The Kickstarter to fund The Serpent King's Domain has closed to the accompaniment of tickertape, fanfare and the popping of champagne corks. Although the campaign was run by Megara Entertainment, not by me and Jamie, naturally we're delighted to see that there's still life in that series we created two decades ago. And there are some people we need to thank for that.
First Mikael Louys, founder of Megara Entertainment, who has been a champion for the Fabled Lands series for many years. Mikael isn't just the prime mover of Megara and the guy who nagged us until we agreed to do it, though. He also now has the hard work of typesetting, printing and shipping out all those books. If you've seen any of Megara's collector's edition hardbacks you'll appreciate that they take quite a bit of set-up, and that's all down to Mikael. It's no exaggeration to say that without his energy and enthusiasm, this Kickstarter would never have happened. So a big thank you, Mikael!
Thanks also to Richard S Hetley, who has planned and run the Kickstarter campaign as well as catching typos and keeping everybody calm and civil to each other through the fraught times of bitten nails, torn hair and clacking worry-beads. I have always admired Richard, but never more so than in the last month. His ability to remain courteous, good-tempered, professional and insightful, often in extremely trying circumstances, has won the respect of the whole creative team. If you want to hire Richard to run your own Kickstarter, or for his skills as an editor of books and games, go right ahead - you'll never regret it. Just leave him some time free to work with us, won't you?
Then there are our artists, Kevin Jenkins and Russ Nicholson. When we relaunched the Fabled Lands series a few years ago, we asked Kevin about reproducing his magnificent cover paintings. He was right in the middle of work on a motion picture (possibly Thor: The Dark World - see picture above) but he spent a precious weekend getting the paintings out of the loft, remounting them, and photographing them for us. When we offered payment, Kev wouldn't hear of it. A world-class talent and a thorough gentleman into the bargain.
And Russ, of course, is really the third member of the Fabled Lands creative core team. It's inconceivable that there could be a new FL book without Russ to bring the scenes to life visually in his fluid, characterful and imaginative style. Bear in mind that any Kickstarter for a print book has only a very narrow "profit margin", so Megara can't afford to have as many illustrations as in the original Pan Macmillan books of the 1990s, but thanks to Russ for clearing his schedule in order to produce a new batch of dazzling pictures and maps.
At the head of all of those guys, Paul Gresty is the one who actually has to write the book. He's doing that for next to nothing (that imaginary profit margin again) and he already wrote the demo for free. Writers often have to labour for nothing but a thank you, and sometimes not even that. So huge thanks, Paul - we know that the Fabled Lands is in safe hands with you.
And naturally we also want to thank everybody who actually pledged to make the campaign a success. But out of all those wonderful folks I particularly want to tip my hat to Gavin Orpin (who backed The Frankenstein Wars KS that we did with Cubus Games recently) and Ella Jennings, who gave freely of her time to advise the Megara team on how to turn their publicity machine up to eleven.
No time to rest now, though. As one door closes, another swings open - and already the Kickstarter for The Good, the Bad and the Undead by Ashton Saylor and Jamie Thomson is shooting towards its target. Check out the demo here. And in case you're wondering: yes, of course there will be a Kickstarter for the eighth FL book, The Lone and Level Sands. That campaign won't be run by Megara Entertainment, though, because they're going to have their hands full with a series of Kickstarters involving one of the top names in '80s gamebooks. (I don't think I can say who it is yet, but you'll be amazed.) We wish them well, and Fabled Lands LLP will be retaining the team of Paul, Russ, Kevin and Richard to launch our own Kickstarter for FL8 as soon as FL7 is out in paperback.
Illustrations by Fabled Lands cover artist Kevin Jenkins