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An exciting sci-fi novel for young adults, where female & minority students save the world from a widespread attack from hackers.
An exciting sci-fi novel for young adults, where female & minority students save the world from a widespread attack from hackers.
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176 backers pledged $40,095 to help bring this project to life.

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A novel to break software developer stereotypes!

$40,095

176

We've met our funding goals -- thank you! The Kickstarter campaign is over, but you haven't missed your chance to support the project!

What am I building?

I have a plan for an action-packed novel, starring young adults, who literally save the world through software.  These characters don't fit the mold of the stereotypical software developer. The story is compelling, exciting, and relevant to our present-day lives.

I don't want to give away too much of the plot at this point, but here are some teasers.

  • Imagine that software companies start trying to increase their talent pool, by running free schools. Low income students/orphans would benefit.
  • It is set in the near future.  Imagine what might be going on with our transportation system. And what kind of mischief hackers can cause. Or an AI.

I want all young adults who read the novel to picture themselves in software careers... Without really realizing it. So it has to be a world-class rip-roaring thriller and just happen to change our perceptions along the way.

Current status: I'm currently planning the story with the ghostwriter.  I've signed a contract with a ghostwriter and been working with her for over a week on the characters and outline of the story.  You can find more details here: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1313335974/a-novel-to-break-software-developer-stereotypes/posts/2013017

The goal: It is my goal not only to write a world-class novel that anybody can enjoy, but also to market it well enough that its popularity rivals that of the Hunger Games. Yes, I have lofty goals. But I'm not doing it to earn money: I'm doing it to get more students, especially women & minorities, into computer science.  All proceeds from eventual publication of the novel and its derivatives will be donated to causes that support bringing more women and minorities into computer science, like Girls Who Code, code.org, and TEALS

Why am I writing this book? To save the (real) world!
The United States is not producing enough software engineers to meet demand. The number of students studying computer science in high school has been flat for years.

Though AP exams are increasingly popular, AP CS is flat
Though AP exams are increasingly popular, AP CS is flat

Meanwhile computing jobs are the fastest growing among STEM majors.

Computing-related jobs are the fastest growing in STEM
Computing-related jobs are the fastest growing in STEM

Meanwhile, diversity in computer science has been declining.  Far fewer women study computer science than men.  The percentage of women in computing has been declining for decades.

Trend in percentage of women in computing
Trend in percentage of women in computing

During the same time period, the percentage of women in other STEM fields has been increasing.

Trend in percentage of women in STEM
Trend in percentage of women in STEM

Among those few graduates who do get STEM degrees, there is a high attrition rate, especially in technology fields.

Quit rate for women in STEM
Quit rate for women in STEM

Statistics for underrepresented minorities are similarly dismal.  Despite the fact that 50% of the students in California are Hispanic, only 7% of AP Computer Science students are Hispanic.

Women and underrepresented minorities take the AP CS exam at a disproportionately low rate
Women and underrepresented minorities take the AP CS exam at a disproportionately low rate
Women and underrepresented minorities take the AP CS exam at a disproportionately low rate

Over time the percentages of minorities in computer science have been very low and remained flat.

Percentages of minorities in CS have been flat
Percentages of minorities in CS have been flat

Sources for these figures:

It is my strong belief that one major factor in this disparity is that women unknowingly fall prey to stereotyping.  Stereotypes serve to encourage those who fit the stereotype, and discourage those who don't.  When you have internalized a stereotype, and you hit a normal road-block, you either see the road-block as something you can overcome (if you match the stereotype) or as final proof that you're not fit for the field (if you don't match it).  With a lack of role models, there are not enough women and minorities to look up to, and gain encouragement from. Creating new role models is powerful.  For example, when The Hunger Games became popular, girls everywhere discovered a new interest for archery.

I want all young adults who read the novel to picture themselves in software careers... Without really realizing it. So it has to be a world-class rip-roaring thriller and just happen to change our perceptions along the way.

Risks and challenges

The first challenge is to get the novel written, with world-class quality. I already have a compelling outline of the characters, settings and full storyline. I will use the Kickstarter campaign to fund my use of a ghostwriter to polish the story and turn it into a full ready-to-publish novel. I expect the ghostwriting to cost about $35-45K... So I need your help to make this happen!

My plan for publishing and marketing is to solicit support and funding from the tech industry; being a longtime employee at a major tech company I am confident I can find a way to make this happen. If that fails, I'll get it published and publicized myself... And I'll be looking to you to help spread the word!

I also don't *want* the readers to know I'm changing their perceptions. They won't read the book if they think it's wholesome and educational. So, shhhh! ;-)

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 25 or more About US$ 25

    Ebook

    Pledge $25 and I'll email an ebook copy of the novel to you as soon as we send it off for publication.

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    Pledge US$ 100 or more About US$ 100

    Paperback + ebook

    Pledge $100 and I'll email an ebook copy of the novel to you as soon as we send it off for publication, plus mail you a paperback copy of the first publication of the novel.

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    Include your note in the book

    If you pledge $250 I'll let you add a short note or dedication to be included inside the book, near the title page.

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    Pledge US$ 300 or more About US$ 300

    Five books + a personal note

    Know a few young adults who would enjoy this novel? Want to give a few copies to your local library? Share this book with your community, and include your own note of encouragement in the book too!

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    Pledge US$ 500 or more About US$ 500

    One book per $20 you give

    Choose this item if you want to buy a stack of books. We'll send you 25 paperbacks for $500, or increase your pledge amount and we'll add a book for every additional $20 (USD).

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    Pledge US$ 1,000 or more About US$ 1,000

    Paberback + ebook + brainstorm

    Pledge $1000 and besides the paperback and ebook copies of the novel, I'll also invite you to a one-time weekend group brainstorming session while the book is being written. We'll discuss the plot, characters and other details over Skype, and I'll listen to any feedback you might have. (Scheduling all donors will be on a best-effort basis. All input from you will be freely donated, and no compensation will be provided for your contribution. I will be trusting you to protect my rights to the content in the novel.)

    Includes:
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Funding period

- (31 days)