Kickstarter: The Book

29 September 2013 | 24 Comments

I mentioned this the other day on Facebook and on my personal blog, but I realized this weekend that I haven’t told the bulk of the people who read this blog: I’ve been signed by a literary agent to write a book about Kickstarter.

I wanted to bring this up to let you know what’s happening. The traffic and content on this blog attracted the attention of a literary agent with Penumbra Literary, someone who I loosely know and greatly admire. We did some market research and realized that while there are a few books out there on crowdfunding and Kickstarter, they don’t offer much depth or detail (most are under 90 pages) and most of them aren’t written by people who have actually run Kickstarter campaigns.

I had actually thought about the book idea for a while–after all, there’s easily 300+ pages of content already in these Kickstarter Lessons. But I had a few concerns about moving in that direction:

  1. I like that the information is free for anyone to use. Heck, I use it myself. When I ran the Euphoria campaign, I read through all of the Kickstarter Lessons (they’re ordered chronologically here) several times to guide me as I constructed the project. I didn’t want to start charging people for something that has always been free (I did, however, start charging for consultation. It just takes too much time and only benefits one person at a time instead of the masses). So I’m not doing anything like that–the blog will continue to exist in it’s current form, and I’ll continue to add to it.
  2. I was concerned about the static nature of a book. If I wrote and published the book tomorrow, within a month there would be some awesome new Kickstarter strategy I’d learn about by the end of October. Plus, I’m not done running Kickstarter campaigns myself–I still have plenty to learn and share. However, while a book is someone static, this blog isn’t, and it will continue to be here.
  3. I didn’t want to be redundant, and I wanted there to be a compelling reason for people to buy and read the book, not just the blog. Otherwise I might just keep writing the blog. However, the structure of the book will be completely different than the blog (much more anecdotal, lots of case studies and stories to support the content) and will contain plenty of new content. The blog will remain the dry checklist that it is, while the book will tell a story.

However, it really came down to this: I hear from SO many people that this blog helped them run their Kickstarter projects. To me, Kickstarter is still about fulfilling dreams and engaging people, and if this blog helps facilitate that for some people, that’s awesome.

However, the reach of this blog is only as large as the audience who is aware of it, and right now that is mostly comprised of board game project creators. I feel like I can help a lot more people through the exposure a traditionally published book will provide–not just project creators, but everyone else who is touched by Kickstarter as well. When project creators focus on what they can do for other people instead of what other people can do for them, everyone wins.

So that’s what’s happening. I’m writing a book that my agent will pitch to publishers, and hopefully it’ll inspire a lot of people to pursue their dreams in selfless ways.

The blog will remain the same–I’m not changing any of the existing content, and I’ll continue to add more Kickstarter Lessons just as I have in the past.

The one way this blog might change a bit–and I’d like your feedback here–is that I’d like to do some video entries. I love to write, and I express myself best in writing, but video is perhaps the ideal platform for the internet. What do you think?

Also, I’m currently reading other books in my book’s category so I can figure out what works and what doesn’t work. I’d love your recommendations. Below is a list of books of this style that I’ve already read–what’s missing?

Last, thank you so much for what you’ve done to make this happen. This book wouldn’t be possible if I didn’t have readers to attract the interest of the literary agent in the first place. I hope to celebrate you and your insights by quoting some of the comments you’ve left on the Kickstarter Lessons in the book.

Update: If you want to help me choose a title for the book, see the bottom of this post.

24 Comments on “Kickstarter: The Book

  1. Thanks! I’m excited about it. And don’t worry, 1111, I’ll keep writing the blog. I have about 20 ideas for new lessons saved up. :)

  2. Congratulations on the book!

    As a fellow introvert, I also express myself best in front of a keyboard rather than a video camera. I once tried to do a video review of Agricola and it ended up being a convoluted mess of me saying whatever came to the top of my head for 20 minutes. I need time to think and edit myself before I say something, but if you write out a script and practice what you’re going to say, it can easily end up coming out wooden and colorless.

    Of course, everything becomes better with practice. If you commit to doing videos and put in the time, I’m sure you’ll produce some great stuff! Just don’t get discouraged if your first few attempts aren’t super-awesome. (I should probably take my own advice…)

    1. Isaac–I can completely relate. Any videos I’ve ever tried to make require many, many takes, even for very short messages.

