The Crown of Secrets
The Crown of Secrets is a book of stories and pictures about wonder and imagination. It's for children, adults, and everybody else.
The Crown of Secrets
Hi! I'm Jeremiah Christie, and The Crown of Secrets is the book I'm making. It's a picture book with twelve stories and poems of wonder and magic, speculation and memory, the things that usually stand just at the edge of sight. It's big, beautiful, colorful, and fun, and I'm incredibly excited to share it with you.
The book is inspired by the big story treasuries I grew up reading - oversized pages, thick bindings, wonderful pictures. Those books and their stories fed my imagination and took me to new places. But I began to notice that those kinds of books are hard to find these days, so about four years ago I decided I'd make one of my own. I began collecting illustrators to work with me, and writing stories influenced by Robert Louis Stevenson, Calvin & Hobbes, Neil Gaiman, the Bible, Hayao Miyazaki, world mythology, Dr Seuss, and everything in between. This project is what I ended up with.
I'm honored to be collaborating with eight amazing artists from around the world on this book, and we can't wait to get it into your hands. But we need your help!
The stories are written, the art is happening as we speak, the printing press around the corner is ready to go - all that's missing is the money to pay my artists (because they have to eat) and the printers (because they have to eat, too) and the people who will get the book from the press to your mailbox (because I guess they have to eat, as well). The money we raise here will cover all of that. And if we raise more money, we can include more stories in the book!
You probably want to know a little bit about what's in the book before you buy it. So here's a list of all 12 of the stories, and a brief description about each.
The Crown Of Secrets (illustrated by Stephen Rigall) - A magician scours earth, sky, and sea, intent on knowing all the secrets of the world.
The Last of the Giants (illustrated by Jake Cochrane) - We remember the giants we used to see when we were younger. Like, really big giants.
Hunting My Dress (illustrated by Kristin Richland) - Living dresses prowl the pink tinsel forests, and a girl and her family go in search of the perfect fit.
The Tiger and the Rabbit (illustrated by Billie Austin) - Not all villages are safe without a guardian.
The Sea at Night (illustrated by Karen Davie) - A brief reflection on the nighttime waters.
Tapioca Hunt (illustrated by Jeremiah Christie) - This poem follows a quest through strange landscapes to find tapioca (for dessert, obviously).
Mr Banana's Strange Day (illustrated by Natalie Slater) - When you're a banana, things are usually pretty predictable, except when they're not.
Little Drifters (illustrated by Jake Cochrane) - There are small, friendly, glowing things in the woods that we don't have a name for.
The Evening Day and Grey (illustrated by Kristin Richland) - One cold winter, a girl named Grey learns where night comes from.
The People of Naphoth Tsur (illustrated by Isidre Mones Pons) - An untold story from the Bible about an unlikely city in the Promised Land.
The Robot and the Goldfish (ilustrated by Ziyi Yan) - In the post-apocalyptic future, two friends go in search of the sea, but find a good deal more.
Wooden Horse (illustrated by Natalie Slater) - A closing poem about imagination.
I'm Jeremiah. I've been reading and writing and telling stories for as long as I can remember. I really like finding new ways to look at the world, using imagination and creativity to change the way we think about the things around us. I'm originally from Hinesburg, Vermont, USA (pop. 4,340), but now I'm a university teacher in Shijiazhuang (pop. 10,163,788), the capital city of Hebei, China. I love pushing my students to think outside the box, and this summer, in addition to publishing The Crown of Secrets, I'll be opening the first Western music, arts, and creativity school in the city.
You can find out more about them on the book's devblog, but here's a quick introduction to each of the wonderful artists I'm working with.
Billie Austin lives in Los Angeles, CA with her husband and loves painting with pink (but hates wearing it).
Jake Cochrane hails from Seattle, WA, but is currently globetrotting, helping build sustainable housing and doing some serious biking.
Karen Davie has apparently spent half of her life in Hinesburg, VT, and is coincidentally the author's mother, which she's proud of.
Isidre Mones Pons lives in Spain and has spent over 40 years illustrating books of all kinds - including the author's favorite coloring book.
Kristin Richland is from Underhill, VT. She creates warm, friendly, oddly disquieting creatures and raises chickens with her husband and cat.
Stephen Rigall lives in Dallas, TX, and works with all kinds of visual media, from moving masks to graphic novels.
