Share this project


Share this project

Penpal's video poster

The PENPAL story has received a great deal of attention around the internet. I've revised and expanded it; now I want to publish it. Read more

Tallahassee, FL Fiction
Share this project
pledged of $1,500 goal
seconds to go


This project was successfully funded on May 2, 2012.

The PENPAL story has received a great deal of attention around the internet. I've revised and expanded it; now I want to publish it.

Tallahassee, FL Fiction
Share this project
Dathan Auerbach
Project by

Dathan Auerbach

First created  |  0 backed

See full bio Contact me

About this project


We've almost reached the end, but it looks like we'll have one very special last minute package! The poster that each of you will be receiving comes from a single 11"X17" hand-drawn and inked image. 

This image was designed, sketched, and then finished using pen and ink (not a regular pen; I'm talking an actual ink-quill dipped in ink over and over again -- I saw it myself or I wouldn't have believed it).  On this illustration there is no "PENPAL" text, and its absence reveals a lot of hidden detail that was covered when the title text was added. There are even some remaining smudges and pencil marks from the original work which makes this really one-of-a-kind. There's only one copy of this illustration, and right now it's sitting at D.R. Tuzzeo's house. But we thought you might like it in yours.

I'm only adding this so late in the game because the poster, as you know, was a later addition (just finished two days ago!), and we had never even considered letting go of the original.  But we thought this might really mean something to one of you, so we wanted to give you the chance to snag the real thing.

This is the last package that I'm going to offer, and should you pick it up, you will be the only person in the world to have it -- even I won't have it! 

So here's what I've put together: In this new package you'll receive the original illustration for the poster on heavy artist paper, professionally matted and framed using high quality materials, and signed by D.R. Tuzzeo.  In addition, I'm going to include a final special edition collector box, the signed book, both shirts, all four pins, the bookmark, all six collector cards, and the printed poster. Check out the "Rewards" to the right to grab it!

You guys have taken this so much farther than I ever expected it to go, and I'm still staggered by how this project has been received. I had planned to hang this illustration on my wall, but it would mean more to me to know that it's on one of yours.


D.R. Tuzzeo has just finished the poster, and it is amazing. The illustration is 100% hand-drawn as an homage to the story "Screens" and the cult movies shown at "The Dirt Theatre." Take a look at that stippling and mourn the loss of D.R. Tuzzeo's hand since I'm sure it disintegrated from all this work. Originally, we were planning on a simple poster, but we couldn't seem to settle on anything less than awesome, and we figured you shouldn't have to settle either!

This 11" X 17" poster will be included in all packages $5 and up. If the campaign hits $15,000, then D.R. Tuzzeo will personally sign all the posters for the $50 and up packages. Of course, this comes in addition to everything already included in those packages. Hitting this goal will allow me to more effectively compensate him, though most of the proceeds may go toward his hand-reconstruction surgery. ;)

Thank you so much for your support, and I hope this custom poster serves as an appropriate "thank you" for how far you've helped to bring this project!


The response to this Kickstarter has surpassed every expectation I had. Your support has guaranteed that I can afford to publish PENPAL – that was assured as soon as the goal was reached. But, we have long since passed that point. Since the goal has been passed to such an extent, I will also be able to afford to advertise my book, which is vital since I don’t have a big publisher to represent me. This means that I can buy ads, send review copies to critics and publishers, offer libraries copies, and more easily get the book into brick-and-mortar stores. I want as many people as possible to read PENPAL, but in order for that to happen, they have to know about it. The worries that plagued me for months were dissolved in just days thanks to each of you.  But goals only exist until you reach them, and when you do, new ones appear.

I want to show my deepest thanks to you, my Kickstarter supporters, and so I have set these new goals which I hope you will like.

