So. I’ve been procrastinating the completion of this project for a couple of years, at least, but it’s been bumped up the list for a couple of reasons: 1) Research for the Zombie-Alternate-History/Solarpunk books is going to take longer than expected 2) This collection is at least half written already 3) Fundraising via something like Kickstarter is something I’ve been wanting to try for a while, and it fits this project.
The idea is to raise the money to pay for the preparation and printing of the new book ahead of time, while engaging actively with readers and allowing them to participate both in funding and in creation. I figure I need about $300 to cover setup and a small initial print run, which is only 20 people pledging $15 or more, and would mean the book was profitable from day one. As you know, most (or was it all?) of my books struggle endlessly to reach profitability. Which, like showing at the Art Walk without making sales, is not sustainable. In November I tried for the first time to raise funds to pay to put the Lost and Not Found – Director’s Cut into print by selling an original painting I’d created for its cover, and this week the painting sold. Next week I’ll be sending the book to Lightning Source. That fundraising method worked out alright, but I’d like to try other methods, and this is the next iteration. Everyone who pledges, even just $1, gets rewarded – whereas only 2 people were involved in the funding/rewards for LaNF-DC. So:
What is Time, emiT, and Time Again, you ask? Here’s the description I gave over at Kickstarter:
TIME + LOVE = ??
I am working on a new collection of short stories and essays where each piece begins with an idea about time and with an idea about love, then follows them to see where they lead. Frozen time, time that flows back and forth, time modified by relativity (both physical and familial), post-singularity accelerated time, time from a divine perspective … unconditional love, brotherly love, a parent’s love of their child, unrequited love, or even the love one holds for the idea of what they once were, or what their children might someday be. Ideas worth exploring, and worth putting in print. Currently named after one of the stories, ‘Time, emiT, and Time Again’.
And as you may already know, I’ve got one of the short stories already available for purchase as a signed numbered limited-edition chapbook for only $2 plus shipping. That was another attempt at fundraising for the book, and … well, I’ve covered the cost of creating the chapbooks, anyway.
One of the great things about Kickstarter (other than how easy everything is to set up, and how clean & modern the site looks) is the ability to set up various “reward levels” for pledges. So, for example, if you pledge $1 or more, you get an eBook copy of the completed collection, you get your name (real name, username, twitter name, fantasy name, porn name, whatever) in the “Special Thanks” section of the book’s Acknowledgements, and -if you want- you can become a Beta-Reader for this, and future, books I write. Or if you pledge $5 you get that plus a signed numbered limited-edition chapbook containing one of the stories from the book. Or if you pledge $15 you get all that plus a signed paperback copy of the collection. And so on, through all seven levels of rewards I setup. …as long as the funding goal is reached.
Kickstarter fundraising is All-Or-Nothing, so no one gets charged for their pledge until the deadline (May 15th, 2010), and no one gets charged if the total amount pledged is less than the goal. If you (and your friends! Tell your friends!) pledge more than $300, that’s great, and helps this and future projects, but if less is pledged, I don’t get funded and no one gets rewarded. Including people who pledged at the higher reward levels, such as: Pledge $150 or more and I’ll take your idea re: Weird Time and develop it into an original story or essay, and include it in the book.
Or, if you pledge $500 or more, I’ll ship you (US addresses only) the original artwork I create for the cover image (along with all the other rewards, including writing a new story/essay from your idea). I’ve only just started some good sketches for it (I’ve thrown out several, over the years I’ve been contemplating publishing this), the best of which I’ve used as the image representing the project. Those are (probably) the sort of colors I’ll use; that’s just a quick color job I did in Photoshop for the Kickstarter image. I’m also thinking of painting the numbers in an interesting color gradient. The painting will be at least 12×24″ though I’m thinking of going out to get a couple 18×36″ canvases … I like a little bigger piece (though 24×48″ feels a bit big for this composition… maybe I’ll put this composition in at 18×36″ size, centered in the larger canvas to create more negative space for the painting, then crop it for the book cover…) and if you are the first person to pledge $500 or more, it’ll be yours. For certain, since that exceeds the $300 goal.
Go see the rest of the rewards (A handcrafted MP3 CD in a premium Jewelboxing case? Extra copies of the paperback to share with friends and family?) and the rest of the details at the official Kickstarter page for the project. Tell your friends. I’ll be creating an audio promo and a video promo for the fundraiser soon (as soon as I have my voice back). I’ll keep updating the kickstarter page as work progresses on the stories, essays, and cover artwork. If this works, maybe the future of Modern Evil Press won’t be as economically upside-down.