm going to spend five bucks, I don't care. Like, I don't care who you are, what you, where you live, whatever, if you're cool at your five bucks or 10 bucks or even 20 bucks, I don't care, right? Like great, here's money. And I'm awful at that. It's probably my, it's a fun thing to do because I get to know a lot of people, but it's also destroys your household budget. If you, once you start hitting like 40, 50, 80, 100 bucks, I start to say, it's not a deal breaker, but what have you done before? Like who are you? Right? Like, and if I click on your profile and you seem like a cool person and this is your first, but this is your first project. And I say, Oh, you've got a website and I click on it and it looks halfway decent. You haven't given me any reasons to not back you, right? But if you're, if I'm like, okay, who is this person? And I click on them and it's like, takes me to your personal Facebook page and your face book, personal Facebook page. I don't know, has like, I don't know. Like some, like it's just- filled with politics, we'll say it that way, right? I'll be like, do I really think that this person is gonna see it through? That's a big gamble, right? And if I go and I go to a Facebook, if you click a link and it takes me to a dead Facebook page, I'm like, oh, bare minimum, you don't care. Because if you're not gonna be active on Facebook, then why are you linking it here, right? Like, it's obvious that you don't care how you present as a company at that point which may be harsh, but it's true. And it doesn't mean you're a bad person or that you make bad stuff. It's just that you don't care about the face of your company. And so that's something that weighs in. It's like, okay, well, there's probably a lack of excitement or enthusiasm or intentionality there. Is that gonna carry over into the project? 

CA: That's definitely some good advice for someone who's looking to launch into Kickstarter. Make sure you exist as an online presence before.

ZG: You start expecting people to give you money because they only have so many tools at their disposal to research you. So make sure you're available on those tools. And you know, it's very easy to sway me. So if you're not active on social media, put that in your profile and be like, Hey, I don't care about social media, but I want to make a thing. You can't find me anywhere. But believe me when I tell you I'm going to make it. You just told me that I probably could be like, yeah, you got you this joke. Joe looks like a cool guy. I believe him, let's give him $50, right? You don't have to do a lot, but just address it if you're not going to do those things. Because I know there's people out there, there's probably people listening to this that are like, I'm sorry, Zac, I'm sorry, Nick, I'm not going to do the social media thing. Okay, we'll acknowledge that then to your audience so that they don't go looking for it and feel like you're a non-entity.

CA: When you're doing all this social media stuff or linking a project to a creator page or something like that, when do you list yourself as the creator versus when do you list the brand, World of Game Design, as the creator?

ZG: I, that's a good question. I'm thinking about how I've done it in the past. I'm not precious about my name being everywhere, but I also recognize that there's value in that, right? So always, always the brand gets recognized, right? World of game design is always going to be in the post, in the profile, Kickstarter profile, in the team mentioned, right? It's going to be somewhere. I put myself on things that I feel like I earnestly contributed to in a meaningful way, but I'm not presenting myself as a, the driving force behind it. I'm presenting myself as a contributor, as a team member, as maybe the manager or the director of the project, but never as the reason to back this project. Um, that's not going to be useful information for everybody, but like, I don't want our audience to be a fans of Zac. Because then the moment I say, you know what? I'm not going to do any Kickstarter consulting anymore. I'm just going to do conventions. Well, now all of our clientele that has supported us doesn't really feel cozy about world of game design at large. And they're like, Oh, well, I liked Zac. Um, we could probably be better at that, but that's the objective, right? And the same is true with creatives and creating projects like. I want you to back a project on Kickstarter. You know, if we do a mork borg project and I was the primary writer on it, but then the next project, it's another primary writer, I want you to back it because it's a world of game design project and that because it's a Zac project because that can only do so much. Zac's hours can only go so far. And if we want the company to grow and I want to give more opportunities, more people opportunities to make this their livelihood, then it can't be about me gotta be about us in a team mindset. 

CA: Awesome. I think that's a great place to end. All right, well, Zac, it was wonderful chatting with you. Thank you so much for your time. Correct me if I miss any of these, but people can find you at wogd.com. That's for World of Game Design. You're also at facebook.com slash world of game design, youtube.com slash c slash world of game design. 

ZG: You got it, absolutely.

CA: All right. Thank you very much, Zac. Thank you for having me.


Chain Assembly: Art for Profit’s Sake is recorded through Riverside FM, edited on Adobe Audition, and distributed through Spotify for podcasters. The music is provided by Old Romans. If you found anything helpful, interesting, or useful in this podcast, please rate and review us 5 stars. If you want to learn more about Chain Assembly, head on over to ChainAssembly.com.

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