Goal - Target hit but please read on for stretch goal info!
The aim of my Kickstarter is to gather interest in my latest gothic horror novella, "The Seance".
Backers get to place pre-release orders on the story that will be fulfilled by September 2014.
The goal is two-fold. The first outcome is that those who backed the project, who then read the e-book that they helped to launch, could review "The Seance" on Amazon when it is released for general sale and help to generate buzz through social networking and word of mouth.
At present, as an indie author on Amazon, my marketing is very limited and with a practically non-existent budget. The royalties from my sales on Amazon come in drips and drops and so get consumed by my usual bills and shopping. That's where the second outcome becomes clear.
Through my Kickstarter project I would achieve instant sales of "The Seance" and a lump-sum of funding, from which I could generate more awareness through Facebook and Goodreads advertising to reach a carefully targeted audience.
I can use Print on Demand with approximately £50 of the funding for 10 promotional copies of my existing paperback, The Cabinet of Dr Blessing to issue to reviewers and bloggers and to offer in competitions/giveaways on Booklikes and Goodreads.
Essentially, the funding from Kickstarter will become my marketing budget. My products are made in my spare time, I create the cover art/source images in the public domain to keep my costs down, and so the only expense would be marketing.
I have created a variety of pledge levels to accommodate those who want to simply buy "The Seance", or buy my back-catalogue, to pledges for those who want to fund the entire pot or have their name appear as a character in one of my future works.
Stretch Goal - Let's launch a paperback in September - Announced 31/7/14
The original target has now been met and exceeded - great news, this means that if you are a current backer, you have helped to launch the e-book, and you know you will receive all of the current rewards for your pledge level.
Since the original premise was an e-book, the natural way to go next is back to paper. All the original rewards are in place and the great news is, you now know you will get whatever the reward was for your original pledge.
Current backers have seen that eerie 'Smoke and Mirrors' cover image that I put up on the first update. I want you to imagine that on a glossy little paperback, signed by the author, and with your name on the thank you page as you helped to create it.
But before that is in your hand, the new target is to hit £350.00. If we can raise this figure, and I must add, only if we raise this figure, then everyone who pledged £10.00 or more (so that's the Proud Patron reward package and higher) will be offered the opportunity to receive as part of their reward package, a signed paperback copy of The Seance novella.
P&P: There are some of you who will be able to recieve this in person from me, as we know each other (so you know who you are). For you folks who won't be able to have a hand-delivered copy, adding £3 to your pledge for UK delivery, £10 for international shipping, when we hit £350.00 will cover the P&P for the novella. Note that changing your pledge now is fine, but if pledges don't total £350 at the end of the campaign, only the original rewards will be given (the e-books, character appearances, etc).
So in summary, if and only if, we hit £350 and by the end of the campaign you have pledged £10 or more, you will be eligible for the paperback (so long as you also cover P&P is covered so I can ship it to you - you will still receive the e-books, etc in line with your original pledge.
Costings and time constraints for Stretch Goal paperback
I have a quote for 25 copies of the 35 page long novella "The Seance", with ISBN registrations (which have to be batch-bought as a set of 10 for £132.00 - covering me for 9 future paperback titles and 1 ISBN for this title), to be printed and delivered to me for £42.38, total £174.38.
With a total of £350 raised I can still fund the original plans I had at the outset, but I could also produce 25 copies of The Seance which I will use to fulfil the backer rewards here on Kickstarter.
Currently there are 12 backers, and not everyone would be eligible for the paperback as it stands. 11 more £10 bids would take us over £350, and 25 copies would cover these orders with a couple of promotional copies left over for bloggers, reviewers etc.
More preferable would be a 50 copy print run for £74.00, leaving me with copies to sell after the campaign is finished.
Going on the current information I have, I would expect to have the paperbacks with the eligible backers for September 2014.
Updated 16th August 2014. Now that we've hit the Stretch Goal...
We know that the paperback is happening for £10 pledges and above, subject to the shipping charges already outlined. For the remaining time on the campaign I will be collecting pre-orders of "The Seance" e-book and paperback. There are still some of the larger pledge rewards still in play, so for those with deeper pockets your pledge will enable me to develop my author identity further through websites and advertising. I am in the process of looking at professional editing services for my next releases, in short anything I make over the £350 stretch goal is going to be invested in my future projects to make them even more exciting, professional and marketable.
