A Select Opportunity: The Secretariat Approach
In the movie, Secretariat, there’s a moment when the farm is on the line, Secretariat’s future as a race horse is at stake, and Penny Chennery is forced to lay it all on the line as she attempts to sell breeding shares at a ridiculously high price (at the time) in order to cover the costs of saving the farm. Together with her faithful secretary and the son of her father’s late friend, she sets out to convince a bunch of wealthy men to do something which several of them refer to as “preposterous.” She promises them a triple crown winner from their investment. She gives them a “select opportunity” as she calls it. She puts it all on the line.
No one buys it.
Then there’s Ogden Phipps. He’s only the richest man in America (at the time) and doesn’t want anything to do with her plan. He offers her millions for the horse. She turns him down. And then something remarkable happens. He agrees to buy a breeding share (though you only see this afterward and not on camera). From there, it is a different story for the other potential investors. They jump on board and Penny is able to get the money she needs to save the farm and let Secretariat (the horse) go on to compete as a triple crown contender. All the wealthy men who’d previously said “no” have seen someone they trust take the leap into the unknown.
It is truly a great story.
Why am I telling you this? Well, I have a “select opportunity” to offer of my own. If you follow me on any of the social media outlets, you’ve heard about the board game my publisher is developing based off my novel, Sands. It’s a great little game I like to describe as Dominion meets Risk. Though the rules themselves are simple, there is strategy, maneuver, and a lot of good, clean fun involved in the process. The game itself is suitable for just about any age and can be understood and played without having read the book (though it’s more fun if you have).
Here’s the thing though. Games are expensive things to develop and create. In order to help front these costs, my publisher is putting together a Kickstart campaign in the next few weeks. What’s a Kickstarter campaign? Essentially, Kickstarter is a type of crowdfunding based around various levels of patronage or “investment” in a given project from those wanting the product offered or to just support the project itself and its creators. You remember all those Jerry Lewis telethons? It’s like that, with different things you can get (like the game itself other upgrades to it) depending on your level of contribution to the cause, except with a more modern flair and without the bad Ed McMann and Jerry Lewis jokes. If you’d like to look a little more into Kickstarter projects specifically designed around games, here’s a very well organized one that Patrick Rothfuss is doing for a game from his books you can look over.
Kickstarters are a unique animal. They’re essentially a look into how social media and the instant communication of today’s society can help small projects like these get off the ground. The first week of a project really needs to go well for the momentum to build in such a way as to achieve the end goal by the time the project ends. If the communication isn’t there, the news isn’t spread, the investors aren’t ready, or if they just don’t want to take that leap into the unknown, the project fails. That’s a rather unpleasant thought.
Success of a Kickstarter project happens via the “Select Opportunity” Method. The average person isn’t going to decide to invest in the project because I tell them about it or even invite them to participate. I’m not someone they know and trust. Here’s the thing though. There is someone they will trust. There’s an Ogden Phipps out there for them. Guess what, it’s YOU.
For your friends, family, and coworkers, YOU are someone they know and trust to give them recommendations and ideas for what to do with both their time and their money. YOU are the gatekeepers, the awe-inspirers, and the “richest” ones they know. It starts with YOU.
Between now and when the Kickstarter begins, I’m going to be doing my best to spread the word. I have an email list set up to track everyone interested in hearing news about the game and the project and who will become the Ogden Phipps characters for this Kickstarter project. Many of you are already part of my normal email list, but this one will be exclusively for the Kickstarter projet. This is the signup form:
Then, share the link with at least 5 of your friends who like games and/or fantasy novels. Get them to sign up and have them reach out to at least 5 of their friends as well. Share this email/post with everyone you know. Have them sign up as well. Share it on your social media. Keep it going as long as you can. I have high hopes for this. I expect to have at least 500 people on the list by June 1st. Why? Because I have faith in YOU and your ability to be that tipping point for those around you.
What am I going to do while you’re doing that? Well, I’m going to be doing the same thing as well. Join me on my FB Author Page (link), Twitter (@kevinlnielsen), or Instagram (@kevinlnielsen) to talk about the game as the developers iron out the initial prototype – I’ll be talking about it and the other projects I’m working on throughout this month. I’m finishing up Book 3 in the series this game is based on while doing all this. I’ll be on podcasts, at conferences, and even YouTube videos spreading the word and letting everyone else know about this “select opportunity”, while balancing my full-time day job as well. Between us, we can make this project into as resounding a success as Secretariat’s triple crown victory was and, together, enjoy the same level of success.
Now, let’s all go out and be someone else’s Odgen Phipps!
I will update this page with the Kickstarter information once I have the direct link (most likely early June).