Publish and market a dark supernatural urban novella or novel, including editing, public relations and distribution through Lulu.com.
When I read over my manuscript, which happens once every few days, I hear this:
Hello, Sean. Look at this manuscript, now back to me, now back to this manuscript, now back to me. Sadly, it isn’t me, but if it stopped sitting on a hard drive and received funding through Kickstarter it could read like it’s me. Look down, back up, where are you? You’re in a comfortable chair with the voudoun noir novel your novel could read like. What’s in your hand, back at me. I have it, it’s a horror-crime thriller with those plot points you love. Look again, the plot points are fully-realized story elements, engaging characters and infinite potential. Anything is possible when your book is ‘Zobop Bebop’ and not some lady-smelling potboiler. I’m on a horse.
So... off to the races. Here we go.
I've had a story in my head for several years now. Initially titled "Teenie's Blues" and renamed "Zobop Bebop," it's a cross between Superfly and Divine Horsemen. It's about hard men, bad women, bad choices and dirty dealings, and it's always nagged at my brain.
He'd followed the old forms, hoping to find her in a nostalgic mood. New suit with a flash of cotton-candy pink silk in the pocket. Shaved with rosewater. Candy and flowers in the chair next to him. Softer than a pimp, by far. He looked like a mark, like a lovesick deacon throwing the building fund at some sweet young thing with eyes like a shark and thighs made of coiled steel.
She strode to the table with a presence that threatened to burn through the body of the half-starved girl she'd chosen to wear. She looked down at Desamous coldly.
“Swiv mwen, nonm chassés,” Erzuli je Rouj said, holding out her hand. Follow me, hunted man.
He followed, feeling the bass line of the music repeated in her pulse.
Last year, I decided to quit saying I had a story to tell and just tell it. So I did, writing for three hours a night for two months until the thing was done.
Once I finished the book, I gave it a month to sit and then reread it, looking to see if I could still stomach the thing. I thoroughly enjoyed it and set it to a few, trusted readers to see their thoughts. They supported the thing, as did a few potentially hostile readers to whom I blind-posted it. (Sample chapters are here- http://pitchaweek.wordpress.com/2011/05/16/follow-up-sample-chapters-from-zobop-bebop/?preview=true&preview_id=178&preview_nonce=99fa31f399).
After trying the traditional publishing methods to no avail, I decided to try to put the thing out on my own. That's where you come in.
I figure that, if I want to do this the right way, I'm not going to go by half-measures. I'm going to get it professionally edited, professionally marketed and distributed both electronically and as a print piece. I'm going big, because that's the only way to really make this work.
“It's open territory, man.” She smiled again, letters bending on her cheek. “No one touches it. I got fifty names in my book, I got clients from uptown want a taste of the dark. I could use someone with some history, give this thing some legs. Make it real sweet for you, Cool Breeze.”
The female strode past her mistress, eyes rolled back. Possessed, Desamours thought to himself. Bred for it. She put a cold hand on his chest, scraped long nails up his neck, purred low in her throat.
“I got you, baby,” Sheba said. “I can cut you a pass with those who'd see you low. Get you a chain all your own. Good life.”
Should I make my funding limit, I'll contract through Lulu.com to deal with my editing, design and distribution; depending on my options, I may go elsewhere for editing and marketing services. I'll set up a website for the book and I'll dedicate myself to moving the book forward and moving myself forward as an author.
This story's worth telling. It's worth reading. It's worth your help.
Thanks for your time.
Desamours felt a hand around his ankle, heard a low, wet giggle.
“Like I say, focus on the future,” Kalfu said. “You're back, you're in the game. You need anything at all, let me know.”
Desamours woke up suddenly, a hand over his eyes. He smelled rum and rancid fat, heard Kalfu's gunpowder hiss as the hand receded.
Because, the way it's looking now, baby,” Kalfu said, fading into the shadows of the room, “you could use some friends.”
It all started with the girl.
Sixteen-year-old Valentine Belno, sworn from birth to serve as cheval to Erzuli, was murdered in a back alley in the warehouse district, leaving a late-night party. Her escort for the evening was a low-level drug dealer with a street corner to his name. He was jointed and left on the street to die in pieces with an intricately painted handkerchief covering his face.
The case was open and shut, especially given the presence of the handkerchief. It was a “zobop flag,” similar to those used more than two decades ago by known racketeer Narcisse Desamours.
In his prime Narcisse Desamours ran the East Side rackets with an iron fist and a coco macaque. Frère Narcisse and his zobop army fought a bloody three-way street war, slinging curses and bullets in the shadows of the city.
Desamours’ reign lasted three years before bad luck and bad lawyers found him doing 20 years for racketeering. Desamours returned to find his street soldiers locked up, dead or cursed and the streets themselves mystically and materially unfriendly. He went as straight as he could, working odd jobs and running quick scams to get by. Thus, getting dragged out of bed at three in the morning and interrogated was a surprise, as was the revelation that someone was putting his tools to use on a person known to be protected by higher powers.
