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Watch two bestselling authors write a book LIVE in 30 days (from nothing to print) and change how the world thinks about storytelling. Read more

Austin, TX Fiction
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This project was successfully funded on May 22, 2014.

Watch two bestselling authors write a book LIVE in 30 days (from nothing to print) and change how the world thinks about storytelling.

Austin, TX Fiction
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About this project


We've added a new stretch goal:

"A Year of Emails" at $75,000. See the stretch goals section further down for more!

Once anyone has backed us at a given level, we're no longer permitted to change that level's rewards in our sidebar. However, we want to keep adding value and letting you easily see it. So Dave will be updating the graphic below as we go along. 


We’ve all heard that there are no longer gatekeepers in traditional publishing. But that’s only partly true, and not the most interesting part of the story.

There are more gatekeepers than ever, and publishing is changing, not dying. Artists who evolve with these shifts will be the most rewarded for learning to color outside the lines early.

Maybe this should make things easy for a modern creator, but it doesn’t. Too many would-be artists cling to the false belief that storytelling is something that’s only understood by a relative few — a kind of Illuminati who are keeping those precious secrets to themselves.

We want to show writers, readers, and the world that “story” is something that is already breathing inside you. Too many writers are afraid to tap their primal voice, falsely believing that there’s magic in story that they can’t access.

But it's just not true.

The truth is, you’re walking around with that magic in you right now.

We Want to Take the Process of Writing Fiction Out of the Box and Show You Everything

Fiction Unboxed is an experiment in publishing. We’re two full-time authors who want to prove that writing can be fun, and that well-told stories can come from a place of excitement and inspiration, rather than from the tortured soul of a “true artist.”

We believe in telling the stories we want to tell, regardless of genre. Tomorrow’s most successful books (and movies) will be those that most effectively tap into what readers want most: ENTERTAINMENT.

Readers want to think, feel, or escape, have fun, catch the scent of adventure and the thrill of the unknown. They don’t care where that story came from, how long it took to write, or where you went to school. Readers care about the characters you create and the situations you put them in — the two things most in your control.

It’s Time To Redefine How Stories Are Told

We’re going to take an idea from concept to finished book (digital, print, and — hopefully — audiobook) in just 30 days. Last year, when we wrote and published over 1.5 million words (that's about one and a half times the length of the full Harry Potter series), we proved that storytelling could be fun for us and for our readers... and that good stories could, with practice, be told quickly.

We’re not looking to win a Pulitzer with our stories. We’re looking to win readers, and are doing exactly that one awesome story at a time. We want to show the world how we do what we do, in the hopes that we can fundamentally shift how writers approach the art of telling stories.

Last year, to cleanse our palettes after all of that fiction, we wrote Write. Publish. Repeat: The No-Luck-Required Guide to Self Publishing Success — and the reaction to that book floored us.

Readers were inspired all over the world. They loved Write. Publish. Repeat. (the book currently has over 300 5-star reviews!), but they wanted more. They emailed, sent Tweets, and called in to our top-rated Self Publishing Podcast, begging to know more about how we worked and how we were able to blend quantity with quality at the speed that we did.

We love doing things that have never been done. This time we’d like to distill the entire process of making a book -- taking a story from concept to print (and ebook, of course) in 30 days -- so that storytellers and budding raconteurs around the world can see a story’s birth from start to finish... over and over, if they want to.

We’re going to start with nothing, then show the world how we do everything. We’ll decide on our genre, pick a title, outline our plot, develop our characters, then write the book live while the world watches.

Fiction Unboxed will be a deeply personal project. Not only are we attempting to make a bold statement meant to trumpet loudly — a statement that encourages artists to boldly ship their art — but we’re doing it in a way that's so transparent, it's basically naked.

Nothing Like This Has Ever Been Done

We’re transparent on our podcast, sharing what works and what doesn’t, almost in real time. Sometimes, that feels naked enough. But Fiction Unboxed will be like playing a show in Times Square in our birthday suits. Sink or swim, we’ll step on stage, developing our ideas, querying participants, acting on their suggestions, and crafting a page-turning book that readers will want to devour and share with friends, with every word from first to last made public for our backers on the same day it’s written.