I have set up an online shop at www.darkchapterpress.com. When properly released after pledge rewards have been fulfilled, The Seance will be sold there. I am waiting for proof copies of my updated version of the paperback version of "The Cabinet of Dr Blessing"; additional funds will enable me to order a good level of stock for these paperbacks and arrange sales activities such as attending book festivals.
In short, I don't want to stop at £350. There is still everything to play for.
Kickstarter is the ideal platform through which to process the pre-sales revenues in a quick and easy transaction for myself and the backers. Assuming the campaign is successful, I would use Kickstarter to issue a survey to gather the email addresses required to send the e-books too, along with gathering info on formats required etc. I could then quickly issue the products required to all backers.
The story centres on Albert Kench, a man who has returned from Australia to investigate his sister's mental and physical collapse. A man of science and practicality, he finds it difficult to believe that a visit to a Spiritualist Medium may have been behind it all.
I don't want to give too much away about the plot, of course, but here is a sample of the opening scene, just to give an idea of the style and tone:
Hayward and I had arrived at the main pavilion. The bell in the clock tower which formed the centrepiece of the main house chimed, telling me that it was midday. We entered the asylum.
I was pleased to have removed my top-hat upon entering the building as I had become so accustomed to going without one, finding them impractical for riding and uncomfortable in the heat.
Immediately I was approached by a small, round man whose eyes flashed brightly behind his round spectacles. His broad grin and raised eyebrows would convince anyone that this was the happiest man in the entire world. I supposed that only a mad man could be so happy, unfettered by the cares of daily life.
It was then that I noticed his fine suit, and silver watch chain. I felt very under-dressed for my visit, dressed as I was in the clothes I had spent much of my voyage in, riding boots and breeches, an airy shirt more suited to warmer climes and a hastily bought frock-coat.
The man spoke, grabbed my hand and shook it vigorously. “Mr Kench, I am Dr Ellis. I am so pleased to meet you.”
Quite stunned by the man’s energy I told him I was pleased to meet him, and my eyes strayed around the airy reception. Flowers and ferns stood on display in great abundance. Ripples of conversation filled the air as groups of women passed through the reception, or stopped to water the plants. Only the navy dresses marked the attendants from the patients and everyone greeted Hayward, Ellis, and many of the women offered a greeting to me.
“I know what I would like to do with him,” a woman jeered. “It has been such a time since I saw a nice young man the likes of him!”
Dr Ellis motioned for me to join him and we approached the woman who had made the lewd remark. “Vanessa, is it polite to say such things?”
Vanessa poured water into a potted plant and kept her eyes low.
“Vanessa, you may look at me. You have no need to avoid my gaze,” Dr Ellis said, his voice was soft and even. Had I spoken to her, my words would have been harsh – Vanessa would have known that she was a disgrace to all decent women.
“Yes, Doctor,” Vanessa said, turning her head slowly.
“You may have caused some embarrassment to our guest, Vanessa. This nice man has come to visit a family member, and you have made an inappropriate remark.”
“I can not remember it, Doctor,” Vanessa said, setting her eyes wide and child-like.
“Vanessa, it is my belief that your memory is intact,” Dr Ellis said, allowing himself a smile.
Vanessa returned his smile and said, “It is, Doctor. I can not tell a lie to you.”
“Then you can remember the remark, and perhaps now have the presence of mind to recognise that the remark might well have embarrassed our guest.”
“Does our guest hate me now, Doctor?”
“I do not believe that he does. But were you to apologise, I am certain that it would rectify the situation, and not only would our guest not hate you, but you might elevate his opinion of you entirely. He would perhaps see the polite, caring woman that I have come to know.”
Vanessa frowned and looked at the floor again. “I do not want to apologise to our guest, Doctor.”
“Well then, Vanessa that is entirely your choice, you must do as you see fit,” Dr Ellis said, still maintaining his good humour on his face, but allowing a slight taint of disappointment to his voice, attempting, I assumed, to elicit a measured emotional response from Vanessa. “I am your guide and would never seek to force an apology from you.”
“Good day, Doctor,” Vanessa said.
“Good day, Vanessa,” Dr Ellis responded.
