“People Not Pawns” Has a Publisher!

18 July 2014 | 32 Comments

with cats
Should my cats join me in my author photo?

Back in May, my literary agent told me that we had a teleconference scheduled with a publisher called Berrett-Koehler who was interested in my Kickstarter book, People Not Pawns.

In truth, I had never heard of Berrett-Koehler, so I went to their website to learn more.

I instantly fell in love.

Berrett-Koehler describes its mission as “Creating a World That Works for All.” Their story goes on to say the following:

We believe that to truly create a better world, action is needed at all levels–individual, organizational, and societal. At the individual level, our books help people align their lives with their values and with their aspirations for a better world. At the organizational level, our books promote progressive leadership and management practices, socially responsible approaches to business, and humane and effective organizations.

The reason I connect with this mission is because it’s almost identical to the reasons I write this blog and why I’ve written a book about Kickstarter: I want people to approach Kickstarter with integrity, due diligence, and a backer-first mindset, and not just because I think that’s the “right” thing to do, but because I believe that a creator will significantly increase their chances of success if they approach Kickstarter with that mindset.

One of the early working titles for my book was “Make It About Them.” The idea is that people will be more drawn to you and your dream if you focus on them and how you can add value to them. For example, blog about something that teaches people something new instead of just talking about the thing you’re making. I feel like this philosophy is strongly tied to BK’s mission.

The teleconference went great. It’s pretty rare that an editor takes 45 minutes to chat with an unpublished author, and I’m very grateful for all of the advice and insights Neal Maillet shared during that discussion.

My agent, Jennifer Chen Tran of Penumbra Literary, had sent the book proposal to a number of publishers. We ended up getting offers from three of them, but in my heart I had to go with Berrett-Koehler.

That brings us to the present day. I can now officially announce that I’ve signed with Berrett-Koehler to publish my book in 2015!

I’m really, really excited about this. I love writing here on the blog, and I will continue to do so, but it would be great if my message and story could reach a much broader audience. My hope is that it will make crowdfunding better for both entrepreneurs and backers.

Also, on a personal note, I’ve had two lifelong dreams: to publish a board game and to publish a book. In a way, I feel like I get to reach back in time to pat little 8-year-old Jamey on the shoulder and tell him that the future is a place where those dreams come true.

Here’s the Publisher’s Marketplace blurb about the book signing:

Board-game start-up entrepreneur, crowdfunding authority, and blogger Jamey Stegmaier’s PEOPLE NOT PAWNS: How I Kickstarted My Dream Company, part business memoir and part nuts-and-bolts insider tips on how to build a successful Kickstarter campaign from the ground-up, connect with your core audience, and pave the road to crowdfunding success, featuring interviews with major Kickstarter campaigns and creators including Studio Neat, 1 Second Everyday, and Quinn Popcorn, to Neal Maillet at Berrett-Koehler, in a nice deal, for publication in September 2015, by Jennifer Chen Tran at Penumbra Literary.

I’ve written about 75% of the book, but just to give you a small taste, I’ve posted the first few pages of Chapter 1 here. Oh, and the title might change. BK and I will work together on that.

It’s a little weird for me to write this post (it feels too self-congratulatory), but really, I’d like to thank you, dearest reader. Without you, this blog wouldn’t have grown into what it is today. Without your comments, Likes, tweets, subscriptions, insights, and participation, there is no way that I would have taken the plunge to write a book. I am incredibly grateful for you.

Leave a Comment

32 Comments on ““People Not Pawns” Has a Publisher!

  1. Congrats! Just found out about this, hence why I’m kinda commenting late but I know you pay diligent attention to comment, and I thought whatever amount of congratulatory celebration might have already happened it surely must not have been enough.

    Just make sure you keep the cats int he author photo. The cats are great. KEEP THE CATS.

    I’m going to go check out your chapter excerpt later, and if it is as good as anything else you’ve written about Kickstarter you should probably expect another comment lobbing praise in your general direction. I feel I do that a lot, but you’ve done so much for me you don’t even know about it’s the least I can do.

    Keep up the good work Jamey, and keep us all posted on your book. If possible also keep me personally updated on the best location to corner you and get a copy autographed, but we can cross that bridge when we get there.

  2. Congratulations. What kind of distribution channel do they have? And you should only include the cats if they helped write at least 2% of the final copy EACH. Credit where it’s due, man.

  3. That’d be great! I’d be happy to help if you want an excerpt translated. (well, an excerpt or the whole book, but you’d probably be better off finding a pro translator in that case :P)

  4. Congratulations, Jamey! I’ve been following your blog for the past few months and while I didn’t have your insights going into our first KS project, I’m so very glad that after running and falling, skinning my knees, and getting back up and running again, I figured out some of the quintessential truisms about running a business…or moreover, having a community of shared interests and passions. Thanks for taking the time and distilling your thoughts for us.


  5. […] Penumbra Literary is so proud to finally announce that Jamey Stegmaier’s book on crowdfunding, PEOPLE NOT PAWNS: How I Kickstarted My Dream Company, has sold to Neal Maillet at Berrett-Koehler! The book proposal was shopped in late spring and within a matter of weeks there were three offers on the table. Jamey describes in greater detail, on his Stonemaier Games blog, what this process was like for him and how this book is meant to serve a larger purpose, in addition to fulfilling one of his lifelong dreams: https://stonemaiergames.com/people-not-pawns-has-a-publisher/ […]

    1. stijnhommes: I like the title too. The key, though, is that it’s not just a book about board game Kickstarters–it’s meant to be helpful for any category. I think the title is ubiquitous enough to work with any category, but that’s up to the publisher to decide.

  6. Ah. I would assume that you’d hit 5000+ *ahem* pre-orders on KS, but maybe I’m thinking too small!

    In any case, congratulations! I’ll bring an extra bottle of Martinelli’s to Gencon, in case our paths cross =)

    1. Chaz: Not really, for several reasons. Perhaps the biggest being that I think traditional book publishing as a whole still has a significantly bigger reach than self-publishing. Plus, I don’t really need funding to write a book–I have the resources to write, edit, and format it. Kickstarter is about a lot more than just funding, but that often runs through my mind when I see a book on Kickstarter.

    1. That’s the funny thing about dreams…even though I’ve published several games now, it’s almost like I’ve gotten over that initial hurdle, and now I want to improve upon those initial efforts and do better and be more creative and offer something fun to more people. I can see the same thing happening for the book, especially since my original dream was for a novel, not a nonfiction book.

      1. You could always use a timer, although perhaps it’s easier to teack them to take pictures than to stay put for 10 seconds. ;)

        Congratulations on your publishing deal! I’m very happy that your hard work keeps paying off. I hope I can snatch a copy when it makes it across the pond!

  7. Congratulations, Jamey! I am so excited with you. And if the cats are in your author photo – good luck having them both stay still. Blurry cats may require Photoshop.

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