When the month is over, we’ll have recorded every story meeting, collected every email, shared our rough, edited, and polished drafts as they were written, parried questions and answers with our audience, and shared our discussions about cover art, the book's marketing plan, and more. 

BUT, we need your help to do what’s never been done, and could change how people think about (and approach) their writing.

If this campaign hits its minimum, we’ll have the green light needed. If it doesn't fund, no backers will be charged and we’ll go back to writing the books we’ve planned for the rest of this year.

Awesome Rewards!

Thank you for joining us!

We’ve made it ABC-Easy to take part in Fiction Unboxed. The minimum backing accepted by Kickstarter is $1, so we’ll start there. You helped to change the world with a story, and everyone will know it.

Written Transcripts: Everything that happens in Fiction Unboxed will be organized into a fantastic writer's reference manual. This massive volume (we think the print version might actually require TWO volumes!) will contain transcripts of all of our story meetings, every draft, all of our story-related emails, and transcripts of everything else that all-access participants will watch unfold live during Fiction Unboxed. After the live audience watches our story's 30-day birth, you'll receive this huge written version of the experience — essentially, a detailed record of everything we did in Fiction Unboxed to craft something (a story that will last forever) from nothing (not even an idea).

The novel we write during this project (title to be decided): We don’t know the name of the novel we're going to write, any of the characters, or even the genre. But we do know it will be awesome, big, and impossible without you.

All-Access Pass to Fiction Unboxed: This is the one you really want! With an All-Access pass, you'll be able to watch everything as it happens every day. We’re going to build a special website and post each day’s new words (rough draft and subsequent edit) on the day they’re written. You’ll be able to see it all. We'll record all of our story meetings, where we hash out the plot and its twists and turns, and you'll see how "making it up as you go along" isn't a bad thing at all. You'll see all of our emails about the story, watch us solve problems, see Sean's outlining process ... EVERY LITTLE THING that goes into creating one of our novels.

Participation Pass to Fiction Unboxed: The only thing better than seeing our daily updates is being a part of them! You’ll still see our story meetings, rough drafts and words as we finish. You'll still see the edits and meetings and eavesdrop on every discussion ... but at this level, you’ll also be able to join in on the discussion, ask questions during our exclusive Q&As, and vote on things like story and genre before we get started. In other words, lower levels will watch a story be born, but with a Participation Pass, you will be PART of it.

Realm & Sands and Collective Inkwell Mega Ebook bundles: These huge digital volumes contain over a million words of our published material to date!

Fan packages with our books in print (signed) and tee-shirts, shipped and sent to you.

The Story World Summit (2 different attendance options) in Austin, Texas with Sean, Johnny and (for one of the sessions!) Dave: Plan a book in our shared story world, side-by-side with us in a very, very small group for two full days! FULL DETAILS HERE: HTTP://SELFPUBLISHINGPODCAST.COM/SUMMIT

And for a very small group, we'll edit your entire manuscript, create a customized marketing plan just for you, create your cover, and basically handle A to Z for you other than that pesky "writing" part!

Stretch Goals!

We hit our initial funding goal quickly thanks to our amazing community of backers. THANK YOU! 

But we don't want to stop now that this train is rolling, so we've developed an amazing series of stretch goals. The more we fund, the more everyone wins. We won't reveal all of the goals just yet (as writers, we DO know the importance of building suspense!), but suffice to say some of the bigger goals down the road are doozies. 

More funding will allow us to add some great rewards for all of you. We plan to STACK OUR REWARDS FOR BACKERS TO THE CEILING as Fiction Unboxed continues to fund. The more we win, the more you win, so please share this project and let the world know!

$25,000 STRETCH GOAL: “How We Use Scrivener to Create Story Beats" video series and Transcripts of Self-Publishing Podcast Episodes 1-25 

Scrivener is the writing software we use every day (you'll learn about it during Fiction Unboxed if you don't already know it), and perhaps more than anything, we've been asked to talk about how we use it.

