Like a lot of great ideas, this one was born in an independent bookstore.
I saw a beautifully produced hardcover and pulled it down to see who had published it. It was a quirky small press I had never heard of - Wolverine Farm. I immediately googled them. The first two words that jumped out from their website were COMMUNITY and SUPPORT, and I thought, "Hey!
That should totally be a thing!"
A flood of ideas hit my brain all at once - like a farm box! like subscribe and you get something amazing each month! for the adventurous, voracious reader! undiscovered authors! so much fun! - and then they were all drowned out by one more: "Please tell me that is not what these folks are already doing!" (It's not, although they are doing a lot of other amazing things for their local community.)
What is community-supported literature?
I'm glad you asked! It's a lot like Community-Supported Agriculture. When you subscribe to a CSA box, you get an amazing box of super-fresh, organic, fruits and veggies direct from your local farm, every week or month. When a bunch of people in your community do this, it supports local independent farmers. They know they have a certain number of subscribers lined up, so instead of worrying about producing a ton of marketable, commercial produce in the hope that big stores will carry it, they can focus on quality.
Delightful For Readers
Hand-Picked Words is a small press that showcases dazzling undiscovered authors. Our Book Box will include four or five short pieces, like short stories, creative nonfiction, personal essays, letterpress art, and really good poetry, as well as a great book. If it goes well, we will offer more of them, as a regular monthly subscription!
If you love books as much as I do, you know the horror of running out of things to read. No matter how many suggestions my friends, librarian, local bookstores, and Amazon might make, there is always that unsatisfying point where I've read everything that my favorite authors have written for now, and haven't found anything new to try yet. It's like being stranded! This is the solution: a delightful delivery of brand-new, exciting work that draws you in, no matter what genre or subject, because it's so well-written.
Fantastic For Writers
There are so many authors out there who write well, but don't market themselves well, or don't have the time and money to do their marketing - or just would rather be writing than fighting to get published. In order to get a deal with a traditional publisher, you can't just be good - you also have to be marketable. Because in order for it to be financially worth it to you and all the other people getting a piece of the profits, your book has to sell hundreds of thousands of copies. You're only getting 10%-15% of that, after all.
The Book Box is more like self-publishing -- with marketing, editing, and production support. Authors can focus on quality and innovation, instead of on producing really commercial work. They get a cut of the profits from the Book Box, and they get almost all the royalties when we help them sell their work on its own afterward.
Our dream is to find amazing authors, and give them a venue to create the work of their dreams. All those pieces that would be too short, too quirky, or just too much for the mainstream market.
What The Kickstarter Is For
We've drawn up the marketing plans. We've given samples to people who love beauty subscription boxes and books equally. We've found amazingly talented writers, people who can make beautiful worlds come to life with their keyboards. And we've already begun work on the first box.
This Kickstarter is raising money for the tiny little essentials of life that will make this happen. The boring parts, like "and" or "the", without which any story would never exist. Things like:
- a lawyer's help drawing up our basic book contract
- gorgeous print copies
- fabulous book design, inside and out
- a little extra marketing push for our very first authors
Okay - maybe not so boring after all.
If we exceed our Kickstarter goal, there's another phase I'd love to add in.
Self-publisher and horror/mystery writer Joe Konrath has described some awesome visions for the future of ebooks. We'll happily try to make them come true.
Love the book, but hate the ending? Add your own. Think it would be better without that whole vampire clown subplot? Delete it, and share your version with others. Want to know what happens next? Get together with others in the chat room or forums, brainstorm the rest of the story, and add it to the book. Curious about how the author was influenced by the classical work that they mention, or how much of the book was autobiographical? Listen to their commentary.
The possibilities are endless. Let's create them together.
Risks and challenges
The biggest challenge is in attracting enough amazing work to fill the box. We already have some truly splendid authors on board, but we are always looking for more. If you think that you, or someone you know, has what it takes, check out the submission guidelines at handpickedwords.com.
We still have a lot of work ahead of us, but we are extremely dedicated and super-passionate about getting amazing new work into YOUR hands! Our team is exploding with enthusiasm, and we know that there are thousands and thousands of people out there who want an exciting way to escape the reader (and writer) doldrums. Please join us on this fantastic journey, and start a publishing revolution!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)