Kickstarter Interest Survey

Kickstarter Interest Survey

Hey all,

Instead of rushing through one of my many, many works in progress design-wise, I think my first Kickstarter will be a print archive of my best essays posted in the Indie Game Reading Club itself.

First volume would be Year 1. I started March 2015, I think, so through February 2016. The content is all free right now and I won’t change that at all. But here’s where I’m thinking about the value-add:

* edited and updated to incorporate the best feedback that appears in the threads. I have no idea what IP rights anyone has to anything, and I’m not gonna print a thread, jeez, that’s goofy. But I would most definitely be updating stuff. I may also update based on the past couple years of my shifting perspective. If it’s interesting, I might annotate the updates with additional side comments, which is way easier to do in print than online.

* tag the contents along a couple different axes: games mentioned, topics (review, techniques, commentary, etc). That’d be useful in PDF and print index, and I could possibly maybe visually tag the book with those things.

* rebuild the Indie Game Reading Club website with the original essays and threads, with links back into G+ and also tagged per above. Right now it’s a bad, incomplete scrape of my posts and it didn’t start until early 2017 I think.

I think probably there are folks who think this is an easy cash grab. I can assure you it is not. Nothing I’m talking about doing here is “easy,” even if I already wrote the bulk of the content already.

Yes, I’m considering stretch goals too.

* the obvious one is to create new content, probably in a format I don’t normally work in. The big one I’d like to do is a video presentation of my much-discussed situation-map technique. I could see what I could do with an all-star table at some con, yeah? Get a couple cameras around/over the table, hire decent editing to get rid of the casual grossness ums and ahs. Open to other ideas as well — let me know!

* better trade dress of the print work. It would never be a PDF dump out of Word, oh my lord, but you know… better. Easier to read. Lots of white space. Maybe graphical tagging per above.

Actually that’s all I’ve got for now. I don’t see art being necessary, and in fact most of what I’ve ever illustrated my stuff with is not my work, and probably I can’t use it anyway. I’d just include some of the gags I’ve doodled up over the years.

One motivator for doing this is that I don’t trust Google Plus to be around forever. And even if it is, it’s very hard, maybe impossible, for folks to go digging through years of long posts and longer threads. It is a terrible archive solution.

Another motivator is, damn it, I’ve written a lot of good stuff. And I want it more accessible to the world.

I’m contemplating a Patreon on the side but honestly I’m not sure what value-add I can possibly provide there other than, like, an insider track folks could subscribe to so they could put their $0.02 in on editorial decisions. Probably worth its own thread, because I’ve struggled with that for a long time. The IGRC Year 1 Kickstarter seems much more obvious to me.

Anyway, if I feel like folks see this as indulgent and/or useless, no big, I’ll just keep trucking.

0 thoughts on “Kickstarter Interest Survey”

  1. Just for the record, I would buy this in print or PDF (and voted accordingly) and would also contribute is Patreon. I personally don’t need a lot of “goodies” in response to a Patreon backing – for me it’s like public broadcasting, am I using it? – but I have no idea if others feel the same.

  2. I’m not really in the market for hard copies of RPG stuff, but this is a very good idea that I’d enjoy seeing happen and would throw in a bit to support. I’d honestly love seeing this from lots of people.

  3. I’m all in. I would suggest giving the idea of art more consideration, too. Sure, it can be a stretch goal, but if I’m going for print, I want the artifact itself to be enjoyable.

  4. Mark Delsing original work inspired by the essays could be cool, yeah.


    I could totally open it up, especially for new and diverse artists. I could pay them with exposure actual money!

    Okay, filing that into a probable stretch goal.

  5. For a book of essays, other than whatever you choose to put on the cover, I’m not fussed about art. Your proposed links and bookmarks in the PDF are far more valuable to me. Also, an ePub or similar so I can read it on an ereader.

    But let’s not split hairs. I’d definitely support this. Proper criticism of role playing games and the culture around them is a rare thing and I’m happy to throw in for however you want to do it.

  6. I’d like to see you offer a book but sell membership to an ongoing seminar / workshop. Maybe even on an REI model, if for some reason there’s too much money people get “dividends” (discounts, freebies) back.

  7. Depending on how you go about attribution/acknowledgement/permissions/etc., maybe a stretch goal where you pay a token sum to all the folk whose feedback you quote would address any liberties you might take with their words.

