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A children's book inspired by my grandmother, her childhood on a Tennessee farm, and her pluck and love of adventure
A children's book inspired by my grandmother, her childhood on a Tennessee farm, and her pluck and love of adventure
A children's book inspired by my grandmother, her childhood on a Tennessee farm, and her pluck and love of adventure
76 backers pledged $6,224 to help bring this project to life.

About

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Grabbling - My First Children's Book

$6,224

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My initial goal of $3,300 revolved around the production of the book: illustrations (Nik, you’re my hero!), printing, shipping, and fulfilling awards for all you lovely people!

Anyone who has spent any time with me knows I love writing and have had literary aspirations since I wrote my first awkward, fumbling lines of verse in middle school. (Rachel, your firm rebuttals inspired me!)

I’d love to keep writing books. I’m two-thirds of the way through a novel, and I’ve even roughed out the concept for a second children’s book with the positively absurd title of “Peanut Butter Boy.” Don’t ask. At least, not yet.

But really, my goal for Grabbling is to honor my grandmother, and in that respect, this project has already been a huge success. 

Thank you for that.

STRRRETCH goals 

(sorry, had to, not sorry) 

I’m a little late to my own party. As I write this, the project is already 149% funded. So let’s start at $6500, shall we?

/// Stretch Goal #1 … $6500 ///

Give 100 books to schools and libraries in Tennessee.

The story is set in Fayetteville, Tennessee, so I love the idea of bringing awareness to that community and other more rural areas of my home state.

Plus, I love this story, and I want more kids to read it. More kids will have access if more schools and libraries have a copy.

(Logic, my dear Watson. That's why they pay me the big bucks.)

/// Stretch Goal #2 … $8,000 ///

T-shirts. For Kids. That say... "Be three times bold" or "Be 3x bold."

I work with some amazing designers, so I'd love to create a cute t-shirt with that message from the book and send one to everyone who pledged at the $25 level and above.

Imagine my little boy Theo, with his old man's pot belly, toddling around like a drunken sailor and looking resplendent in some hipsterrific tri-blend with fancy typography and an otter's face or something.

Who knows, maybe we'll do tanktops instead. We'll break the world with precious.

/// Stretch Goal #3 … $10,000 ///

I keep thinking that Grabbling would look amazing on an iPad. I've developed probably three dozen iOS apps, and I've been a part of many more. 

So I'd like to launch the book as an iPad app, or if that's too expensive, then resize the illustrations to work as an iBook.

Either way, you don't get much more global than the App Store. Are you with me?!

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(Patience... Let's meet these stretch goals then we can add the one about doing a book reading in every state, including Alaska and Hawaii...)

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The Story Behind a Story

My name is Austin Church, and among other things, I’m a writer and entrepreneur. Over the last several years, I have been working on a children’s book called Grabbling. The story is one that my grandmother told my two sisters and me when we were young.

It's a true story—something that happened to her when she was a little girl, growing up on a farm in Fayetteville, Tennessee.

My Grandmother Martha Jean
My Grandmother Martha Jean

Grabbling is my first children's book.

I always loved this story because it has all the things children love: animals and adventure and family and a fun (and unnerving) surprise at the end.

What inspired me to pick up this project again was two children, my daughter Salem and my son Theo. These two crazy, lovely little people are growing too quickly. I want to finish Grabbling while my kids are young enough to enjoy it.

Grandmother, my wife Megan, Salem & Theo
Grandmother, my wife Megan, Salem & Theo

My grandmother, Martha Jean is 82. She is getting older, and though she could live another twenty years, I still want to make the most of our time together on this earth.

Grandmother loves my children so well—the same way she loved me.

Will you help me make that picture a reality?

I’d love for your children, your nieces and nephews, all of the rambunctious munchkins in your life, to go on a small adventure with Jeannie and to get the shiver at the end of the story that I always felt.

In my mind I see a sweet picture of Grandmother with Salem and Theo in her lap. She is reading her story out of my book and pausing on each page to let them enjoy the illustrations.

