So what did I do at PAX this year?
Many things, but most notably this:
And by that, I mean this.
Wait for it….
P.S. Even if you don’t care about D&D, you should really watch the intro. That’s worth the price of admission all by itself….
So it was Monday the 14th, the last day of our experimental IndieGoGo fundraiser.
Things were going better than we’d expected. We were already at $125,000 on Monday morning. And because of generous geeks donating and spreading the word, we’d been raising about $5,000 dollars hour all day.
Around 5:00 PM at the temple, Maria refreshed the page and said, “$170,000!”
We’d just finished up a meeting, so the whole team was there. She looked at us. “I think we’re going to beat $200,000,” she said. Her voice was nervous, excited, but pretty sure of herself. Confident.
I felt obliged to be the voice of reason. Everyone was really excited in the office because we were having an amazing day. But I didn’t want them to set their expectations so high they’d be disappointed. That would be a huge shame, especially as the fundraiser was already an incredible success.
“Things tend to slow down in the evening,” I said. “People are eating dinner and watching TV. They aren’t checking their social media as much.”
I juggled numbers in my head and tested my gut. My team is good, but I’ve been doing this for twice as long as any of them. “I’m confident we’ll hit 180,” I said. “But I’d be surprised if we hit 190. I’d be honestly startled and amazed if we hit 200.”
Looking around, I could tell I’d let the wind out of their sails a bit. I felt like kind of a dick. It sucks being the voice of reason sometimes.
“Don’t get me wrong,” I said. “Y’all have been awesome. This whole thing was an experiment. If we’d only hit $50,000, it would have been a huge success. We blew it out of the water.”
Maria looked at me. It wouldn’t be fair to say that she gave me a rebellious look. It wasn’t really even a stubborn look. Her expression was… pugnacious. “When we hit 200K,” she said, gesturing dramatically. “You’re going to buy me a chocolate malt!”
Her enthusiasm was infectious. Maria radiates optimism. It’s part of the reason I love her.
“I will,” I said, smiling. “If we hit $200,000. I will buy everyone chocolate malts.”
There was a cheer in the office. Everyone loves it when you stand up to the boss.
Amanda posted it to twitter almost immediately.
— Worldbuilders (@Worldbuilders_) July 14, 2014
I came home and made a few more posts on twitter and facebook. Then I tried to catch up on some e-mail, hampered slightly by the fact that I was refreshing the IndieGoGo page about every four minutes.
Much to my amazement, our momentum didn’t slow. The total climbed and climbed.
By the end of the fundraiser, we’d raised $205,000.
Have I said thank you yet?
Thank you. You have startled and amazed me with your awesome.
Thank you. You have reaffirmed my belief that people are inherently good.
* * *
Today, because Maria was right, I took the Worldbuilders team to get chocolate malts.
(Cutie isn’t part of the team, so he didn’t get any.)
If you can’t tell, the mood was giddy with exhaustion and good endorphins. The team really pulled together for this fundraiser. They deserved their tasty beverages.
(Even the monkey. Especially the monkey.)
In most important ways, this was their fundraiser, not mine. They planned it. Wrote up the product descriptions. They figured out IndieGoGo and promotions and production and fulfillment.
I mention this because it’s behind the scenes, so you would never see it. Events like this resemble an iceberg, you glimpse the the top and think, “Wow, that’s cool.” You support the cause, order something, and receive a package.
And while the top of the iceberg is pretty cool (heh) there’s a lot going on underneath the water that keeps it all afloat.
This time, for the first time, the *vast* majority of that didn’t have anything to do with me. Not only was I not doing it myself. I wasn’t even looking over their shoulders and giving advice.
I couldn’t this time, as I’ve been neck deep in revisions.
There were times I’d come into the office, wild eyed and sleep deprived. Irritable and absolutely burned out because I’d spent the last 30 hours going over copy edits. We’d sit down to a meeting and I’d say something like, “We need to make sure we contact X about the [thing].”
“We already did that,” they would say.
“Okay,” I said. “We also need to be careful [some other thing] doesn’t happen.”
“Taken care of,” they’d say.
“And we need to make sure blah blah blah.”
“That’s a good idea,” they’d say.
“Who’s going to be in charge of that?” I’d ask.
“We did it last week,” they’d say.
I can’t tell you guys how amazing this is. How important it is.
I love Worldbuilders. It’s my baby. But over the last five years it’s devoured a significant portion of my life.
