Ursula Vernon's quirky, award-winning, 6-volume graphic novel series about a practical wombat aspires to become a single, epic tome.
FINAL STRETCH GOAL UPDATE: We made it through all the stretch goals with less than 2 hours to go. Thank you all! While it's tempting to throw out a new $150,000 stretch goal, we're simply out of ideas that wouldn't cause chaos to the process this late in the game. It has been a wonderful, exhausting process, and we're already more than $100,000 beyond what we thought was a minimum for this project. We're happy for any additional pledges we get from this point forward -- more people reading Digger is a good thing! -- but we really don't feel the need to go crazy trying to squeeze out any more from this campaign.
(If you all decide to go crazy on your own and push us to $150K in the last hour, We're sure we can find something fun to surprise you with after the fact!)
Add-Ons Update: We reached our $100,000 stretch goal just in time for the last week of our campaign and the release of add-ons! Due to the stretch goal, we will be releasing a Digger T-shirt, free for backers at the $100 level and up, Ursula will be getting a wombat tattoo, we'll be getting professional help with our new website, and, as a little extra bonus, Ursula has agree to sign all copies of the book purchased through the Kickstarter, even the ones at the book-only level. We have also released our collection of add-on options. Be sure to revisit our Rewards section, below, for new images, and then the Add-Ons section below that for the basic numbers. Please visit our Add-Ons document for full details, and don't forget to refer to our Reward Matrix for details on what you are already getting at each level.
Digger is a story about a wombat. Specifically, it is a story about the wombat named Digger-of-unnecessarily-convoluted-tunnels of Clan Quartzclaw who digs a tunnel to a world populated with matriarchal hyena clans, oracular slugs, talking statues of gods, and other strange creatures. In the course of trying to find her way home, she becomes embroiled in an ancient battle between old gods and demons, despite her disaffection for anything of the sort. Digger’s tale was published as a web comic over the course of eight years, and also as a six-volume printed collection. Along the way, it won a number of awards, most notably the 2012 Hugo Award in the category of “Best Graphic Story.” This Kickstarter campaign is to help fund the publication of a single-volume omnibus edition of the entire story, to be made available in both softcover and hardcover editions.
Who are We?
Ursula Vernon is a writer and an artist, a blogger and a podcaster. In addition to Digger she has published Black Dogs, a two-volume novel, Nurk, a book for children, and Dragonbreath a popular series of books for young readers that are a mix of prose and comic pages. She lives in North Carolina with her partner, Kevin Sonney, and a collection of rescued dogs and cats. She also blogs about gardening with native plants and produces a podcast with her partner titled, “Kevin and Ursula Eat Cheap” (a.k.a. "KUEC").
Sofawolf Press is an independent publishing company that has been producing novels, graphic novels and literary anthologies about anthropomorphic animals for over a decade. We published Ursula’s Black Dogs novels, her sketchbook, It Made Sense at the Time, and the six-volume Digger series. We’ve come to Kickstarter to fund the printing of the omnibus edition of Digger, not only to take pre-orders of the book, but also to turn this into a fun event where Digger’s and Ursula’s fans can rally together and help make the omnibus edition bigger and better than we could have funded on our own.
Why an Omnibus Edition?
We produced the original six print volumes of Digger as the story was being written, allowing fans to read the story in print, away from their computer screens, as Digger's tale evolved. Now that the story is complete, it makes sense to compile the whole epic saga into a single volume that will be more convenient and cost effective for new fans to purchase. A single book is also much more likely to be stocked in comic book stores than the individual volumes.
What Will It Be Like?
At a minimum, we plan to bring together all the original printed pages into this omnibus collection, bound in both softcover and hardcover editions. Digger's story was broken into twelve "books" online, and each of the original print volumes consisted of two of these books. The print volumes also included some form of extra stories, guides or other content that did not appear online. All these pages will be compiled in the omnibus.
The omnibus edition will also include a new introduction written by Phil Foglio, creator of the popular Girl Genius comic series!
If we make it into stretch goal range, we'll be able to make the omnibus bigger and better, in both style and content. We hope to raise enough funds to add a color section to preserve the original cover art and show off some of Digger's fabulous fan art. We'd love to make the cover jazzy with spot varnish, foil and/or embossing. And if things really get rolling, we hope to add author's notes from the website as well as a new story by Ursula.
(Please note that most designs shown here are preliminary and may be changed to be made more awesome!)
NEW: Add-Ons! Many of the rewards here are now available as add-ons. A short list of prices is available further down the page, but be sure to visit our Digger Omnibus Add-Ons document for full details.
