You'll learn in the video that The Lair of the Clockwork Book is my latest illustrated story from Thrilling Tales of the Downright Unusual. This one's a serial that's been updating twice a week since February 2011 - it'll complete its run in April, and just before the story's complete on the web site it'll also be released as an 8" by 10" paperback in full color. That's just what I've done with the previous Thrilling Tale, Trapped in the Tower of the Brain Thieves.
But this time - if enough of you participate - I hope to print a limited edition hardcover version of The Lair of the Clockwork Book. It'll be printed on heavy weight, archival paper with linen covers and foil stamping on the front cover and spine. (The stamping you see in the video is just a preview: I haven't designed the real cover yet). Like the paperback, it'll run about 130 pages.
Apart from the essential niftiness of the retro bookbinding, the copies that my Kickstarter backers receive will also be signed and numbered. The size of the numbered limited edition will depend on how many people back the project at the $52 or $65 level... though I might keep one or two for myself. I mean, I'm a sort of a backer too, aren't I?
And that might be about all I myself get from the print run, despite the scary amount of money we need to raise. If we meet the funding goal then after the fees to Kickstarter and Amazon Payments and the cost of postage to you, I'll be able to print 150 copies. There's very little margin here, for me: at best I may be able to print a few extra copies to sell as an unnumbered "open edition" through my web site. The fact is that this won't be profitable for me unless over 250 of you sign up for the limited edition. At that point, the printer gives me another price break and I actually might make some money.
But it's not entirely about making money, and frankly I'd be pretty surprised if I get over 250 backers for the limited edition. Well. I'd be thrilled, actually. But if we can get even the 150 backers that the project needs I'll be happy to hold one of these old school hardcover books in my hands and know that the rest of them are living a life of adventure somewhere out there, where you are. And then slide one onto my shelf.
Because I'd like to have one of these - and I hope that you would, too.
My printer's rate is fixed unless, like I said, over 250 of you climb on board. So I've had to be careful about any rewards other than the books because the cost of those rewards would eat into the money that I still have to pay the printer at the end of the day. (It's not intuitive, but there are ways that a successful Kickstarter campaign could actually cost me money if I didn't do a bunch of math at the beginning. Correctly, I mean.)
So the one other reward I'm offering isn't a costly one, but I think it is kind of a fun one to get: at the $20 level you will receive a postcard from the Future That Never Was. These will be little greetings from Retropolis, just like old photo postcards - I'll try to make each message unique - of the kind you might get from a traveling friend who happens to be stopping off there.
Each postcard will have a little snippet of news about what's going on among the mad scientists and robots, the rocketeers and just plain folks who walk, hover or fly through the retro future city of Retropolis.
I have no more idea than you do of just what that news will be, but I'll work my way through the $20 backers until every one of you gets some kind of greeting from the retro future.
And I'd hate to see the folks with books miss out on those postcards, so you can also pledge $65 and receive both a limited edition book and your very own postcard, too.
Now, if the video and all my blathering haven't been enough to convince you... you can see the story to date at the Thrilling Tales web site. It'll be concluding in April - and regardless of how this fund raiser goes there will still be a paperback edition there, too.
This is entirely optional because it touches on allegory: and allegory, if you look it up, means "annoying and pretentious". So we'll touch it with a really long stick.
Imagine - as we just have - a mechanical contrivance that collects every bit of news and information, or every embarrassing little personal story, that people have... and that allows them to post that information in a public way so that just about anybody else can have access to it, just by asking.
Imagine that innocent bystanders take advantage of this service, post their personal histories, and then - over time - discover the very many ways in which this might be a Bad Idea.
Now imagine that the mechanical contrivance is scheduled to go public this year.
Yep. Viewed in one way, the Clockwork Book is a mechanical social network. It's the Facebook of the retro future, and that's why the story's subtitle is "A Tale of Privacy and Adventure from the Future That Never Was". Though (as I see it) the Book is a pretty nice machine, the service it offers can have repercussions that its users can't predict, and wouldn't want.
Just keep that in mind when you read the Terms of Service, okay?
- (30 days)