It’s eaten so much of my life that sometimes there’s not enough life left to go around. Sometimes I’ve been too busy and too stressed to be a good dad. It’s impinged on my writing schedule. I’ve lost touch with friends. I gave up tabletop games for the most part. Hell, I haven’t played a computer game or watched a movie in the theaters in I don’t know how long. Since… the last superman movie? Yeah. I guess that makes it more than a year.
The truth is, I’ve let go of these things willingly. Worldbuilders is important. I’m proud of it. It changes lives and quantifiably improves the world. I could never give it up.
But for the last couple years I’ve been dreaming a dream. I’ve been dreaming of having Worldbuilders, a writing career, and a life.
Now it’s starting to look like that might happen. Because of all you lovely people out there and because of the Worldbuilders Team.
So. Milkshakes all around. Everyone loves it when the boss is wrong. Sometimes the Boss loves it too.
* * *
We didn’t do a lot of stretch goals with this fundraiser, mostly because the timeframe was so tight.
But we did do a few.
I have to say the fundraiser video we put together was my favorite video we’ve ever done. Even if it did feature me being constantly upstaged by a monkey puppet.
Ah… who am I kidding? It’s my favorite *because* it features me being upstaged by a monkey puppet.
As if the regular fundraiser video wasn’t great enough, we put together an outtakes reel which features much, much more of me and the monkey puppet.
Before you watch it, I need you to understand that before filming the video, I’d spent four days locked away with the manuscript of Slow Regard of Silent Things, making final edits and generally working myself down to a bloody nub. I went to bed around 10:00 AM, then woke up four hours later to go shoot the video. I was simply speaking, a shambling wreck.
That’s my only excuse.
During our Reddit AMA I tricked Amanda into committing to help me get the rest of the photo contest blogs done:
So we’re making a push to get those done too.
Because we hit our stretch goal of $110k, we’re throwing freebies into random orders.
Originally we were going to do this for 1 in 100 orders. But since the fundraiser was such a *huge* success, we’ve decided to do twice as many as that. We’ll be throwing in Magnets, notes from the team, games, coins, and other coolness. There will probably even be a extra few fancy things, just to make it interesting.
Don’t be a perv, you perv.
There have been a lot of questions coming in since the fundraiser ended. “Where can I get the FIRST Princess & Mr. Whiffle book?” “When will my stuff be arriving?” “Why is everyone on the Worldbuilders team so good-smelling?”
The Worldbuidlers Team beat me to answering those questions. There’s an IndieGoGo FAQ up over on the Worldbuilders website, as well as little blog of their own.
This is something I’ve known for a while, but I’ve been keeping it under my hat. Making sure I really liked it. Making certain I was sure of it. Names are important things, or so I hear.
But I can’t think of a better reason for letting it out of the bag than the delightful conclusion of this fundraiser.
The world is called Temerant.
Say it with me: Temerant.
P.S. I forgot. We’re going to be sending out fancy gold foil stickers with the books and some of the other rewards. (Maybe all the rewards.)
What do you think the stickers should say? “Geeks doing good?” “Summer 2014 – First into the breach!” “I made the world a better place and all I got was this sticker (and some swag)”?
Suggestions welcome below…
It’s been a while since I posted up a blog full of random interesting links.
Here’s a few having to do with my books:
It’s odd to me, showing up on the same list as Aldus Huxley, Angela Carter, and Margaret Atwood.
Again, very flattering company. And I like the quote they used. I remember writing that one and being proud of it.
Over the years, I’ve been described as the next Tolkien, the next Scott Lynch, the next George Martin…. And while it’s flattering, I’d really rather be the first Pat Rothfuss. I have much more experience being that.
Now that I post up these three links, I realize they’re all lists of some sort. Which makes me feel kinda awful. My only saving grace is that I didn’t find these by clicking through horrible clickbait websites. (You’ll never believe what these authors did! Number 5 will surprise you!)
Speaking of, have you seen The Onion’s new parody site? Clickhole?
(Click to Embiggen. Seriously.)
It’s lovely as only The Onion can be.
* * *
In other news, here’s an article on Facebook being a whole new kind of dick.
And a blog where Vi Hart is being a whole new kind of cool.
Lastly, many of you remember Tabletop episode where I played Lords of Waterdeep with Wil Wheaton, Brandon Laatsch, and Felicia Day.
(Don’t know what I’m talking about? You can see the original, delicious half-hour episode over here.)
I laughed my ass off at the original episode, but the game was edited down considerably to get it to be 35 minutes long.
