Thursday, February 3, 2011

Sparks, Zazzle and Taking the Leap

Update, 2/23/2011:
You'll see that I have cancelled the Kickstarter "Launching Sparks" project. Though there is only one public backer, I've gotten the support that I need. My experience is atypical and I can't draw any inference from it to help future authors. I can, however, point you to this article by Monica O'Brien.
This post started off as a note at the end of my weekly post. The note kept getting longer, demanding a post of it's own. It has to do with the new bling on my right sidebar.

It's a personality trait of mine that I take a leap and then look around to see where I've landed. Most of the time I end up okay; but there have been landings that have been inordinately painful. Hopefully, this isn't one of them. Here's the story:

Earlier this year, I saw a tweet from Jeanne Bowerman regarding support for the  "A Year Without Rent" project by  Lucas McNelly. I checked it out on Kickstarter, which I hadn't before known about. I thought it was a great project and became a supporter. I also recognized that Kickstarter is a great way to support arts projects. I enjoy getting the periodic emails from the project and keeping up with what they are doing. A thought started to form in the back of my mind...

Meanwhile I continued working on my novel, immersed in developing my revision outline and other artifacts. This past weekend, I reached the point of 'knowing'. I know, without doubt, that I am publishing this book. That realization hit; then the idea bloomed. I played around with it... Sat on the fence... Hopped off the fence a few times - on one side and the other... Then I decided to take the big leap. I've created a Kickstarter project for my novel.

There are only a few book projects on Kickstarter. Of those that I saw, the authors with non-fiction projects were all successful. Those with fiction projects - not so much. The projects seemed to be inviting support during the concept stage, without very much to offer in return.

Why do I think my project will work? The truth is - I'm finding out just as you are. In my case though, I've already funded the first critique of my finished manuscript; I'm fully committed to the book's commercial success. What remains are editorial review of the finished outline, two to three rounds of manuscript revision/editorial critique; copy editing and publishing services. I've called it "Launching Sparks", in honor of the new title of the book. Even if my project is unsuccessful, another author may find the key that sparks participation. I will be a data point in their research just as current Kickstarter authors are data points in mine.

Our reality is that editorial departments of publishing houses no longer nurture the development of authors. Agents are so inundated by would-be novelists that they pass on everything except the best of the most polished stories. Gems in the rough typically don't get found and polished. Editorial and some publishing costs are now being absorbed by authors that travel the route of traditional publishing. Even a few seasoned Indie authors who were gracious enough to correspond with me indicate that they are taking on more editorial and publishing costs now than in years prior to Y2K. Worst of all, even though there still seems to be a steady demand for the written word, we're losing bookstores. Many independents have closed their doors and one of the largest chains is teetering on the edge of bankruptcy. Could it be that it's not all about ebooks? Could it be that there just aren't enough books making it through the gauntlet to bookshelves and ereaders?

Though currently unorthodox for an author, maybe Kickstarter and similar support sites are a part of our future; a path for some authors (debut and seasoned) to showcase and build buzz about their book as it's being completed. Check out "Launching Sparks" and leave a comment here or there. I'm interested in your thoughts - and I invite your participation.


#ROW80 update, 02/06/2011:
  • Goal 1: You can see from this post that I got myself involved in a different sort of a project. In spite of that, I finished the revision artifacts (outline, scenes, and manuscript markup) for Chapter 13. Now only six more to go!
  • Goal 2: I spent far more than 3 hours a day this week on the novel; but only about 9 total hours on the revision. Back in the groove now.
  • Goal 3 -Still posting!
How's everybody doing?



  1. Congratulations for out-of-the-box thinking and taking control of your publication options!

  2. Thanks Jeanne for stopping by and also for your comment.

    Just saw Frank Chimero's "The Shape of Design" Kickstarter book project. Bowled over by it's success. I'm taking it as a good sign... :)

  3. Interesting! When (not if) you get published let me know and will read it:)

  4. Certainly. I'm sure I'm be celebrating here on my blog, twitter and facebook! :)

  5. Congrats on taking the leap! You've had a busy and productive week-keep up the good work!

  6. Best of luck with the project, it's quite a big step to take.

  7. good luck on new - well done on goal front
    keep smiling

  8. Thanks all - the project is a big step. Here's hoping it's not a faux pas. :) Cheers!

  9. Good for you!!

    It may be late in the game but...

    I'm using FastPencil as my method of taking the leap with my WIP.

    They have a unique site that lets a writer (for free) compose, edit, revise, and invite others to join them in the process--reviewers, beta readers, editors, or co-authors...

    I'm taking their Wide-Distribution option: $200 for print & ebook to Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Ingram, and iPad...

    Check 'em out:

  10. Looks interesting. Thanks for sharing. How long have you been using it? Please keep us up to date and let us know how you are doing. Enjoy!


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