"Minimum funding goal met—and you STILL want money, John? WHY?!"
I am pleased beyond words that What I Did To You has reached its minimum funding goal.
But wait! There's more!
Lower down on the page, under the header My Stretch Goals, you'll find this paragraph:
"If I raise a total of $32,500—$10,000 beyond my minimum funding goal—I will hire, for three months, Smith Publicity, Inc., one of the premier book marketing agencies in the world. I've spoken at length with one of their top people; they know my work; they're chomping at the bit to bring What I Did To You to an audience way beyond that of my own. (And the media hook they'll use to make that happen, you ask? It will be that I, a humble blogger, crowdsourced $32,500 to publish my debut novel. As a former magazine and newspaper editor, I can tell you: that's a story. It'll get attention.)"
I am hoping upon hope that before this campaign ends it raises $32,500. If you can in any way help me to achieve that goal, please do.
It's one thing to have in your hands a polished, ready-to-sell book that you know (or ... you know: largely suspect) would become a bestseller if it only got the proper attention. It's another thing altogether to actually get it that attention.
Bringing the media's attention to What I Did To You will require an experienced, well-regarded publicist, one who knows how to run an effective, professional media campaign. And hiring such a publicist ain't cheap. It costs ... well, for Smith, whom I most want to hire, $10,000 for a three-month publicity/marketing campaign.
Please help me raise the funds necessary to not only publish my novel, but, once that's done, to make sure the world knows of its existence.
Read from Chapter 1 of What I Did To You
To read an excerpt from the first chapter of the novel, go here.
What you will not find there, since it's not really part of its opening chapter, is the novel's epigraph, or opening quote. For that I chose this line from the song "Corrina Blues," written by the epically awesome Blind Lemon Jefferson:
The blues ain' nothin' but a good woman on your mind.
"What's the novel about?"
Most of What I Did To You takes place in San Francisco during the final months of 1979. It’s told from the point of view of a lost young man named David Finch, who is living in a motel out by the sea, desperately trying to not just undo the wrong he recently did to the woman he loves, but to comprehend how he could have possibly done such a thing in the first place.
David is an extremely funny guy. But his past isn't funny at all.
What I Did To You is about the raging lunacy, inexplicable durability, and ultimately liberating finality of love.
It's about about the slow-drip toxicity of dysfunctional families. It's about necessary deceits and unnecessary betrayals. It's about friendship. It's about the psychological sinkholes created by broken promises. It's about the real-world damage done by homophobia. It's about the dangers of sliding into isolation as consolation.
It's about the glorious, agonizing, outrageous intensity of the human experience. (What novel worth the name is about anything less?)
My funding goal for this campaign—$22,500—is a lot of money.
Though not, alas, when it comes to book publishing.
Typically, it costs a book publisher $45,000 to bring to market a paperback book, and $60,000 to get a hardcover book onto the shelves. (And that's not counting any author's advance.)
The figured-down-to-a-nickel fact is that $22,500 is the break-even number for this campaign. That is what it will cost to have What I Did To You edited, proofread, designed, typeset, prepared for print, formatted for e-readers, mounted for sale on all primary online bookstores, made available for ordering at brick-and-mortar bookstores, and produced for those who made this campaign successful in the first place.
People often think it's inexpensive to self-publish a book. And it is! Unless you do it right.
Now, if I'm able to afford publishing this book properly—if I reach my funding goal—that will be awesome. Party at my house, for sure. (Come if you can!)
But, as you might imagine, I have goals for What I Did To You beyond "just" breaking even with this campaign.
My Stretch Goals
1. Marketing. If I raise a total of $32,500—$10,000 beyond my funding goal—I will hire, for three months, Smith Publicity, Inc., one of the premier book marketing agencies in the world. I've spoken at length with one of their top people; they know my work; they're chomping at the bit to bring What I Did To You to an audience beyond that of my own. (And the media hook they'll use to make that happen, you ask? It will be that I, a humble blogger, crowdsourced $32,500 to publish my debut novel. As a former magazine and newspaper editor, I can tell you: that's a story. It'll get attention.)
2. Audiobook. If I raise $15,000 beyond my goal, I'll probably momentarily lose consciousness. Once back on my feet, I will get busy producing an audiobook of What I Did To You. Because sometimes your ears want to read, too.
3. Twice the marketing. If I raise $20,000 beyond my goal, I'll stumble over to the couch before I come crashing down. Once I've convinced my wife that she can stop slapping me because I'm awake already, I'll hire Smith Publicity for another three months. And then watch for me on Oprah! Or on Reading With The Stars, if that ever becomes a show. Which I fell asleep just thinking about, so never mind.
First Readers' Comments
After I'd finished writing What I Did To You (and rewriting it, six times—and honing and adjusting and tweaking and buffing and polishing the text till you could see your reflection in its shine), I emailed the manuscript to seven of the most sensitive, smartest, and down-to-earth people I know. (Save for one, I'd never met any of my first readers in person: each was an online acquaintances whom I'd come to respect.)
