Funded! This project was successfully funded on December 13, 2012.

Update #27 - For backers only

Update on rewards

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Update #26

General status and lessons learned

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Good day, everyone.  As stated in those backers-only updates, electronic rewards have been delivered.  Be patient with downloads: they are obviously larger than the demo.  I'm testing them from a slow connection, and I've had a few failures, so it may be difficult when many backers try at once.  Consider saving to your desktop (instead of viewing in a browser) or whatever method gets you a download progress meter.

Next, remember when people asked about PayPal donation to reach a stretch goal?  It turns out it's not economical for a few $15 or $40 pledges left over: not when we can just print the books and sell them.  However, anyone interested in getting or upgrading to a high-level pledge (ordering many books, becoming an Arcana Agency character, or just being a philanthropist and supporting the cause) is invited to contact us directly.  We'd love to expand our stock, so we'll gladly arrange something!

In related news: we've done some math and we CAN afford to add the demo file as "case 0" in the full book!  Arcana Agency: The Thief of Memories will now be a whopping 230-pages full-color hardback!  This will wipe out the Kickstarter funds, so, again, anyone seeking a higher pledge so we can be prepared for the future would be greatly appreciated.

But this break-even point means we're set!  We did it!  You all will receive the rewards you requested, and the book will go on sale.  Expect backer surveys for physical objects toward the start of 2013 for our delivery in February.  Now, I think it makes sense to look back over the last month-plus and think about . . .

LESSONS LEARNED

Anyone out there thinking of starting a Kickstarter project?  I found it helpful when other creators reflected out loud, so I thought I'd try it myself.  In those 45 long days, I learned . . .

Kickstarter consumes your life

Everyone warned us about this: you think you can get some other work done while running a project, and then you just don't.  I personally (this is Richard) have a file where I saved all my e-mails, forum posts, and other bits of promo so I could copy and paste.  It is over 44,000 words long.  When you add in Mikaël and Paul, the three of us wrote more words in promo than are in THE BOOK WE WERE TRYING TO SELL.  (If I slap some illustrations in my file, think anyone will buy it?)

You need publicity inside and outside of Kickstarter

Who was/is our audience?  Demographic A is people who grew up with gamebooks, grew up with RPG or other popular games from the same time period, or never heard of this stuff but still enjoy creative books/games.  Demographic B is people who are active on Kickstarter.  I have a list of 35 websites, blogs, forums, and social media pages where we sought the mythical "gamebook audience," but demographic A just amounted for 50% of the pledges: the rest came from Kickstarter alone, a community of people who've pledged before and are comfortable with it.  You Kickstarter people are great, and I hope all you folks new to the site will take the opportunity to back other projects, too.

. . . But publicity inside Kickstarter is complex

A seeming triviality like project category made a huge difference.  We put our gamebook project in "Tabletop Games"; we could have chosen general "Games" or some "Publishing" category.  Then we were lucky to become a "Staff Pick."  But Tabletop has very slow turnover, so we remained visible as a "Staff Pick" at the top of the "Discover" listing in our category for WEEKS.  Even after we were bumped off, some of our replacements finished running before we did and we went BACK to the top of the page.  This auspicious placement kept momentum going through the long haul, and about 1/4 of all backers found us this way.

Recommendations matter

Spamming strangers with a million advertisements they don't like doesn't work.  Recommendations from trusted names (both "big names" and "small names") does.  Now, I'm not going to NAME names, because it would be very rude to imply "These people are walking, talking money!  Harass them until they endorse your product and make you rich!"  This is not true.  What is true is that we spoke with every relevant creator we could find (i.e., relevant to "demographic A"), got in cross-promotion with some on Kickstarter, and got social media mentions from others.  Every good word brought a jump in newcomers, and a lot of those were folks with similar backer history (i.e., other gamebooks).  And, of course, we reciprocated publicity where possible.  Speaking of which . . .

Please and thank you

We tried to be as polite as we could.  It seems like, in return, almost everything about the campaign has been positive.  We've gushed before, but it's because you folks deserve it: all those who wrote to us, commented on Kickstarter, mentioned us on your own social media of choice, or even talked to us out on the various blogs and sites where we did promo, have been incredibly friendly and made the effort worthwhile.  I guess it's the community: people aren't here JUST to buy a book, but rather to share in the creative process.  People want to have fun. If we as creators didn't have something fun to share (images, text, links, the occasional witticism), then we wouldn't have deserved the support.

