Wyatt is 15, and nobody in his homophobic small town of Lincolnville, Oregon knows that he’s gay. Not even his best friend (and accidental girlfriend) Mackenzie. Then he discovers a secret from actual history: that Abraham Lincoln was in love with another guy! Since everyone loves Lincoln, Wyatt’s sure that if the world knew about it, they would treat gay people differently, and it would solve everything about his life. So Wyatt outs Lincoln online, triggering a media firestorm that threatens to destroy everything he cares about—and he has to pretend more than ever that he’s straight. …Only then he meets openly gay Martin, who may be just the guy Wyatt’s been hoping to find.
The Gay YA Novel Too Controversial For Traditional Publishers
I wrote the book that would have changed my life if I'd read it when I was a teen. With your help, Queer as a Five-Dollar Bill will be professionally published, and over 400 paperback copies will be donated to LGBTQ and Allied teens!
What's controversial about it?
In the book, my main character Wyatt discovers real historical evidence that Abraham Lincoln (yeah, that Abraham Lincoln) was in love – romantic love – with another man. That's the secret from history.
Oh, and everything Wyatt finds out about Lincoln in the novel is real – there's an extensive endnotes section at the end of the book.
How can something about history change the world?
I grew up thinking that there were no gay people besides me – certainly no one important was gay. Certainly no one in my history books. But it turns out that's not true! History has been sanitized to "protect" young people from knowing there were men who loved men, and women who loved women, and people who lived outside gender boundaries across time and around the world. Abraham Lincoln being in love with Joshua Fry Speed is just the tip of the proverbial iceberg, and it's a great place to start!
Imagine if we can shift the cultural conversation to where teens know the story of Lincoln loving Speed – that's the first crack in the false facade of history as it's taught to young people: that everyone important was a cis-gendered, rich, white, heterosexual man. NOT EVERYONE GREAT WAS CIS-GENDERED AND STRAIGHT! (Or caucasian, or wealthy, either.)
And once we let light in through that first crack, history becomes a lighthouse, shining with a prism of LGBTQ stories!
And every LGBTQ teen, every Allied teen, every teen who feels different in any way will know that since people like them lived and loved in the past, there's a place for them today. And there's a future they can imagine themselves having. And that really will change the world.
YA Authors are saying...
Librarians are saying..
Readers are saying...
How will the funds be used?
Publishing a book in the most professional way possible takes time. For example, to be considered for some professional trade reviews, the Advanced Reader Copies must be submitted 6 months in advance of the publication date! Factoring in time for the copyeditor to do their work and the interior designer to do their work, and the dozens of details that have to be done just right, October 2, 2018 is a realistic publish date. I'll be sending out all the backer copies that same month.
If you're ready to start reading right now, the entire novel is being serialized on my blog, one chapter a week... Visit I'm Here. I'm Queer. What the Hell Do I Read? at leewind.org and jump into the first two chapters here.
How will you choose which teens get the donated copies?
I've teamed up with the awesome folks at Camp Brave Trails, a Leadership Summer Camp for LGBTQ Youth, who will help distribute the free copies. First, all 260 of their summer 2018 campers will get an advanced reader copy of the novel, and then in October, at Models of Pride 2018, we'll give away at least 140 more copies of the published novel to the attending LGBTQ and Allied Teens from the Camp Brave Trails booth. And maybe more copies than that, if this kickstarter exceeds the funding goal.
Do you have any stretch goals in mind?
Yes! The main vision will be to donate even more copies of the book to LGBTQ and Allied teens, and I have a few surprises, too... But I don't want to get ahead of myself. Let's hit the project-becoming-a-reality goal of $10,500 first!
A Camp Brave Trails "Recommended Read!"
We did it (in 6 days)! What an amazing community! Now, let's empower even more LGBTQ and Allied Teens!
Our Final Stretch Goal: How Many More LGBTQ and Allied Teens can we reach?
It's Monday March 5, 2018, and there's one week left to this campaign. We just passed Stretch Goal #4 (raising more than $14,500!)
