2 for Tuesday #9: Kickstarter and Cosmothea… from the Heart

2-for-Tuesday-logoWelcome to another 2 for Tuesday. This week is going to be a little different. I decided to talk a little about what it means to me to put on a Kickstarter Project and then go a bit deeper for Part 2, and speak from my heart about Cosmothea and how I see it from where I’m sitting (I realize that you may see it quite differently, but the journey might still be interesting to you). Still with me? Great. Here we go!

Part 1: Kickstarter or Bust
For quite some time now, I’ve been researching Kickstarter – what it is, how it works, previous and existing projects, what everyone from successful Creators to those who have fallen on hard times have said about it all. I’ve spent several hundred hours eating, sleeping and breathing Kickstarter, or at least it feels like it. I have a lot riding on my upcoming campaign, but it’s been exhausting and I haven’t even started the campaign yet! I still have a ton to do before January’s launch. Oh, I’ll make it, but now I wish I had started working on it a year ago, instead of several months ago.

I don’t know how some people do it – that is, how they get sufficiently ready to launch. I say this because for every 10 articles I read about how to do it right, I find there’s a hundred more, and for every success story, there’s something like two or three sad stories. I also find that you can lose a week just researching reward fulfillment for a single reward and still not find a company that can do exactly what you want at a reasonable price (but I’ll tackle all these beasts and come up on top, mind you. I’m driven and I WILL get my homework done!)

Kickstarter is not an easy road and frankly I’d rather not be on it. I’d rather spend my own money to cover everything and then I could’ve used all that time I spent on preparing to run a campaign with no guarantee of succeeding, to finish up a novel or an initial release of the roleplaying game or a sourcebook. Ok, I couldn’t get that far in that amount of time, but you get the idea. Of course those require money too, and I don’t have enough of my own to get remotely close any more (thanks US economy for sucking the money out of my pockets – yeah, I know I wasn’t the only one hit hard and I won’t bore you with my sob story, nor will I let it stop me from working my tail off to bring you great products!)

So, for those of you who might be considering Kickstarter, realize that it’s a hard road, not a get rich quick scheme. It’s a full time job and it’s NOT for the feint of heart. Now, I’m not trying to be negative and discourage you. But if you are thinking about doing a Kickstarter, realize you will need to invest a lot of time over a long period. I recommend at least a good 6 months if you haven’t done it before (maybe more if you don’t have a fan base), and depending on your product – like if it requires complex parts/manufacturers and such, perhaps a year plus to get everything lined up, organized and accurate).

Just to be clear, I’m still very excited about our upcoming campaign for “Arcane Synthesis: A Blended-Genre Anthology”, even knowing that I still have hundreds of hours worth of work to do to get ready. I’m working very hard to put together a great product you will want on your bookshelf, and some great rewards to boot! I’m not slowing down, nor tiring out, but it is even more work than I thought, and I thought it was going to be a ton of work!

While some Kickstarter Creators pretty clearly don’t need Kickstarter (I’m looking at some of you extremely successful Creators and companies), I really do need Kickstarter’s help – rather, I need your help. Why do I, because I suck or my products suck? No, not really. American Idol, Youtube and other outlets for the undiscovered like self-publishing, have shown me that there are many talented people around the world that just need a break.

They just need to be given the opportunity; they need people to have faith in them and give them a chance, and then they can truly shine and everyone benefits. I’d like to think I fall in that same category (and where I lack, I bring on board other talented people to lend a hand), and am hoping you’ll stand with me and QT Games in the days to come, and that as my finances heal, I’ll be able to continue to support many of you as I have supported many others (both on Kickstarter.com and beyond over the years).

Part 2: Cosmothea… from the heart
I’d like to make something very clear about how I look at Cosmothea so as minimize misunderstandings. When I talk about Cosmothea, I’m usually talking about the whole package. To me, Cosmothea is the whole Cosmoverse (all the places, people, stories – the whole campaign setting and roleplaying game). Secondly, I’m talking about the finished product.

For example, right now, one of the things I’m doing is making a humongous Cosmoverse map, displaying prominent locations in 3 important Cosmothean galaxies, and even details on the cosmology. If I were to talk about that unfinished map, it wouldn’t make a whole lot of sense (to me at least) to say the map is stupid, because it’s only X% done and who wants a map that’s only X% done? See what I mean?

When I talk about Cosmothea, I have the whole vision in my head, everything on and offline and everything still sitting in my brain. I’m not just talking about the latest rules, which hasn’t even been implemented yet into the PlaybyPost game, only the tabletop, nor am I talking about only what I’ve revealed so far on this blog. I’m certainly not talking about older versions of the RPG you may have played, nor even only what is in the latest video I made. I’m talking the whole picture.

No one on the planet has seen my whole vision yet – they haven’t seen the full picture of what Cosmothea is. That’s one of my challenges that I’m seeking to rectify. Once I finish the RPG and campaign setting material, people will be able to see much more of the vision – enough to decide whether or not to play the game or adventure in the setting (if they spend some time checking it out), and enough of an idea as to whether they want to read our line of upcoming novels.

