Kickstarter: 15 Days Gone, 15 to Go!

15 days gone in the Steam Highwayman Kickstarter! We’re currently camped at 166% percent funding – no mean feat – so let me run through a few details to let you know about the workings of the campaign. I’m really excited that in a couple of weeks I’ll have the funds that allow me to complete this project and get the gamebook into your hands. Thankyou.

Kickstarter tracks how backers found the project – in a rough, mechanical way. I’ve added onto this by asking you, particularly if we’ve never met previously, a brief question in my welcome message.

31 of the 128 pledges have come from what Kickstarter calls direct traffic. This is the largest single group of supporters and this is directly due to everybody who has shared a direct link to the project – thankyou!

23 of the pledges have come straight from Facebook. Thanks to everybody who has shared the funding news, the Steam Highwayman page and the information about the project even before it began!

A combination of Kickstarter’s own messaging and publicity materials have attracted 36 pledges. These are some of the most exciting, because they indicate people with whom I have no prior connection, but who have chosen to support the project purely on its own merit.

As you can see from this little graph, we had a strong start, with 26 and 30 supporters pledging in the first two days respectively. The last week has been quiet overall, so I’m planning to do everything I can to see those green bars back up in the second half of the project. If you have any suggestions or ideas for me, please get in contact.

Finally, the Steam Highwayman page on Facebook is approaching the 150 likes target that will allow me to unlock the Velosteam Development log – which I’m really excited to share with you. If you haven’t yet liked the page, please take a couple of clicks to push us on towards the target!

The Spenser Cup – An Audio Adventure

Steam Highwayman now has an interactive Audio Adventure!  One of the most popular adventures within Smog and Ambuscade was the Spenser Cup, in which you must race a high-powered steam car, making tactical decisions as you ride.  I’ve narrated the sections and organised them so that your choices can string the events together into one story.  A different take on the ‘gamebook’ format: I’ve created the ‘gameaudiobook’.

150% – and rising!

Steam Highwayman has now hit 150% funding over on Kickstarter and although the recent few days have seen fewer new backers, it’s still very encouraging to hear from keen gamebook and steampunk fans from all over the world.  Recently, Thailand appeared on my radar!

I’ve had a few days working on more mundane things, including laying a friend’s lawn, but I’ve also been preparing a parallel mini-project that I hope will attract even more backers.  I’ll be moving into a new social media platform as well as making more of Smog and Ambuscade available to, er, read…  So watch out for another announcement tomorrow!

First Social Goal Unlocked – Designing the Steam Highwayman!

Well, it’s been quite a day for the project.  After some excellent publicity and a growing worldwide interest, funding is standing at 113% and 86 backers!  We’ve got supporters from Sweden, Denmark, Malaysia, Hong Kong, the USA, Canada, Germany, France, New Zealand, Australia and the UK.

Not only that, but we reached our first social goal – 100 likes on the Facebook Page!  Facebook has proven to be a really important place to publicise the campaign, with around 30% of backing coming directly from the site – and I’m sure much more coming indirectly.  This means I can release a development log all about how Ben May designed the appearance of the Steam Highwayman.

Designing the Steam Highwayman

Thanks to everyone who has passed on the news of the project’s success: please help me to bring the campaign to as many future readers as we can to unlock more content and to fund even more of Ben’s fantastic art.

Steam Highwayman is Funded on Kickstarter

Well, I’m fairly excited about that!  The generous support of several international backers overnight has tipped the Steam Highwayman project into the green-light zone: no longer just a plan or an intention, it is a funded publishing project.  Fantastic!

I’m just as overjoyed to have gained the support of several gamebook authors along the way, chiefly Jamie Thomson and Dave Morris, who posted a feature on Steam Highwayman last night on their Fabled Lands Blog.  The write-up means a lot to me, but I also hope that it will allow me to find out, like my dad said, how much steam this project has in it…

The process is pretty busy for me now.  I’ll be green-lighting the first batch of illustration work with Ben May and sending him a brief I prepared the other day.  I’ll also be looking for another round of proof-readers soon to make sure all the text is free from errors.  I have to prepare some costume, too, as I’m hoping to make a couple of appearances in character to get the project some exposure at Steampunk events.