$10,000 GOAL                                                      

In addition to everything already included in the rewards…


I’ve had a lot of questions about an ebook version of PENPAL, and since many of you seem to want it, I want to give it to you. Should this new goal be reached, every backer from $25 and up will receive, via email, an electronic copy of PENPAL for your e-reader – whatever it is. When the Kickstarter is over, you will receive a survey where you can tell me which format you prefer (EPUB, PDF, etc).

The ebook will be emailed to you before the packages are even sent, and before the book is available anywhere else! The paperback and ebook will be available for retail after the Kickstarter is completely over and all packages are shipped, but now you will be able to read the book before anyone else has the chance!

$12,000 GOAL                                                      

In addition to everything already included in the rewards…


A brand new, never-before-seen, PENPAL design printed as an 11” X 17” poster. This is being designed by D.R. Tuzzeo, the same designer of the book cover, logo, T-shirts, bookmarks, pins, and sticker. You will like this poster. 


Each package from the $50 package and up will receive ALL FOUR of the promotional pins. 


On custom PENPAL letterhead, I will handwrite and sign 10 separate versions of the running away letter from the story “Footsteps.” This will be included with all of the other things (everything) that you already get in the Collector’s Box. 

Meeting these two new goals will ensure that I can do everything in my power to make PENPAL as successful as possible. 

$12,000 AND BEYOND…                                      

I love writing, but this project has taught me that I simply need more time for it. Should the $12,000 level be surpassed I will be able to devote more time to writing new stories and will hopefully be able to write and publish a new book within, or just over, a year. 

From the Top...

About six months ago, I posted a six-part story to the "nosleep" forum on, under the name 1000Vultures. For those of you who don't know, NoSleep is a place where people post horror stories; there, "everything is true, even if it isn't." Since posting my story, it has received a great deal of attention and acclaim.

As it stands, the six parts of the story are all in the all-time top ten of reddit's nosleep; the final chapter of the story is #1. There are people from all over the world who have asked to adapt sections of the story into podcasts, short films, comic books, concept albums, and art pieces. Several educators have even gone as far as incorporating the story into their curriculum. 

Needless to say, I've been staggered by my story's reception, but I won't spend any more time talking about that. You can read the first part, "Footsteps" for yourself, if you like. If you find that it's something that piques your interest, you can follow the links at the end of each chapter to read the next part -- this will take you all the way to the end...well almost. If you like it, then come on back here. But, if you don't, you still have my thanks for your time.

Moving Forward... 

Together, the six parts of the story that I posted are called Penpal. The story is told from the first-person and follows my attempt to make sense of some mysterious events from the earliest years of my life. As the picture develops, these events intertwine and coalesce into shocking and horrifying revelations about my past. 

I have spent the past several months expanding and revising the story throughout -- it is now nearly three times the length of the stories that were originally posted. I want to make it into a proper novel so that people who love horror and mystery can buy it and put it on their bookshelves (in case the nightstand is just too close for comfort!). And this is where you come in.

The success of my story has not been a financial one. I have made no money at all from the success of PENPAL, and while making money was never the goal of sharing these stories, I need your help to bring this novel into the world. The route I've chosen for printing the book has reduced my cost considerably. I've also received a great deal of help from friends in areas in which I simply am not skilled. All of the images, both in and on the book, are the result of the creativity, generosity, and hard work of good friends who have helped me keep the cost of publishing from being insurmountable. But, as I'm sure you can imagine, there are a great number of costs that go into putting a book into your hands, and so I'm turning to you now.

Why I need your help...

I want this book to exist so that anyone who wants it can get it. But, the cost of publishing a book, even when availing myself of print-on-demand facilities and generous and talented friends, is high. Having the interior of the book formatted, purchasing proof copies for review, and the fees associated with requesting changes, so that the book is as close to perfect as I can manage, is expensive. Additionally, because I don't want to place limitations on the format or medium in which this book is read, I'll be purchasing my own ISBNs directly so that my options for publishing and distributing the novel are open. This brings on additional costs of formally establishing myself as the publisher. 