When they read Arcane Synthesis and watch the 3 videos I’m making, they’ll have a much better idea, but I can’t wait to share at least a good portion of the campaign setting material and the roleplaying game’s core release. I can’t wait to get my first trilogy on the market! I believe it will happen; to me, it’s more a matter of when.

Lord willing, one day I’ll be able to do just that. If that day never comes for the RPG and setting material, hopefully I’ll have several novels on the market that I can point to, they’ll say it rocks and be asking when the movie comes out. That’s the plan, anyway. After 34 years I can say I am not tiring of Cosmothea, I’m just getting more and more excited. And I’m not saying this because I’m “blindly in love with Cosmothea”, though I am very fond of it, of course.

It has many wonderful qualities, and IMO very solid potential, when I compare it to other settings and RPG’s out there, but it’s not finished. This latest version still has a long way to go to be truly great and in print. If I were working on it full time, it would get done a lot sooner. If I had a team of writers working on it like I did briefly on Cosmothea 4.0, we’d make a lot of headway and get it to you a lot sooner. I believe we can get there, but this silly finance thing has been dogging us for quite some time now. We need that break Kickstarter or some miracle could give us.

If that break never comes, I still won’t give up on Cosmothea. I’ll keep writing and keep designing. I don’t expect you to wait up for it, but I’d sure appreciate those of you who stick around for the ride, and I’m still confident that many of you will feel it was well worth the wait, but again, that’s because I see the full picture and have faith in it. Maybe you do, and maybe you don’t, but I hope you’ll stick around long enough to find out, and I appreciate that you’ve stuck with me this far! I’m not about to give up!

Looking for more on Cosmothea and don’t want to wait till next Tuesday to get it? We’re on facebook, Twitter and we have our own QT Games Forums. We’re also running a PbP which you are more than welcome to join or visit. Thanks all and have a great week and let me know your thoughts below. Thanks!

About Bob Whitely/QT Games

Welcome to QT Games! Mission Never publish junk or waste people's time. Publish only high-quality fiction and games. 'Nuff said. Company Overview QT Games LLC was created to publish blended-genre (fantasy blended with sci-fi, etc.) fiction, board, card and roleplaying games for a discerning gaming community. Unlike most small press, we have very strict standards: Only pro writing, pro editing and pro art. That means that if we can't get it right, we find someone who can. We pay well for what we don't do in-house. We don't cut corners on quality. This means we stand to make less money than other small publishers, but that's okay with us. We value your time and money, so we're willing to take the bullet. We've designed a large number of games and written a pile of stories. Now we're polishing some of them and getting them out the door. 'Bout time, we know. Good stuff ahead!
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2 Responses to 2 for Tuesday #9: Kickstarter and Cosmothea… from the Heart

  1. VOID RPG Admin says:

    Very much looking forward to this project that you are looking at releasing. [Also, thanks for the support on our blog]. This is a very encouraging and realistic post that I greatly found beneficial. We have been researching Kickstarter and working on our project for over half a year, and have the same goal of bringing something to the gaming community that is worthwhile – and not just junk to publish or something to “get rich” with. Please keep us updated as you move closer to launching your project. We would love to be a support!

  2. cosmothea says:

    Thanks for the kind comments VOID RPG Admin. I do look forward to hearing more about your project as it rolls along, so I’ll be keeping an eye on your blog.

    I originally planned to run a Kickstarter for Cosmothea’s Initial Release (Core Books: Foundation, Gear and Encounters), but ultimately decided we needed a larger fan base and more street cred before asking for more money to do the bigger RPG project. Kickstarter is so much work and complicated, especially without a rich family or big fan base up front, that I’m pleased with the decision. I’d love to get the RPG and setting out sooner, but I think I’m on the right path.

    Thanks also for your interest in our Kickstarter, and please do let me know when you plan to launch your Kickstarter as well! I’m in no hurry to put the RPG or setting material on the market. I insist upon very high production values and high quality material that’s well playtested, and that takes a good amount of time. With so many RPG’s out there, we indie developers need to spend a good amount of time “getting it right” to increase our odds of success. We also need to be different enough from what’s out there and not just different for the sake of being different. There’s many elements that need to be in place to even begin to have a chance at success.

    One of the decisions I made early on (I’m on my 5th major overhaul of the system and setting expansion to boot), was that I wanted the game to appeal to others, not just myself. This might seem obvious, but a lot of game designers are designing a game they want to play and don’t worry all that much about making sure it is the sort of game others will want to play. They assume as much, but we need to build for a larger audience, especially if we want a larger fan base to support Kickstarters and printing. Simply making another version of what’s already out there isn’t enough. We need to be better in some ways and come off as fresh and creative – and also professional. Well, good luck with your project and see you online!

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