NOTE: Reward Matrix! We've created a Google Spreadsheet to help explain what you get at each reward level. It's not as clever or pretty as some we've seen, but hopefully it gets the job done.
Just the Book: If all you want is a copy of the book, go straight to the $45 reward level for the softcover or $75 reward level for the hardcover edition. This will cover the book and shipping within the U.S. (Add $35 for international shipping.) This is really a great deal compared to cover price plus normal shipping!
Digital Items: Ursula is working on a desktop wallpaper image that will be available in a range of standard sizes for backers at the $5 level and up. Starting at the $15 level, backers will be able to download a digital copy of the omnibus edition of the book in PDF format.
Flat Printed Items: We are working on a thank-you card and an exclusive "Remember Tunnel 17!" refrigerator magnet for backers at the $15 level. Ursula is working on a "cast photo" poster that will be produced at a variety of sizes for backers at levels of $25 and up. We also have several vinyl stickers available at $60 and up: approximate dimensions in inches are Digger: 3.5 x 3.5, Ed: 3.5 x 5.75 and Shadowchild: 1.75 x 2.5.
Update: Sizes for all stickers now available! Dimensions are approximate.
- Digger: 3.5 x 3.5 in (9 x 9 cm)
- Ed: 3.5 x 5.75 in (9 x 14.5 cm)
- Shadowchild (white or reflective): 1.75 x 2.5 in (4.5 x 6.5 cm)
- Boneclaw Mother 4.25 x 5.25 in (11 x 13.5 cm)
- Ganesh 5 x 5 in (12.75 x 12.75 cm)
- Surka 5.5 x 4 in (14 x 10 cm)
- Vampire Squash 10 x 2.5 in (25.5 x 6.5 cm)
- Oracular Slug 6 x 3.75 in (15.25 x 9.5 cm)
- Ganesh with quote 10 x 5 in (25.5 x 12.75 cm)
Pick Axes: Show your wombat pride with a commemorative pick axe bearing the slogan "Remember Tunnel 17!"
All backers at the $60 and higher levels will receive a large foam pick axe perfect for cheering on your team at wombat-themed sporting events. This axe will be approximately 15 inches long.
A limited number of fully-functional, wombat-scale, hand-forged pick axes will also be available at the $1000 level. These will be created by Elmer Roush, a talented blacksmith (check out his website!) and a former coal miner who has personal experience wielding pick axes. The design of these pick axes is a combination of Digger's own axe and a human-scale pick axe owned by Elmer. They will be approximately 12 x 10 inches, roughly equivalent to a human geologist's pick in scale. We are investigating options for etching "Remember Tunnel 17!" into either the axe head or the hand-carved wood handle.
Please note that these are fully-functional tools, not weapons. They are commemorative replicas of one of the basic tools used for mining, and here they symbolize the pride Wombats have in their subterranean engineering skills. They are made for breaking rocks, not bones. Kickstarter does not allow us to offer weapons, knives, weapon accessories, or replicas of weapons as rewards, nor would we want to. We hope that our backers respect this and use their axes for only peaceful and constructive means -- a good rule for any of the heavy, blunt or pointy objects one might find in their garden tool shed. However, we'd be delighted if you simply hung yours on the wall as an awesome and unique display piece celebrating the industrious and ingenious subterranean culture of Wombats in the Digger series.
New! We presented Ursula with the prototype commemorative axe, now sporting the hand-engraved "Remember Tunnel 17", for her inspection at Anthrocon. She approves! (No, she didn't actually use the axe to destroy the hotel's pottery.)
Cloisonne Pins: We will be producing cloisonne pins of four popular characters from the comic: Digger, Ed, Shadowchild and Surka. They will be available at the $60 level and up.
T-Shirts: Having reached our $100,000 stretch goal, we will now be releasing a Digger T-Shirt, free to backers at the $100 level and up, and also available to backers at the $60 and $80 levels as a $15 add-on. The design of the shirts will be the scene below, where Digger first emerges inside the Temple of Ganesh. It will be printed in white on black fabric and will be made available in a wide range of sizes. (We are investigating options such as long/tall and women's cut T-shirts.)
Naming Rights: Become an honorary wombat or hyena! Starting at the $250 level, we will come up with an appropriate wombat or hyena name*, as suitable for each of the cultures in Digger. Your wombat/hyena self will get a special listing in the contributor acknowledgment section of the book, and will also get a shout-out on KUEC. There is also a special $500 reward level that will get your name (either real name or wombat/hyena name) dedicated on a plant stake in Ursula's garden, and she will also dedicate one of her next lifebirds** to you.
* Limited numbers available because of the limits to our creativity.