I asked them to respond to the novel in whatever way they wanted to. I knew that I could trust these people to be honest with me; I knew that whatever they said about the novel, they'd mean it.
The moment I sent the manuscript off, I felt a little like this guy:
It was not long before five of the seven people had read the novel. (I am still pointedly shunning the two who failed to. How dare they not find the time to read the 90,000-word book that I wrote and out of nowhere sent to them? Sure, as I later learned, one of them was going through the worst divorce since the American and African continents parted ways, and the other was almost literally living on airplanes trying to hold his three new businesses together. But does any of that have to do with me? No. Gah. I swear, some people just don't get it.)
Here is what its five advance readers had to say about What I Did To You:
"I LOVE LOVE LOVE this novel. I devoured it in two days. It grabbed me and didn't let go. The ending hit me like a ton of bricks. Wonderful, amazing. The mother was one of the most hateable creations ever. Like something out Dickens, yet completely believable. The literary style—what can I say? So many perfect passages. Just stunning work." — Elizabeth F.
"Love the novel! I thought it was great. Your descriptions are awesome; I sometimes read them through a few times, and thought 'that's a perfect description of what it's like.' The story was intriguing (and sad). It kept me wanting more." — Hillary S.
"First off, I laughed and cried. No shit. Actual laughter and actual tears. I’ve read some of your previous essays on your childhood experiences; I won’t guess how much of your novel is autobiographical, but there's no denying how clearly your characters are defined. The language, the pathology, the mood, the tone—the whole thing. Just a heartbreaking story, in so many ways. The simple language is heartbreaking. That’s what got me over and over. So much of the impact was the fact that the narrative voice was so direct. The whole Thanksgiving with Georgia scene just floored me. Enraging. It’s a good sign for the novel that I got really pissed off at a fictional character. The scene on the beach—where David says, “Dad is the nice one!”—killed me. Just killed me. Brilliant. Revelatory. Your novel meant a lot to me personally, John. I wish I’d been able to read it when I was 19. It would have saved me a lot of drinking." — Pete L.
"I really enjoyed the story. It reminded me a little of Maupin’s Tales from the City—and being a former San Franciscan, I greatly enjoyed the setting of the book. The plot was well thought-out; your dialog writing is very accomplished and natural sounding; the ending was very good. Great, great stuff."— Charles M.
"John Shore's novel "What I Did To You" is a story about the most important things in life: love, loss, choices, consequences. Never pretentious, never dull, and never predictable, Johns's sparkling prose, sharp insights, and inimitable style offer equal measures of hilarity and heartbreak. Whether you read it as a careful study of psychological motivations or simply as a page-turning tale about life in San Francisco in the 1970s, "What I Did To You" is a novel that will stick with you long after its final page." — Daniel W. [who, as you may be able to tell, is an Actual Book Reviewer].
After reading those I felt like this guy:
The Cover Photograph
“What I did to you” is part of something crucial that the novel’s protagonist, a young man named David, says, in the novel’s final scene, to the woman about whom he’s been insane since the book’s opening scene. (Which, again, you can read here.) The two of them are sitting together on one of the green benches which cover the concourse before the Bandshell in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park. It is December of 1979.
My wife, Cat, took the photograph above of those exact same benches in December of 1979.
That photograph, titled Park Benches, 1979, will be used for the cover illustration of What I Did To You. We're also offering a limited edition print of the photograph as a reward at the $250 level.
To see more of Cat's (amazing) photography, visit her website. (You'll find "Park benches, 1979" in Gallery #3: Seated.)
Speaking of photos, I bought from Dollar Photo Club usage rights to all the photos on this page not otherwise credited.
Endorsements from my writing/editing clients
This past July I made myself available as an Editor and Writing Coach (as I periodically do, because I greatly enjoy such work). I took on three clients: Nicholas C., Lynne H., and Jenn K. Just before launching this Kickstarter campaign, I asked each of them to write anything they wanted about what they thought of working with me. Here are their responses:
"John Shore is a genius and a brilliant writer/coach! John did much more than take my writing to a whole new level—he made me believe in myself as a writer. Working with John has changed my life by giving me the confidence and the skills that are needed to succeed as a writer. If you are someone with a story to tell, or a message that you want to share with the world, John will give your words the attention and expertise that they deserve." — Nicholas C.
"I have an extremely difficult story to share, one that I attempted to write on my own multiple times, only to scrap it because it was just too hard. Being so close to the details made it a painful experience. I also do not possess to technical skill to do my own story justice. It is for this reason that I hired John. Never did I realize the relief I would feel to see my story come to fruition under his expertise, as he gave power to my words, writing my story almost as though he was there. John is attentive, compassionate, professional, and extremely comfortable to work with. His ability to write my story almost as though it came from my own mind still has me stunned. He managed to turn my painful story into a piece of art and the process was freeing for me. I don't think just anybody can do what John does." — Lynne H.
