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Base jump out of a nuclear explosion? This thriller stealthily invokes key maths concepts to enable the hero to do this and much more.
Base jump out of a nuclear explosion? This thriller stealthily invokes key maths concepts to enable the hero to do this and much more.
42 backers pledged AU$ 2,506 to help bring this project to life.

About

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AU$ 2,506

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Project Aim

The aim of this project is to create a story that does for maths what The Da Vinci Code did for religious history conspiracies, what Harry Potter did for wizardry, and what Twilight did for vampires. Most of the millions of readers who picked up The Da Vinci code had no specific interest in learning about religious history. Instead, they wanted, and got, a thrilling and captivating detective story. That some of them, along the way, were exposed to a lot of (sometimes dubious) history, was incidental. 

Readers of the world’s first exciting math novel will be drawn into a thrilling and captivating story replete with violence, betrayals, high drama and sacrifice. This book is one that will sit comfortably among the mass market paperback thrillers you see in airports and bookstores, by authors like Anthony HorowitzMatthew Reilley, and Dan Brown.

But, rather than just containing escapism, readers of the novel, especially young adults, will also be exposed to the most important mathematical concepts required for a person to be a responsible and critically thinking member of society. The book is stealthily filled with illuminating examples of mathematical concepts that people need on a daily basis like statistical significance and probability.

The stuff one needs to see through the deception spun by politicians, con artists and advertising every day. The basic concepts required to make sound financial decisions, and to understand and manage risk appropriately. To know that even if you have a small advantage over the casino, there is still a good chance that you will eventually go bankrupt. 

Real-life Numeracy Illustrated in UNREAL Situations

Unlike most maths fiction or indeed attempts to relate maths concepts to "real world" situations, these concepts aren't illustrated in "normal' everyday situations. Instead, they come into play in the most outrageous, extreme situations you can imagine:

  • Base jumping to escape a nuclear explosion
  • Jumping twenty stories to escape rampaging terrorists
  • Decoding a cipher to discover a plot to kill thousands of people

There are dozens more but I won't mention them here... I don't want to spoil the story for you!

What Your Support Means

By supporting this project, you will be personally involved in introducing a completely novel and innovative approach to improving society's mathematical literacy.

Together, we can introduce a new paradigm in education - meaningful but stealthy exposure to vitally important mathematical concepts through a process that billions of people around the world already do everyday without a thought - reading a story.

This is the first book - but we can take it further than that. There's a whole series, planned and ready to be finished.

When Dan Brown wrote The Da Vinci Code, the book spawned an entire industry of imitators, many successful in their own right. Together we can inspire other writers to take up the cause.

When J K Rowling wrote Harry Potter, her stories led to the highest grossing movie series of all time. We can turn this book into a blockbuster movie and watch as viewers are exposed in new ways to mathematical concepts through epic stories and action on the big screen.

Together we can do all of this.

Your support will make the first step in this process a reality - the production and distribution of the maths thriller "A Question of Will".

What's the Story?

Schoolboy one moment, accused terrorist the next. When his mysterious uncle is murdered, 16-year-old Will Graham is dragged into the machinations of a deranged mastermind bent on slaughter at an unfathomable scale. Hunted by authorities and killers alike, Will’s only hope is to find out why someone was so desperate to have his uncle dead, if he is to save himself, his friends and the city he calls home.

To do so, Will must draw on every scrap of intelligence he has to stay alive and out of the clutches of the police and the gunsights of the fanatic’s army of devotee killers. With the help of old friends and unexpected allies, Will believes he can work out where the madman will strike. But, massively outgunned and with the police closing in, will his chase to save his city end up dooming them all?

Read the First Two Chapters

You can download the first two chapters by clicking here (PDF format):

Project Status

The first novel manuscript has been completed and has gone through two rounds of revisions with the assistance of two professional editors.

The many writing and development stages of the project thus far.
The many writing and development stages of the project thus far.

The first draft came in at 128,000 words and had about 50 - 60 mathematical concepts in it. The second and third drafts went on a diet and tightened to around 60,000 words and 20 mathematical concepts - all this means is that there are many more maths concepts to be done in the sequels!

By supporting this campaign, you will help finalize the fourth and final draft, which is what will go out to you as a supporter - it's the final stage in an already almost complete project.

The Budget

This Kickstarter campaign is raising funds to assist with the following components:

Professional Editing: Editing for story, prose, character development and many other factors is essential to polishing a novel to the very best it can be. I have already been working with two professional editors over the past three years, which I have funded myself. The budget will enable me to continue working with editors to improve my writing and storytelling skills and put the finishing touches on the book.

Professional printing: The book will be a paperback, 8.25 x 5 inches and approximately 230 pages. Depending on demand, I will either be printing these books through a high quality print on demand service, or through my established international printers.

Cover design: I really suck at art. I am using a professional book cover designer: http://bespokebookcovers.com/.

Distribution: Distribution of physical copies in and outside of Australia will be done through Australia Post.