Thank you for deciding we deserved it. We think Arcana Agency: The Thief of Memories will be the best book it can be, and we hope you'll share in our fun in future projects.


Update #25 - For backers only

All the PDF files and all the apps promo codes have been dispatched

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Update #24 - For backers only

The $5 reward has been delivered & rest of the planning.

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Update #23

You have made Arcana Agency: The Thief of Memories a success!

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Thank you, everyone.  Writing now in the calm time after the project has concluded, things seem a bit surreal.  "I should be doing promo now, right?  I should be checking on recent pledges, right?"  I guess not; Arcana Agency: The Thief of Memories has SUCCEEDED in its Kickstarter bid, and it's all thanks to you!

What next?

A lot of hard work, but this time it's different.  We have funding (108% of our target!), and now we need to check and double check the math.  In a couple weeks, funds will be released by Amazon Payments (barring any problems with credit cards and whatnot), and we can start printing.  Everything else can be put together and/or packaged up, and of course we'll send out backer surveys so you can tell us, e.g., dedications and t-shirt sizes.  Hopefully, shipping of physical items will happen in February as predicted.

But the math is just a little bit more complicated now.  Remember that $22,500 stretch goal where we were going to print the demo adventure in the full book?  We didn't reach that, but we'd love it if we could add those 30 pages to the book anyway.  We CAN'T promise anything, but when next week starts up we're going to talk with the printer about exact costs.  Maybe we can afford it, and maybe we can't, but we'll let you know!

People have asked about adding a PayPal donation button to our website so we can get some more funding.  Right now, we're not planning on it: if the numbers work out, then we can print the book with the extra pages, and folks can just BUY it using PayPal on our website like any other product.

(You remember "buying," right?  I hear that's how people "pledged" before Kickstarter . . . )

Meanwhile, we hope to finalize the Arcana Agency document and get you your PDF version within December as predicted.  That means editing and proofreading one final time, possibly with the demo attached.

"The season" is about to hit, and updates will slow, but we'll let you know our progress.  Next time: a "lessons learned" post!  This whole experience has been an education, and we have some words for anyone thinking of taking the plunge and starting a Kickstarter project.  Most of them are positive!  But we are so very tired, so that's all for today.

Thanks again for making this project possible.  We hope you enjoy the final products, and we hope to bring you yet more you'll enjoy in the future.


426
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  • Pledge $5 or more
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    13 backers

    A TASTE OF ARCANA: PDF version of case 1 (167 illustrated sections + rules), a complete adventure out of the 3 from the full Arcana Agency gamebook.

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    57 backers

    THE ARTIST: Full PDF version of the Arcana Agency gamebook with all 3 cases (549 illustrated sections + rules) + PDF of The Art of the Fabled Lands, a full-color artbook from our Fabled Lands apps (120 pages).

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    37 backers Limited (63 left of 100)

    TECH SPECIALIST (iPad): All the above + a gift for early backers: 1 random promo code for 1 of our iPad gamebooks (possible apps: Arcana Agency: Prologue, Fabled Lands or Keep of the Lich-Lord). Note: promo codes expire, and are not included in "All the above +" statements in other rewards.

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    16 backers Limited (134 left of 150)

    TECH SPECIALIST (iPhone and iPod Touch): All the above + a gift for early backers: 1 random promo code for 1 of our iPhone & iPod Touch gamebooks (possible apps: Arcana Agency: Prologue, Fabled Lands, or The Keep of the Lich-Lord). Note: promo codes expire, and are not included in "All the above +" statements in other rewards.

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    214 backers

    THE REAL DEAL: All the above + what you're really here to get: the 6"x9" full-color hardback of the Arcana Agency: The Thief of Memories gamebook. Shipping worldwide included.

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    48 backers

    BOOK AND A BONUS v. 1: All the above + your Arcana Agency: The Thief of Memories hardback will be signed, numbered, and personally dedicated by the author, Paul Gresty. Shipping worldwide included. Note: "book and a bonus" is not included in "All the above +" statements in other rewards unless specifically stated.