I was unsure whether or not to address the woman. I reasoned that to acknowledge her would perhaps force her to look at me, and clearly she was nervous as she had not once openly regarded me. To ignore her was to imply that she had offended me, and perhaps convince her that I hated her, as she feared. “Good day, Vanessa,” I said softly.
Vanessa looked at me directly and smiled broadly, revealing almost perfect teeth. This woman was not the low-born ruffian I had imagined, but her accent and outburst had misled me. “Good day sir. I apologise for my remarks.”
“I accept your apology, Vanessa.”
Dr Ellis led me on into the facility. I saw the band preparing their instruments, presumably for the dance Hayward had mentioned. “I must say, Dr Ellis, your facility is quite surprising.”
“Surprising?” Dr Ellis asked.
“Yes. I expected more…”
“Chains?” Dr Ellis asked.
“In a word… yes.”
“Those times have passed, Mr Kench. We have very little need for restraints. We do have a small building to the rear, where we have some individuals classified as criminally insane, but who, in reality, are at more risk from society than to it.”
I was led along airy passages and out to the terraced gardens at the rear of the main pavilion. “I understand that you may be eager to see your sister, but before I take you to see Sally, Mr Kench, I would very much like you to understand more about our facility and the situation.”
Immediately I feared the worst. Something in my expression must have betrayed me. Situation was a word pregnant with terrors.
Dr Ellis stopped walking, turned to face me and placed a hand on my shoulder which I understood to be an act of reassurance, but it was not reassuring at all.
In 2011 I wrote a novella called "Dr Blessing's Curse, Or, The Baby In The Bell-Jar" and released this independently through Amazon Kindle. Since then, I have written 2 further installments in the series and published them in the same way.
I also compiled all three titles into one volume entitled "The Cabinet of Dr Blessing" which was released in early 2014 as both an e-book and a paperback.
The Dr Blessing stories have sold in the UK, US, Germany, Canada, Italy, Japan and France. Reviews have appeared on Amazon sites, Goodreads and Shelfari - the vast majority of these are 5 and 4 star reviews.
Rather than giving more lengthy samples here, let me post some the link to my Amazon UK author central page where you can access the Dr Blessing titles and check out a sample of each and the Amazon reviews: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Jack-Rollins/e/B005O13E0S/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1405185285&sr=1-1-catcorr
"The Seance" is a standalone piece which gives backers the freedom to simply enjoy this single tale, or to go further and look at all my work.
Works In Progress
Some of the pledge levels include work that I have not yet completed. I understand that there is an element of trust to this - you have to trust that I will actually produce the work. The two main projects I intend to include (subject to change if another project ends up taking over and makes it to completion first) are as follows:
- "The Works of X": the X is a character name that I can't reveal (no spoilers here!). This person is mentioned in the Dr Blessing stories and is revealed in this project as being very closely tied to the creature from the Dr Blessing stories. This story begins, running in parallel with some of the events from "A Christmas Blessing" with Edward Summerscale, having left Dr Blessing's side, returning to his home to find his past has caught up with him. Through a series of flashbacks I reveal the origin of the baby in the bell-jar.
I may have this project complete in 2014, but more likely it will be ready to go in 2015 (it is going well at the moment).
- (working title) "De Omori: Dark Chapter": De Omori pop up in the Dr Blessing series and their use is with the permission of fellow horror writer David Basnett, who created the vampire-hunting organisation. Where David has chronicled the exploits of contemporary De Omori, he has allowed me to include them in my Victorian adventures. Whereas in the Dr Blessing series, De Omori were side characters, in this project they get to take centre stage. This story kicks off during the events of "Dr Blessing's Rapture" and runs right up to the events described in "A Christmas Blessing". The Dark Chapter charts London's descent into hell under attack from a horde of renegade vampires.
I expect the Dark Chapter to be ready in 2015 as it is much more ambitious in scope and will be a full-length novel.
- I am also working on a contemporary horror story, which will get much more focus and much more breathing room once The Seance is launched, and the other 2 projects above are completed.
Because my Kickstarter is aimed at people who would be interested in reading my work, I'm sure you can appreciate my being a bit vague on the upcoming projects - I want people to follow my work and it wouldn't do to start blowing the plot right now! Hopefully I've given enough detail to satisfy you that a plan is there, and that work is in progress. I am, of course happy to respond to direct queries, where I would not spoil the fun for everyone.