  8. Marshall Miller those are some murky waters! I probably need to buy 30 minutes from an actual IP attorney at some point on that topic.

    Right now it’s my only real speedbump. Everything else feels pretty clear in my head.

    If anyone can recommend such a person with specific online media experience I’d love to hear it.

    But besides the legal thing, there’s also the right thing, and that’s a tiny floating target surrounded by sharks.

  9. Rather than pushing payments out, maybe a pool of money that others could claim shares from if they wanted. (I dunno, brainstorming) (edit: now that I think about it, kind of like a startup paying in stock shares)

  10. I’m really curious what you come up with because I’m working on a similar type of project for which I’d like to solicit [but no commission] a good number of publishable quotes in a respectful way [that also isn’t the project’s death by a thousand cuts].

  11. In terms of using the discussion, perhaps as a stretch goal, some of the commentators could be made into contributors, especially if they disagree with you. Make them complicit and they are much less likely to oppose you.

  12. Another obvious stretch goal series may very well be directed toward total volume. Like, I don’t actually know how many of my 2015-2016 essays I’d start with? Maybe 10? 15? There’s total crap in there as well and nobody needs that archived. But there’s obviously a physical production consideration as well, typically 8 pages at a time unless bookmaking has changed a bunch since the last time I did this sort of thing.

  13. Ray Otus, if amenable, would make a great contributor. He’s the moderator for the long-running Tabletop Roleplayer’s Book Club. An appropriate stretch goal might be a reading list with discussion questions – it wouldn’t quite be an Appendix N but it’d be a nice resource that fits well with your proposed project. Alternately, I bet he could write a nice forward about running a successful book club for gamers.

  14. Something that could be interesting would be having a few streach goals to include essays by different people, maybe some of those who usually participate in the comments of the Reading Club. Although I would understand it if you preferred to keep it about you own work, either for simplicity’s sake or to maintain the main focus of the book. Anyway, good luck!

  15. I personally would never expect any kind of financial compensation for online conversation, though it might feel a bit strange if an entire thread was reproduced verbatim (but you already said you were avoiding that route). If it were me, I would try to credit by name the people I felt influenced my thoughts in connection to the specific places they were influential.

    You might also consider something like a free copy for some participants, as that seems like an appropriate (if still above and beyond the call of duty) token of gratitude and also avoids the minefield of framing anything as payment for use of intellectual property.

    Side note, I clicked the PDF option in the poll above, but if the artifact was an attractive and nicely bound book rather than glue-bound POD thing I could see myself backing for that (or buying it later). I’ve mostly sworn off cheap POD printed matter except for the occasional zine-type thing.

  16. I wish there were more of these formalizations of online discussions out there. Some of the blog posts and discussions I have seen online make for really great reading. They should be culled and preserved. I used to think about doing a “bathroom book” for GMs with daily inspirational tit bits. 🙂 And I wish the OSR would do more to capture the ephemeral posts of people like Patrick Stuart and Arnold K. I would love to see a chapbook of their musings on weird fantasy (which aren’t meta at all, but rather like literary set pieces).

    I think to get this started you would need two things: people to nominate pieces from the site worth enshrining and a short sample or two to put up. This isn’t a project people will easily grasp. (I mean, the IDEA is easy to grasp, but it isn’t going to automatically attract people without a better idea of what the final product would look like on their shelf and why they would enjoy it. That’s my opinion. And consider an audio format. Maybe in podcast form.)

    FInally (with apologies for the long-winded post), I am incredibly flattered by Marshall Miller’s suggestion but I barely trust myself to talk about fictional works let alone meta-stuff. 🙂 Still, I would enjoy putting together a list of indie books that are fun to read as reading experiences. And I do enjoy crafting reader questions. I could probably write about how to write a good reader response question (or take the lighthearted approach of “how to write a bad question”).

  17. I’m in front of a computer all day, so I’d much rather a cheap printing than a PDF.

    Also, FWIW, I think Patreon works just fine without “value adds”. I cry inside whenever I hear someone sitting on the fence about it because Patreon is telling them they need to figure out a wholly other offering beside their main, awesome thing.

  18. Also, if you’re doing digital printing (less than a thousand copies, generally) you don’t need to worry about 8 or 16 page signatures. Any even number of pages is usually fine.

