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My new book on Atlantic City's history from 1854 to today needs a little help to go live.
58 backers pledged $6,076 to help bring this project to life.
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I have written a book about Atlantic City's history called Boardwalk Playground: The Making, Unmaking, & Remaking of Atlantic City. It's finished. I will publish it through my existing Winchester Books imprint. 

From 2003 to 2011, I wrote a monthly column on Atlantic City history for Casino Connection magazine. Click the link. You can read many--but not all--of the columns.

My day job is all about gambling, and my previous books have been about some combination of gambling and history. This column gave me a chance branch out and write about a variety of topics: city landmarks going back to the 19th century like the Boardwalk and lighthouse, famous personalities like Nucky Johnson, and a few of the organizations that made the city a community, like the Beach Patrol and Free Public Library.

When the print version of Casino Connection ceased publishing, I stopped writing the column. I vaguely thought about pulling my work into a book, but with a number of other projects and commitments did not have the time.

Why now?

This summer, with a few other things wrapped up or close to it, I made the time to seriously think about an Atlantic City book. After all, I was born and raised there, and the city has had a rough time of it lately. With all of the negativity surrounding the decline of the city's casino industry, I felt like I had sometime to say, something like, "This city has a really interesting history, and here are some examples." Hopefully a little more eloquent than that, but you get the idea.

Over the past few weeks, I've edited and expanded the existing columns and written more than a dozen new ones to fill in some holes. The result is a full-length book (about 80,000 words) that covers various aspects of Atlantic City history from the resort's 1854 founding through today.

This is a book I've wanted to write for a very, very long time. Growing up in Atlantic City and becoming a writer, it's such a natural for me to write a book about Atlantic City that I'm not sure why it took me this long.

What's the book look like?

The Queen of the Coast. The World’s Playground. The Casino Capital of the East. They all mean one thing: Atlantic City, New Jersey. Beloved, maligned, always-hustling sea since its 1854 founding, the seaside resort has seen it all: first class hotels, popular amusements on the world famous Boardwalk and its piers, Prohibition, gangsters, speakeasies, conventioneers, celebrities, urban pride, urban decay, a casino revival, a casino collapse—and it hasn’t given up yet.

Boardwalk Playground shares a hundred stories of Atlantic City’s high spots and low points of the past century and a half, with an emphasis on the hospitality business that evolved into casino gaming—and is evolving again. With sections on the city’s history, its classic hospitality, personalities, community institutions, and casino resorts, this book is essential reading for anyone who wants to know what gives Atlantic City its unexpected, enduring allure.

More specifically, I've broken the book into 5 sections: 

  • A capsule historical overview that, in 25 chapters, hits the high and low spots of the city's past. 
  • Profiles of the hotels, piers, and restaurants that made Atlantic City the "world's playground" for decades, like Million Dollar Pier, the Marlborough-Blenheim, and White House Subs
  • Brief biographies of ten famous personalities connected with Atlantic City, from Nucky Johnson to Jacob Lawrence
  • Chapters on community organizations, ranging from the Atlantic City Beach Patrol to the Seagulls professional hockey team that called Boardwalk Hall home
  • Stories of each of the city's 15 casinos, including those that have been closed, with bonus material: a chapter on casinos that were never built, and closing thoughts developed from columns originally published in Vegas Seven magazine.

Want to see what the table of contents looks like or read a sample chapter or two? Take a look inside Boardwalk Playground.

What do I need money for?

Why am I asking the Kickstarter community for help? Because I am a self-financing (and community-financed) author who needs a little help to get this project off the ground. 

I have already completed most of the work. I have a finished manuscript that is laid out and nearly ready for publication. Nearly.

To make the book look its best, I want to hire a professional proofreader and indexer, which take money. Since I am doing the interior layout myself, I'm saving a great deal of money. I'm also doing the ebook conversion/layout myself, which is also saving money, and I have the kindness of a friend to thank for the best cover I could imagine. So I will be putting the money I get into polishing the book's presentation through a professional proofread and indexing. If I exceed my funding goal, I will put the surplus into marketing the book.

In addition to raising the money I need for publication, this campaign also gives me a chance to connect with people about the book. I'm very excited about it, and really want to get the word out.

I had such a positive experience with my last project, Grandissimo, that there was no way I wasn't going to do this again (and thank you again to everyone who helped with that one). 

Risks and challenges

So what could go wrong? First, let me tell you how things will go if they go right.

I have a proof reader and indexer lined up, and I have already finished the template/skeleton of the layout. For this book to go live, all I have to do is release my manuscript to the proofer, input the changes, upload the corrected manuscript into the finished book design, send it to the indexer, add the index, and upload it to CreateSpace. From there, I'm ready to go live.

Formatting it for ebook will take a few more hours, but since I have done this before, I don't see any major complications there.

So, if I don't foresee any complications, what could go wrong? I could be killed, incapacitated, or have another dire personal emergency, in which case I wouldn't be able to do all those above steps. Besides that, I have plenty of time allotted to meet my October 2015 publication goal.

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $10 or more About $10

    Support the book and get thanked on the BoardwalkPlayground.com website.

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    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    Support the book, get thanked on the BoardwalkPlayground.com website, and recieve an advance pdf of the book's introductory chapter.

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    Pledge $30 or more About $30

    Support the book, get thanked on the BoardwalkPlayground.com website, and get a copy of Boardwalk Playground for Kindle personally gifted to you by the author.

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    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    Support the book, get thanked on the BoardwalkPlayground.com website, and receive a thank you in the print & electronic book's acknowledgments.

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  5. Select this reward

    Pledge $75 or more About $75

    Support the book, get thanked on the BoardwalkPlayground.com website, and receive a thank you in the print & electronic book's acknowledgments, AND receive a personally-signed copy of Boardwalk Playground, via mail or in person at the Vegas Internet Mafia Family Picnic (October 17, 2015)

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    Pledge $75 or more About $75

    SELECT THIS OPTION IF YOU WILL BE PICKING THE BOOK UP IN PERSON

    Support the book, get thanked on the BoardwalkPlayground.com website, and receive a thank you in the print & electronic book's acknowledgments, AND receive a personally-signed copy of Boardwalk Playground, in person at the Vegas Internet Mafia Family Picnic (October 17, 2015)

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  7. Select this reward

    Pledge $150 or more About $150

    Support the book, get thanked profusely on the BoardwalkPlayground.com website, receive a thank you in the print & electronic book's acknowledgments, receive a personally-signed copy of Boardwalk Playground, AND get a special on-stage thank you at the October 17, 2015 Vegas Internet Mafia Family Picnic book launch event.

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    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    Everything you'd get at the $160 level, plus a 1-hour (or so), completely unofficial guided tour of the the Las Vegas casino property of your choice. I will give you a talk about the property's significance and hit some of the highlights of its history.

    Choose something like the Bellagio, and you get the previous property (Dunes in this case) as well. I did this in Caesars Palace for GRANDISSIMO, and not only didn't get hassled by casino security, but also had a great time. Good for you and how ever many guests we can inconspicuously drag through the casino.

    Must be fulfilled by October 2016.

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    Pledge $2,500 or more About $2,500

    Everything you'd get at the $160 level, plus I will give a 1 hour (or so) talk to a group of up to 50 people on a topic of Las Vegas or Atlantic City history of your choosing (within reason).

    You can read about my speaking engagements and usual topics here: http://www.dgschwartz.com/speaking/

    Must be fulfilled by October 2016, in the Las Vegas metro area, or with travel expenses elsewhere paid.

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Funding period

- (28 days)