But why stop there? The second most common thing we're asked about is how we use Story Beats -- a kind of loose outline that we use for every single book we create. (They're not rigid and restrictive, either, if you don't like the idea of being "bound" by your plot ahead of time. Our stories ALWAYS evolve from the beats.)

This goal will show you both of our most-requested topics: how we use Scrivener AND how we use them to create Story Beats. It will be added as a bonus to the rewards for all backers at the $39 level and above!

If you’re podcast listener, you’ve probably already heard me discussing the latest beats I’ve been writing for the final Realm & Sands project we'll be writing before the Fiction Unboxed story gets started. As with all of our processes, beats get better by the project. Codenamed Axis, these beats are more thorough than our usual fare, and are probably the most detailed beats I’ve written for Johnny since The Beam: Season One.

I’ll shoot a series of screencasts and take you on a guided tour of exactly how I use Scrivener for beats, so that you can see what Johnny sees before he starts writing. I’ll be using Axis — a file so fresh that at the time of this update, Johnny’s not even see it. I’ll show you how I work with characters, locations, and story, and arrange everything so that all Johnny has to do when he hits the keyboard is write.

All transcripts, provided as a lightly edited and easily searchable ebook, will be added to the rewards for all backers at the $39 level and above.

We deliver a lot of information on the Self Publishing Podcast, but up until now there's been no easy way to search for the information you want or need. Would you like to hear Johnny describe his "inability" to write a second book before the light went on and he started writing like a machine? Do you want to hear why we changed our minds about using Amazon's KDP Select program? 

Well, good luck searching through all of those episodes. Without transcripts, you'd have to listen to or watch them all to find what you needed, but this stretch goal will finally get that wealth of discussion into a format where it's easy to sort through and simple to find.

In addition, we'll be adding non-ebook versions of the transcripts to our website, for use by the SPP community. 

Later goals will fund the rest of the transcripts -- millions of words' worth of real-world experience (as three careers developed and unfolded) at your fingertips!

$35,000 STRETCH GOAL: A FREE Copy of Scrivener Writing Software For Everyone at the $89 Level and Above (and you can give it away to a friend if you already own Scrivener!)

Every backer at $89 or above will get a copy of the writing software Scrivener (a writer’s best friend) for FREE.

(If you already own Scrivener, you can give your free copy away to anyone you want!)

We use Scrivener for everything. From shorts and novellas, to serials, standalone books and series, to this update right now, Scrivener is our first, second and every choice after. It’s how we work.

Literature & Latte, the developers of Scrivener are amazing people making remarkable software. We’re lucky to have their support for this campaign, and grateful to YOU for making that happen.

Shared Story World Templates!

Whatever we’re writing during June for Fiction Unboxed, we want to share that world with you. Because this is a highly collaborative project, so transparent it's practically a see-through project, we've already decided that the world will be open to everyone.

When we reach $50,000, we will fully flesh out our world and create histories and timelines (just like we have for The Beam) and turn them into Scrivener Templates that everyone can share (remember, all Unboxers will get the software for FREE!)

We’ll build the world, you’ll get the history, politics, and locations, along with a primary cast of characters that have made the world what it is, and keep it alive and thriving — easy enough for you to access as a couple of clicks.

"Learn Scrivener Fast" training!

The Learn Scrivener Fast program is a really easy-to-use guide for getting up and running with Scrivener quickly. The straightforward course is built around short videos that teach you exactly one thing. Each lesson has a text explanation as well, along with actionable instructions. This is -- by far -- the best Scrivener training we've ever seen.

Thanks to the generosity of Joseph Michael, the author of Learn Scrivener Fast, all backers at the $89 will get the training course for free once we hit a new $60,000 stretch goal. You are already getting Scrivener and our beats series, and with this addition, you can learn simple tricks that will help you write more efficiently and publish more easily.

