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Get a cornucopia of amazing, innovative books, stories, creative non-fiction, letterpress art, and more - while creating a revolution.
52 backers pledged $1,414 to help bring this project to life.

About

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$1,414

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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!

COMMUNITY-SUPPORTED LITERATURE!

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. 

What Else?

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.

The biggest vision is to create an ebook app that would include reviews, forums, a chatroom for author interviews and book groups, audio author commentary throughout the books. And spam-free reader commentary, too, like a commenting system embedded throughout the book, set up so that people could choose to turn it off and on, and even get notifications if somebody commented on a book that they had read. It could even include a way to let both authors and readers edit and add sections, and switches to turn different people's input off and on.

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!

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Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $1 or more About $1.00

    SO NICE: Thank you so much for supporting our project! You get a hand-written thank-you postcard featuring a picture of something local, literary, or just plain fun!

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    Pledge $5 or more About $5

    FIVE TIMES AS NICE!: You are so awesome! How can I express how awesome you are? How about with a hand-signed vintage Valentine card and an adorable little handmade felt bookmark?

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    Pledge $10 or more About $10

    START WRITING: This is so wonderful! You leapt right over the thank-you prizes and into double digits! For that, you need a hardcover type of reward! What about a blank journal, with our tree and the phrase Hand-Picked Words on the front cover, so that you can start growing your own stories to submit?

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    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    SECRET BOOK BOX: You are amazingness SQUARED! We have to really pull out all the stops for you! You'll get a limited edition digital book box! This will be packed full of short stories, fascinating pieces, excerpts from memoirs-in-progress, and at least one book, none of which have ever been published before. PLUS a hand-signed card in the mail, containing an adorable little bookmark!

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    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    SECRET GENRE BOX: You are amazingness standing on its head and doing a little dance! You'll get a limited edition digital book box too, except yours will be in YOUR CHOICE of genres: CULINARY, ROMANCE/CHICK LIT, SCI-Fi/FANTASY, or MYSTERY. Just like the standard limited edition box, it will be packed full of short stories, fascinating pieces, excerpts from amazing pieces, and at least one book. PLUS a hand-signed card in the mail, containing an adorable little bookmark!

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    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    SECRET CULINARY BOX: You are amazingness standing on its head and doing a little dance! You'll get a limited edition digital book box too, except yours will be done FOODIE-STYLE. Everything will be around a culinary theme - foodie reminiscences, stories, recipes, and so on. Just like the standard limited edition box, it will be packed full of short stories, fascinating pieces, excerpts from amazing work, and at least one book. PLUS a hand-signed card in the mail, containing an adorable little bookmark!

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    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    SECRET ROMANCE/CHICK LIT BOX: You are stunning. Simply stunning. You'll get a limited edition digital book box too, except yours will be done ROMANCE-STYLE. Everything will be in the general genre of chick lit and romance - light, funny, moving, and deep stories about love and the part it plays in all our lives. Just like the standard limited edition box, it will be packed full of short stories, fascinating pieces, excerpts from amazing work, and at least one book. PLUS a hand-signed card in the mail, containing an adorable little bookmark!

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    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    SECRET SCI-FI/FANTASY BOX: Your generosity is deeply moving! You'll get a limited edition digital book box too, except yours will contain work that explores alternative worlds and alternative realities. It's like a TARDIS full of writing. Just like the standard limited edition box, it will be packed full of short stories, fascinating pieces, excerpts from amazing work, and at least one book. PLUS a hand-signed card in the mail, containing an adorable little bookmark!

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    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    SUPER-SECRET MYSTERY BOX: Don't you think there's something extra-secret about the contents of a mystery-themed book box?? It's as mysterious as the depths of your generous, supportive spirit. You'll get a limited edition digital book box too, except yours will be done MYSTERY-STYLE. Everything will be in the mystery genre - puzzling events, noirish looks at humanity's seedy underbelly, empowering adventures into justice. Just like the standard limited edition box, it will be packed full of short stories, fascinating pieces, excerpts from amazing work, and at least one book. PLUS a hand-signed card in the mail, containing an adorable little bookmark!

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    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    CONNOISSEUR'S BOX: Wow. Wow. Just wow. Fifty dollars! If only twenty of you are this generous, we will meet our goal! Any of the mysterious limited edition boxes above is yours in gorgeous print form! Lavish printings on really nice paper, beautiful books whose pages go flap-flap-flap-flap when you shake the book around. Smell the smooth, silky aroma of real creamy paper and rich inks. Slip a soft felt bookmark between the pages. Bliss.

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    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    INSIDE-OUT BOX: Triple digits?! You are like the reincarnation of Andrew Carnegie! In gratitude, we offer the inverse of our boxes! Instead of a freshly-picked bushel of written work, you'll get four signed books selected from our contributors' own bookshelves. What could give you greater insight into another person than a book plucked from their home? Learn what they've learned, and love what they've loved.

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    Pledge $125 or more About $125

    AN AMAZING YEAR: Your bountiful support of the arts deserves more than a one-time reward! You will be rewarded with a "box" of ebooks and other digital entertainment each month for a whole year! Short stories, poems, graphic art, innovative essays - the works. It's a cornucopia of gratitude and mutual joy.

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    Pledge $250 or more About $250

    OH MY GOODNESS: Your generosity has shot into the stratosphere! Well, we have to do something big for you now! Send us any short piece (from one page up to fifty pages!) and we'll lovingly give it a thorough manuscript critique. That means a big-picture evaluation: making sure the structure you've built is sound, evaluating it for an effective and engaging style, realistic characters, compelling plot, smooth pacing, consistent point of view, vivid setting, basic grammar and spelling, and more.

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    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    ASTRONAUT LEVELS OF GENEROSITY: You have blown us all away. There are no words. None. Except on your book-length manuscript, which we will happily evaluate on all of the points above: effective and engaging style, realistic characters, compelling plot, smooth pacing, consistent point of view, vivid setting, basic grammar and spelling, and more. (In non-fiction works, we'll evaluate the equivalent. When you get right down to it, every piece has a plot and characters; the only difference is whether they are "real" or not.) Plus, of course, our undying thanks.

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Funding period

- (30 days)