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Kickstart the Progress City Primer

Kicking Off…

Today I’m kicking off something that I have considered, with some trepidation, for a while now – I’ve posted a new project to Kickstarter with the goal of publishing a new Disney history book. I’ll admit that while I’m a huge fan of Kickstarter in general, I’ve been iffy about entering “the market” myself – I don’t know why, but it feels kind of hubristic to assume that anyone would want to pay to hear anything I had to say – but enough folks have whispered in my ear about it that I’m taking the plunge.

First, for those of you who don’t know, Kickstarter is one of several sites that enable crowdfunding – the ability for a group of people to pledge funding for a project they would like to see come to fruition. I’m a huge fan, as it has not only allowed thousands of creative individuals to find an audience, but it has allowed established creators of beloved properties – be they games, film, television, or books – to revive classic stories that had been turned away by mainstream publishers. It’s a way of getting around the gatekeepers, and to prove that there is an audience out there for products that corporate decision makers might just not understand. Major successes have included the revival of the cult classic Veronica Mars, as well as the return of a number of highly-respected, veteran game designers.

What happens is that you have a set amount of time (in this case, 30 days), to reach a set financial goal (in this case, $1,500). Interested parties can pledge funding as they please, and if the funding goal is met in time they pay up and the project is funded. Depending on the pledge amount, and the project, contributors get rewards for their donations – in this case, that reward is a book.

So why am I doing this? Well for a while now (more than a while) I’ve been working on a few ideas for different books focusing on aspects of Disney history. And I’d like to kick things off with a collection of stories that I call The Progress City Primer. This new book will collect existing history-based stories from this site and elsewhere and update and expand them, while also adding completely new material. And, hopefully, it will just be the first in a series.

The reason I’m not just sneaking it to market is that without a bit of upfront funding it could take me a while to get it out, and I’m eager to get things moving. If the project is funded this way, it comes out quicker and nicer. And contributors get a copy of the book when it’s done.

Again I’m not keen on making too big a fuss about anything, but I think there’s a potential to do some cool stuff and get some new Disney books out there, and this seemed like it might be a fun way to do it. I have no shortage of ideas for “stretch goals”, so any extra funding above the target amount will be squirreled away specifically to fund more future content and products. I have several ideas, but I don’t want to get too big for my britches before I see if anyone is actually interested in all this.

So… if this sounds amenable to you, I would endlessly appreciate it if you headed on over to Kickstarter to make a donation. While you can contribute any amount, $15 will get you an e-reader copy of the book and $30 gets you a physical copy. If you’re feeling particular sassy, $200 will earn you the right to give me an assignment to write an article about the topic of your choice. I’ve also added a $1,000 tier just in case anyone has a business, site, or product and wants to sign on as a “participating sponsor”. I figured if it was good enough for Epcot, it’s good enough for me.

And if you’re not interested or can’t contribute, I would absolutely appreciate it if you shared the link among your Disney-centric friends and social networks. That would be swell.

Thanks again, and sorry for the rampant commercialism – I do think it’ll be pretty neat if we can make it happen, though. If you have any suggestions, or any ideas for future products you’d like to see, or even suggestions for further reward tiers, let me know. And, again, thank you!

Kickstarter Link

UPDATE: Well, that escalated quickly. We beat the goal in less than an hour, so we have a whole month left to push some stretch goals. I’m agog – you guys are fantastic. For the next tier, at $5,000, I’d like to invest in the studio time & equipment needed to record an audiobook and a few new podcasts. Of course, extra money will go to finishing this current book and pushing forward with the next, but audio is the concrete goal for $5k. And there will be more to follow if we’re lucky enough to top that. Again, if you have any suggestions for stretch goals or other rewards let me know.

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5 comments to Kicking Off…

  • weepstah

    Michael,

    Glad the campaign has gone so well, and happy to keep pushing it along.

  • C33

    Michael, any chance you can include color art/photos as a stretch goal? Also, I’d really recommend putting some of that money toward an outside copyeditor—no offense to your writing, which I think is terrific. Still, some self-published Disney books (coughProjectFuturecough) really would have benefited from the help.

    • Yes, I’ve already arranged for editors; that was one of the considerations that led me to do it this way. Even though I wish I could have faith in my own OCD proofreading abilities haha…

      As for color art/photos, I’ve had a few requests for that, but I don’t think it’s going to be feasible this time out. I might consider adding it as a very high stretch goal, but it would require an entirely different production pipeline. Still, I’ll keep looking in to it to see if it’s at all possible. Thanks for the ideas!

  • Sounds like a cool project! And while I hate to be “that guy”–I believe it’s pronounced “prim – er”, not “prime – er”. http://v.gd/cxfAN0

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