$75,000 STRETCH GOAL:Daily email series to give you the best year of your writing life!

If we meet this goal, we will write an e-mail series with one short thing for you to read for 365 consecutive days, to make sure you have the best writing year of your life.

This email series will be added to every backer level!


We have a ton of great things planned, so keep coming back here to check on later goals as the project funds more and more!

The project begins almost immediately after the Kickstarter ends!

We’re running this Kickstarter now, because it’s the one available pocket in this year’s schedule. Doing Fiction Unboxed now means that we won't be able to write Unicorn Apocalypse until next year (sorry Outlaws!) but we think that’s a small sacrifice to capture the excitement, immediacy, and momentum required to change the way that writers approach story.

Our campaign ends the final week of May, and we'll start our project first week in June. For you as a backer, that means NO WAITING!

Why Kickstarter?

We’ve never run a Kickstarter before because we’ve never had anything worthy. It doesn’t make sense to ask our readers to fund books before they’re written. Fiction Unboxed is different. It's something that’s never been done, and worth your attention.

We’ll be working 30 days in a row, letting the world peek over our shoulder at everything we do.

We’ll be cramming multiple months of work into one, and plowing through weekends despite quiet protests from our patient wives so that we can show the world what is possible.

Please Be a Part of Tomorrow’s Story

The future of story is changing. Preconceptions are being challenged, and answers will only arrive through innovative thought.

You are an artist staring at a canvas, and you can paint anything you want. Watching our unboxing will be like someone filling your canvas with color in real time with the hues already inside you.

Thank you for being part of the change.

Risks and challenges

With any project, there are things that can go wrong.

On the creative side, it is possible that our story will fall apart, that we won't be able to met our deadlines, that our cover won't come together in place, or any one of a million unforeseen variables stops us from finishing our book in the first 30 days.

Throughout our writing careers, we have always been up against deadlines, and are excellent at meeting them. In this case, it's part of the art. Our strong background and experience positions us to solve any challenges and deliver what we've promised.

However, even if we run long and miss our 30-day deadline, this IS a "warts and all" experience. You WILL see our story be born, along with any mistakes we make on the way.

It is also highly unlikely, but still possible that not all three of the Self-Publishing Podcast guys would be able to make the in person story workshop in Austin. Things like health, family emergencies, transportation issues, acts of God, or anything that we have no way of anticipating could keep one of us from attending. However, Sean lives in Austin, and all three of us love our fans and can't wait to do this.

As with all Kickstarter projects, money will only be charged if Fiction Unboxed is fully funded. If we don't reach our goal, you will not be charged.

Learn about accountability on Kickstarter


  • You can watch, listen, read, or do anything that doesn't require live interaction (like voting, for the participation levels) whenever you want, INCLUDING AFTER THE PROJECT IS OVER. We're going to build a website and host all the content there. You can consume it at your leisure.

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  • Fiction Unboxed is an experiment in the art of writing.

    We’re going to write and publish a full-length book (75,000 words or more) in 30 days … and do it while allowing participants to peek over our shoulders and watch every single little thing we do along the way.

    We’ll air our story meetings; we’ll share our raw words; we’ll show our edited drafts and polished drafts and every one of the emails sent between us.

    We’ll do it quasi-live, pushing content to viewers every single day, on the same day we create it.

    We’ll start with nothing: no title, no characters, no idea of a plot … not even a genre. Thirty days later, we’ll have a finished and professionally edited novel in ebook and print, with the audio version trailing close behind.

    Nothing will be held back. We’re walking a tightrope, with no net beneath us. If we fall on our faces, you’ll see it happen.

    In episode 96 of the Self Publishing Podcast, our guest was artist and writer Austin Kleon. Austin wrote two fantastic books: Steal Like an Artist and Show Your Work. Austin believes that one of the best ways to share art is to show the world how it was created — contrary to popular belief, people really do want to see how the sausage is made.

    Fiction Unboxed is that.

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  • Barring any unforeseen catastrophes, we will be running the project from June 1-30.

