“That hole broke the back of two empires. To want to venture there, and then enter it? Foolishness! And you’ll regret it! Mark it—you’ll regret it well.” The man’s unshaven chin jutted with the strength of his words. His eyes flashed, and he pulled another mouthful from his gourd.
I typed the words above over four years ago. They had popped into my head almost wholesale, and something compelled me to put them on paper. But even before typing them, a broad collection of scenes and events sprang from them. Within a very short time, that material coalesced into a full story. Over the past four years, that story grew into its present form—180,000 words (about 700 pages) of fantasy, split into two novels.
This campaign is to fund the electronic publication of my first novel: The Ramparts of Tharrenton Deep, Book One. Stretch goals, as outlined below, would help me to accomplish a number of additional milestones:
- Publish a paperback version of the novel.
- Fund the electronic publication of the novel’s sequel (Book Two, already written).
- Publish a paperback version of the novel’s sequel.
With your help, I will have the funds to accomplish this life-long dream.
Who I Am
My name is Nick, and I’ve wanted to be a novelist since sometime in junior high school. A full and time-consuming other career and the understanding that the normal route to novel publication was, at best, a lottery have always prevented me from attempting it before now. However, the advent of Amazon and their Kindle platform (and the various other e-readers on the market) and the ease with which one is able to publish today have inspired me to make the leap.
As with most artists today (a term I use lightly when referring to myself), I wrote this story for the pleasure, and challenge, of writing it. Could I actually write a novel? Would it be any good? Would anyone other than myself enjoy it? I don’t really know the answers to those questions. Yes. Maybe. I guess?
I do know that I have had several people read the story, including some who don’t typically read fantasy, and their honest feedback has been uniformly positive. I truly believe that others will enjoy it as well. That is why I brought it to Kickstarter.
But let’s be honest: I am unknown as an author. You may be asking yourself, “Why should I contribute to this guy’s Kickstarter?”
Well, I am making the first chapter of The Ramparts of Tharrenton Deep, Book One available to you with the thinking that a sample of my writing might convince you to do so. This link will take you to a file of the opening chapter of the book. Enjoy!
Thoughts on my Story
I set out to write a fantasy novel about ordinary people. And by ordinary, I mean characters who are not “destined” to achieve greatness. None of these characters is ‘The One.’ They are, almost to a one, peasants; there will be no world-shattering consequences that result from their actions. So much fantasy available today falls into the "save-the-world" category. I wanted to write a different story, one wherein the stakes are not world-spanning but are just as compelling.
In my younger days, I was an avid player of Dungeons & Dragons, at its most basic, a form of group storytelling. The creators of the game credited a long list of fantasy writers from the early- and mid-20th century as inspirations, authors such as Tolkein, Lieber, Lovecraft, Vance, and many others. As those authors’ writings inspired the creation of the game, my playing that game inspired my writing of The Ramparts of Tharrenton Deep.
Though the game spawned tens, if not hundreds, of ‘official’ novels over the past 40 years, none of those novels seemed to capture the essence of the game in its earliest incarnations, in which the characters started as ordinary folks and, if they survived long enough, might retire as heroes. I tried to write my story to capture that essence. I think that I succeeded.
The Expenses of Self-Publishing a Novel
What follows is a complete description of all accounting for this project, to give you the confidence that I will fulfill my end of this Kickstarter bargain, that I have a solid plan to appropriately use the funds that I receive, and that I will provide your rewards to you when I promise them.
The funding goal for this campaign is $2266.00. That amount is based strictly on meeting the expenses for publishing this novel, and these expenses are my true expenses, based upon quotes for work that I have already received. A summary of those expenses is as follows:
- Editing: $600.00
- Proofreading: $350.00
- Cover Art: $750.00
- EBook Design: $360.00
- Total: $2060.00
- Kickstarter Fees: $206.00
- Grand Total: $2266.00
The one item that I do NOT have a quote for is the cover art. I am still attempting to choose an artist to produce the image for me. Those of you familiar with publishing might argue that I could purchase something for much cheaper than $750. That is true, however, I want to commission an original piece for the cover, and my research indicates this is an appropriate amount for the quality of art that I am looking for.
Keep in mind that for the initial campaign and all stretch goals below, Kickstarter will charge me approximately 10% of any funds raised. I have accounted for this expense throughout my accounting.
Initially, my first stretch goal (at a funding level of $2651.00) was going to be the paperback publication of The Ramparts of Tharrenton Deep, Book One. However, over the past ten days, various aspects of the project have come in under budget. This will allow me to create the paperback version of the novel at my current level of funding -- $2500.00.
That leaves two formal stretch goals:
$4040.00 – Electronic Publication of The Ramparts of Tharrenton Deep, Book Two. Additional moneys (in the amount of $1540.00) will fund the electronic publication of the second novel and are based solely upon meeting my expenses. They are summarized below:
- Editing: $600.00
- Proofreading: $440.00
- EBook Design: $360.00
- Total: $1400.00
- Kickstarter Fees: $140.00
- Grand Total: $1540.00
A review of these expenses will show you two things:
1. Proofreading is more expensive than for Book One. The reason for this is simple: That expense is based upon per word/per page calculations. Book Two is approximately 93K words while Book One is approximately 83K words. Thus, the greater expense.
2. I am not going to purchase a new piece of cover art for Book Two. I will pursue other avenues to make the two books visually distinct.
[$2500 + $1540 = $4040]
$4425.00 – Paperback Publication of The Ramparts of Tharrenton Deep, Book Two. The additional funds above Stretch Goal #1 will fund the paperback publication of the second novel. This will cost $350.00 and $35 for Kickstarter fees above that.
[$4040 + $385 = $4425]
$ ?? – Additional Stretch Goals. If the unexpected happens, and the campaign funds all three Stretch Goals, I am open to considering additional goals. We will discuss possibilities, if we are lucky enough to get to that point.
Each of the Stretch Goals will “unlock” pledge levels in addition to those at left. If they are unlocked, they will allow you to purchase the electronic edition of Book Two and the paperback version of Book Two. And those are the basic pledges; I have ideas for additional ones as well and would be willing to listen to suggestions from backers.
It is not very common to see acknowledgments at the bottom of Kickstarter campaigns, however, I felt it necessary to offer one. I would like to thank author and blogger Joe Konrath. Joe doesn’t know me from Adam, but his blog, A Newbie’s Guide to Publishing, gave me the oomph I needed to finish these novels. If you have any interest in being an author today, I highly recommend his blog.
Risks and challenges
The manuscripts for both novels are complete. They are in the process of being professionally edited and proofread at this time. Once those steps are complete, these novels will be published. The only risk to this campaign is anything that poses a risk to me. Personal injury or death may delay fulfillment, but even those worst-case scenarios will not stand in the way of a successful completion. I have friends and family who will see this through.
And if there is a delay, I at the very least will make PDF versions of the novels available, including the cover art that I am purchasing. You will have the opportunity to read these stories on time.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (32 days)