I've been thinking about the size of runs that I've been doing. I did one hundred copies of Border Reivers and three hundred of It's Alive! When I made Border Reivers I was fairly happy that I could sell fifty copies, but one hundred was a push - I had no idea whether I could sell that many. I did, in less than a year, but the construction was punishing. I spent three hundred hours making the games, plus probably another hundred or more on the artwork. It's Alive! was an easier game to sell and manufacture. Having to pay a designer royalties and an artist for the artwork, I needed to make more copies to amortise the cost across them. Due to the quicker construction time I felt that I could make more copies in a reasonable time, though until I got some of the boxes professionally made it was very slow going.
In terms of raw sale potential (if I sold every copy at full price), the Border Reivers run was £30 * 100 = £3,000. It turned out being considerably less than that once I'd paid PayPal fees, convention fees, given a few copies away, wasted a few copies through cocking up construction, and given play-testers a discount. Still, theoretically £3,000. It's Alive! has a raw sales potential of £4,500 (£15 * 300). I'm thinking that aiming for a run size of £5,000 for hand-made runs is a reasonable target. The bigger, more expensive games will have shorter runs, which is good due to the higher cost in terms of construction time. The small, cheaper games (which take a lot less time to manufacture) I can do more copies of. Until now I won't have had enough cash to fund a run of this size, but It's Alive! should leave me with enough funds to do it.
I'm seriously considering a professional run of It's Alive! for after I've sold out of the hand-made run of It's Alive! It's proved itself as a popular game (inside the top 1100 on BoardGameGeek now) so I'm more confident about investing a large sum of money in it. I'm thinking of a run of 3,000 copies (which I will mostly sell through shops and distributors with possibly a few more at Essen and BGGCon next year if all goes to plan). That would have a sales potential of £45,000, but I would only see a fraction of it as I'd have to sell at a significant discount to shops and distributors. It will cost me a lot of money to pay for up front though, and I'll have to work out ways to contact shops and distributors and interest them in the game, otherwise I'll be significantly out of pocket.