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  • Write. Publish. Repeat. was released in December of 2013 to a phenomenal reception. It was featured all over the writing world, received hundreds of amazing reviews, and gifted us with more accolades and thank-yous from grateful writers than we ever hoped for. But as much as people liked WPR, it didn’t stop them from asking a breed of question that we hadn’t addressed in the book, which sounded like this:

    “Okay, I understand that I need to write, publish, and repeat — to, in essence, publish a lot of great stories, over and over. But how exactly do I do it?”

    At first, we mistook that question for one about productivity. We thought people wanted to know how to manage their time and write more. But that wasn’t it at all. They really wanted to know how to tell the stories — how to keep moving forward in the face of doubts, how to untie knots in their plotlines, how to “find the muse” and not get stuck in the dreaded “second act slump.”

    Once we realized that, we saw that the question wasn’t about productivity; it was about process. Writers didn’t want to know how to get more arbitrary things done; they wanted to know how to write more stories and do it better.

    We thought about writing a follow-up book to WPR that would explain our storytelling process — the very process that Realm & Sands used to write over 1.5 million words in 2013, while maintaining an overall 4.7 review average. We could explain, A to Z, top to bottom, how we did what we did, and kept to our schedule.

    But isn’t the cardinal rule of writing supposed to be “show, don’t tell”?

    Instead of writing another book and telling you how we work, we decided to throw open our office doors and show you instead.

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  • It’s definitely about writing — or more specifically, about storytelling.

    We spend at least an hour on the podcast every week (plus a monthly Q&A hangout, interviews, emails and listener questions) discussing publishing books, marketing books, creating product funnels, and all of the other businessy miscellany that goes into independent publishing. In addition, Write. Publish. Repeat contains 120,000 words’ worth of diatribe on publishing.

    We’ve got that stuff covered, and as long as you keep listening to the podcast, we’ll keep on talking about it — as off-topic as those discussions might be.

    Fiction Unboxed, though, isn’t about that side of what we do. It’s about the stories. It’s about plucking an idea out of the aether, fleshing it out, and turning it into a fully realized novel. And in the case of Fiction Unboxed, we’ll do it in 30 days and let you watch every bit of the process, from story meetings to outlines to quasi-live rough draft copy to a book in ebook, print, and even audio.

    See, we feel that writers have been duped into believing that telling stories is magical, and hence that the “garden of great ideas and inspiration” is only accessible to the anointed few. And yes, telling stories is magical once you dip your fingers — but what we want to show writers is that the process looks more like going to work every day than summoning fairies … and that the magic you seek is within you right now.

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  • No. It’s definitely not a course.

    We do think that writers who watch us work will get plenty of ideas for their own processes, and we’re hoping that seeing the process condensed into a 30-day live “writing performance” will make something “click” for struggling writers who have been making the age-old art of telling stories into something more daunting than it is. But in no way is this a course that will teach you how to write, how to publish, how to market, how to sell, or how to do anything else.

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  • Fiction Unboxed is also not advice. We’re not suggesting that how we do things during the project is how other writers should do them, just as we never suggested in Write. Publish. Repeat. that other writers should simply follow our sometimes-unconventional path (writing in many genres, pricing certain books higher than is typical) without considering their own path.
    As with WPR and the Self Publishing Podcast, what we’re doing is showing you what we do.
    The decision as to whether or not it will also work for you must be your own.

    The best analogy we’ve heard for Fiction Unboxed came from Sean’s 12-year-old daughter Haley, who said that it’s like a concert for our writing. We aren’t going to instruct; we’re going to show. We’re going to step onto a metaphorical stage and do our art while you watch us do it.

    To extend the metaphor, what we’re doing by turning Fiction Unboxed into a Kickstarter project is a few things:

    ONE: We’re asking if you want us to conduct our performance at all. If the project funds successfully, we’ll take your answer as a loud “yes” and will get ready to play.

