Keeping it low-key

by Paul Morrison

Anticipating a book or project about the games we loved in our school years is always exciting, isn't it? You always wonder just who or what will be featured, what they might say, if there will be any screen shots of your favourite gaming moments of yesteryear.

They rarely disappoint, either. For anything that's missing, there will usually be several things you'd forgotten about. You always end up with that warm glow of nostalgia.

Nowadays, going back to Kickstarter, there's plenty of excitement long before the book is in your sweaty paws. Regular updates let you know of new features or additional contributors, helping to ratchet anticipation to something close to fever pitch.

It's harder for me to do that. I already have a decent number of people who have agreed to contribute... you just might not know it yet. I don't know exactly how Kickstarter works, but I can imagine that as soon as you ask someone if they will contribute and they say "Yes", it's in your best interests to announce that so you can draw in the backers.

I don't feel like that's something I can do. As far as I'm concerned, a person isn't a contributor until I have their answers to my questions saved safely onto my hard drive. I'll give you a bit of insight into my process.

It's great when you find somebody's contact details. Excitedly, you email or message them, asking if they'll answer some questions. Please. Pretty please with a cherry on top, if needs be.

Fortunately, most say "Yep, sure". At that point I could blurt it out to you all... but that's just the beginning. I will then spend some considerable time coming up with questions specifically for that person. It can take quite a while!

What you have to realise is that, due to the nature of this project, I'm asking people quite a lot of questions. I expect that when some of them open the questions document, they think "Bloody hell!". From then, it might be months before I get their full reply.

I'm fine with that. Nobody really wants to sit down and write something of that magnitude in one go. I'll wait as long as is necessary, because it's important to the quality of my book. But until I get those answers, I will not announce that person as a contributor.

There's also the element of surprise. Do you want to get this book, already knowing everybody who will be in there? Or would you like to turn a page and be surprised and delighted at what or who you see? I think there needs to be an element of that, too.

Rest assured, I have questions out with a fairly substantial number of people, several of whom have not been interviewed for any of the recent books or projects you might have seen. I'm excited to hear what they have to say. I know you will be, too. Stick with me and I know you will be rewarded.