** It's a birdwatching thing!
Stained Glass Suncatchers: We have partnered with Deb Kosiba to create several unique Digger-related stained glass designs for this Kickstarter. Deb is an artist and a friend of Ursula...who also happens to have created the beautiful stained glass bases for the 2012 Hugo Awards.
Biting Pear of Salamanca Figurine: Ursula Vernon is also the creator of the digital painting, "The Biting Pear of Salamanca," which went on to Internet infamy as the LOLWUT Pear. A limited run of figurines was created back in 2009 by PatchTogether, and is no longer available. We are offering four of the remaining highly-collectible pieces that we have been hoarding from this initial production run.
Dinner with Ursula: Come to San Antonio, Texas, in August/September for dinner with Ursula and Kevin during the World Science Fiction Convention, a.k.a. Worldcon, a.k.a. LoneStarCon 3. You and a guest can join up to four other couples for dinner at a local upscale restaurant. We will pay for dinner, as well as transportation from the main convention hotel if necessary; you will be responsible for transportation to San Antonio and your lodging there. We'll work with all backers at this reward level to find one or two evenings during the convention (excluding Sept. 1, the night of the Hugo Awards) on which to hold the dinner(s), and we will accommodate people's dietary restrictions and preferences to the best of our abilities.
Original Art: We are excited to offer several opportunities to get original art from Ursula! Numbers are limited in order to fit this work into her existing schedule and priorities, so if you are interested, snag them quickly! At $250 you can grab one of 40 "Digger doodles," which are quick sketches of Digger that will accompany Ursula's signature and dedication in your book. At $500 Ursula will draw for you one of 20 sketches of Digger and Shadowchild, done on a 5 x 7 inch sheet of quality art paper.
At the $750 and higher levels, things are a little different. The first 10 backers to pledge at any of these levels will receive an original sketch of Digger and one other character. (In other words, a maximum of ten will be offered, total, across all these levels.) The additional character could be one from the original Digger story, or it could be your wombat/hyena character, named as part of the rewards at these levels. These will also be done on a 5 x 7 inch sheet of quality art paper.
For this last week of the campaign, we are releasing many of the rewards as add-ons to augment your pledges. The basics are listed here. Please see our Reward Matrix for specifics on the rewards granted at each level, then our Add-Ons Page for details on how to add more things to your pledge. In general, you will only be allowed to add on items from your level and below. The exception is that T-shirts will be available at the $60 and $80 levels as well.
Please see the the new sticker designs in the Reward section, above!
Refrigerator Magnets - $1 each
levels $15, $25, $60, $80 and up (excludes $45 and $75)
Stickers - $5 each ($10 for Ganesh with quote)
levels $60, $80 and up
Cloisonne Pins - $5 each
levels $60, $80 and up
Foam Axe - $5 each
levels $60, $80 and up
11 x 17 Poster - $5 each
levels $60, $80 and up
T-Shirts - $15 each
levels $60, $80 and up
24 x 36 Poster/Print - $25 each
level $200 and up
Softcover Book - $40 each
levels $45 and up
Canada and Mexico, add $5 shipping per book; all other international destinations add $15 shipping per book
Hardcover Book - $70 each
levels $75, $100 and up
Canada and Mexico, add $5 shipping per book; all other international destinations add $15 shipping per book
The initial $30,000 is truly an absolute baseline. We really hope to bypass that, because it's in the stretch goals that we get to add some extra fun things to the omnibus edition!
$30,000 Baseline *** ACHIEVED! *** Thank you all for a wonderful, overwhelming first 24 hours. Now on to see what else we can do to make this even more awesome!
$40,000 *** ACHIEVED! *** We will include a color section in the book to display the original cover art and a collection of fan art. Ursula will also release a set of Digger character icons free for use by all backers on their social media of choice.
$50,000 *** Achieved! *** We will compile an appendix of Ursula's notes that accompanied some of the pages when they were posted online, but which never appeared in print. We will also add spot varnish and/or foil (depending on the final cover design) to the softcover and hardcover editions, and we'll add french flaps (endflaps) to the softcover edition.
$60,000 *** Achieved***
- Ursula will write and illustrate a new short story in Digger's world, to be included at the end of the book.
- We will add embossing to the cover of both hardcover and softcover editions.
- NEW: Thank you Canada Pin! We will include a special, exclusive cloisonne pin in orders to Canada as an apology and a thank you for the fact that Kickstarter doesn't have a separate Canada shipping level.
$80,000 *** Achieved***
- We will create an exclusive dust jacket for hardcover editions of the book sold only through this Kickstarter.
- We will release new designs for a Boneclaw Mother cloisonne pin and vinyl sticker.
