This feels strange. I’ve got a bunch of client work out of the way for the day, and now it’s time for me to settle down and start actually working for myself. Well, actually I’m working for the 110 people who have funded Dreamcast Worlds and are expecting some good results from me. That’s even stranger.
I’m nervous, overwhelmed, excited, and did I mention nervous?
So, what comes next? I’m partly writing this to answer a question other people are asking me, and partly writing it to make sense of it myself.
I’ve written up a short run-down of how the campaign went and how much money I actually raised once the projected cost of reward fulfillment is taken into account. I’ll publish that here and maybe on Gamesbrief too when I feel ready.
There’s a lot more thank-you cards to write, because of the huge groundswell of support in the final two days of the campaign. For the first time I’m going to have to actually get myself to a craft shop and buy some materials for these, as I’ve come out to the USA to spend some time with my partner and I’ve left my rapidly depleting hoard of pretty paper, card stock, inks and calligraphy nibs in Blighty.
And, of course, there’s writing to be done. I plan to spend 6 weeks working on the three chapters I have already written, getting them suitable for general publishing. At the same time I’ll be replaying Shenmue and Phantasy Star Online in preparation for the big, serious work of writing two new chapters. After the first three chapters are in reasonable shape, I’ll spend three months writing and researching the final two chapters, and then spend however long it takes perfecting the whole book. If it takes longer then it takes longer – I won’t cut corners at the expense of the book’s quality.
If I had gone down the conventional publishing route, and if my book had been taken up by a publisher, then I would have an editor to advise me through this process based on their intuition of what the audience for this book wants to see. I’m at both a disadvantage and an advantage in this regard. I don’t have the benefit of years of industry experience and insight into what makes a book brilliant, but I do have direct access to my most dedicated audience.
So, I’m in an ideal situation to carry out an experiment in crowd-editing. In a couple of weeks, I’m going to release a short extract from the work-in-progress, and host an open, online ‘work-in-progress seminar’ (or WIP, as we called them in grad school) to which all backers will be directly invited by email. Each seminar will revolve around one question raised or addressed by the text, and I want to hear opinions on both the text and the question at hand. My hope is that this will be interesting for the participants, will generate discussions that continue outside the seminar itself, and will help me to understand what issues Dreamcast Worlds has to deal with in order to satisfy its readers.