The Nachonomics of Kickstarter with Derek Sotak

  • Derek Sotak & Scout Books - Nachonomics
  • Derek Sotak & Scout Books - Nachonomics
  • Derek Sotak & Scout Books - Nachonomics
  • Derek Sotak & Scout Books - Nachonomics

Derek Sotak loves nachos. That’s why he started, the best source on the internet for anything you ever wanted to know about nachos, (including his unforgettable essay on the nacho donut). Derek has run three successful Kickstarters featuring Scout Books, including his latest, Recipes from the Nachonomicon, which raised over eight thousand dollars. We talked with Derek about nachos (what else did you expect?) and his secret sauce for making successful Kickstarters with Scout Books.

How did you first hear about Scout Books?
When I started the website in 2012, I knew that at some point I would want to create some sort of physical medium version of that, probably in some small book form, but had no idea of how to really go about that. Some time later I was looking for something tequila related online and came across the pocket sized books of drink recipes that Scout Books used to sell, which gave me both some delicious tequila recipes and a company that could make a small pocket sized book!

What was it like using Scout Books in conjunction with Kickstarter?
I’ve used Scout Books for books on three Kickstarters now: The Field Guide to Nachos, Nachos & You: Living Your Life the Nacho Way, and most recently Recipes from the Nachonomicon: A Nacho Cookbook. It’s simple to figure out what it’s going to cost you for the number of books you want, and it’s easily scalable if you end up with a lot more backers wanting them than you planned. Scout Books was also really easy to contact with questions about strange scenarios I could come up with to make the books better, like interior cover printing and creating custom colored covers. What’s even better though is that you can mail a book as though it were a postcard, which can hugely cut down on your shipping costs!

You’ve run three successful Kickstarters, all of them smashing past their goals. Do you have any advice for someone wanting to run their own Kickstarter project?
I would say do as much research into what you want to accomplish, and as much preparation as you can before the whole “needing money to complete the project” part. After that, overestimate the amount of time and money you will need to pull it off. Backers would rather you deliver early than deliver late, especially if the reason you’re late is because you underestimated the costs of delivering, and have to shell out your own money to complete the project. Ideally you don’t want any surprises in your campaign, other than the surprise of ending up with a million more backers than you thought you would!

Was there anything especially fun or unique about designing custom Scout Books?
Both the custom book size and length are interesting factors to work with. The fact that it is both pocket sized and has a set page length makes it fun to design a book fitting to requirements. Being short and pocket sized makes it an excellent length for a field guide, or a motivational handbook, or a small book of recipes, especially with the option of full color pages to show off your delicious foods.

Who designed the illustrations for the cover?
That would be me. As the book was supposed to be based on the writings of a chef in the 1500’s, I based the illustration heavily on woodcuts of the time that I retraced and then modified to add the nacho elements. It looks impressive, but it’s just tracing compared to someone actually hand carving something like it 500 years ago.

Describe your ideal nacho.
Chips, shredded cheese, buffalo chicken, black beans, pico de gallo, chopped onions, pickled jalapenos, sour cream, guacamole, cilantro. Pulled pork instead of buffalo chicken is also an acceptable substitute.

Thanks Derek for sharing your story with us, those nachos sound divine! Be sure to check out all three of Derek’s books at the Nachonomics store.