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"The Lord of the Rings meets 1984." Cinematic writing meets non-stop action in this 5 book series inspired by Slavic myths and legends
"The Lord of the Rings meets 1984." Cinematic writing meets non-stop action in this 5 book series inspired by Slavic myths and legends
"The Lord of the Rings meets 1984." Cinematic writing meets non-stop action in this 5 book series inspired by Slavic myths and legends
776 backers pledged $25,798 to help bring this project to life.

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Raven Son: Epic Fantasy Inspired by Russian Fairy Tales

$25,798

776

Join me to successfully publish books 4 and 5 of Raven Son, a five book epic fantasy series inspired by Russian fairy tales. 

The Sirin, a mythical creature from Russian legends. Her song can drive people mad or inspire them to greatness. She provides the inciting incident that starts book 1 of the series.
The Sirin, a mythical creature from Russian legends. Her song can drive people mad or inspire them to greatness. She provides the inciting incident that starts book 1 of the series.

Have you ever wanted to be involved in the creation of a book, even before it's written? I'm offering supporters a unique opportunity to help me create books 4 and 5 of my Raven Son series.

My name is Nicholas Kotar, and I write epic fantasy inspired by Russian fairy tales. I take these classic fairy tale settings and tropes as inspiration for new explorations of epic and intimate battles of good against evil. (If you're interested, I even wrote a Writer's Manifesto where I go into painful detail about it). 

This classic painting by Victor Vasnetsov was a huge inspiration for a scene in book 3
This classic painting by Victor Vasnetsov was a huge inspiration for a scene in book 3

To date, I've written three books of the series and published two. A pre-publication version of book 3 is one of the rewards of this kickstarter, which you can see in the list on your right. 

Why Crowdfunding?

First of all, I think it's the greatest thing to be part of a creative project at the very beginning. I'm offering a chance not merely to fund a new series of fantasy books, but to take part in the actual creation of it. 

You can start small. For only twenty dollars, you can get all 5 books of the series (electronic format of your choice). But if you'd like to take a more active role, you can be part of a team of consultants on story issues. Basically, I'm gathering a tribe of fans to whom I would turn once a month or so with specific questions about plot or character choice. We would either have an email thread or a live chat. I would seriously consider everyone's input before deciding what steps to take. 

See how to join my tribe of story consultants in the reward list on your right
See how to join my tribe of story consultants in the reward list on your right

Of course, there's a more practical reason why I need your help as well.

I'm a father of two toddlers living in a severely economically depressed part of America. Why do I live here? Because I believe that it's more important to dedicate your life to a cause than to live for a paycheck. So I moved to upstate NY to teach in a small seminary in the middle of nowhere to help train future pastors (who will also make little-to-nothing in their ministry).

Teaching them to love fairy tales early...
Teaching them to love fairy tales early...

To support my family, I translate books from Russian to English for a rate that doesn't even get close to the minimum standard rate for translators. Oh, and did I mention I conduct a church choir for free? They're good, too. Listen to a clip:

Why do I do this? Because I believe that it's more important to give than to take. So I give my time and the potential for making "real money" to serve my community and my church. It's a wonderfully fulfilling life, but it doesn't pay very well.

Add to that my desire to be an author...

Being a new author with only a few books under my belt means that hardly anyone knows about me yet. So I have to cover all my expenses for publishing up front. The reality is that most authors only start breaking even after they've published five or six books.

It's expensive to publish a quality book. On average, it can take as much as $2,500 just to get one book to the point where I can press "publish". And that doesn't include all the marketing costs, without which there is literally no chance anyone will ever notice me in the sea of self-published authors out there. 

I've basically thrown all my savings into the first three books. At this point, I have no more money left to finish the series, but I don't have enough books out yet for any effective promotional opportunity to actually make me some money. I'm getting close to becoming a hamster on the wheel with a chicken and egg problem (hey! who said authors can't use mixed metaphors?!) 

So why should you care again?

Simple. The incentives.

If you support me, you'll ALL be early birds. And you know what they say about early birds...

(Personally, I don't much like worms...)
(Personally, I don't much like worms...)

Instead of worms, you early birds will get some (or all) of the following if you support my Kickstarter today:

  • Exclusive pre-publication access to special edition ebook and signed paperback versions of books 3, 4, and 5 of the series 
  • An exclusive digital prize pack with cover art from the series and a fantasy map  
  • A specially branded coffee cup with artisanal coffee roasted by actual monks (I can vouch for it personally, it's excellent coffee) 
  • Upper tier donors will be able to take actual part in the creation of the story! (see the list to your right)

Here's a breakdown of production capital for books 4 and 5:

  • $1,500.00 for editing 
  • $500.00 for cover design 
  • $1,000.00 for printing and formatting 
  • $150.00 for internal design 
  • $350.00 for Kickstarter fees

My Team

  • My editor, Michael Rowley, has worked with many traditionally published authors, including best-sellers Katherine Arden and Andy Weir (as in, the guy who wrote The Martian). He does accept new clients periodically, and you can see his profile on Reedsy
  • Stuart Bache, my cover designer, has worked with Stephen King and John le Carré. Check out some amazing pre-made covers at the Books Covered website. 
  • My interior designers, Polgarus Studio, work with bestselling author Mark Dawson and others.