This kickstarter campaign is a HUGE success, and I'm thrilled. If it ended today, with 163 backers, having raised $14,512 to cover the costs of professionally publishing "Queer as a Five-Dollar Bill" and donating 783 paperback copies of the YA novel to empower LGBTQ and Allied Teens, that would be a GIANT WIN!
At the same time, there are so many more teens this book could impact. So many more views of history it could transform. So many more lives it could empower... And, together, we have until March 12, 2018 at 11:30am Pacific to take this even further! Every additional pledge (no matter how humble or extravagant) will continue to build the number of copies we'll donate.
If we reach $14,500 (Achieved!):
Yep. You guess it. Another bonus 50 copies! Look at us, empowering LGBTQ and Allied Teens together!
If we reach $13,500 (Done!):
I will NEVER get tired of saying this: On behalf of all of you, I’ll donate another bonus 50 copies of “Queer as a Five-Dollar bill” to a QAAFDB Nonprofit Partner (see below for the call for QAAFDB Nonprofit Partners.)
If we reach $12,500 (We did that, too!):
On behalf of all of you, I’ll donate another bonus 50 copies of “Queer as a Five-Dollar bill” to a QAAFDB Nonprofit Partner (see below for the call for QAAFDB Nonprofit Partners.)
If we reach $11,500 (We did it!!):
On behalf of all of you, I’ll donate a bonus 50 copies of “Queer as a Five-Dollar bill” to a QAAFDB Nonprofit Partner (see below for the call for QAAFDB Nonprofit Partners.)
Stretch Goal Call for QAAFDB Nonprofit Partners
For every $1,000 raised beyond our initial goal, we can donate a bonus 50 copies of “Queer as a Five-Dollar Bill” to LGBTQ and Allied Teens (over and above the donated copies built into the backer rewards.)
And here’s the cool new twist: while the backer reward-donated copies will be distributed with the help of Camp Brave Trails in Los Angeles/Southern California, there are LGBTQ and Allied teens who could be empowered by knowing this secret from history, by reading this novel, who live in YOUR area, too. And each case of 50 bonus copies can be given away to LGBTQ and Allied Teens by one of those nonprofit partners!
So let’s do some matchmaking!
- We’re looking for nonprofits who work with LGBTQ Teens.
- Who will commit to distributing 50 free copies of “Queer as a Five-Dollar Bill” to their LGBTQ and Allied Teens.
- Who will agree to help vet the book with the language: “A [name of nonprofit] Recommended Read!” (This is super-important as the book isn’t being vetted by traditional publishing.)
- Who will share about the project with their community (i.e., via email and/or newsletter.)
Think you’ve got a likely match? Have a point person at that nonprofit reach out to me at: leewind (at) roadrunner (dot) com and we’ll get it set up. Please note:
- First come, first served.
- QAAFDB Nonprofit Partners will be announced in September 2018.
- If more bonus copies of "Queer as a Five-Dollar Bill" are available for donation than there are QAAFDB Nonprofit Partners, they will be distributed with the help of Camp Brave Trails.
Let’s see how far we can take this.
Let’s see how many LGBTQ and Allied Teens we can empower!
Thank you for your help, and for continuing to spread the word!
How many copies will be donated to LGBTQ and Allied Teens so far?
Visit my blog “I’m Here. I’m Queer. What The Hell Do I Read?” at http://www.leewind.org/ for a daily updated total! It's magical, watching the number grow!
Risks and challenges
Will the novel be completed?
The novel is complete. In fact, this is the 8th draft, and the last edit was overseen by National Book Award Winner M.T. Anderson in a weeklong retreat at the Highlights Foundation. So when the project funds, everyone will absolutely receive their backer rewards!
Will I like it?
The story is being serialized on my blog for free, and potential backers are welcome to start reading to be sure it's a story they'll love. The first two chapters are here: http://www.leewind.org/2017/09/queer-as-five-dollar-bill-kickoff.html
Will there be delays in delivering backer rewards?
I've build in sufficient runway so I don't expect delays - having said that, I will be transparent about the timeline and any challenges that pop up along the way.
- (30 days)