$1,500 will put me right where I need to be so I can publish this book and make it available to anyone in the world, while also offering some very cool, high-quality items -- that actually match the amount of money you back me with --  to those of you who help get this project off the ground; many of whom have been with me for the whole duration of this book's development. I couldn't have done this without you so far, and I won't be able to publish it without you.  

If the $1,500 goal is reached, then I'll be able to make the book available for a standard retail price through multiple distributors, in both paperback and ebook format. Should the goal be surpassed, the extra money will, in addition to helping me produce and ship the packages that I'm offering here, allow me to more effectively market the book, which will be a major hurdle for me since I'm self-publishing. I'll also be able to use the extra money to finance other publishing projects in the future, so that I don't start in the hole the next time I go to publish.

But let's get to the goods...


Both of these shirts were designed by my talented friend D.R. Tuzzeo (, who also designed the exterior of my book, the bookmarks, the 1000Vultures seal, and the pins (below). As if that wasn't enough, he also hand-drew the image for the PENPAL T-shirt, creating an illustration that suits this project perfectly. There are no plans for this image to appear in the book or anywhere other than this shirt, so grab it now! 

Both of these T-shirts are high quality screen prints (not iron-ons), so you could -- and probably should -- wear them every day. 


This double-sided bookmark will help you mark your page IN STYLE (if you can put PENPAL down, that is)! Which is the front? Which is the back? WHO CARES?! JUST LOOK AT IT! 


These 1" pins are perfect for a jacket or backpack. There are a total of 4 designs: 2 versions of the 1000Vultures logo, and 2 PENPAL pins. [IMAGINE SOME WITTY TEXT HERE]..."PINPALS!"


It would be almost foolish not to upgrade your car with a PENPAL sticker. This high-quality vinyl sticker measures 5" X 2" and is great for most surfaces -- inside or out -- so pick a spot and slap it on! 


Collector Cards

There are a total of 6 different 2.5" X 3.5" collector cards, brilliantly illustrated by Carolyn Nowak. Each comic book-style card references a specific chapter of the book, and on the back of each card is a part of the map from the story "Maps." Collect all 6 cards, solve the puzzle, and see the map for the very first time!

PENPAL Complete Collector's Box

Own the Complete Collection with this custom, Special Edition PENPAL box, which pays homage to the story "Balloons."

In the box you'll get everything that I'm offering in the Kickstarter, PLUS a limited edition, signed "FOR STAMPS" dollar.

There are only 10 of these, so grab one now!


  • Simple! Just pledge and select the $150 package (or any package above that) and I'll put your name in a special "Thank You" section at the beginning of PENPAL! I'll send out surveys after the Kickstarter is over, and you'll provide me with the name that you want printed in the book within two weeks, or I will have to use the name you've picked here in Kickstarter.

    NOTE: If you request a name that is offensive or profane I won't be able to put your name in the book.

    Last updated:
  • Yes! You can order as many shirts as you like! Just select the $50 package (the first one with the shirt) -- or any higher package -- and add $25 for each additional shirt! So, for U.S. buyers, that would mean if you want two shirts, you would pledge $75 and pick the $50 package; or you could pledge $100 and pick the $75 package; if you wanted three shirts, you would pledge $100 and pick the $50 package, etc. When the Kickstarter is over you'll be sent a survey and there you can indicate what size shirts you want!

    Last updated:
  • Yes! If you want to add the six collector cards to any package, just add $25 to your pledge! When the Kickstarter is over, I'll send out a survey, and you can note that you want -- no, you DEMAND -- the set of collector cards!

    Last updated:


  • You selected
    Pledge $1 or more

    7 backers

    Everything helps! If you want to pitch in just to see how this whole thing unfolds then this is the spot for you! Every little bit goes a long way.

    Estimated delivery:
  • You selected
    Pledge $5 or more

    14 backers

    Don't leave empty-handed! You receive a double-sided, glossy PENPAL bookmark. Obviously you're going to want to use this for the PENPAL novel, but I suppose it would also work for other books...probably.

