Posted on September 18, 2012 by Billzilla
Matt Forbeck is an award-winning game designer and author whose most recent endeavor, “12-for-12”, is a personal challenge issued to himself to write a novel a month for an entire year. I caught up with Matt after his most recent Kickstarter campaign concluded to ask him how things were going.
You’ve run a number of highly successful Kickstarters in support of your 12-for-12 initiative; what’s the most important thing you’ve learned about running a Kickstarter project?
It’s a lot more work than you think. While I ran my Kickstarters, they seemed to suck up every bit of time I had as I kept thinking about ways to improve them. That’s especially true toward the end, when you’re either getting desperate to hit your goals or thrilled that you’ve shot past them.
How’s progress on the 12-for-12 novels – are you keeping pace?
I’m a bit behind but with good reasons. First, as I mentioned, I underestimated how much effort goes into running a Kickstarter drive, and I’ve run four of them in under a year now. Second, my family had a terrible flu knock us flat in the spring, and that blew about a month for me. Third, I took a month to write The Con Job the first novel based on the Leverage TV show. That may not have been wise, but the deal had been in the works for a couple years — and I love the show, and one of the showrunners (John Rogers) is a friend of mine — so I tackled it anyhow.
I also took a chunk of time this summer to revise the first four novels and get them into my backers’ hands. I didn’t want to get three or four Kickstarters down the line and have my backers standing there without anything to show for their trust, so I carved out that time to get them their books fast. Now I’m back to writing fast once more, and I hope to be able to wind the whole project up by the end of the year still.
What inspired you to launch this project?
Having published games in the past, I wanted to try my hand at self-publishing novels too. The most successful people doing that are those who have a full line of books for their fans to grab, and I needed a way to jumpstart a wide list of titles fast. I knew I could write the books that quickly, but I couldn’t just take the time off to do it. That’s where Kickstarter came in. By reaching out through that to my fans, I was able to line up enough pledges to make the project work. Otherwise, I’d still be thinking about how cool it would be to give it a go. I really owe every bit of the project’s success to my backers.
12 novels in 12 months is a LOT of work for anyone; are you planning to take time off from writing after the 12-for-12 project is completed?
Writing’s my day job, so that’s like asking if I’m going to take time off from feeding and housing my children. I may switch off from novels for a bit to concentrate more on things like comics and games, but I won’t ever stop writing. It’s what I do.
If someone unfamiliar with your work wanted to start reading Matt Forbeck novels, which one would you point to as being the best example of your work? Is that also your favorite book of all the novels you’ve written?
That’s a tough call. I write in lots of different genres, so I’d suggest you choose the books that fit into the genres you like best.
Amortals, for instance, is a near-future science-fiction action novel with lots of social commentary. Vegas Knights is an urban fantasy set in Sin City. Carpathia is a historical horror yarn set on the Titanic. My Brave New World trilogy is about a superhero revolution in an off-kilter USA.
After that, my upcoming 12 for ’12 books include Hard Times in Dragon City (in a fantasy noir setting called Shotguns & Sorcery), Dangerous Games (thrillers set at Gen Con, the massive tabletop gaming convention), and Monster Academy (YA fantasy novels set in a reform school for monsters). It’s all over the map, but if you like fast-paced adventure stories of one kind or another, I hope to have you covered.
Do you plan to continue self-publishing exclusively, or will you be working with a publisher as well?
I still enjoy working with publishers on the right projects. The Leverage novel, for instance, is coming out from Penguin, and I’m discussing other books with other big publishers too. I don’t see a reason I can’t do both, at least for now. We’re on the cusp of a massive change in the way we create books, and I’m happy to straddle that for as long as I can.
Do you have a project in mind for next year to top the 12-for-12 thing?
I have all sorts of ideas, but at the moment I’m keeping my nose to my keyboard and hammering out these books I owe my backers. Including the production and revisions of those books, that’s sure to run into 2013, but keep an eye peeled for new things next spring or summer.
Many thanks to Matt for taking time out of his insane schedule to answer a few questions. For more info on Matt Forbeck, his novels or his other writing work, check out his web site: Forbeck.com
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