    TWO: We’re allowing interested “concertgoers” to buy their tickets in advance. The funding period for Fiction Unboxed runs from April 22 through May 21, that’s when you’ll be able to buy your ticket. The actual writing project — our live performance — will run from June 1 through June 30. You buy in advance for a concert, right?

    THREE: We’re giving you many different seating options. As with anything else, better seats cost more. Every Kickstarter project has several different backer rewards (the things you get for supporting us), starting at smaller rewards for smaller contributors and larger rewards for larger contributors. At a concert, you can buy orchestra pit seats for a mint or you can sit on the lawn for much less.

    No matter what seat you choose, you still see and/or hear the concert. All that changes is your proximity to the action, and the depth of your experience. The same is true for Fiction Unboxed: you can “sit on the lawn” and read our meeting transcripts, or you can inch closer until you’re almost on stage.

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  • Nope. You weren’t paying attention to that last section, were you?

    We’ll discuss our plans to market and postion the book we write during Fiction Unboxed, but the focus is on creating the story. At no time will we give anyone advice about how to make money selling books.

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  • Anyone and everyone interested in watching a story be born. Our primary audience is writers, but that’s just because we talk to so many writers and are writers ourselves. Our circle is writers. But Fiction Unboxed extends far beyond them. For instance:

    WRITERS: I guess we have to start with writers before we move beyond them. If you want to see how it’s done and hopefully pick up some ideas for your own writing, fantastic. We want that to happen for you, and we think you’ll love watching every tiny step of our process as we take a book from (as Sean says), “vapor to paper.”

    READERS: If you like to read, we think you’ll be very interested in seeing how the sausage is made — how the tales you enjoy immersing yourself in are born and grown. And hey, unlike watching sausage being made, we hope this one won’t gross you out. It’ll enhance your appreciation of books, and the authors who tell them.

    ANYONE ELSE WHO LIKES STORIES: We covered you pretty well with “readers” above, but it bears repeating.

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  • I guess it’s not for people who don’t like stories. Oh, and if you don’t like us, it’s not for you because (spoiler alert) we’re in it. We have warped senses of humor, have a tendency to go off-topic, talk too much, are sometimes wordy, and are often irreverent. We may or may not swear during the project. We think we’re going to ask “participant” level backers to vote on whether we should restrain ourselves or go au natural with our sometimes-foul mouths.

    And I hope this one goes without saying, but it’s also not for you if you resent paying for things and think we should do this for free. But I don’t need to mention that one, right? Who would back a project and then complain about backing it? A crazy person, that’s who.

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  • Let’s get this out of the way: we’re doing this in a compressed, accellerated, 30-day timeframe to prove a point.

    As I’ll explain in the next section, we believe that the core skill at the heart of telling stories — the most important piece, which should be honed through practice — is not difficult. We think there’s a myth out there that it is, and we think that’s a damaging lie.

    During Fiction Unboxed, we’ll write a full-length book (at least 75,000 words, but probably more) in a month. This is a greatly accelerated pace. But raw words are only part of a novel-length story. There are usually weeks of mulling ideas, planning, swapping possibilities back and forth. Sean works on an outline over the course of a week or more — and that’s only after he knows for sure what the story will be about. Before that, he has inklings about the plot, the concept, the setting, the characters, or the title. We won’t have that extra time in Fiction Unboxed. We not only need to write raw words; we need to decide on everything. Then we write. Then we edit. Then we polish. Then we get a cover made, and on and on and on.

    We don’t want anyone thinking that the message of Fiction Unboxed is “hurry like hell.” We are in no way saying that going slow or taking your time is a bad idea or that going as fast as possible is correct. We feel that rapid production at the rough draft stage will get your internal critic out of the way, but as with anything, we are only showing you what works for us. What works for others will certainly differ.

    The book we write would probably take us three months from start to finish, with other projects overlapping it on each end. We are doing it in a month because in true Austin Kleon fashion, we believe that restrictions are a part of art, and that a good artist uses them to his or her advantage rather than bemoaning them.