There is an option just to kick some funding in simply to make a contribution, but beyond that, every pledge level guarantees at least a copy of The Seance, and many include my other stories too; you could receive all of my work so far for one single pledge.
Tier 1: The Spare Some Change Guv'nor package
You aren't bothered about having a copy of the story, you just fancy helping me get it off the ground. Your reward comes from knowing you did an honest lad a good turn.
Tier 2: The Medium package
You like the sound of the story and would like to have a copy for your Kindle/Kindle app on your smartphone, tablet or laptop.
You will receive: A copy of The Seance as an e-book in kindle-ready format.
Tier 3: The Deadly double package
You like the sound of the story and would like to have a copy for your Kindle/Kindle app on your smartphone, tablet or laptop as well as one of my other, currently available stories.
You will receive: A copy of "The Seance" as an e-book in kindle-ready format and a copy of "Dr Blessing's Curse, Or, The Baby In The Bell-Jar" in the same format.
For those who have already purchased one or two of the Dr Blessing titles already, if you contact me before release, I would happily supply one of the other 2 Dr Blessing stories as a substitute for "Dr Blessing's Curse" to prevent duplication in your collection.
Tier 4: Triple Threat package
You like the sound of the story and would like to have a copy for your Kindle/Kindle app on your smartphone, tablet or laptop as well as two of my other, currently available stories.
You will receive: A copy of "The Seance" as an e-book in kindle-ready format, a copy of "Dr Blessing's Curse, Or, The Baby In The Bell-Jar" and a copy of "Dr Blessing's Rapture, Or, The Beast And The Bell-Jar" in the same format. Again, for those who own, for example, "Dr Blessing's Curse" already, by contacting me, I would happily substitute this for "A Christmas Blessing" to prevent duplication in your collection.
Tier 5: The Whole Works package
You like the sound of the story and would like to have a copy for your Kindle/Kindle app on your smartphone, tablet or laptop as well as a compilation of all three of my other currently available stories.
You will receive: A copy of "The Seance" as an e-book in kindle-ready format, a copy of "The Cabinet of Dr Blessing" (the compilation of all 3 of the currently available Dr Blessing stories including "Dr Blessing's Curse, Or, The Baby In The Bell-Jar", "Dr Blessing's Rapture, Or, The Beast And The Bell-Jar" and "A Christmas Blessing") in the same format.
Tier 6: The Proud Patron package
You are a keen supporter of the literary arts and would like everything in The Whole Works package and by offering additional support, wish to have your name on a Special Thanks page in "The Seance" e-book, as well as a special mention on:
Jack Rollins - Horror Author, Facebook page
Jack Rollins' Goodreads Blog
Jack Rollins' Booklikes Blog
Tier 7: Blood donor. 3 available.
You support the cause to such an extent that you will allow yourself to be drained of blood by vampires in one of my stated future projects related to the Dr Blessing series.
Tier 8: Bitten. 1 available.
You want to live forever, and now you sort of can. Pledging at this level means you will be turned into a vampire who has your name, in one of my forthcoming projects (see limitations in the risks for more info). I know I said you'd live forever, but the truth is, you'll probably get a stake through the chest, or beheaded. Fair warning.
Tier 9: Dark Chapter Recruit. 1 available.
A fighter in the Dark Chapter will bear your name in De Omori: Dark Chapter (see limitations in the risks for more info), plus all the rewards of the Proud Patron package. Note, you won't be the hero, and you might not make it!
Tier 10: Quartermaster.
By pledging one quarter of the target amount you will receive all the rewards of The Proud Patron package and also have your name included on a Special Thanks page in my next e-book release. You will also receive a pre-release copy of that story (not yet completed hence 2015 ETA to give me time to complete it). Delivery of The Seance and The Cabinet of Dr Blessing expected in September 2014.
Tier 11: Quartermaster General.
By pledging half of the target amount for this project, you will receive all of the rewards of the Quartermaster package with the addition of having your name, (should you wish and subject to the limitations outlined) included as the name of a character in one of my 2 forthcoming projects (these projects are not completed yet hence 2015 ETA to give me plenty of time to work on them), delivery of The Seance and The Cabinet of Dr Blessing expected by September 2014.
