Columnist, activist, and fellow Bangor Daily News blogger Mike Tipping has written a book called As Maine Went. It documents the rise of Governor LePage and the Tea Party movement here in Maine. While the book, which is published by Tilbury House, comes out in the middle of July, Tipping used the crowdfunding site Kickstarter to pre-sell some copies. Not expecting it to be met in just 24 hours, he set a sales/fundraising goal of $4,000. He has since set some stretch goals, each of which come with fun sets of deliverables for those who pledge.
You can pre-order Tipping’s book here.
We talked about the benefits of crowdfunding and what As Maine Went promises to reveal.
Disclosure: Because I am friendly with Mike and because I support his work, I helped to produce the video he used in his campaign. He makes a tongue-in-cheek reference to this in the interview.
So pretty good job meeting your goal in a day, huh?
It’s been crazy so far.
Did you expect it to take off like that?
No. Not at all. Right up until I hit the button to publish the campaign, I was thinking, “Is this too much?” I thought it would take a couple weeks to get there. To have it almost completely funded in 24 hours was insane.
You have a new goal, a stretch goal so to speak. What will you do with that?
We just blew past our new goal of $5,000 and so I am just about to announce a new stretch goal of $6,000. The first additional $1,000 was to buy an advertisement in one of the papers listing the names of everyone who had backed the book. The additional $1,000 will buy another. And we’re only on day 3 of a 23 day campaign.
What have you heard from people who are supporting the campaign?
I have heard really nice things from people via email and on Facebook. The pledge that put us over the top of the base goal came from Lewis Miller. He wrote:
“We’re on vacation and just got Internet service back this morning and just became aware of your book. When I saw that contributions totaled $3,955, the next step was a no-brainer. I’m looking forward to the book and hopefully learning how 2010 happened and what to do to make sure there is never a repeat occurrence.”
Why did you pick a crowdfunding site to pre-sell your book?
We decided to do a Kickstarter in part because we thought there was a lot of interest around this issue, and there would be an especially high level of interest over the next few months. Crowd-funding allows you to to harness some of that interest so you can judge how many books to print and stuff like that, but it also allows you to engage those people in helping to promote the book because they support it and are interested in it. At this point we have 130 people who are interested in the book and have signed up that are telling their friends about it. I think that is a great thing going forward. And I will just say that if you want to reach your Kickstarter goal in 24 hours, just make sure you have a video made by Alex Steed. [Laughs]
Ha! I appreciate that. What do you anticipate the response to the book will be when it is finally released?
I think there is going to be a lot of people surprised by the content, even if they thought they couldn’t be any more surprised by anything LePage does or says at this point. There will definitely be stuff that attracts some interest and controversy.
Do you ever hear from the administration? Do they ever get in touch to tell you to stop it? I am sure they don’t, but it is funny to imagine otherwise.
I actually talked with several members of LePage’s administration and campaign staff for the book, mostly off the record for obvious reasons. Members of his staff have been very good about talking about this kind of stuff and clarifying things for me even though we may disagree on political and policy issues. I have not herd from Governor LePage.
In your book, you’re not just discussing the governor, but the advancement of the advancement of a far right wing political movement here in a state that has historically been pretty level headed.
This isn’t just about Maine, it’s about the Tea Party, which is a national movement. Maine has become a case study in a lot of ways for what happens when the Tea Party wins state control. LePage was elected in 2010 and so was a conservative legislature. What followed from that from the policy side has been well documented. This book goes into a lot of that and into the campaigns and how the Tea Party grew as a movement. I talked to a lot of people that were intimately involved with that.
What I hoped to do in the book, and what I think I’ve done, is to show those people as regular folks that cared about these issues and wanted to get involved in politics. You may disagree with some of their policy positions and ideology, but it was a grassroots movement, a populist movement.