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    11 backers

    BOOK AND A BONUS v. 2: All the above + Megara Entertainment Complete Music Works 2007-2012 CD (including a new track inspired by the Arcana Agency gamebook). Shipping worldwide included. Note: "book and a bonus" is not included in "All the above +" statements in other rewards unless specifically stated.

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    BOOK AND A BONUS v. 3: All the above + 1 t-shirt from our Way of the Tiger RPG, with your choice from 11 different character classes and 1 gamesmaster design. Shipping worldwide included. Note: "book and a bonus" is not included in "All the above +" statements in other rewards unless specifically stated.

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    ANGEL OR DEMONESS: All the above + 1 Arcana Agency: The Thief of Memories t-shirt: Demoness (t-shirt #1) OR Angel (t-shirt #2). Shipping worldwide included.

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    ANGEL AND DEMONESS: All the above + the other t-shirt. That is, you receive both Demoness (t-shirt #1) AND Angel (t-shirt #2). Shipping worldwide included.

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    1 backer

    BOOKSTORE v. 1: All the rewards from the $40 "Real Deal" level, but with 3 hardback copies of the Arcana Agency: The Thief of Memories gamebook instead of 1. Shipping worldwide included. Note: "Bookstore" is not included in "All the above +" statements in other rewards unless specifically stated.

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    5 backers

    THE WRITTEN WORD: All the above + your Arcana Agency: The Thief of Memories hardback will be signed, numbered, and personally dedicated by the author, Paul Gresty. Shipping worldwide included.

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    2 backers

    THE ENTERTAINER: All the above + Megara Entertainment Complete Music Works 2007-2012 CD (including a new track inspired by the Arcana Agency gamebook). Shipping worldwide included.

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    THE WARDROBE: All the above + 2 t-shirts from our Way of the Tiger RPG, with your choice from 11 different character classes and 1 gamesmaster design. Shipping worldwide included.

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    1 backer

    BOOKSTORE v. 2: All the rewards from the $40 "Real Deal" level, but with 6 hardback copies of the Arcana Agency: The Thief of Memories gamebook instead of 1. Shipping worldwide included. Note: "Bookstore" is not included in "All the above +" statements in other rewards unless specifically stated.

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    THE LADY: All the above + 1 pair of handmade Arcana Agency: The Thief of Memories 1932 style earrings (partly gold-plated). Shipping worldwide included.

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    0 backers Limited (75 left of 75)

    CROSS-CONTINENTAL ENGAGEMENT: All the above + 1 pack of our Fabled Lands pen-and-pencil RPG FRENCH EDITION (see the visual at the bottom of our story page), including core rule book, 2 maps, 4 copies of the full-color character sheet, a preview of the first game supplement, and 2 digital-only soundtracks. Note: this is a French edition. Shipping worldwide included.

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    ARCANA AGENT: All the above (with an option: 2 additional Way of the Tiger RPG t-shirts instead of the Fabled Lands RPG French edition pack, shipping worldwide included) + become transformed. You send us a picture, and one of our talented artists will draw you as an Arcana Agency character. Paul Gresty will write a background for your character and we will send it to you along with the full-colour A4 CGI JPEG file. If we get to make a sequel, your artwork will appear in the next Arcana Agency gamebook as a secondary character under the name of your choice! Be prepared for anything: "you" may as well help the detectives or confront them as a villain!

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    0 backers Limited (5 left of 5)

    WORLDCRAFTER v. 1: All the rewards from the $500 "Arcana Agent" level (including the t-shirt option and worldwide shipping) but with a different art commission. Our talented artists will create up to 15 full-colour A4 CGI JPEG illustrations for you: enough to begin illustrating your own story. Each image is to be either one character or one environment. This reward does not include an appearance in a publication, nor a writing commission: the "story" itself is up to you.

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    0 backers Limited (5 left of 5)

    WORLDCRAFTER v. 2: All the rewards from the $500 "Arcana Agent" level (including the t-shirt option and worldwide shipping) but with a different art commission. Our talented artists will create up to 30 full-colour A4 CGI JPEG illustrations for you: enough to begin illustrating your own story. Each image is to be either one character or one environment. This reward does not include an appearance in a publication, nor a writing commission: the "story" itself is up to you.

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Funding period

- (45 days)