There are 3 opportunities for this, as in the Dark Chapter, those pledging in this tier I plan to include as inventors/arms suppliers/quartermasters to either De Omori, the London militia groups, the vampires who are the villains of the piece. There are lots of occasions where backers at this level could make their appearance. The exciting bit is waiting to see!
Tier 12: The Wealthy Benefactor package (well, it’s worth a try, ain’t it?)
You are a keen supporter of the literary arts and recognise that these works of genius (ahem) will be passed on for generations and studied in school at GCSE level in the future, knocking Shakespeare, Bronte and Dickens off the curriculum.
You will receive everything in The Proud Patron package and will have your name on a Special Thanks page in my next 2 e-book releases, by donating the entire goal.
You will also receive pre-release copies of 2 of my upcoming projects (these projects are not completed yet hence 2015 ETA to give me plenty of time to work on them), delivery of The Seance and The Cabinet of Dr Blessing expected by September 2014, as with the other packages.
As an additional bonus, your name, (should you wish, and in keeping with the details specified in the Limitations section), will be given to a character who will appear in a scene involving a board meeting of wealthy investors (land owners, armament manufacturers and shipping magnates) in one of my works in progress. A role befitting any individual bold enough to back this venture to the full!
As this tier is the largest commitment, individuals may be put off, however it could be an interesting option for a group of backers, a business etc to have a bit of fun.
Here are some examples of how it could work:
A horror reading group of ten individuals make a joint pledge totalling £200, and appear in one of the works in progress as a militia group, with several character names inserted and a shoutout in the books, online, etc. Named backers as part of that group receive their copies of all of the stories.
You run a bar, club or cafe. Maybe the name of your business could work in the Victorian setting (or with a little alteration), your name and a couple of staff members appear in the story in a scene where perhaps the good guys have a drink make their plans. Maybe the place gets attacked.
The possibilities are endless really. I have several stories running and several opportunities to have some fun with this and really bring you or your business into the story in an unusual setting.
Simply send me a message and we will work out all of the details together.
Kicking It Forward
As a participant in Kicking It Forward, I have comitted to placing at least 5% of profits raised from my work as a result of my campaign, into other Kickstarter projects. Click on my profile to see the projects I am already backing.
Risks and challenges
The Seance is already written. I am awaiting responses from 2 of 5 beta-readers before I settle on a final draft. This will help me to ensure that the finished product is as perfect as I can make it.
All of the products exist, ready, formatted and The Seance is the final piece of the puzzle. Once the thank yous are in place and the final draft accepted and formatted, I can have this ready to deliver to the e-mail addresses of each backer.
For the tiers which involve your name appearing in future works, the difficulty I have at the moment is predicting exactly when they will be ready - I want them to be top quality and that can't be rushed. I've put end of December 2015 as a guess because I would like to think they'll be done and I'll be well on with other projects by then. That being said, new baby in March and everything, things will slow down a bit at times. The point is though - those stories will be finished and released.
The second concern is your name. There are 5 opportunities to have your name in one of the stories that I aim to release in 2015 and I would like those spots to be taken up by people who really get into this - who really want to be a part of this and get behind my work, so I have to make a couple of things clear.
The stories I aim to fit your name into are set in Victorian times. The names have to sit right with the setting, so if your name is Kandi Kane, our Courtney whoever, or Keanu Something it's going to look odd.That is where I would have to use a bit of artistic licence with your name - but the thank you page will clearly state your part in the process and make it clear the cameo appearance is you. I would also, however give you the option of rolling the appearance over into a contemporary story instead of one of the Victorian ones.
Also, it has to be your real name you give me - no celebrity names, no porn actor names, this has to be done in keeping with the spirit of the project or I take the moneys, I spend the moneys, you get your thank you and I put in some variation of the name you give, that works with the story (eg. you insist your name is Mel Gibson, expect Malcolm Gibson to appear. You insist your name is Consuela Bananahammock, I'll say thank you and Connie Barnes is going to be in the book). I hope that's clear and deters any time-wasters from taking those spots up.
Stretch Goal - Paperback launch. Although I would aim to have this produced for the end of September, there can always be delays if there are issues with the proofs, etc. I would not expect this to go beyond October 2014.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)