If you were ever curious to see how the whole thing played out in detail. If you ever wanted more owlbear jokes. If you ever wanted to watch my terrifying strategy unfold like a delicate flower made entirely of razor wire and the screams of angels….
Well, now you can. Because they released the extended version of the episode. More than two hours of solid gaming goodness.
P.S. Have I mentioned something kinda awesome is happening on July 7th?
It is. It very is.
Stay tuned for details.
So I was at C2E2 last weekend, walking around the main hall with a friend, nodding and occationally fist-bumping readers who recognised me. (Too much hand-shaking leads to contagion at a convention.)
Eventually my friend asked, “What’s this Acquisiations Incorporated video people keep talking about?”
“I did a D&D thing with the guys from Penny Arcade and PVP last year,” I said. “We played a game at PAX Prime on stage. They taped it and put it online.”
“Why didn’t you put it up on your blog?” she said.
“I did,” I said.
“I’m pretty sure you didn’t,” she said.
I started to insist that I had, because I *remembered* doing it. I had a blast playing with them, and I even got Nate to do up some art for that blog post:
But then I closed my mouth because over the last two years I’ve come to realize that I *intend* to write about a lot of stuff on the blog. But in reality, I don’t actually get around to finishing about 80% of the blogs I mean to.
Right now, for example, I have over 200 blogs that are in their “Draft” form here on WordPress. I am the king of broken promises.
But no blog with a follow-up link to the video itself.
So, for those of you who are reluctant to go clicking around all higgledy piggledy, here’s the 8-part audio podcast that leads up to the on-stage event.
In my opinion, a lot of these are even better than what happens later in the video. The video is about 2 hours, but the podcasts all together are 4-5 hours of solid geeky fun. I’ve been role playing for more than 25 years at this point, and Mike, Jerry, and Scott are the best sort of folks to tabletop with. So funny and quick on their feet. And Chris Perkins as DM is absolutely brilliant….
For those of you who aren’t into the whole podcast thing, here’s a vastly abridged, somewhat bowdlerized animated version of the podcast.
And here’s the video of the PAX game itself.
[Warning: I sing.]
If you want to see *all* the delightful, shiny geekery, you can head over to the D&D website. Acquisitions Inc has been going strong for several seasons, and it’s all archived over there. So there’s plenty to keep you busy until May 15th when the next episode of Nightvale comes out….
As I write this, Worldbuilders has raised $617,000, crushing last year’s total.
Because of this maelstrom of support from the geek community, we blew through every stretch goal we had posted.
So yesterday I spent some time on the phone to see who else might be willing to help out. Brian Brushwood offered to teach me to eat fire. (Which is going to make for a great video not matter how it works out.) John Kovalic offered to make a mockery of me in his comic. Nate Taylor was willing to help me develop a new, more detailed map of the Four Corners world.
We posted up those new stretch goals… and passed them almost immediately.
So today we’re doing three things:
This last one shouldn’t come as a *huge* surprise for those of you who have followed our fundraiser in the past. Over the last couple years, it’s become kind of a tradition. In 2012 we extended things a week. In 2011, we extended things *two* weeks.
The difference is, in previous years we needed the extra time because… well… because I was trying to do everything myself, and I suck at organization. This year I was smarter. I’ve let the Worldbuilders team handle more and more. As a result, the fundraiser has been running smoothly and raising a ton of money….
And, because of *that* we’ve been getting media coverage over the last couple days. Which means folk are finding out about us just how and jumping onboard. We’re raising, on average, about $1,500 dollars an hour. Stopping our fundraiser right now, just as so many folks are hearing about it, seems a little silly.
So we’re extending it two days. Worldbuilders now ends the night of Feb 4th, midnight.
Just long enough for disorganized people like me to make last-minute donations.
Long enough to show you our newly unlocked stretch goals…
When Trey told us he’d take a selfie for his stretch goal, we thought it was a brilliant idea. After all, he’s a world-famous photographer. Seven million people follow him on Google+ to look at his pictures.
Then we saw what he did, and it was so much better than what we’d imagined.
(Click to enbiggen. Seriously.)
He also shot a video about his adventures setting up the shot. It’s a fabulous story that involves, among other things, the taxidermied sheep you see in the photo.
Scott and Elizabeth did not hold back on their true feelings on the second Hobbit film. As you can tell from the fact that their rage-filled video is well over an hour long.
If you needed another reason to love John Scalzi, here it is….
I swear, Hank came up with this on his own.
When Mary come up to Stevens Point to film this, I hadn’t yet read the erotic fanfic she’d written for our 175K stretch goal.