Ziyi Yan (阎榟逸) is a Shijiazhuang, Hebei, native who specializes in traditional Chinese watercolor and calligraphy.
Enough about us. Here's what's in it for you:
$8 - Wallpaper!
You get high-resolution digital art from the book that you can use as your computer desktop. Hooray!
$15 - Ebook!
You get a digital copy of the book that you can read on your e-reader, computer, or whatever else you feel like reading on. Also the wallpaper.
$25 - The Book! ($20 Earlybird Special!)
A copy of the actual physical book once it's done! Also the ebook and the wallpaper.
$30 - Signed Book & Study Guide!
Included with the book, you'll get a digital book (PDF) with activity ideas, coloring pages, discussion questions, and more that cover all the stories in the book. It's specially designed for teachers and parents to help kids develop creativity and critical reading abilities, created with the help of a few other teachers, our students, and the artists. Also, I'll sign the book! Depending on where the artists are in relation to the book, some of them may they sign it, too! Also the ebook and the wallpaper.
$50 - Postcards! ($44 Earlybird Special!)
You get a pack of 36 postcards featuring art from the book! 12 different designs (one from each story); three of each. Also the signed book, the study guide, the ebook, and the wallpaper.
$75 - Your Name in the Book!
We'll include your name in the Special Thanks section! Children for generations will see your name and have no idea who you were. But they'll still see your name. Also the postcards, the signed book, the study guide, the ebook, and the wallpaper.
$90 - Four Books!
Want to give a few away as presents? Sell them in your bookstore? Burn them because you hate imagination? This is the package for you! Also an art print, your name in the book, the postcards, the signed book, the study guide, the ebook, and the wallpaper.
$100 - Art Print!
We're printing five of our favorite pieces of art from the book on high-quality paper, and you'll get one! *Prints will be approximately 14"x20". Suitable for framing and shipped rolled. Select art from "The Evening Day and Grey"; "The Tiger and the Rabbit"; "The Crown of Secrets"; "The People of Naphoth Tsur"; or "Little Drifters"; we'll contact you for your choice at the end of the campaign. Also your name in the book, the postcards, the signed book, the study guide, the ebook, and the wallpaper.
$125 - Mini Story! (only 24 available!)
You tell me what you want a story about, and I'll write one for you in the opening cover of your copy of the book! It will be unique and strange and maybe I'll draw a picture, too, if your subject matter is something I'm capable of drawing. It'll be about 200-300 words - no novel, but a little extra something. Also an art print, your name in the book, the postcards, the signed book, the study guide, the ebook, and the wallpaper.
$150 - All 5 Art Prints!
Can't make up your mind? Redecorating? Need presents? You get all five of the art prints! *Prints will be approximately 14"x20". Suitable for framing; shipped rolled. Also your name in the book, the postcards, the signed book, the study guide, the ebook, and the wallpaper.
$180 - 10 Books!
If you own a bookstore and want to help make The Crown Of Secrets a New York Times Bestseller, this is the funding level for you! All ten of the books will be signed. Also all 5 posters, your name (or store or whatever) in the book, the postcards, the study guide, the ebook, and the wallpaper.
$250 - Special full-sized Print! (Only 20 available!)
A big, pretty, frameable, reproduction of one of the short pieces from the book. Jeremiah's handwritten text is printed on top of the picture, appearing exactly as it does in the book. Choose either The Sea At Night (Karen Davie) or Wooden Horse (Natalie Slater). Also all 5 posters, your name in the book, the postcards, the study guide, the ebook, and the wallpaper.
$300 - Original Painting by Ziyi Yan!
Ziyi Yan, the painter illustrating The Robot And The Goldfish, will create a 3'x3' picture (or calligraphy piece) just for you. He works in the traditional Chinese watercolor style, and you can see some of his work below. Also all 5 posters, your name in the book, the postcards, the signed book, the study guide, the ebook, and the wallpaper.
$350 - Talk to Jeremiah!
I'll go anywhere the internet can take me to talk about the stories (or whatever else you might want to talk about). I can talk to your students in the classroom about their reading experiences and answer their questions; brainstorm with you about your story ideas; answer questions about my creative process; tell you about how to ship books from China; argue with your boss about why you should move the water cooler; provide entertainment as you wait for the end of the world in your fallout shelter; or pretty much anything else. Also all 5 posters, your name (or school or whatever) in the book, the postcards, the signed book, the study guide, the ebook, and the wallpaper.
