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FIRST STRETCH GOAL: AUDIO EDITION
For this stretch goal, I will reserve studio time and prepare an audio edition of the whole book, available to backers at all levels! This will require 8 recording hours - which neatly breaks down to approximately 3 minutes per backer if we hit 150. Give me three minutes of your time to view the project video, and I will give it back to you in the sound studio!
So please keep encouraging your friends to jump on the bandwagon, and let's see if we can't break into some even better stretch goals!
So what's the story?
I don’t care much for travel stories unless someone feels a little pain, suffers a little misfortune, or loses a little dignity, and I wouldn’t choose to write a book about anything less. Adventure is good, but when it goes wrong, it’s great. Fortunately, I have a natural propensity for finding myself in awkward, uncomfortable, and occasionally downright dangerous situations.
Misadventure is Better was written on five continents over seven years, focusing only on those moments that brought me face to face with failure. Rather than a single narrative arc, these stories are presented as a series of sketches each with their own unique story.
One of my central challenges was creating a sense of unity with stories across many years and very distinct situations, so I addressed this by dividing them into three different themes: Whimsical, Adventurous, and Thoughtful.
- Those with a sense of whimsy will enjoy my antics as a sleepwalker caught in someone else’s bed and afoot on a train in the middle of the night.
- Those with a sense of adventure will get contentious run-ins with border guards, a near-death attack by killer bees and the violent fevers of Malaria.
- Those who appreciate thoughtfulness will get tribal initiations in West Africa and long sailing voyages, all with their fair share of adversity to overcome.
Misadventure pushed me time and again into uncomfortable positions that made me question my ability, find empathy with foreign cultures, and seek a life of urgency.
My hope is that by publishing these stories I might just encourage or inspire someone to go out and find a misadventure of their own.
What will the book look like?
The book will be composed of 15 chapters at around 300 pages, bound in a 5x8 softcover matte jacket. There may be some minor changes during the final editing and formatting process, but it is roughly the same length as a standard bookstore novel.
Why should you back me?
Most people paint a fairytale picture of travel as sipping margaritas on beautiful beaches in exotic locations. I'm not gonna lie, I have done this, and it's nice. But most of the time, it's actually quite difficult, especially when you're not traveling for a couple of weeks, but a couple of months or years.
Traveling for extended periods of time, especially alone, can put one in extremely challenging situations, and they are hard to bottle up nicely and post on social media. They are full of nuance and background and, try as you might, a snappy photo or 140 characters of text don't really do any justice to the real story you want to tell.
I wrote those stories that weren't suitable for Facebook or Twitter and squirreled them away for several years until I had enough material to create a nice collection, and now I am happy to say the time has come.
In fact, that time has come and gone, and I am now just procrastinating, so this campaign is my officially enforced deadline!
But seriously, why?
I've gone through a tremendous amount of effort to bring this project to life because I am passionate about travel and believe sincerely that it leads us to become more empathetic and engaged with those around us.
Many of the most important lessons I ever learned about compassion, dignity, humility, and a whole raft of important principles were a direct result of failure, and I simply want to encourage others to fail too!
This project is so dear to me that I can't bear the thought of working with a traditional publisher who will inevitably ask me to compromise on far too much and I want this book to remain true to its message.
This means I have had to go to great lengths to educate myself on many things a traditional publisher would have handled (cover design, printing and binding, marketing and distribution, etc.) and I have done this work gladly so that I can produce something that you will not distinguish from a professionally published book!
Can you tell us about some of the stories?
Below is the contents page of the book, which will give you an idea of what to expect. (W) signifies a whimsical story. (A) signifies an adventurous story. (T) signifies a thoughtful story. Select chapter highlights will be released periodically during the campaign.
What is your funding goal?
I once read somewhere that if a writer can't sell at least 10,000 copies, he's basically a lousy, good-for-nothing dimwit. With that in mind, I hope to sell about 250 books to reach my funding goal, which hopefully leaves me a lot of wiggle room (but might not say much for how I value myself).
I have already completed the book and calculated all the costs associated with printing, packaging, delivery, etc., and the stated goal will essentially validate the hope that there is some interest in the book and make a volume printing run worthwhile. Everything has been very carefully considered.
That said, if I don't reach 100% of my funding goal, I will receive nothing at all from Kickstarter since they use an all-or-nothing policy, so it is very important that I reach the target.
If I actually tried to recover the cost of what it took to create this book the price would be unreasonably high, and I've long since embraced the fact that I will never fully recoup the money that I invested in these years of travel!
If things go well and I exceed the funding goal, I have ambitions to make Misadventure is Better into a more long-term project that will continue to engage and inspire for years to come. If this indeed happens, further stretch goals will be posted during the campaign.
Did you really build a Web Site?
Yes, yes I did, and it took a long time so I would appreciate if someone else laid their eyes on it so I can feel like it was worth the effort. If you would like to peruse some nice photography that accompany many of the stories, please visit the site and scroll through some of the galleries.
What are the Limited Edition Options?
There are three options for the limited edition to allow more people to have access to this pledge level. These leather journal covers and boxes were carefully handcrafted in Senegal just a little over a year ago, and I personally watched much of the assembly process (and drank a lot of tea doing so). I am really happy with how they turned out, and hope that you will appreciate the effort that went into making them.
One last word.
Stories have the wonderful effect of bringing people together and I've met a lot of great friends on the road just by asking them to share their best stories of misadventure.
I hope that this project will act as a catalyst for others to share their best stories of hardship and misfortune and think about how they made an impact on their lives, because I guarantee they make us better people in the end!
Risks and challenges
I am highly confident that if this project reaches the funding goal, I will have more than enough time to fulfill the rewards and get these books into people's hands, hopefully ahead of the stated delivery date.
I have done extensive research into the steps involved once funding has been raised, and am eager to get started in this part of the process! Believe me, I am more excited than anyone to see this work come to fruition as quickly as possible.
The only foreseeable holdup is if we are successful beyond all reasonable expectations (it could happen, right?!) and the printing/packaging/delivery timeline gets drawn out longer than anticipated. Even if this is the case, it will simply be a minor delay, and there is absolutely no risk that the product will not be delivered. I am working with very competent people who are just as driven to see this project be successful.
Unless faced with extreme circumstances (i.e. Oprah includes Misadventure is Better in this month's book club!), this shouldn't be a cause for concern.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)