  19. Jason Corley interesting comment! What’s the difference in your mind? Other than the freedom to spend when you want and totally rejecting the FOMO that Kickstarter campaigns leverage?

  20. Paul Beakley​ For reference. Back in the 70s and 80s when fan published magazines we’re the “blogs” of the day, there was the Potomac Wargamers Review.

    This Kickstarter republished dozens of articles from across the years collected in thematically related volumes. Each volume being the equivalent of one of those collectable magazines you see in super market checkout lines.

    Hell yes I backed all of them.

    I recommend using this as a model. The format worked perfectly. – Naval Secrets of Wargame Design

  21. Yeah, I’d very much like to secure an outside editor.

    On the epub front, I think what matters more is good text structure. The PDF would be, probably, a version of the print edition but with live links (I suppose the epub could also have links). The physical book is just kind of the prestige top-tier thing.

    (Prestige! Oh lord. Maybe I’ll write a small personal essay in each one, just for you, on a topic of your choice.)

  22. .sub

    Nothing much to add, other than I’d contribute any of my own comments if I had any that were relevant; I’m usually a fly on the wall) without fees or compensation. And I’d gladly pay for a PDF of this thing.

  23. It’d be more work but you could also share your final draft with those people you quote and ask them to annotate it, either with their original comments or new ones. Then you could pick and choose from their commentary to add to the book. In the PDF, you could make that extra layer of annotation into a digital layer that readers could toggle on and off. If you really wanted to get fancy, have them print and hand write their comments and then send you scans to create a layer of literal marginalia.

  24. Marshall Miller that sounds like extravagant cat herding. And lots of comments don’t really work out of context.

    I’ve got a few folks ( Ralph Mazza​, Brand Robins​, Kit La Touche​ come immediately to mind) who hold court go the extra mile in their comments, so it’s not always true.

    I’ve been thinking about this piece of it for a while.

  25. Marshall Miller what RPG project was it that had a bunch of guest commentators opining in the margin, do you remember? I remember it working pretty well, but I can’t recall the name of it.

  26. Oh, something does come to mind: would you include a glossary of terms? And/or footnotes for all the games speak?

    As someone who isn’t always “in with the cool kids,” having to decipher certain terms or phrases can make certain entries difficult to parse. I realize the need for most of it – it’s shorthand for more complex theories. But man, I come at lots of your posts from an outsider perspective and while I usually figure things out via context clues, sometimes I’m left waiting until someone else asks or elaborates in the comments. This isn’t often! But I can see where someone else like me with less patience or familiarity with your work would give up.

    Obviously, you’d be (you are) writing for a subset within a subset kind of audience. And I don’t want you to stop writing the way you write; that’s the appeal! But if you’re marketing this thing, I’d consider a list of terms or in-line explanations.

    Also, if this is the something you’d have in mind regarding the editing/rewriting of your thread content, ignore me.

  27. Ha! You’ll finally be able to post a definition and not have to say “If you come here looking to argue about definitions, I’m locking down the comments.”

    The reader is free to desecrate their own copy with divisive tribalist arguments to whatever extent they please!

  28. The book is also a forum. It has blank pages and asks you to write responses to each article when you first read the book as a time capsule for you to look back on years from now. You should also ask others to write responses in your book at conventions and among your game table.

  29. Getting your words into game stores and the hands of people who wouldn’t read this stuff online would be really cool. After I tear through my print copy, I’d be excited to give it to someone as a gift!

  30. Legit don’t have the energy to read all the comments here (sorry!) but 1) if you need an editor, please let me know – I’ve read a ton of your posts and have a pretty good idea of your voice, and 2) do you think you’ll have any sensitivity reads or anything done? Mostly because sometimes when we talk about game mechanics and settings and stuff we can slip on stuff unintentionally and it’s sometimes useful. I’m not saying you have to, but it might be worth considering.

  31. My family would be in for the PDF. My wife is wrapping up her Narrative Gaming course for the second time. (It’s Hillfolk Week!) And we are always looking for thoughtful writing around good gaming practices, player safety, etc., etc. I’d be really surprised if we didn’t find a few nuggets to pull out… and heck, it would be great to read an organized overview of the MInd ‘o Paul. Because, like you said, am I really going to dig back through those posts, even though I really, really enjoy your work?

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