The Series So Far

The Song of the Sirin

 
 
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As blight ravages the countryside and darkness covers the sun, Voran, a young warrior of Vasyllia, hears of an ancient spirit that devours souls. He feels powerless to fight the oncoming devastation until a mythical creature entrusts him with a long-forgotten song. Legend has it that such a song can heal the masses, overthrow kingdoms, and raise humans to divine beings…

Armed with the memory of the song, Voran must hunt down the dark spirit before it achieves its goal of immortality. His quest takes him through doorways to other worlds and puts him on a collision course with seductive nymphs and riddling giants. With each step of the journey, the strength of the villainous spirit grows, as does Voran’s fear that the only way to save his world… is to let it be destroyed.

Miles Cameron, the bestselling author of The Traitor Son series, has called The Song of the Sirin "a serious fairy tale...with complex characters and world." If you like Katherine Arden's The Bear and the Nightingale or Naomi Novik's Uprooted, you'll love this fresh take on classic fantasy.

Reader reviews: 

  • "Never before have I read a book so mesmerizing! Very well written."
  • "His characters were so well described I felt I knew them." 
  • "The landscapes were so magical I got lost in them and never wanted to find my way home. I recommend this book to anyone who loves long epic fantasy with lots of deep imagination."
  • "This is the best fantasy -- nay, some of the best fiction -- I have read in a very long time."

The Curse of the Raven 

 
 

A city ruled with an iron fist. A swordsmith just trying to survive. A choice that could heal the world…or plunge it into ruin.                 

The Curse of the Raven is a epic fantasy novella sequel to The Song of the Sirin. Early readers have called it “The Lord of the Rings meets 1984.” If you enjoy creative twists on mythology and classic fantasy, you’ll love this edge-of-your seat adventure.

Reader reviews:

  • "I loved the depth of the characters and ideas."
  • "This novella is a grand achievement and highly recommended both as a great read and for its literary value."
  • "My only regret is that when it was over, I wanted more."

The Heart of the World

 

 

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Book 3 of the Raven Son series is almost ready to go, and a pre-release special edition of The Heart of the World is one of the incentives of this kickstarter. See the full list of rewards on your right. 

What's coming next...

Book 4 will be a novella continuing one of the story strands from book 3, and book 5 will complete the series, while also leaving room for several new series to come that will expand on the mythology and stories of this fictional Russia-inspired secondary world. 

With your help, book 4 will be published in September 2018, and book 5 will be published in December 2018. Just check out the list of rewards on your right to see which tier is best for you. 

Project Timeline

Stretch Goals

I've also prepared some really exciting stretch goals for this project:

If we reach $5,000.00, all donors who gave $100.00 or more will also receive a limited edition signed and numbered hardcover version of book 1 (limit the first 100). I'll also unlock a special giveaway for all donors who gave $20.00 or more. The winner will receive a hand-carved scene from one of the novels carved by renowned artist and iconographer Jonathan Pageau.

If we reach $7,500.00, I will produce an audiobook version of book 1 for all donors. I'll also unlock a second special giveaway for all donors who gave $100.00 or more. The winner will get a custom hand-forged Sword of the Raven Son, made by swordsmith Jeff Helmes (worth $1,500.00)

If we reach $10,000.00, I will produce audiobook versions of the first three novels in the series for all donors. 

If we reach $15,000.00 I will produce audiobook versions of all five books in the series.

Finally, if we reach $25,000.00, I will add original illustrations to the hardcover versions of book 1. If all goes well, I hope to entice world-renowned Russian illustrator Gennady Spirin to contribute his talents to this project. Here are some of his wonderful illustrations:

 

We live in a time when public funding for the arts disappears more and more every day. Luckily, there are still avenues where people can take control and help artists create quality work that will hopefully endure. 

More and more readers are showing the traditional publishing world that there needs to be a better way of discovering and nurturing new writers.

I hope you will be one of them. I'm so grateful for your support. I can't wait to share my books with you all!

Risks and challenges

The only risks I foresee are delays based on the schedules of my editor, cover designer, or interior designer. However, I have worked with them for a year now, and I have never had any issues with any of them. All of them are consummate professionals, highly rated in their fields.

I've also incorporated "buffer time" into the writing process for both books 4 and 5, so I don't anticipate any difficulty in meeting all my deadlines for this project.

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $5 or more About $5

    Casual Acquaintance

    Includes:
    • ebook versions of books 1-3 (all formats) of the series
    • A digital prize pack including a digital poster and fantasy map
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    Friend

    Includes:
    • ebook bundle of books 1-5 of the series
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    Close Friend

    Includes:
    • Signed paperback version of book 3 (shipping to US and CA only)
    • ebook bundle of books 1-5 of the series
    • A digital prize pack including a digital poster and fantasy map
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    Buddy

    Includes:
    • Signed paperback versions of books 4 and 5 only (US and CA)
    • ebook bundle of books 1-5 of the series
    • A digital prize pack including a digital poster and fantasy map
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    Best Bud

    Includes:
    • Signed paperback versions of books 1-5 (ship to US and CA only)
    • ebook bundle of books 1-5 of the series
    • A digital prize pack including a digital poster and fantasy map
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    Pledge $150 or more About $150

    Best Coffee Buddy

    Includes:
    • 1 series branded coffee cup with 1 lb of coffee (US and CA only)
    • Signed paperback versions of books 1-5 (ship to US and CA only)
    • ebook bundle of books 1-5 of the series
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    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    Insider

    Includes:
    • Membership on a team of "story consultants"
    • 1 series branded coffee cup with 1 lb of coffee (US and CA only)
    • Signed paperback versions of books 1-5 (ship to US and CA only)
    • ebook bundle of books 1-5 of the series
    • A digital prize pack including a digital poster and fantasy map
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Funding period

- (30 days)