Something fabulous has been happening over on Kickstarter… My first publishing and gamebook project last year raised around £4700, partly thanks to the generosity of friends and family who wanted to see my work in print and several of whom gave far more than the suggested pledge. In all, 189 supporters joined the project.
But this time, things have been different. Around 85 of last year’s backers have returned to order the sequel and almost a hundred new backers have joined in – and with a far smaller number of family and friends, the project has now raised more than £5100 towards the publication. This is very exciting for me as the project is really standing on its own merits now, appealing to readers on account of the recommendations of genuinely-interested advocates (which is why I prepared the new image above) and on the strength of Book I’s reputation.
This bodes really well for the ongoing project. With each volume I write, there will be an increasing number of readers who return to see the next book published – I hope – and the work will increasingly do its own publicity… Every now and then when I discover a mention of Steam Highwayman out in the wilds of the internet, my heart skips, like when I saw it on the front page of Demian Katz’s gamebooks.org – and if you haven’t visited that amazing labyrinth of dreams, head over there and find out about all the gamebooks you haven’t bought or read yet! Demian is a librarian (I believe) and a backer of book 1 and has a lot to share with you about the workings of choice-based fiction.
Well, that went well. I really enjoyed my first live-streaming experience on Kickstarter last night – and learnt a lot too. It was great to have a few watchers live, but also it’s been fantastic that people have continued to watch after the event. I even managed to gain 3 more backers from the experience – hooray for Harold, Emily and Josh!
If you missed it, I largely chuntered on about the roots of the project, featuring The Emerald of Wolla-Wolla and telling the story that you’ll also find here on the making of page. But I also spoke a little about how running the project had been and gave a shout-out to the first 50 backers.
It was so much fun that I immediately scheduled another livestream: Monday 25th, 8.30pm. I guess it’ll probably be another 30 minute long sort of thing, but I’m anticipating sharing more about meeting and marketing… I’ve also discovered there is a Beta test option to simultaneously stream to Facebook – which I will DEFINITELY employ. I can see that stream getting even more interest.
Anyway, between now and then I am going to try and do some old-fashioned face-to-face marketing. I still have 500 flyers advertising the project and this weekend there are two Steampunk Convivials (that’s the name steampunks give to their meetups/conventions/festivals) at locations withing striking distance. The Crossness Engines Steampunk Convivial is going to be held just south and along the river from where we live – at the fascinating Gothic Revival Palace of Sanitation that is the Crossness Pumping Station. I discovered the place a few months ago on a long riverside walk (from Woolwich to Erith). It is one of several incredible late victorian buildings that housed massive steam engines to pump sewage through Bazalgette’s ground-breaking sewer system. And they still have their MASSIVE BEAM ENGINES, apparently in working, restored condition. So what an opportunity to see inside, as well as to meet up with a good proportion of my target audience…
Then on Sunday there’s a similar event, the Essextraordinaire III, at Maldon, at the Museum of Power, which hosts another working steam engine. If I manage to get to both I’ll be very pleased with them, but I’m stirred to try and do it. That means a bit of a push for me since although I’m fine starting conversations, I get very English and ‘over-polite’ about trying to sell people something / ask for something. Personal growth and publishing at the same time – wooh!