Jeremy Chin has loved video games all his life, but will they be enough to save it?
Jeremy Chin has loved video games all his life, but will they be enough to save it? Read more
Jeremy Chin sees his entire world scrubbed away in a twinkling dust. His attempts to escape it land him in the lattice, a collective of remnant world fragments and their survivors. This tattered universe is held together by The Engine, and understanding it is the key to survival. When Jeremy realizes that everything in the lattice is governed by video game rules and logic, it puts him and his newfound protectors in the path of an enemy determined to rebuild the universe, even if it means starting from scratch.
Literary agents regularly tell me that "video game fiction" isn't a genre, in part because there are only a handful of non-licensed titles that would fit the bill. To me, "Double Jump" is an action adventure novel centered on a mystery. One early reviewer's first impressions likened it to a non-derivitive mashup of "The Langoliers," "Ender's Game," and "Tron." I'll take those comparisons gladly.
For any fantastical setting you have to accept, as Dr. James Kakalios describes it, the "miracle exemption" that places what we know about science on hold. The mystery of "Double Jump" is in attempting to reveal what is at the heart of the "miracle exemption" that drives The Engine, the lattice, and all of Jeremy's adventures there.
To give it that video game feel, I attempted to incorporate a number of pacing elements and storytelling elements common to video games and use those to guide Double Jump. There are cutscenes and levels, but expressed in a more literary way that helps peel away the mystery.
This book is for fans of action and video games, but also just as much of philosophy, psychology, game theory, and weighty emotional stories about children and their parents. This is the most meaningful thing I feel I have ever written, and I am overwhelmed with the possibility of sharing it with the world.
I recognize that the listed amount is pretty daunting. BELIEVE ME, I know. But although I am putting the target amount at the exact but slightly arbitrary number that "16K" of memory (or 16,384 kilobytes) stands for, this is actually pretty close to what this will cost me to get this project done, and even if we reach that target number, I'll still be paying a bunch out of pocket myself.
This is because I will be working with a highly professional "hybrid" style publisher, Beaver's Pond Press. They aren't a traditional "assume the risk and thus reap the rewards" style publisher who would normally just eat these costs and make them back before paying the author another cent beyond an advance (provided they got one). But they are also not "Vanity Press" print-on-demand publishers who will accept any manuscript that gets offered up. They have to want to print it and have their name attached to it first, as well as offer it through their publishing web site. They have MANY award winning books to their catalog, including the late Lt. Col. Mark Weber's Tell My Sons (featured in the 2013 Father's Day issue of Parade Magazine) and Still Standing, the story about Staff Sergeant John Kriesel, who survived losing both legs in Iraq and came home to continue to serve his country as a state representative and public speaker.
So here's what goes into publishing a book of this kind:
PROJECT MANAGEMENT - Someone needs to make sure all the parts keep moving. The text layouts have to happen when they're supposed to, the edits are supposed to happen when they're supposed to, and the component parts, such as listing the book and buying an ISBN for the book, get done. About $1500
BOOK MARKETING/DISTRIBUTION - This isn't so much trying to get a print ad in Game Informer magazine (although wouldn't that be nice). This is about making sure that the major distribution channels have access to the book and can order it in bulk so that it can be purchased from Target or Amazon.com. About $600
EDITING - Wait? Didn't I say the book was done? And edited? Well, yes. However, editing will need to be done all the way along as things get modified. Some of the Kickstarter bonuses allow for things to be added to the text before release, as well as possibly be linked to additional content not in the book that must be consistent, so the book is not absolutely final. Professional editing will cost $75 an hour. 40 hours of it (the amount remaining) would be $3000.
PROOFREADING - Not the same as editing. You might think so, but once the book is laid out for print, it has to be proofread one more time to make sure that errors were not introduced in transferring the manuscript into layout. This is a tedious process that really does make sure all the i's are dotted and t's crossed, not to mention looking for absentee periods or commas or any other common pitfalls to transferring text. Cost: $2500.
LAYOUT AND DESIGN - Speaking of which, the book will have to be laid out so that the book looks nice and that the text is properly formatted. It will be designed to create a workable font that minimizes the fact that this is a sizable text, no bones about it. This also includes creating a high quality cover and possibly integrating compelling snippets from early reviews. I'll also be working on the Backer-assisted promotional poster, as mentioned in the rewards. Cost: Around $2000
E-BOOK CONVERSION - The book will be available in all standard eBook formats, such as Amazon's Kindle, Barnes & Noble's Nook, and Apple's iBooks store. This is a bit of a tricky process, but necessary to make sure things look right and act right for the modern digital reader. This could be as much as $700.
PRINTING COSTS - And, as we will be doing an initial print run to make sure the book has a widespread release and (more importantly) Backers can get their reward copies, we will be doing a minimum print run of 500 books. Probably 1,000. The cost for a book this size will end up being around $5 a book, with an upper print run cost possibility of $5000.
That amounts to $15,300 total. That's about what it will take to do this book properly. That's about what a book like this would cost ANY publisher to accomplish this. Hardcover would require about $2000 more, which I will do for all Backers as a free upgrade as a first stretch goal of $18,500.
To pay for it, I'm asking for a combination of generous faith in a dream mixed with what is essentially paying up-front for a pre-order on an eBook, a paperback, or a signed paperback copy right off the top of the very first printing.
In addition, I want to call attention to the $1000 reward tier. School visits and library visits are something I do on a regular basis, and I often charge more than this when I go out of state. It's a full day of presentations and/or workshops and a whole slew of books for the local library. Going in on this tier nets you a visit at this price point to anywhere in the U.S., the same as I might otherwise, but at a potentially cheaper price point and with the benefit of your knowing exactly what I'll be doing with that appearance fee. I can't over-stress the opportunity this affords a shrewd librarian for a school or city program.
I'm excited to embark on this with you all. I love Kickstarter. It's been hinted at me more than once that if I hadn't supported so many of other people's dreams here and at other crowdfunding sites I might not need one of my own. But then I'd have missed out on being a part of seeing other people's dreams come to life and having played a key part in it. I'm hoping you feel the same way.
And I believe you guys will love and enjoy this book. So much so that at http://doublejumpnovel.com/double-jump-sample/ I have a link where you can get the first three chapters to read before ever pledging a dollar. And if you're a member of Zombie Orpheus' "Phase II" subscription program, I'll have instructions in the FAQ shortly on how you can get chapters 4-6 as well.
Risks and challenges
Actually, the biggest risk is that my Kickstarter fails completely. While this will not prevent the book from coming out, it will delay it considerably as I potentially consider going the "traditional" route, which could delay the project for years, or going with a more amateurish print-on-demand method such as CreateSpace, which would create a lesser quality overall product.
Working with Beaver's Pond Press actually circumvents many of the possible pitfalls of non-traditional publishing. The timeline won't vary much. The end product will be top-notch. Freelance cover artists won't flake out on us. The eBook translation will be quality work and not just a utilitarian PDF export (such as the sample chapters I will be providing are in).
I also have been in the writing and publishing biz a long time -- fifteen years so far. Because it's been nonfiction primarily, that doesn't matter much to publishing houses and agents, but it does in terms of knowing what it takes to get a book done and do it right.
You have my word (and will have an additional 130K of them by the end of the year), that we will be making something incredible happen together.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (33 days)