The story spans 32 pages of lush, colorful illustrations that send you into the world of Jeannie, her dad Julian, and another character who doesn’t show up until the very end.

Jeannie
Jeannie

 Young Jeannie is very much like old Jeannie: full of laughter, curiosity, and enthusiasm. Her mama sends her and her daddy down to Mulberry Creek to catch dinner. But farm folks in rural Tennessee didn’t always use fishing rods. Sometimes they used their hands. 

They called it “grabbling.”

Can you imagine slipping into the water without splashing or stirring up the mud? You might hold your breath as you snuck over to the special spot where a big rock met the creekbed and formed a nook where fish could hide.

Has your heart started beating fast? You lean over, put your hands into the water, and grab fistfuls of mud. You swirl your hands so that the water runs through your fingers and the mud melts away. With the water murky, the fish can’t see as well.

Martha Jean knew that, and like a curly-headed raccoon, she would slip her hands up underneath the rock and feel along that nook and very gently close her fingers around whatever was inside.

I think the best way to share what happens next is with a full color 10”x10” hardcover children's book.

Julian Waggoner
Julian Waggoner

 

When I can raise $6300, I can do two things:

  • Pay my illustrator handsomely. Nik has supported this book project from the beginning, and his top-shelf talent deserves top-shelf compensation. 
  • Print and distribute this book at the highest level of quality possible.

Good news: I have already raised over $3000.

My friend Jordan finally talked me into doing Kickstarter—I was worried about having a nice enough video!—to raise the remaining 50%.

This book is going to happen.

At just over 1000 words and 20 full-color illustrations, Grabbling would make the perfect addition to your children's book collection. I look forward to sharing it with you and your children.

My goal is to finish the writing by the end of 2016 while also working with Nik to finish the illustrations by the end of January. I’ll print the books in April, and I’ll mail the books to everyone in time by the end of the month.

You can help fund this project in several ways. 

Pick a pledge that works for you, and I’ll see you on the other side!

 

Risks and challenges

Because I already have the narrative nailed down and I have a really strong working relationship with my illustrator Nik, the biggest challenges to this Grabbling project will come during the production and printing process.

That said, I’ve picked out a great publishing partner, so I’m confident that we can work through any issues that might arise and finish printing the books.

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Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $1 or more About $1.00

    Grabbling Roe

    My heartfelt thanks and a big hug next time I see you!

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    Pledge $10 or more About $10

    Grabbling Minnow

    Set of (3) 5x7" Grabbling postcards

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  3. Select this reward

    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    Grabbling Bream

    Signed copy of Grabbling book
    + Set of (3) 5x7" Grabbling postcards

    Please add $25 for each additional copy.
    Free shipping for US residents.

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    42 backers
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    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    Grabbling Bass

    Two signed copies of Grabbling book
    + Set of (3) 5x7" Grabbling postcards

    Please add $25 for each additional copy.
    Free shipping for US residents.

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    13 backers
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  5. Select this reward

    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    Grabbling Catfish

    5 signed copies of Grabbling book
    + Set of (3) 5x7" Grabbling postcards
    + Your name in a special "Thank You" section

    Please add $25 for each additional copy.
    Free shipping for US residents.

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    8 backers
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  6. Select this reward

    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    Grabbling Turtle

    20 signed copies of Grabbling book
    + Set of (3) 5x7" Grabbling postcards
    + Your name in a special "Thank You" section
    + Your name hidden in one of the illustrations

    Please add $25 for each additional copy.
    Free shipping for US residents.

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  7. Select this reward

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

    Grabbling Marlin

    40 signed copies of Grabbling book
    + Set of (3) 5x7" Grabbling postcards
    + Your name in a special "Thank You" section
    + Your name hidden in one of the illustrations
    + Book reading at the location of your choice within 250-mile radius of Knoxville, Tennessee

    Please add $25 for each additional copy.
    Free shipping for US residents.

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Funding period

- (30 days)