In my BEGGAR challenge post, I mentioned I have a lot of stuff due this week. One piece of that is my initial Kickstarter plan. I am so crazy excited about my campaign that I have to share it!
I think I first came upon Kickstarter through CE Murphy, a fun, gleefully geeky author I’ve been following for nearly a decade now. She has, among others, something of a
n obsess passion for Kickstarter. So even without being deeply involved with the workings of KS on my own, I’ve inadvertently followed and researched and planned as she discussed. I backed her project when she ran it and it was a ton of fun!
A little over a year ago, when I decided to take the plunge into indie e-publishing, I knew I needed to run a KS campaign for the series of my heart. (I’m still trying to figure out a good series title, but for now we’ll just call it the Monty Girl Saga.) The Monty Girls and I go waaaay back. I originally conceived them as a storyline for a text-based message-board-and-chat-room RP group I belonged to. The more time I spent in the heads of Langston and her eight younger sisters, though, the more I knew they needed to have their stories told. So I wrote the first book, sent it out on the agent rounds. Even sent it to an editor (the one who originally published CE Murphy, as it happens). While the editor’s assistant/gatekeeper loved the idea, she didn’t love the execution. She offered to let me do a rewrite of the partial, which I did. Again, she loved the idea even more the second time, but it was clear that the story – or I, as the writer – was missing something. I had a minor crisis of craft, certain that what was missing was a good voice and that voice was the one thing that couldn’t be taught. I shelved the story and moved on.
Except I didn’t move on. My heart is still with the Monty Girls. The truth is, even if I’d landed a print deal back then, the likelihood I’d have been allowed to write the series the way I wanted was slim. I designed it to take one book per sister, with possibly a companion novel/long novella devoted to their lone brother. That’s a lot of books! For a publishing house, a lot of books is a lot of risk. Especially for a first-time author. Would I be allowed to write the stories I wanted? Would I even have the readership to get beyond the first book and maybe one extra optioned? Traditional publishing is all about the numbers nowadays, and numbers can be fickle, misleading jerks. With the economy collapsing between then and now, there’s an even higher chance I would have failed to reach the second trilogy. Because of the way print rights work, I may or may not have had a chance to follow up with other houses if the initial publisher declined to publish the rest.
But with e-publishing? Doing it all myself? This way, I have complete control over when, what, and how my books get published. If I want to take a break in the middle of the series to work on something else, I can. If I suddenly discover I want to diverge to a different kind of story than is expected within the same framework, I don’t have to worry about print line guidelines. So long as I have the time and energy, I can make sure the Monty Girls get the series they were always destined to have.
Except for one thing: Funds.
With self-publishing, I have to foot the bill for everything, from editing to cover art. Even simple proofreading of a 125,000-word novel (which is smaller, I think, than the first Monty Girl novel) will run me at least $1000. My family survives on a single, hourly-wage pseudo-retail income; we’re having a super-lucky month if our bank account carries a tenth of that editing cost over past rent day. Currently, there is no way in the world (minus winning a lottery I don’t enter) I will ever have a grand to shell out to have someone check my grammar on a single novel, let alone nine. Not to mention cover art, complex formatting, maps, or any of the lesser beasts that are involved in creating an ebook with a possible pay-on-demand print model.
That’s where Kickstarter comes in.
Through crowdfunding, wherein anyone with an extra buck can become an artist’s patron, I have the opportunity to not just publish the Monty Girls Saga, but to make it spectacular. It’s the series of my heart – it deserves to be spectacular! Plus, the extra bells and whistles add value and depth to the purchase and reader experience, which ain’t bad, either. ;D
I’ve been working long, tireless (and exciting!) hours this month to find out what makes a good campaign; to pull together the best rewards I can; to make everything the best value for my funding goal I can. It’s tremendous fun, but it’s also exhausting. It’s business and accounting, too, so I’ve had to learn a lot from areas I didn’t think I’d like or grasp easily. Turns out I actually enjoy the business side of writing – luckily, as I don’t have money to pay anybody to help me. I’m still researching, still learning, still finagling. But I also want to talk about it, ’cause it’s exciting, and I think if I don’t my head might explode!
Between February and March (exact dates still TBD), I will be running a Kickstarter campaign to fund the creation of Gryphon’s Overture, the first book in the Monty Girls Saga.
The goal will be around $7000 (I think…depends on a lot of reward finagling). This will pay for editing, cover design, formatting, and some pretty spiffy rewards (as well as the obligatory 7-10% administrative fees to run the campaign). The rewards (currently) include extra stories, t-shirts, custom statues, music, maybe flashy art prints, character input/naming for future novels, and one lucky big spender will have the chance to determine who the heroine eventually marries.
Keep an eye on my blog, my brand new Facebook page (and like it while you’re there!), or on either of my EarthGirly or sci-fi Twitter accounts (and follow them for good measure 😉 ).
I also welcome comments or suggestions, if you’ve got them! I like creative input. 🙂
Next up: Gryphon’s Overture, the actual story.