Please continue to share the project!  I would love to meet my stretch goals, which will allow me to invest in Ben’s talent more significantly, as well as giving me a little breathing space to settle down to Volume II.  I was world-building yesterday afternoon to distract myself from facebook and kickstarter: the next volume promises some new concepts, new plotting mechanics and lots of new characters to interact with.

Nearly there!

Steam Highwayman is 90% funded and new backers are still arriving every hour or so.  It’s been very exciting to watch and new opportunities are becoming available to share the project further afield.  For example, gamebooknews.com has run an article on their website, and shortly before the launch the Steampunk Journal also featured the project!  I’ve had several friends sharing the project online – so far Facebook has been the largest single source of backers – but a few influential backers have attracted their followers too.

Please keep sending your friends to the Facebook Page – I want those likes to unlock my development documents – and please let anyone you think would enjoy the adventure know.  Don’t forget to mention the free demo to download: DemoSH1.1!

Steaming on towards Funding!

Well, my Steam Highwayman project is making great progress on Kickstarter (link here: campaign) and it has been a very exciting day.  I’ve had a lot of encouraging messages and been chatting with backers and gamebook fans all around the world.  We’ve passed 70% funding and I’m forcing myself to stop watching and go to bed.

That said, I’m still waiting to get much a of response from the steampunk community.  I might have been posting in the wrong places at the moment, so if anybody has any contacts to help get this exciting adventure into the hands of people who love mechanical computers, top hats, atmospheric clouds of steam and high drama, please let me know!

Thanks to everyone who’s already pledged.  It means a great deal to me.

Steam Highwayman Live on Kickstarter

Steam Highwayman launched last night at 8pm and already, around 12 hrs later, it is nearly 50% funded! Great news. I’ve had some generous support from friends but also have managed to secure backing from gamebook fans and international backers.

My Facebook page for the project is also steaming ahead: another 26 likes and I get to publish my account of the design process for the character of the highwayman. Can’t wait!

I’ve had some great social media support from the gamebook community, so I’m still waiting to find out how far this will go. It’s going to be a great ride.

Busy at the Highwayman’s Hideout

It’s been busy at #Highwayman’sHideout!  On Saturday I attended Fighting Fantasy Fest 2 in Ealing, where two hundred or so gamebook fans gathered to celebrate 35 years of the Fighting Fantasy series.  I took the opportunity to plug my kickstarter for all it was worth, passing out sample pages, flyers and wearing a sign around my neck.  I made several new friends, met other gamebook writers, put my project onto the radar of some of the genre’s influencers and even found some new backers.

Today I’ve been putting finishing touches to the Kickstarter video and campaign site.  A good friend and successful gamebook writer gave me some much-appreciated feedback on Saturday, so tweakings have turned into re-writings and the best part of a day’s work.

That means that tomorrow is given over for social marketing: I’ll be messaging everyone I can on every platform I can access to remind them of the Steam Highwayman Kickstarter Campaign Launch: 8:00pm London time.  Then roll on 8pm…  It feels very much like the ratcheting climb up an unfamiliar rollercoaster.  I’ve heard a lot about the ups and downs of running a kickstarter, but now I’m about to find out the only way that will really teach me!

Lord God, into your hands I commit the entire project.

Can I get an ‘Amen’?

Steam Highwayman coming soon!

It’s been a busy summer!  Somehow, between all the weddings, trips, church events and socialising, I’ve ploughed on.  Steam Highwayman will be launched on Kickstarter on the 5th September and for a long a nervous month I’ll be watching and praying, while the book is available for backing from all over the world.  I’ve already been publicising the project on social media, introducing the gamebook to fans of steampunk and fans of gamebooks alike.  If I appear on your social feed, you might start to get sick of seeing me!

I’ve had to develop all sorts of new skills to get this far: graphic design and video-making, advertising and marketing and overcoming my naturally polite, patient tendencies!  I really can’t wait to be back in the writing zone again, when I can concentrate on producing the next volume.

Still, I’ve enjoyed all this work massively, and I hope it’ll bear fruit soon.  It’s amazing to imagine that in a matter of months I may well be holding a copy of my own work, talking to readers world-wide and with the success behind me.