Blog for Stephanie Bryant, a writer with too many hobbies and not enough time.

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Threadbare is LIVE! (And some behind-the-scenes marketing talk)

As of last Wednesday, Threadbare is LIVE on Kickstarter!

If you don’t know, Threadbare is my role-playing game about broken toys in a broken world. It has a stitchpunk/maker aesthetic, but focuses on creating and building, rather than tearing things apart.

I’ve written about it quite a bit here in the blog, and I’m very excited that the game is finally live and funding.

But let me chat a little bit about one of the things I’ve done to promote my Kickstarter. Aside from telling everyone I know, and being a little shameless about podcasts and interviews, of course.

As you might or might not know, many years ago, I wrote a fantasy world-building guide, and then later I wrote a 30-day guide for world-building. For several years, I’ve had an “ad box” on those pages, quietly drawing revenue from Project Wonderful, which is an ad-share service largely focused on the webcomic and geek markets. It doesn’t do popups, and  I used it to promote Handknit Heroes a bit, but found that it was just a nice trickle of revenue that I left in my Project Wonderful account. Over the years, that has accumulated to a small sum in my account, money which I didn’t have to actually put into the account.

On Sunday, I posted an ad for Threadbare on the site and started spending what’s in my account. I’ve already had one sale due to the ads, which have been shown over 130,000 times (click through rate isn’t great, though). I was able to target them somewhat towards games/gaming, crafting, and writing sites. Most importantly, though, this didn’t cost me anything right now, when I’m trying to promote this Kickstarter without breaking the bank.

#RPGaDay 14: Favorite RPG Accessory

product_aOK, so I still don’t own an All Rolled Up yet, and the rest of my accessories are fairly standard things like pencils and index cards. However, even though the Kickstarter was mismanaged and resulted in missing out on some key stretch goals (notably the post-it-sized cards, which I really really wanted for games), my Letterforms dry erase notebook is high on my list.

It’s 24 pages of blank dry erase pages, with 4 subtle grid-lined pages in the back. The cover is solid– it’s a very heavy cardstock that holds up well– solid enough that I use it like a clipboard. It comes with a single Staedler fine-tipped dry erase marker. I wish it had come with 2 dry-erase markers as promised, but it’s not the end of everything. The fine-tipped marker dries out quickly and has to be re-capped a lot during games and such.

letterformsI backed the Kickstarter for $30 (including shipping), and the notebook today is available for just $18+shipping. There are passport and mini sizes, so if you are a "dry erase index card" kind of person, you can get a 4×6 notebook and your kit will be fairly portable.

Kickstarter Round-Up

Over on the G+, some folks have been posting about their late-delivering Kickstarters, whether they’re still excited about the rewards, etc. It’s tough when you back a project and, a year later, you realize that you just aren’t that into that style of game anymore. I backed Deluxe Tunnels & Trolls, but I’ll probably never play it– the past 2 years have shown me that I’m just not a dungeon crawl player (GM, yes– player, no).

Anyway, I have backed 185 projects, most of which successfully funded. Here’s a current roundup "state of the KS" post. For reference, I don’t do much with IndieGoGo or GoFundMe.

I’m not going to link to all of these projects, but you can see them all in my Kickstarter profile. I will admit to having backed a project primarily to fill out the categories pie chart… but I love the project I backed (an apron inspired by Snow White).

Continue reading Kickstarter Round-Up

If at First You Don’t Succeed, Harness the Sun to Do Your Bidding

Last weekend, a friend of mine and I worked on a solar panel kit I got through the Solar Pocket Factory project I backed on Kickstarter a while back.

We had previously created a working prototype with bobby pins, but with the extremely fragile solettes being unattached and unprotected, this isn’t a viable permanent solution:

2014-09-13 14.02.38

So, we set about gluing each of the solettes down.

2014-09-13 14.15.522014-09-13 14.15.37

After each solette, we tested using a multimeter.

2014-09-13 14.17.09

2014-09-13 14.30.10

When the last one was glued down, the readings went haywire. Where before, we were getting a consistent 5-6v, now we were fluctuating between 1 and 3. Something was introducing unexpected resistance. We suspected the last couple of panels may have had glue problems, so I surgically sliced out the offending panel (shattering it… we ended up using every one of that particular size of panel, between breakage and the sheer number of them we needed to get a consistent 5v current).

After fixing that I did my first soldering ever, and soldered the wires to the copper tape. Ta da! That was pretty easy; my friend is a very good teacher.

We did a bunch of materials tests with the plastics that came in the kit, especially since I didn’t understand at first what the EVA and PET sheets were for. The Solar Pocket Factory kit is awesome, but it doesn’t tell you which sheets are which, or what side should be up or down (there’s a right and wrong side on these things). The documentation is weak, at best. Really great if you are, say, a solar engineer. Not so great if you are a home project do-er who is trying something out for $35 or less.

The plan was to solder some wires onto the copper tape and run the charge through some stuff (we haven’t gotten there yet), connect to a micro-USB plug, and charge my kindle from this amazing little panel.

I know, you can buy a solar panel charger for USB devices fairly cheaply. That’s not the point. I got to learn stuff with this project! I soldered!

Anyway, we patiently worked on the materials part, melting plastic and damaging an ironing board in the process. Finally, we figured out which pieces go where, and put it all together. Carefully, so as not to break the solettes with the weight of the iron, I ironed the solar panel.

We tested it with the multimeter. 0.0. Took it outside. 0.0.

Something had gone terribly wrong.

Disappointed by undaunted, I twisted the wires together and announced “Christmas tree ornament!”

2014-09-13 15.37.19

We’re still troubleshooting and haven’t given up. It’s obvious that something is wrong with the plastics, and we’re going to look into giving these an acetone bath to recover the solettes (now that we’ve confirmed that won’t damage the solettes), then re-trying with layers of epoxy to seal the panel.

Moral of the story: Sometimes, projects don’t work. That’s okay.

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