Follow-up on the Costs of the Writer's Dice Kickstarter Campaign

In the spirit of transparency, I wanted to share a basic overview of costs for the Writer's Dice kickstarter campaign. Many thanks to my wife Megan who's been keeping track of this info. Our costs consider the following:

• Kickstarter's cut
• Amazon Payments' cut
• Final product dice
• Prototype dice
• Baggies
• Address labels
• Padded envelopes
• Mailbox rental
• Shipping

A total cost of $4375.

That's rounded up slightly to consider the stragglers we still need to ship out. The amount does not consider things like any returned packages (extra postage), printer ink, mileage, and our time/labor. We haven't found out the costs of North Carolina sales tax just yet, which Kickstarter doesn't have a way of calculating. Also, the amount of postage for parcels went up a bit before we were able to send everything out, which raised the overall cost of shipping somewhat higher than we expected.

We probably could have saved a tiny bit of money by not renting a mailbox or buying address labels, but the first three items on the list were by far the most expensive costs incurred. The one way I might be able to reduce costs is going to an overseas manufacturer, but I like keeping business in the USA and I have a good rapport with GameStation.

Fred Hicks has mentioned that if we were to go to traditional retail, we'd want all our costs so far to be about 20% of the gross. Direct sales, which is actually what we're doing, can be feasible with a cost 50% of gross. The costs of the campaign alone put us at just over 50%... but that's only part of the story.

We still have about ~390 dice left to sell through an online store. If we price those dice with a more accurate shipping cost (especially for international orders) we can cut those costs back down under 50%. The remainder of profits could be enough to fund a new production run of another product, like Utara. That will take some time, though.

It's also worth noting that my initial fundraising goal of $1,000 was probably waaaaay too low. Even with the smaller production run, the costs of shipping and the cuts from Amazon and Kickstarter would've put me well in the red. Now I know what a basic goal should be for a similar project.

So, bottom line: Next time I run a Kickstarter for a single custom die (qty: 2000), I'll need to raise a minimum of $4,000 to cover basic expenses.


  1. Thanks Daniel. I appreciate you always sharing with us.

  2. I just hope it helps!

  3. I like hearing Fred saying that costs need to be about 20% of the gross. Everything that I'd learned said that a distributor is going to pay about 40% of retail, and a game store is going to pay about 60% of suggested retail, so those numbers pretty much align with what I'd been projecting against.

  4. Fred is a font of wisdom from start to finish. I couldn't have made it this far without his help.

  5. "The remainder of profits could be enough to fund a new production run of another product" is the real story, here, and is why I gave the 50% recommendation. Covering your costs is great, but covering your costs and growing your funding base so you can also cover costs on a *second* project is where you start being a business. :)

  6. I'm looking forward to picking up some more of those dice through retail. I hope to hear more soon. And I still think that HBR dice would do well. At least I would fund them.

  7. I will keep this link and share it with people who are about to start their projects.

  8. Thanks for sharing, Daniel. There are lots of hidden costs to keep in mind when you create product to sell.

  9. Hey Neal! Dice are available for purchase on Etsy.

  10. Thanks for the break down. It's very enlightening.

  11. You're stuff is really cool. #1: Do you have any of these I could buy? (You could contact me at dwyliu at gmail). Also, is there a way for me to subscribe to a mailing list you might have! Thanks!

    1. Hi David, unfortunately these are all sold out.


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