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Hard as it is to believe, a fortnight flown by since I hit the big green button that put my Kicstarter campaign for The Littlest Shoggoth into motion. A lot has happened during the past two weeks. I've been almost constantly at work on some portion of the fund raising effort—managing the process on the Kickstarter website, communicating with backers directly, writing updates (for Facebook, Twitter, and the official product website), sending out press releases, laying out ads, researching and negotiating pricing for some ancillary Shuggoth products (more about those later in the week), and preparing to begin work on the color version of the art. Honestly, people TOLD me that running a Kickstarter would be a full-time job, but I didn't really BELIEVE them until now. I doubt I'm going to get much done on any projects until the Kickstarter campaign wraps up on December 16th. As we prepare to roll into Week 3, let's take a moment to take stock of where things are, and where they're headed. FUNDING PROGRESS Early in Week 2 the funding level crested the $5,000 mark, and it finished the week just a little north of $6,300, meaning that, barring a complete reversal of fortunes, this drive will be successful—a new print version of The Littlest Shoggoth WILL be made. And I owe a huge debt of gratitude to EVERYONE who gave (either of time or money) to help back this effort. Thank you, one and all, truly and from the bottom of my heart. This week I also announced the first stretch goals—the most important of them being $10,000 and $13,000 which, if reached, would allow me to print the book in color and hardcover. I'll be honest and say that those have always been the goals I've wanted to reach, and the version of the book I want to present to the world. But it seemed best to approach the Kickstarter process in stages, and set a lower initial goal, even though it represents a somewhat less prestigious product. Fortunately, we seem well positioned to reach those stretch goals, if the trends continue as they are. FUNDING TRENDS As often happens with Kickstarter drives, the rate of pledging has begun to drop off as we move into the middle of the campaign. Other projects have shown up on (new "shinies" for people to get excited about), and this drive is still has a relatively long way to go (so there's no real urgency for people to put their pledges in immediately). The trick, really, is to find a way to reverse this immediate trend, and get people excited about the project during THIS week. In fact, while we seem to be in a good position to hit our current stretch goals, if nothing is done to boost the pledge trends, it is highly UNLIKELY we'll do much more than that. The key lies in making more people aware of the project. The Littlest Shoggoth is the kind of book that engenders a strong and immediate reaction. Either it's the kind of thing that appeals to you and you'll want to buy a copy, or it holds no appeal and buying a copy isn't even something you'll want to consider. There isn't a lot of middle room. Therefore, the most important part of fundraising is to spread the word as far and wide as possible—to make sure that as high a number of people as can be managed have the opportunity to see The Littlest Shoggoth and have that moment of instant realization that it is (or isn't) the kind of thing they like. If I can manage to change the trend and increase the number of NEW people who are seeing this Kickstarter campaign for the first time, then the trend in actual funds being raised will surely and naturally rise as well. The question is, HOW can those trends be reversed? NEXT STEPS One thing I did this holiday weekend was to make up banner ads promoting The Littlest Shoggoth, and I'll be buying some ad space on the Gamerati Ad Network, so you should see them popping up on sites like ENWorld, RPGNet, Kobold Quarterly, and Gnome Stew (among many others). If you have a site and would like to run a banner ad for the campaign, leave a message below and tell me how to contact you. Another thing I did this weekend was work up a page of fliers for the Kickstarter campaign. A colleague who runs a game store said that he would like to have such a thing to put next to the cash register and hand out to Cthulhu-friendly customers. I'm further going to print up a bunch myself and see if I can't get some of the local game, comic, and book stores in my area might do the same. Of course, the wider we can propagate this practice, the more eyeballs we can reach. So if you'd like to try it it in your hometown, you can download the fliers, print them out yourself, and distribute them anywhere that you have permission to. On top of that, I'll continue my blogging, Tweeting, Facebooking of Shoggoth-related information, and looking for various news sights and podcasts that might be interested in covering our product and progress. I'm hoping that as people start talking more and more about holiday-appropriate gifts, The Littlest Shoggoth will begin to get a little more attention. As always, if you have any connections with folks in decision-making positions at those sorts of institutions, I'd love to get an email of introduction (or simply have you talk up The Littlest Shoggoth to them, just cuz you luvs it so). MORE, MORE, MORE As a bit of pre-news, I plan later this week to announce a couple of "add-ons"—items that you can ADD to your upcoming rewards by paying a little bit extra money to your existing pledge. Honestly, I don't want to go too heavily in this direction . . . it seems a little rude to target the people who have already pledged money, just to see if I can squeeze a few dollars more out of them. However, these are pretty much all things that people have asked me about already. And I'm not going to twist anyone's arm to try to coerce them into giving more. Also, I'm going to be leapfrogging the stretch goals. We're still a ways from completing the $10,000 stretch goal, let alone the $13,000 one . . . but I still I plan to announce my "big picture, blue sky" $20,000 stretch goal, and even a few beyond that. My hope is that these will be so exciting that they will significantly BROADEN the base of people interested in contributing to the campaign. So, you see, there's a lot coming down the pike this week. Peek back in from time to time, I'll try to have interesting things for you to read. And while you're out in the big, bad world . . . I'd take it as a kindness if you gave thought to helping to spread the word about The Littlest Shoggoth Kickstarter. If everyone who reads this just gives one little shout-out sometime during the week . . .  well  . . . I KNOW it would be a BIG help. Thanks!

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