    The myth of the tortured artist says that art must be suffered through, and that if you aren’t in enough pain, you won’t produce good art. You must go slow, says this myth, and savor the agony. I actually believed it once myself. My first novel was written during a very emotionally difficult time, and during the 12 years it took me to write my second, I often wondered if it was because life had gotten too good. No pain, no gain. Literally.

    We think the myth of the tortured artist — as a necessity for creating great art, anyway — is crap. The reason we’re doing this project at a fast clip is to show you two things: First, if necessary, it can be done fast. And second, it can be — and you’ll see how much it actually is — done amidst a whole lot of fun and laughter.

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  • I don’t mean to get melodramatic, but this is about our very existence as a species, people!

    Okay, maybe it’s not quite that heavy, but it is about more than this one book, us, our readers, or even indie writers (or, hell, all writers) as a community. Stories are what bond humanity and help it to understand itself. I’m not talking about books; I’m talking about stories. Even if my grandfather wasn’t a writer, he certainly was a storyteller. And even though they didn’t have Kindles and Kobo Auras and Nooks at the dawn of language, humans still somehow managed to tell stories as a way of defining their worlds and teaching lessons down the generations.

    We feel that because so much baggage has been placed on the idea of storytelling (just think back to school, where teachers told you all the “rules” of writing that you must never violate lest you be stoned and beaten) many writers and storytellers are blocked. Or worse: they’re blocking themselves. Their stories are trapped within them, because they’ve been sold on the lie that telling stories is hard.

    Stories shape the world. Stories make our existence better. More stories need to be told. By spilling the guts of our own process, we hope in our own small, humble way to shake some perceptions and help to demystify the art that we love so much.

    Telling stories takes time, but at its core — with room to practice and improve, of course — it is not hard. It can be easy to dream up ideas and articulate them. Again, doing it well requires putting in the hours and effort, but the core is there inside everyone. It’s its own kind of magic.
    And it’s wicked fun.

    We think the world needs to hear more stories. We want the stories inside all of you to change our world for the better.

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  • The short answer is that it will go into our businesses, which, for all three of us, is 100% based on writing books. None of us have any sideline incomes anymore, and this project has required (and if funded, will continue to require) a ton of our time. We estimate that all told, Fiction Unboxed will easily divert three or four months’ worth of new book production for us. Those are the books that pay our bills, pay our rent and mortgages, and are being clamored-for by the loyal readers of our current works.

    The longer answer — because you may not care about our businesses and what happens with them at all — is that in the end, what we earn ultimately goes back to those around us.

    We’re not martyrs (we have families to feed and like to be able to buy things, just like anyone), but we truly are givers by nature. Every one of us does what we do because it’s what we love, and it’s all we really want to do with our lives. At stage one, we want only to make enough income so that we can keep writing instead of taking dreaded “real jobs.” And then, at stage two, we want to share what we have and know … and that’s where you come in.

    We do a lot of “stage two” work right now. We host a weekly podcast and hold monthly Q&A calls. We also answer a lot of listener questions via email. These things are all free. We do them because we want to do them and because we like to help other people … and because what we make from our writing businesses allows us to do them.

    The more we have, the more we give.

    The less we have to scramble (as damaged, uncurable entrepreneurs, Sean and I have gotten very good at scrambling), the more time and energy we have to give.

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  • Yes. We have a friend named Bill Graham who runs a transcribing and captioning company called CaptionAccess, and as a deaf man himself, Bill will never let us do anything inaccessible ever again.

    We’ll record video of our story meetings because we conduct them via Google Hangouts, but the video will not be required and may, in the case of my big nose, actually be distracting. And as to audio, we’re having every spoken word within Fiction Unboxed transcribed.

    The only hitch is that due to the transcription lag, it may take slightly longer for the project to “chug through” if you’re following it via transcripts.

    Caption Access can be found here:

    Last updated:


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    You helped change the world with a story, and we'll let the world know it with a thank you in the back of the novel we write during Fiction Unboxed. This list, titled "These People Changed the World With a Story," will appear in all digital and print versions of the book. For $1, the world will know what you did forever.