That’s right, I read it cold. So if I’m blushing there, you know why.
The truly amazing thing is how much she *nailed* my writing style.
This is the most dramatic thing I’ve seen in… maybe ever.
Brad filmed himself reading the riddle scene from The Hobbit out in the snow… in shorts and a t-shirt. Now, I’m a Wisconsinite… but honestly, even I probably would have worn pants for this.
In keeping with our Hobbit theme, Molly did an amazing cover of The Greatest Adventure.
It also got this song stuck in my head. For days.
It’s still there. But in all honesty, I don’t really mind.
This is a stretch goal Amber and I dared each other into during an interview.
We hit it, so now Amber and I will write the story of Deuteronomy Jones a “transsexual, plucky, red-headed vampire hunter.” And Lance Franklin. “Rogue warlock-in-hiding. Half-succubus. (On his mother’s side.) And also, a Calvin Klein model.”
I’ll be writing the female character. Amber’s doing the male.
Yeah. It’s going to be a thing….
The title here tells you everything you need to know….
* * *
If these acts of whimsy have amused you, you can help spread the word about Worldbuilders by sharing them around to your friends.
Feel free to let people know that every ten bucks they donate on the Worldbuilders Team Page, makes the world a better place AND gives you the chance to win a truly staggering number of rare, signed, or otherwise valuable books.
You can see *all* of our stretch goals here, including our new unlocked ones…..
So there you go.
Now, when you head into work tomorrow, and everyone is having the same boring conversation about Superbowl commercials, you can let your geek flag fly by saying, “That’s nothing, I saw Hank Green seduce a tree.” Or “Have you watched the video of Neil Gaiman reading Green Eggs and ham?”
Thanks for everything, folks. You’re all amazing.
As some of you have already seen, I was a guest on Wil Wheaton’s Tabletop a while back.
We played Lords of Waterdeep, and I had a great time.
To be completely honest with you, I wasn’t planning on watching the episode. After all, I was there. I know how the game played out. I bought the proverbial t-shirt.
But I wanted to hear Wil’s introduction to the game, so I started watching it.
And then I started laughing.
And then I kept watching it, and I kept laughing.
The truth is, I’d forgotten a lot of what had happened in the game. What’s more, they did an *amazing* job of editing it together.
And most importantly, Wil, Felicia, and Brandon were a fun group to play with. I love hanging out with quick-witted sharp-tongued people.
I ended up watching the whole thing eventually.
Here’s the episode if you’re interested….
My very favorite part was at the end when I screw up my cue….
Alternately, if watching cool, awesome, funny things isn’t really your bag. Here’s a little interview I did after the show. I talk about how I feel about board games and tell a cute story about my little boy, Oot.
Share and Enjoy,
Sorry for the Radio Silence here folks. In addition to the pleasant madness of the end of the Kickstarter, I also had a bunch of other things fall on me at the same time.
They included (but are not limited to) sickness, a car crash (everyone is fine), flight delays, cancellations, Worldbuilders running its first-ever serious booth at Origins, (blog to follow), seduction, piracy, storm, shipwreck….
I’m not going to dwell on any of that now. Suffice to say that in the end, it took me sixteen days to make it to Severen….
No. Wait. What was I talking about again?
Oh. Yeah. Radio Silence.
Today, I mostly wanted to thank all of you that stomped out and made the Kickstarter such a huge success.
I appreciate it. The folks at Albino Dragon appreciate it. Worldbuilders appreciates it.
And though they’ll never know the particulars, all the families that Heifer International will help with the money appreciate it too.
And it goes without saying that the success of this project will lead to more cool stuff in the future. He said tantalizingly…
There were a few things that I offered up as stretch goals in the Kickstarter. One was a video of me singing “I Crush Everything.”
The other was a video of me reading The Princess Book to Oot.
That second one will take a while, but I launched the I Crush Everything video on facebook a couple days before the end of the Kickstarter.
For those of you who missed it. I offer up to you…. this. A thing that I did.
Honestly, I haven’t listened to it, because I prefer to live firm in the illusion that the voice I hear in the shower is the same voice everyone else hears when I sing.
If it doesn’t…. well…. I would like to state that for the record, Shane kept cracking me up through the first several takes by doodling things. So my voice was pretty tired by this final take.
And also, I was sick as a dog when we recorded this. I was drinking tea with lemon and doing drugs just so I could perform.
And by drugs, I mean just regular drugs. Ibuprofen and pseudoephedrine.
And by perform, I mean sing. Perverts.
Okay. Enough equivocating.
Here it is: