NOTE: I’m a bit biased on this particular subject, as I backed this project on Kickstarter some time ago. That said, I will endeavor to be as fair as humanly possible in the following post.

So, I’m currently not a fan of one Jacob Hurst. Who is Jacob, you might ask? He is a book publisher and game creator, and in particular, he is the publisher of Ben Milton’s “Knave 2nd Edition.”

Now then, why would I not be a fan of Jacob’s? I mean, I’ve been an outspoken proponent for “Knave”, and the Kickstarter project Ben and Jacob put together, to collect the funds to make this book a reality. Also, as I said in the note above, I am a backer of this project, to the tune of $100 of the roughly $650,000 they raised.

Well, Jacob recently posted an update regarding the Knave 2E project on Kickstarter. There was some hopeful news regarding shipping, as we’re apparently in the “any day now” phase, when the printer may have the book heading to the distributor in the next week-ish… maybe. But we’ve waited some time already, that’s the nature of crowdfunded projects: Backers get used to waiting for the projects they fund to deliver.

What was more important, though, was the news that Jacob will be attending Garycon this coming weekend, and he will be bringing roughly 60 copies of the Premium edition of “Knave 2E” along with him, for sale to attendees of the convention.

This is something of a faux pas in Crowdfunding, to sell crowdfunded projects to the public – no matter the reasoning – before the product is shipping to the backers. Period. This is not against the rules of Kickstarter, as far as I know, but it is something of a Trust between Creator and Backer. We give them money to produce a product, and the Creator sends it to the Backers first, before making it available to the public. What Jacob is doing, well, it simply isn’t done.

No, actually it is done, but it isn’t acceptable to most in the crowdfunding community. It shows that the creator doing this cannot be trusted by the backers, simply put. You lose the faith of the Backers, they have no reason to back your projects in the future.

Anyway, I would have been disappointed in Jacob’s choice to sell copies of the book at Garycon, had he not stepped into the Comments regarding this update, and… well… I’ll let you be the judge of what he said.

A comment by Severed Hand:

It must feel really exciting to get those books to a convention! But next time, would it be a bad idea to wait until backers get their copies?

We’ve been excited about Knave 2e since the early Patreon drafts. Sort of feels like you don’t appreciate the support of the close community 😕

In response, Jacob Hurst said:

I made the call. Direct your anger at me.

Should you bypass a once a year opportunity? Or try and sieze it? As I said in the update, the printer didn’t know if it would even be possible to accomplish this.

Okay, that’s fair. I don’t agree with his sentiment, as I made clear in a few comment threads, but we’ll get to that later. But first, Spencer Wright said the following:

So, you brought 60 copies of the deluxe edition to just hand out? It really stings that the people that made the books possible get to watch as copies of those books go to other people first.

To which, Jacob replied:

Sorry if that wasn’t clear, I wrote a few drafts: They’re here to sell. We’re not just handing them out.

Way to miss the point, or deliberately side-step it. Yes, Spencer was incorrect in his belief that the books were being handed out, as opposed to being sold to attendees, but the bigger point was that they are being made available to the public before shipping to backers has even begun. That said, the exchange continues further down in the thread…


I am not due a deluxe copy, I backed at the standard version, ALL IN. A fact that I overlooked because I back a lot of KS. but that isn’t the point. The point is this project mega-funded to the tune of nearly $650k and you still felt the need to flog copies to lucky con-goers before the backers. How does selling 60 copies at a con compare to the $650k funding haul?


Spencer: I’m a book publisher. I’m here to sell books. That’s what I’m going to do. Also, as a creator myself, I think it’s important for a creator to be able to have copies of their book available at a convention they’re physically attending whenever possible. If I can make that happen, I’m going to do so.

Okay, what the actual fuck? I think this makes it abundantly clear that Jacob Hurst is very aware of the trust he is breaking with the “Knave 2E” backers, and that he simply does not care. No apology, no empathy shown for the backers whatsoever.

It is apparent to me, and likely most of the “Knave 2E” Kickstarter backers who see this particular update – especially if they read Jacob’s comments – that we have been used. Jacob may have had the best of intentions at first, to get the books and whatnot shipping out to Backers before attending Garycon, but when there were delays, what did Jacob decide to do? Did he choose to attend Garycon without these books, and then attend a future convention with some books to sell after shipping to the Backers has begun?

No, of course not. Gotta sell those books, even if it is only a relatively small amount of them! After all, as Jacob tells us in his own words: “He’s a book publisher, and he’s here to sell books”. Well, I’m a Kickstarter Superbacker, and I’m never going to back any future project that Jacob is attached to. Not that Jacob is really going to care about losing my business, but it is that sort of attitude that leads to getting a bad reputation on crowdfunding sites.

Jacob Hurst clearly doesn’t care about the Backers of his crowdfunding projects. He just wants to sell books, and he will use those Backers to fund his projects, that he then will sell to the public before delivering to said Backers. It is all about the money to him, as he has so unapologetically made clear.

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