Matt Forbeck has been a full-time creator of award-winning games and fiction since 1989. He has designed games and toys and written stories of all sorts. He has sixteen novels published to date, including the award-nominated Guild Wars: Ghosts of Ascalon and the critically acclaimed Amortals and Vegas Knights. His latest work includes the Magic: The Gathering comic book and the historical horror novel Carpathia. He is currently in the middle of his 12 for ‘12 project, in which he’s writing a novel every month this year. For more about him and his work, visit Forbeck.com.
I’ve been a professional writer for over twenty years, and over those decades, I’ve gotten not just better at it but faster. In a world in which writers often get paid by the word, that’s helped me to make a decent living at it. It also meant that when I moved into writing novels, I could write many more books than my publishers wanted from me all at once. Because of that, even though I was writing two or three novels a year, I supplemented that with work on comics, games, and nonfiction.
Experience and simple math told me that I could write a novel a month if I wanted to, but it proved impossible to find a publisher interested in backing such venture. It’s risky to put so much of your resources into a single, mad idea like that, and I understood that reluctance. It would be a huge risk for me too.
Still, the insane audacity of that idea — writing a novel every month for a year, of going twelve for twelve — stuck with me. Last year, when I realized that we were coming up on the year 2012, the numbers lined up too perfectly for me to resist. After a number of long talks with my family and friends, who I’d hoped might be able to talk me out of it, I decided to give it a shot.
I had the ability, but not the money, so I found ways to hedge my bets. In a world in which ebooks are starting to dominate, length isn’t as much of an issue, so I decided to go with shorter novels, about 50,000 words each. I also chose to line up pre-orders for the books through Kickstarter, the world’s top crowdfunding platform. Since I’d be writing without an advance, that gave me the money I needed to feed my family while I worked on the projects.
I call this plan 12 for ‘12. So far, it’s been a smashing success. I broke the dozen novels down into four trilogies of books, and I’m running a Kickstarter drive for each one of them. The first two were fully funded and then some, ranking in the top twelve — there’s that number again — fiction projects ever on Kickstarter. Today (March 31), I’m finishing up the third book, meaning that I’ve completed three novels in the last three months, each on schedule.
I’ll start running the next Kickstarter drive, the one for the third trilogy, in May, so you can join in on the fun then. And if you missed the first drive or the second, just be patient. I’ll have them available soon, once my Kickstarter backers get their well-deserved rewards.