- We will increment all reward levels that include pins and stickers ($60 and up) to include one each of an additional pin and sticker of your choice.
- We're going to have to hire some help processing orders! While we at Sofawolf Press are happy to donate our time to the cause, we can't expect everyone to do so. In order to process orders efficiently, we'll hire some friends and associates to help get the books and other rewards out the door.
$90,000 *** Achieved ***
- Video has been posted to Update #8!
- Episode 114 of "Kevin and Ursula Eat Cheap" experienced technical difficulties mid-recording and several minutes of scintillating commentary about artificial-crab-flavored chips were lost...or so everyone thought!Overlooked was the fact that Jeff had set up a camera to catch video for possible use in this Kickstarter project's video. He has recovered the audio, with video.
- In thanks for making this milestone of 3x our initial Kickstarter funding goal, we'll release the missing audio and video.
$95,000 *** Achieved ***
- We will release additional sticker designs for those reward levels getting stickers.
- For each reward level getting stickers, the number of stickers will remain the same, but backers will have the chance to choose their favorite designs.
- NEW: We will release add-on options for both books and other rewards.
$100,000 ***Achieved ***
- NEW: Ursula will now sign all books, including those pledged at the book-only reward levels!
- Ursula Vernon will add a tribal wombat to her personal tattoo collection, and will post photos for all to see!
- We will release an exclusive T-shirt, included free for all backers at the $100 level and higher.
- Sofawolf Press will hire professionals to help fast-track our current project to migrate our website to Drupal. In its current form, our site is not the easiest to purchase from, especially for distributors, so website improvements will benefit Digger and Ursula by helping get the book out in front of more eyes. The more we sell products directly, the higher the royalty checks for Ursula and our other creators!
$105,000 *** Achieved ***
- Ursula will record a commentary track to accompany Volume #1 (Chapters 1 & 2) of the original printed edition, similar to a director's commentary track you might enable while watching a DVD/BlueRay movie. Readers will follow along in their own copies of the book using audio cues for page turns.
- We will release the audio track free to the Internet.
$110,000 *** Achieved ***
- Similar to Volume #1, Ursula will record a commentary track for Volume #2, covering Chapters 3 & 4.
$115,000 *** Achieved ***
- Similar to Volume #1, Ursula will record a commentary track for Volume #3, covering Chapters 5 & 6.
$120,000 *** Achieved ***
- Similar to Volume #1, Ursula will record a commentary track for Volume #4, covering Chapters 7 & 8.
$125,000 *** Achieved ***
- Similar to Volume #1, Ursula will record a commentary track for Volume #5, covering Chapters 9 & 10.
$130,000 *** Achieved ***
- Similar to Volume #1, Ursula will record a commentary track for Volume #6, covering Chapters 11 & 12.
$140,000 *** Achieved ***
UPDATE: because this stretch goal was reached so late in the campaign, too late to create an add-on for lower-level pledges, we will do whatever we can to include the special dust jacket in all hardcover levels without requiring extra funds from anyone.
- Ursula will create a full-color wrap-around design for the special Kickstarter-only hardcover dust jacket. The image will harken back to the gorgeous art that she created for the web chapter title pages and the individual printed volumes' covers. You just might want to frame it, rather than leave it on the book!
- Because of Ursula's schedule and the complexity of this work, these dust jackets may not be ready by October, when we plan to ship the books and other rewards.
- Depending on the extra shipping costs and our margins at the lowest hardcover reward levels, we may offer backers at the $75 and $100 levels the choice of either (1) paying a little extra to help cover the added cost of shipping the covers separately, or (2) saving on shipping costs by waiting to ship everything together, once the dust jackets are ready.
- Backers at the $200 level and higher will have their dust jackets mailed at no extra cost to them.
We, Ursula Vernon and Sofawolf Press, would like to thank you all for your support, now and throughout Digger's development. Without you, none of this would have been possible! We hope that you enjoy reading and sharing Digger in this new format, and we also hope that you find something else in our rewards to make this experience fun and memorable.
Risks and challenges Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
We at Sofawolf Press have been publishing books and selling them from our website for over a decade, so we are confident that we can pull the book together in a reasonable amount of time. Perhaps the biggest risk is that we set our baseline goal at a level that would fund a book not quite as awesome as we'd like to create, and so we are depending on reaching stretch goals to make the omnibus really shine.
There are a number of things yet to be completed that could throw off our ability to deliver our books and rewards on the time. Extra content for the book could slow down production. Unique rewards that rely on the work of individual artisans are reliant on fitting the work into their schedules. Any one of the many producers of the pins or posters or stickers could run into production bottlenecks that keep us waiting. We will do our best to keep things rolling along, and we hope that if there are delays, they will be minimal and that our backers will be understanding.