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    ** EARLY BIRD SPECIAL NO-BRAINER LEVEL - ALL ACCESS PASS! ** ALL OF THE ABOVE PLUS unrestricted access to the live, 30-day Fiction Unboxed experience. At this level, you'll actually watch every little detail of a story's birth and growth as we write our novel day by day, with nothing held back. You'll see every single step of the process as our book is produced. You'll watch video of every meeting we have about the story's framing, plot, and direction. You'll read every email sent between us. You'll experience every word of our rough draft on the same day it was written, and see the story's ongoing edit, polish, and copy edit as those stages are finished. Watch our "live-write" sessions and eavesdrop on our cover discussions, marketing meetings, and all the stupid things we say when we forget that others are listening.

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    ** NO-BRAINER LEVEL - ALL ACCESS PASS! ** ALL OF THE ABOVE PLUS unrestricted access to the live, 30-day Fiction Unboxed experience. At this level, you'll actually watch every little detail of a story's birth and growth as we write our novel day by day, with nothing held back. You'll see every single step of the process as our book is produced. You'll watch video of every meeting we have about the story's framing, plot, and direction. You'll read every email sent between us. You'll experience every word of our rough draft on the same day it was written, and see the story's ongoing edit, polish, and copy edit as those stages are finished. Watch our "live-write" sessions and eavesdrop on our cover discussions, marketing meetings, and all the stupid things we say when we forget that others are listening.

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    ** EARLY BIRD SPECIAL NO BRAINER LEVEL PLUS! ** ALL OF THE ABOVE PLUS the Realm & Sands and Collective Inkwell digital libraries (22 books) and an audiobook version of the finished fiction novel read by Ray Chase.

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    ALL OF THE ABOVE, PLUS a paperback print copy of the novel we write during Fiction Unboxed, a paperback print volume containing all the transcripts and drafts described in the $19 level (this will be a HUGE, shelf-ready volume perfect for adding to your writers' reference collection!), a ticket to our "Improv Happy Hour" where you can throw your story ideas at us and we'll help you turn them into workable stories in front of a live audience, a digital copy of every book published by Realm & Sands and Collective Inkwell for the next twelve months, and an "I Changed The World With a Story" tee-shirt.

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    ** PARTICIPATION LEVEL ** ALL OF THE ABOVE, PLUS participation in the process! At this level, you'll join us as we shape our novel. Everyone at the lower levels will be able to hear the questions and answers during our live Q&As, but at this level, YOU will be the one asking the questions... and when we ask, "So what sort of story should we write?" or "What genre should it be?" or "What do you think of this title?", you'll be the one casting your votes.

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    ALL OF THE ABOVE, PLUS a LIMITED HARDBACK EDITION, SIGNED of the novel we produce during the project, THE HARDBOUND TRANSCRIPTS SIGNED, our six favorite CI and R&S books in print, signed by the authors, and a one-hour, private story hangout with Sean, Johnny, and Dave, where we'll help you take your story idea from good to great.

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    ALL OF THE ABOVE, PLUS a ticket to the Colonist Session of our Story World Summit in Austin, Texas (a full weekend in Spring 2015) with Sean and Johnny. Work with us in a small-group mastermind to create your book in our shared story world. We'll add your finished book to a page of shared-world stories on our website. For more information visit:

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    ALL OF THE ABOVE, PLUS a ticket to the WorldBuilder Session of our Story World Summit in Austin, Texas (September 13-14) with Sean, Johnny, AND Dave. Work with us in a TINY-group mastermind to create your book in our shared story world as we do the same. We'll add a link to your finished book in the back of the book we write for Fiction Unboxed and add it to a page of shared-world books on our website. Help shape the story world by being one of the first writers in it! For more information visit:

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    ** THE FULL MONTY! **
    ALL OF THE ABOVE, PLUS the SPP Team will personally edit and polish YOUR manuscript, craft you a personalized marketing plan, design your cover, prep your book for print, and host you on our podcast to tell your story and promote!

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