$450 - Art Tutorial!
I'm working with 8 different artists, and that means you have the chance to learn from them! One artist will give you a 1-hour tutorial on their style and techniques. Note that this will work best if it's done in person. Each artist has 2 slots; who you talk to will depend on what kind of art you want to do and how early you sign up. Also all 5 posters, your name in the book, the postcards, the signed book, the study guide, the ebook, and the wallpaper.
$600 - Original Art from the Book!
Six of the original paintings are available to you on a first-come, first-served basis. Also all 5 posters, your name in the book, the postcards, the signed book, the study guide, the ebook, and the wallpaper.
$750 - Dinner!
The author or one of the artists will take you out to dinner! This is dependent upon you being in Burlington, VT; Tulsa, OK; Los Angeles, CA; Dallas, TX; or Shijiazhuang, Hebei, China, because eating together over Skype is nowhere near as fun as it sounds. Also all 5 posters, your name in the book, the postcards, the signed book, the study guide, the ebook, and the wallpaper.
$1,000 - A Partridge in a Pear Tree! (Only 6 available!)
One of the artists will create a very special Partridge in a Pear Tree for you. It might be a sculpture, or a painting, or something completely different. You won't know until you get it. But it will be amazing. Also all 5 posters, your name in the book, the postcards, the signed book, the study guide, the ebook, and the wallpaper.
$2,500 - A Guided Tour of Shijiazhuang!
I'll take you around town! I won't pay for your plane ticket to China, but once you're in the city, food and lodging are on me, and I'll show you around - both to historical sites and to places important to the book's development. We'll have a great time. Also all 5 posters, your name in the book, the postcards, the signed book, the study guide, the ebook, and the wallpaper.
If we can raise enough money to print 1,000 copies of this book, ship them to people who want to read them, and pay my artists a fair wage for their hard work, I will be absolutely elated, because, to be honest, paying all the artists myself wouldn't be fun, and $21,500 looks pretty intimidating to me.
If we can raise MORE than that, I will upload a video of me being too excited for words, probably sitting on my hideous pink futon making incoherent noises. HOWEVER! I have more plans than just the video:
$24,000 - We'll record an audiobook! Myself, some of the artists, and a few professional voice artists will tell the stories to you ourselves.
$27,000 - This will give us enough money to support an additional 32-page story called The Mamo Fragments to the book! It's a science-fantasy coming-of-age road trip story involving two shape-changing adolescents, Gregor and Oren, and their big furry beast named Mamo. A whole bunch of 5th graders in Vermont and Hebei really love it, and I think you will, too. I'm very excited about this story and hope you'll help us make it happen.
Beyond that, there are always more stories...
Thanks so much for taking time to learn about our book. We're SUPER excited about it and hope that you'll support us, whether that means buying a book, telling a friend, or writing a front-page article for the Wall Street Journal about The Crown of Secrets. We can't wait to get this book into your hands!
Risks and challenges
With a project of this size and complexity, anything can happen. I am, of course, doing everything I can to prevent that, and have spent months working to ensure that I have accounted for every possibility.
I'm also aware that I'm asking for a lot of money. 100% transparency is my policy; if you have any questions about how I'm handling the money, or are just curious about the budget, I'd be happy to share details with you.
The story writing is done; all of the art is either finished or underway, scheduled to be completed at or around the time of funding; and I'm doing the page layout as I receive the art. Completing the book content itself will not be a problem.
However, if we raise a ridiculous amount of money and are able to add more stories and art, it will take some additional time to make the art. I would love to have this problem and will keep you in the loop about the process.
Printing has been arranged with a local company in Shijiazhuang; I will personally oversee the whole process.
Shipping may present the biggest risk of delay - getting a thousand books from central China to the northeastern USA is a pretty lengthy journey, in terms of both logistics and distance. This won't stop the book from getting to you - only perhaps how quickly it will happen.
In the fairly unlikely event that we end up printing several thousand copies, for expense reasons we'll switch to a more local printing company, because shipping prices add up like nobody's business.
If these or any other difficulties do arise, I will communicate with you in a timely matter and will do everything in my power to resolve the problems.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (31 days)