"I am happy to report John is a great writing coach! He's insightful and honest in his assessments, and speedy in communications. He's the kindest taskmaster I've ever worked with. He didn't pull punches, but was respectful as he told me the things I needed to hear. He puts the “love” in “tough love,” which was necessary for me, since I'm a little scared of criticism. (Also, if you're a little shallow, like me, get this: I utterly enjoyed the surreal joy a personal hero emailing me about my writing!) I participated in a Coaching Block, which he makes very affordable (thanks John!), but I wish I had the income for him to kick my butt every day." — Jenn K.
The Wedge Pledge
In my description of the $150 reward, I mention our going to the Wedge, in Asheville, NC's amazing River Arts District. (Said river being the mighty French Broad River, which [mind bomb alert!] is the third oldest river on the planet.)
This afternoon (being Nov. 18) I took a couple of photos of the outside part of the Wedge:
But, you know: you have to imagine the place when it's not rainy. And cold. And too early in the day for them to even be open yet.
Anyway, we'll have fun together. And if not at the Wedge, than at any other ridiculously excellent Asheville brew pub that you might prefer.
Frequently Asked Questions
Have a question about backing this or any other Kickstarter campaign? Chances are it'll be answered on Kickstarter's Backer Questions page.
Here are a few key Q & A's from that page:
How do I pledge?
To pledge to a project, first make sure that you're logged in to your Kickstarter account. Then, just click the green “Back This Project” button on any project page.
On the next page, you can select the reward tier your'd like to receive and your pledge amount will automatically populate.
If you don't want a certain reward, select "No thanks, I just want to help the project" and enter your desired pledge amount.
After selecting "Continue," you'll move on to confirm your payment details. If you've backed a project before and saved your payment method details, you can use them over again. If not, you'll need to enter the information manually. And lastly, click "Pledge."
Woo-hoo! Then you're all set. You'll receive a confirmation email within moments of completing your pledge.
To back a Kickstarter campaign, must I open a Kickstarter account [I'm posing and answering this question myself, because people have asked me about it.]
Yes, you must. And it's a good thing. Your Kickstarter account facilitates three important things: Your payment information being secure; your receiving the reward that you purchased (insofar as Kickstarter provides project creators some wonderful tools for fulfilling orders); and your card being charged only if, and when, a project has concluded, and was successful.
Be assured that the only messages you will ever receive from Kickstarter will be updates and pertinent information about the Kickstarter campaign(s) that you have supported.
When is my card charged?
If the project you’re backing is successfully funded, your card will be charged when the project reaches its funding deadline. If the project does not reach its funding goal, your card is never charged.
Do I get notified if a project I'm backing succeeds?
We’ll send you an email when funding ends, no matter the outcome.
Is my pledge amount publicly displayed?
No. The amount of your pledge and the reward selected are never publicly displayed — only the project’s creator will be able to see that information.
Can I pledge to a single project more than once?
On Kickstarter, it is only possible to pledge to each project once from a single account. Accordingly, backers can only choose one reward tier per pledge. However, you can change your pledge amount and reward selection for as long as a project is live.
How can I change my reward selection?
Visit the project page and click the blue “Manage” button that appears next to your pledge amount.
On the next page, select "Update your pledge," and then change your selection. Just a reminder that it's only possible to select one reward tier.
How can I change my pledge amount?
Visit the project page and click the blue “Manage" button that appears next to your pledge amount. Select "Update your pledge" on the following page. Then choose the new reward tier you'd like to pledge for and your pledge amount will update automatically. If you don't want to receive a reward, select "No thanks, I just want to help the project." and enter your new pledge amount.
Note that you are not adding to your existing pledge; the amount you enter will be the total amount collected if the project is successfully funded.
How will project creators get my info to deliver rewards?
Project creators will send an email survey to request any information they need to deliver you and your fellow backers’ rewards. Survey questions may include shipping address, size, color, or other project-specific preferences.
Surveys are sent by the creator only after a project has been successfully funded, and the funding period is over. Some creators send surveys right away; others wait until they’re ready to deliver rewards. If you think you might have missed a survey email, please log in to your Kickstarter account to check — you’ll see a yellow notification bar at the top of the site for any missed surveys. Once you complete a survey, you'll receive an email confirmation that includes a copy of your responses.
What do I do if I have questions about a project?
Ask the creator! At the bottom of each project page there’s an “Ask a Question” button. This will send your question directly to the creator.
If you are already a backer and you would like to make your question public, you can post a comment on the project. The creator will be notified by email when you do.
"It's one thing to have in your hands a book which you believe could become, with the proper attention, a bestseller. It's another thing altogether to get it that attention.
"Bringing the media's attention to "What I Did To You" will require an experienced, well-regarded publicist [such as Smith Publicity, Inc.], one who knows how to run an effective, professional media campaign. And hiring such a publicist ain't cheap."
Risks and challenges
The writing of "What I Did To You" is finished. The are no risks or significant challenges in bringing it to publication.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (29 days)