After his release from holding, Desamours begins to investigate the matter, ignoring warnings from Mafia consigliere and Enochian sorcerer Frankie Five-Angels and Erzuli herself. The bokkor learns that this murder is the beginning of a much deeper, older game than he’d imagined, one that calls on him to take up his old trade and bloody his hands to win.
First draft and initial copyediting is done. Now's the fine-tuning and final draft time, which is where I need someone outside of my head to take the reins.
I can do some of it, but I think that the collaboration between a writer and an editor is a helpful part of the process. I wouldn't trust the book if my hands were the only ones to adjust it.
When I started writing the book, I began casting it in my mind. Narcisse didn't gel for me until I realized that he was, in fact, played in the movie by Forest Whitaker. Thus, he needs to be played in a movie by Forest Whitaker, who'd knock him out of the park.
I am not a wizard, a sorcerer, a bokkor or a houngan. I'm not releasing dark and ancient secrets on an unsuspecting world. I'm just telling what I hope is an interesting, evocative and entertaining story. Please do not try to recruit me into your cabal or put a goat's head on my doorstep. Please?
By no means. I've got a screenplay and a short story in the works, two short stories getting regularly rejected by online magazines and a couple of roleplaying game supplements that I'm beating on and intend to put out for publication within the next year. I enjoy stories and like to explore them.
Money goes back. Full stop. I'll keep your addresses and keep you apprised of the book's status and I'll do my damnedest to keep the price of the book as close to my Kickstarter price as possible.
Of course, if someone floats me the ten large, we're going hunting. Compañeros!
Yes. I've had no real luck getting any response beyond form responses. I've still got it out there, though.
A profound modification of the process will take place, depending on how things shake out. I will return the money and point anyone promised a copy of the book to the publisher. I enjoy meeting people, though, so the dinner offers will still stand. Anyone who shells out enough for a Sean-Con, though, is getting a Sean-Con and anyone who signs up for a road trip is damned well helping me collar Forest Whitaker and will be there to put a book in his hand. Compañeros!
No. That's one of the things I plan to do with any funds generated through this process.
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An alarmingly sincere thank-you e-mail from me, as well as updates as the project reaches completion.Estimated delivery:
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A PDF copy of "Zobop Bebop," ready to read or distribute illicitly.Estimated delivery:
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A copy of "Zobop Bebop," newly minted and ready to read.Estimated delivery:
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An autographed copy of "Zobop Bebop" with as personal a message as I can muster. If you're a friendly stranger, it'll be pretty basic. If I've known you for years, it could very well be "Dennis, 43-87-27! Sean" or something equally obscureEstimated delivery:
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A personally autographed copy of "Zobop Bebop" and dinner with Demory for you and up to five friends if you're in the Kansas City area. Either dinner out (most likely at some dive-y burger joint or sketchy Mexican restaurant) or dinner in (in which case you'll be part of my ongoing experiment.) It'll be on a Saturday, either way. I'm a fun if strange dinner companion and I can spot/cook a hell of a meal.Estimated delivery:
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Sean-Con 2011 and you're the guest of honor. I will come to you, wherever you are, with a copy of "Zobop Bebop." I will sign it, then and there. I will take you to the dinner of your choice in your town, or I will go to the grocery store, come back and cook a five-course meal for/with you and up to five of your friends. I will be as charming a dinner companion as possible, I'll clean up after myself and disappear without wearing out my welcome and leaving nothing but a signed book, the slow burn of a Demory dinner and general bonhomie. (Domestic travel only)Estimated delivery:
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Sean-Con Internationale 2011 and you're the guest of honor. I will come to you, wherever you are, with a copy of "Zobop Bebop." I will sign it, then and there. I will take you to the dinner of your choice in your town, or I will go to the grocery store, come back and cook a five-course meal for/with you and up to five of your friends. I will be as charming a dinner companion as possible, I'll clean up after myself and disappear without wearing out my welcome and leaving nothing but a signed book, the slow burn of a Demory dinner and general bonhomie. (International travel only)Estimated delivery:
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ROAD TRIP. Sean-Con 2011 and you're the guest of honor. I will come to you, wherever you are, with a copy of "Zobop Bebop." I will sign it, then and there. I will take you to the dinner of your choice in your town, or I will go to the grocery store, come back and cook a five-course meal for/with you. I will be as charming a dinner companion as possible, I'll clean up after myself. We will then go to the airport, fly to wherever the hell Forest Whitaker lives and give him a copy of the book, saying "Make this into a movie. You'll be glad you did." Please note, this does not include additional people. We do this, we do this together. Compañeros!Estimated delivery:
- (60 days)