In a science-journalism, narrative style, Fringe explores the lives of queer people who exist on the edges of the gay community.
My name is Gayle Pitman, and I am a psychology and women's studies professor at Sacramento City College. I am also the author of the award-winning book Backdrop: The Politics and Personalities behind Sexual Orientation Research. My next book project is titled Fringe: On the Edges of the Mainstream Gay Community. In this book, I plan to explore the experiences of queer people who exist on the edges of the LGBTQ community - people who are bi, poly, kinky, HIV+, non-white, disabled, poor, intersex, trans, genderqueer, old, or otherwise on the fringes of the gay community. Fringe will be written in a science-journalism, narrative voice, incorporating interviews with people who are active in these communities - rap and hip-hop star Qui510, intersex activist Hida Viloria, trans writer and activist Max Wolf Valerio, and lesbian activist Phyllis Lyon, to name a few. Intended for a general audience interested in LGBTQ issues, Fringe would be the first book of its kind to weave together the various experiences of people in queer edge communities.
Three separate areas need to be funded in order to make Fringe a reality:
1. Writing and editing costs, including travel expenses for interviews;
2. Publishing costs, such as copyediting, indexing, and production costs; and
3. Marketing expenses, including review copies and advertising.
With your help, Fringe will give voice to the many diverse groups within the LGBTQ community. Whether it's $5 or $500, every donation will be a step closer to making Fringe a reality.
Thank you for learning more about my campaign, and be a part of the fringe!
When I was writing my first book, BACKDROP: THE POLITICS AND PERSONALITIES BEHIND SEXUAL ORIENTATION RESEARCH, I had originally set out to provide an overview of the major research findings pertaining to the LGBTQ community, and to paint a picture of the social, cultural, and political landscape behind the research studies. Although I had known at some level how limited this body of research is, it seemed to me that so many of these studies try to prove that LGBTQ people are just as "normal" (or "normative") as heterosexual people. However, anything that suggested any "non-normativity" within the LGBTQ community seemed to get buried, or hotly criticized, or invalidated in some other way. I began to question the goal of proving that LGBTQ people are just like straight people, and the seeds of FRINGE were planted.
On a much more basic level, as I was researching BACKDROP I became more and more disturbed by the fact that so much of the research focused solely on young White gay men - and those research findings were then generalized to the entire community. To me, this is deeply problematic. I see FRINGE as a way to give voice to these "edge communities" that don't necessarily get airtime in the research - or in the mainstream culture.
Read OUTLIERS (or anything, really) by Malcolm Gladwell. Or MOONWALKING WITH EINSTEIN by Joshua Foer. Or THE SECRET LIFE OF THE GROWN-UP BRAIN by Barbara Strauch. Although none of these are about LGBTQ issues, they are written in an accessible style that is relevant and relatable. This is the writing style I most enjoy reading, and I have the most fun writing in a style that isn't heady and overly academic.
Most mainstream publishing houses aren't willing to take a risk on an edgy, controversial book idea like FRINGE. Moreover, many of the smaller presses, including the lesbian and gay alternative presses, have folded or become absorbed as an imprint in one of the larger houses. Therefore, I made the decision to publish FRINGE with Active Voice Press, my own indie publisher. Without the benefit of an advance, an alternative source of start-up funds is necessary in order to make FRINGE a reality.
Absolutely. My project description lists three major funding areas:
1. Writing and editing costs. The biggest expense here involves the interviews. Because I believe that in-person interviews provide a much richer narrative than phone interviews or e-mail responses, travel costs are involved in conducting these interviews. Moreover, I've already accumulated over 20 hours of interview footage which needs to be transcribed, and hiring a transcription service would speed up the writing and production timeline. Once the manuscript is completed, a professional copyeditor will need to be hired to ensure that the final product is clean, polished, and accurate.
2. Publishing costs. Having a book designer in-house cuts down significantly on the publishing costs. However, costs associated with ISBNs, LCCNs, e-book conversion, and the like add up quickly.
3. Marketing costs. This crowdfunding campaign isn't specifically focused on raising marketing funds - it's more focused on making sure that FRINGE becomes a reality. However, some marketing funds need to be set aside to ensure that FRINGE will be a commercial success. While many successful marketing strategies are relatively inexpensive, those costs also add up. These include web hosting, review copies, shipping costs to reviewers, and so forth.
Unfortunately, no. Kickstarter uses an all-or-nothing funding model, which means this: If you meet or exceed your funding goal, your backers will be charged and those funds will go towards your project. If, on the other hand, you don't meet that goal, nobody gets charged. I like this model for a couple of reasons. First, it provides a litmus test on the appeal of the project; and second, it ensures that backers will only fund projects that are well-supported and of interest to people, and that they won't get stuck funding projects that haven't generated that interest and aren't well-supported.
Remember, you can contribute as little as $1, and rewards start at $10. Every little bit helps!
If you don't have even $1 to contribute, there are lots of ways you can support FRINGE:
-You can post the link to my Kickstarter campaign on your social media sites, such as Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and so forth.
-You can distribute postcards at your local LGBT center, organizations, Pride events - wherever you think you'd find people who would be interested in this project. E-mail me at http://mailto:email@example.com with your mailing address, and I'll send you a batch of postcards to distribute.
-If you are a blogger, you can write a short post about this project. I'd be happy to do an interview or to guest blog about the project. E-mail me at http://mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org if you're interested.
-If you can only contribute a small amount, see if you can get each of your friends to match the amount you donated. This is crowdfunding in action!
-If you are a college student, and your campus has an LGBT organization, announce this project to your group. Hold a fundraiser and make a collective donation.
Remember, EVERY SINGLE PERSON who makes a contribution gets us closer to our goal. If 700 people donate $5, or 350 people donate $10, we'll get there!
You can go to Gayle Pitman's author website at http://www.activevoicepress.com. That site contains a short bio, information about my first book, BACKDROP, and recent press coverage of my book and various LGBTQ-related presentations I've done. You can also learn more about me and what topics interest me by visiting my blog, THE ACTIVE VOICE, at http://backdropbook.wordpress.com.
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