It is also possible that USPS could raise their rates (again!). If this happens, we expect that we have built enough buffer into our budget to allow us to cover the extra cost without having to ask for additional funds.
The writeup says that the dinner with Ursula and Kevin will be in San Antonio, but the video identifies it as Austin. Which is correct?
The correct city for this year's Worldcon and the dinner with Ursula and Kevin is San Antonio, as identified in the writeup. In the video I mis-pronounced San Antonio as Austin. Doesn't everyone?
At this stage of the process we don't have any specifics on the construction, but we can say that quality and durability of the final product will be the primary consideration for us. We will need to strike a balance in selecting materials that does not make the final product so expensive that it precludes being able to successfully provide it to the wider distribution market, but you can be assured that we will put out the best product we can.
That is Angus. He does that. He may be part Cheshire...
The total page count of all the individual volumes is about 825 pages. We expect the final omnibus to come in somewhere between that and 850 pages, depending on what kinds of great things we end up being able to put in.
A full stack of the original print editions weighs in at about 4 lbs 7 ounces (a little over 2 Kg for you Metric fans). With the color inserts, extra pages, and heavier offset paper, we will be surprised if the softcover weighs in at much less than 5 lbs (2.25 Kg).
Before beginning an exercise routine, please consult your healthcare professional. After we pack and ship about a thousand of these we will probably need one ourselves.
We will be working on setting a final retail price for the book now that we know many of the stretch goals we are going to incorporate into the final design. Our goal will be to price the book at a rate that makes it attractive to distributors, while still making both us and Ursula some profit at the rates we will get for such sales. We'll post an update once we get it all worked out.
We can say with certainty that the $45 book-only pledge level (including, as it does, Domestic shipping) should definitely represent a discount over the book + shipping price that will be available upon general release.
Our number one priority in choosing shipping methods is to balance speed, quality, and reliability against the cost. We attempt to avoid charging more for shipping than it actually costs us, whenever possible (keeping in mind that the cost of shipping includes the materials required to protect against damage, and potentially insurance as well).
Domestic backers have shipping baked into the cost of their pledges at all levels that require items to be shipped. We will determine the best shipping method once we have all the final items in hand, but we expect to be sending via a mix of USPS (First Class, Book Rate, or Priority Mail) and FedEx (Ground/Home Delivery).
International backers... We feel for you. Really, we do. To the vast majority of the world (Canada and Mexico excepted), the ONLY route we have is either USPS Priority Mail International or FedEx International Economy. In most cases, USPS Priority Mail International is the cheaper of the two, and runs anywhere from $46 to $59 for a shipment of just over 5 lbs (which is what JUST the book is going to weigh in at).
Even Canada and Mexico are probably ending up getting a fairly good deal too, with a 5-6 lb package costing $35 - $44 via Priority Mail International (the only option for a package of this weight).
We will do our best to find creative solutions to the shipping problem, and rest assured that if some miraculous method saves us enough money that we feel we have overcharged folks, we will let people know and make it up to them. However, we have been doing this for MANY years now, and are pretty certain that the rates we have put in for everyone are ultimately probably on the LOW side and we will end up subsidizing shipping a little bit.
We have created a reward matrix as a Google Doc. It's not quite as fancy or pretty as others we've seen, but hopefully it does the job. You can view it here:
Can I give someone else's name for personalization or to be listed in the thank-you section in the book?
Yes! When the campaign is over, Kickstarter provides us with tools to send out a survey to each backer, tailored to the rewards the backer will be receiving. This will include confirmation of the name to be listed in the thank-you section of the book, or the name used for personalizing the hardcover copies of the book.
We naturally ask that names be of reasonable length, and we reserve the right to omit from print any words or phrases that we deem objectionable.
If your name is "Mr. Adolph Blaine Charles David Earl Frederick Gerald Hubert Irvin John Kenneth Lloyd Martin Nero Oliver Paul Quincy Randolph Sherman Thomas Uncas Victor William Xerxes Yancy Wolfeschlegelsteinhausenbergerdorffwelchrswessenschafewarenwohlgepflegeundsorgfa- ihrraubgierigfeindewelchevoralternzwolfteinenvanderersteerdemenschderraumschiffg- gestartseinlangefahrthinzwischensternaitgehabtbewohnbarplanetenkreisedrehensichu- chlichkeitkonntefortpflanzenundsicherfeuicheinfurchtvorangreifenvonandererintell Zeus igraum Senior" you might consider throwing in an extra $20 for Ursula's carpal tunnel therapy.