      1. Really? Your last Euphoria video (the one with the $300K SG and the KS exclusive tokens) came through as anything but scripted, or done lots of times – you were brimming with enthusiasm, and unless you are a very gifted actor, it’s difficult to keep that up by the third or fourth time you repeat the same message :P

        1. I know for sure I’m not a gift actor, but yeah, that was probably the fifth take. Usually I end up saying pretty much the same thing, but I might stumble over a word or two and reshoot the whole thing.

  3. I’m currently reading ‘Likeable Social Media’ ISBN: 9780071762342. It’s nicely informative, well written and makes good use of stories and examples to illustrate its points. I’d recommend it as a read for its format and given it is also about a fast changing platform.

  4. BTW, I have realized that I haven’t actually replied to your question. My opinion: Stick with text (for KS lessons, at least). No question. Videos are *terrible* as reference material – they are a pain to scan for a specific part, they are not searchable via Google or similar, they can’t be printed out, etc. Even if the bulk of the Internet prefers videos and other shiny things, I’m sure that your main public (KS creators & people interested in the way crowdfunding works) would be better served by textual entries.

    Of course, if you want to experiment, go wild – and I do think video has its place (I’m not that fond of it, but lots of people are). But for KS lessons, I think that going with video would be detrimental, unless there’s something very specific that is better shown than told (perhaps a video-tutorial of the inner workings of the Amazon system or something like that, but that could be too specific to merit the significant effort involved in preparing the screencast).

    1. @andvaranaut–That’s great feedback, thank you. Perhaps I could occasionally supplement a post with a video. In fact, that would be easier for me since I would already have the content typed out and structured.

      1. Very excited to get a copy of the book myself, but it also won’t stop me from reading your Stonemaier Games’ Kickstarter lessons religiously. As far as the video, I agree with Andvaranaut here. From what I’ve seen, a KS creator that is successful and adds VALUE to the whole KS community, is someone who has taken the time and consideration necessary to provide a quality and well researched project. This type of individual is much more inclined to soak up exhaustive amounts of content over long periods of time, which is not traditionally the target audience for a majority the internet’s videos. I think your current method of writing these lessons in the format that you have is testament to the success of this format. However, it’s my opinion that a video can ADD true value to written content, when it’s used to explain some process or method that is difficult to articulate in writing. So of course, like Andvaranaut put it, “ if you want to experiment, go wild”

  5. Please do not switch to video entries unless it is the best medium for what you are trying to convey. For example, I would much rather read the contents of this post than watch/listen to you say it. Video entries are only good if you have a ton of necessary visuals that you need to describe or you are doing a demonstration.

    1. Thanks Darren and John! It sounds like the best solution would be continue with written entries and occasionally accent that content with videos if and when visuals are needed.

  6. Jamey –

    Congratulations! The book seemed inevitable given what you’ve pulled together here.

    If you haven’t signed a contract, look real hard at self publishing. And if you use a publisher, make sure to keep your copyright and get full rights to your book back in 5 years.

    You will likely wind up with a lot more money in your pocket if you self publish.

    Your blog is still here and free, but a lot of people will pay for a book with the same content. Check out “Let’s get Digital”. Very similar idea – free blog with modestly priced ebook.

    Best of luck.

    1. playnoevil – I did consider self-publishing, but this isn’t about money for me. It’s about helping as many people as possible. Like I say near the end of the entry, “I feel like I can help a lot more people through the exposure a traditionally published book will provide–not just project creators, but everyone else who is touched by Kickstarter as well.”

      The nice thing about my agent is that she gets the publishing world as well as the self-publishing world. So if we can’t find a publisher, we’re still going to have a book on our hands with which we can pursue self-publishing. I used to be very involved with an independent publishing that ran very similarly to a self-published author, and it’s a monumental uphill climb.

      I want to expand my reach for this book way, way beyond the limits of this blog. Hence why traditional publishing is the best approach for this particular project.

  7. Great news! After reading the e-book on blogging Ive been waiting for the Kickstarter lessons e-book and this was even greater news.

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