    Estimated delivery:
  • You selected
    Pledge $10 or more

    5 backers

    Remember collector cards? So do I! In addition to the bookmark, you'll get 1 of 6 random collector cards designed by the talented Carolyn Nowak. Each card features a different comic book cover illustration; there's 1 for each chapter of the book. That's not all though. Turn it over and you'll see a part of the map from the story "Maps." Collect all 6 to complete the whole map! Scroll down on my Kickstarter Story to see one of the cards here!

    Estimated delivery:
  • You selected
    Pledge $25 or more

    340 backers

    The reason you're here! You'll receive the bookmark, a collector card, PLUS one of four promotional 1" pins (at random), and a SIGNED special edition of the PENPAL novel, which you helped make possible! CANADA please add $10. INTERNATIONAL ORDERS please add $15.
    NOTE: For this package and all of the ones that follow, if you want additional signed copies of the book, just add $20 per book.

    Estimated delivery:
  • You selected
    Pledge $50 or more

    28 backers

    Wear your support on your sleeve...literally! Everything above PLUS your choice of t-shirt. Choose one of two designs and the shirt's size. These will be screen-printed (NOT cheap iron-ons) in limited quantities in response to the Kickstarter demand. BUT WAIT! I'll also send you a high-quality vinyl sticker with the PENPAL logo. Slap this bad boy on your car, guitar, folder, or face and be an official PENPAL. Scroll down for pics! CANADA please add $10. INTERNATIONAL ORDERS please add $15.

    Estimated delivery:
  • You selected
    Pledge $75 or more

    14 backers

    We've got a collector here! Everything above, but instead of just one collector card, now you get ALL SIX. Want to have all 6 comic book covers? Want to have the map? This is the pack for you! NOTE: For this package and any of the ones that follow add $25 if you want an extra shirt! CANADA please add $10. INTERNATIONAL ORDERS please add $15.

    Estimated delivery:
  • You selected
    Pledge $150 or more

    8 backers

    Memorialize and immortalize your support IN THE BOOK! Everything above, but now the book will have your name in it. What? To show my gratitude for your help, I'll place your name on a special "Thank You" section at the beginning of PENPAL. CANADA please add $10. INTERNATIONAL ORDERS please add $15.

    Estimated delivery:
  • You selected
    Pledge $250 or more

    10 backers All gone!

    Limited Edition PENPAL package! You want it all? You got it, and then some! You get the bookmark, the sticker, ALL FOUR pins, BOTH shirts, ALL SIX collector cards, a signed, stamped and, HAND-NUMBERED copy of PENPAL, and a special thank you in the book. This will all be mailed to you in a SPECIAL COLLECTOR'S EDITION PENPAL BOX that pays homage to the story "Balloons." In keeping with the theme of the box, you'll also receive a signed "FOR STAMPS" dollar that's limited to this pack alone! Scroll down and look left to check it out! Shipping is included for U.S. buyers. CANADA and INTERNATIONAL ORDERS please contact me for rates.

    Estimated delivery:
  • You selected
    Pledge $500 or more

    0 backers

    RESELLER PACKAGE! This is for any store-owners, -- either brick-and-mortar or estore -- that would like to put PENPAL up for sale in-shop for customers. Here you get 25 books, 15 shirts of your choice, 25 bookmarks, and 25 stickers. CONTACT ME for shipping rates!

    Estimated delivery:
  • You selected
    Pledge $500 or more

    0 backers Limited (1 left of 1)

    Original PENPAL ART pack: Here you'll receive the original (and only) hand-drawn illustration of the PENPAL poster, signed by the artist and professionally matted and framed. This comes in addition to the special Collector Box that contains the autographed, stamped, and hand-numbered novel, the bookmark, all six collector cards, all four pins, both shirts, the sticker, and a print of the poster. DELIVERY ONLY AVAILABLE TO CONTINENTAL U.S.

    Estimated delivery:

Funding period

- (30 days)