Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Interview: Mike Myler & the Snow White Kickstarter

In my first Kickstarter interview I'm interviewing Mike Myler about the Snow White Kickstarter. It sounds pretty amazing, and judging by the promo pictures it's also going to look pretty fantastic. Read on to find out more about it!

And don't forget to check out the Snow White Kickstarter's Facebook page! If you like it, Like it! ;-)

Could you tell us a little bit about yourself? 

Yes! I live in Pittsburgh, I have a tuxedo cat named Felix, and if prompted, I could live off of Warhammer 40,000 novels instead of food. My major at Pitt was Film Studies, with minors in Classics and Philosophy. I'm also very allergic to milk and throw knives for sport. 

How did you get into RPG design and what kind of projects have you been working on? What have been your best experiences? 

Milady (Stephanie) convinced me to send out a few pitches, and after selling one piece I was hooked. Currently I'm working on the AaWBlog (which is an ongoing thing; we post new Pathfinder content daily), some fiction for Fantasy Flight Games, and designing N.O.W., a 1980-1990s action movie-inspired RPG to accompany the wildly successful O.L.D. is N.E.W. Kickstarter that EN Publishing just completed. 

Snow White cover
In your opinion, what makes a good Pathfinder RPG compatible product?

Awe. Be it from a highly dramatic sequence, really spectacular game mechanic, great characters, or fantastic, wondrous locales, if any game product doesn't do that, I feel it's falling short. Especially for Pathfinder, because you've pretty much got every tool at your disposal to design new content.
When and how did the Snow White Kickstarter get started?

Snow White has been in the works for quite some time. The core team at decided not long after the Rise of the Drow Kickstarter that this was going to be the next big project. It is consistently one of the best reviewed modules among the extensive catalog from, and the take that Jonathan Nelson and Stephen Yeardley have on the classic fairy tale (which they researched intensively) is genuinely fresh and interesting.

How did you join the Snow White Kickstarter and what is your role or position? 

First, I wrote an adventure for (the Damned Souls of Fenleist) and then sometime last year I became an important part of the company after taking over the AaWBlog. Now I weigh in on submitted pitches, do some art direction, edit many of the adventures, organize different writing projects, and probably some other stuff I'm forgetting about. Jonathan's included me as a part of the Kickstarter because I've been made to research them for months! I've been reading up on successful projects for some time and at Gencon 2013, I attended virtually every seminar I could (and most of them were about Kickstarters!) so I've been putting in my 2 cents from the first day Jonathan showed off the page to the rest of us! On top of promotion and general planning, when we fund I'll be editing the book (and I may have content as a stretch goal). 

What can you tell about the Snow White Kickstarter?

Snow White table of contents (click to enlarge!)
It is going to be amazing?! Jonathan Nelson and Stephen Yeardley put together a fantastic video that quickly puts what is at stake onto the table, the page itself is beautiful, and each and every level of pledges and stretch goals are compelling. There is a staggering host of industry celebrities involved, and now that Rise of the Drow is off to the printers and we're finishing all of that project out, all of the blood, sweat, and tears we pour into our products will be clear as day for everyone to see! 

[Editor's note: The video Mike mentioned will be available after the launch. I'll post an update about that when I know more! Meanwhile, have a look at this sneak peek of an advance print copy of the Rise of the Drow hardback. You'll know what to expect quality-wise!]

Can you give us an exclusive teaser about the Snow White Kickstarter? 

Well I'll have to run it by the boss, but this is going to be the quintessential fantasy adventure that puts all others to shame and I don't want to let the cat out of the bag. I think I can reveal one stretch goal that's already up on the page: Wolfgang Baur is designing some of the content (I won't say what! I may have already said too much!)

What are the best things about the Snow White Kickstarter and what type of players or GMs would you recommend it for?

The premium nature of the product. uses the highest quality materials in our hardcovers, hire the most talented artists and creative writers, maintain an exemplary discipline in execution, and go out of our way to satisfy our customers as quickly and efficiently as possible. There's an enormous amount of heart in each and every product and the people that buy our books know it. 

What are the current goals for the Snow White Kickstarter? What are the biggest challenges? 

We're ramping up for the launch and getting ready to spread the word far and wide! The last of the rewards for the Rise of the Drow Kickstarter are on the way to shipping in the near future (those 500 page books take a long time to dry!) and the real challenge is going to be making sure that ends smoothly as Snow White gains momentum!
Collectible, limited edition Snow White dice

Is there anything else people should know about the Snow White Kickstarter? 

It starts in June, it is amazing, there is a baffling number of major contributors involved, and it is absolutely not something you want to miss. This is the kind of book that only rolls around once in a while, and every gaming table it graces will be the better for it!

In your opinion, what are the most important things to consider when starting a Kickstarter?

A toss up between knowing who you want to pledge (and therein, reach) and who you're competing with. More than one Kickstarter has been primed to succeed but hamstrung by a bad video, or neglected because they didn't time the release at an opportune moment in the marketplace, or simply because they weren't shouting down the right canyons to the right people, so anyone that would have contributed never heard about it. Spend the time researching what you're doing and don't shirk from the task; what you invest will see a correlation with what others are willing to. 

What skills, tools or other resources do you consider to be the most important in running a Kickstarter? 

After helping out with Rise of the Drow? Experience. A company that's done a successful Kickstarter is a fearsome thing. Knowing the vast number of obstacles and challenges that come with this kind of territory is an enormously valuable asset I cannot expound upon strongly enough. Communication is also vital; every single website, seminar, and individual-in-the-know that I've talked to about Kickstarters say the same thing. Be honest, forthright, and transparent with your backers, or you will regret it.

Is there any further advice you would give to someone interested in running a Kickstarter?

Only to repeat myself: do your research, know what you're doing, and know who you want to help you do it. Communicate often and honestly. Being late is unfortunate, but being late and coming out of the blue will leave you in the lurch. Spend time on your video. Shoot it multiple times. Have a concise script. Look at what other successful Kickstarters have done and extrapolate how they did it. Invest yourself in your work.

And good luck!

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