Stretch Goals Budget

$5,000 - Free Packs for Schools

I'll send three ten-packs of books for free to three Australian schools, as determined by an online voting poll. 

$25,000 - Free Solution Guide

I'll create a detailed and illustrated solution guide that explains the key mathematical scenarios illustrated in the book. It will be available for free online and also for purchase in physical form.

$60,000 - Free Films of Key Math Concepts in the Book

I'll be able to pay my animators and film producers to produce short high quality, entertaining videos illustrating the key math concepts in the outrageous situations in the book (quality film production is expensive). These short films will be available for free online on YouTube.

$100,000 - Finish the Book Series

I'll pledge to write at least two more books in the series - I have a story plan for books 2 and 3.

Frequently Asked Questions

What age group are you targeting?

The book is primarily aimed at older young adults and adults - ages 14 and above. The novel follows the "rules" for young adult novels in terms of violence, morals and ethics.

But doesn't maths need to be relevant to everyday situations?

The math throughout this book is very relevant to everyday situations - statistics, probability, risk. How these concepts are conveyed - in extreme action and thrilling plots - is extremely unrealistic - but that's the point

Who Am I

I wrote my first educational textbook "Not a C Minus" in 2000, when I was 18 years old and in university. I'd been tutoring high school maths students and decided to put down all the explanations that seemed to work in a book, which I wrote the bulk of in a week. I paid to print 40 copies out of my own pocket and my local bookstore was kind enough to put them on their shelves. It was Christmas time and my parents thought I was crazy.

Not a C Minus
Not a C Minus

The 40 copies sold out and I had to get 100 more printed. They sold out, and the media started to pick up on the story. The 100 sold out, then 200, 300, 500, 1000...

I received hundreds of unsolicited messages from students, parents and teachers about the books:

"I have been struggling in maths all my life as I missed out on the basics in primary school as a result of changing schools. I would like to take this time just too sincerely thankyou for going out of your way to produce something (Complete School) that has and will help people, like myself, who have been struggling. You have given me new found energy to wake up in the morning and go to school and maths in particular. Thankyou."

"The book was great reading, I loved how it all sounded so simple. It helped me a lot...I also purchased your physics book and it is also fantastic..."

I ended up writing two more textbooks: a Physics textbook and a Maths and English textbook package for all of high school. The books received media coverage on Today Tonight, in the Australian Newspaper and in a range of print and online media:

Media Coverage
Media Coverage

In total they've sold about 6000 physical and online copies around the world in places including Vietnam, Papua New Guinea, India, South Africa, Norway, Canada, the USA and Australia.

Painless Physics and Complete School
Painless Physics and Complete School

Writing and producing the books from initial concept to final bookstore and online distribution gave me extensive experience in how (and how not) to successfully write, edit, produce and publicise an educational book. I bring that experience to this project.

My Day Job

My day-job is in academia, where I’m a Senior Lecturer at the Queensland University of Technology (click on the link to read more). I’ve had more than a decade of experience writing in an academic context at the very top international level. I teach students who often have little mathematical background how to excel at complex topics like Robotics. Although my passion for education is shared across both my academic career and Kickstarter project, the Kickstarter project is completely separate of and independent of my university job.

Media Coverage

Media

Media can access a press release and high quality press photo by downloading the following .zip file:

Media Release Package

Risks and challenges

*PRINT AND DISTRIBUTION LOGISTICS*

I have more than a decade of experience working with both Australian (small print run) and international printers (large print run) and freight companies. The international print company I work with has been in business since the 1950s. I also have experience dealing with the importation process and customs clearance, and tricky issues such as marine freight insurance etc.

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Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge AU$ 10 or more About $9

    THE E-BOOK: Digital version of the book (your choice of ePub, PDF or Mobi) available for your phone or tablet for personal use (NOT for school-wide distribution)

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    Pledge AU$ 20 or more About $19

    THE PHYSICAL BOOK: One high quality physical copy of A Question of Will. Includes shipping within Australia.

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    Pledge AU$ 30 or more About $28

    THE PHYSICAL BOOK AND THE E-BOOK: One high quality physical copy of A Question of Will. Includes shipping within Australia AND a digital version of the book (your choice of ePub, PDF or Mobi) available for your phone or tablet for personal use (NOT for school-wide distribution)

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    Pledge AU$ 36 or more About $34

    DOUBLE PACK: Two high quality physical copies of A Question of Will. Includes shipping within Australia. Keep one and give one as a present!

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    Pledge AU$ 39 or more About $36

    EBOOK EXTRAVAGANZA: Receive a digital version of the book (your choice of ePub, PDF or Mobi) available for your phone or tablet for personal use AND an e-book version of my complete Maths and English high school reference Complete School (NOT for school-wide distribution).

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    Pledge AU$ 50 or more About $47

    SIGNED PHYSICAL BOOK: One high quality physical copy of A Question of Will, signed by the author. Includes shipping within Australia.

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    Pledge AU$ 85 or more About $79

    SCHOOL/LIBRARY 5 COPY PACKAGE: Five high quality physical copies of A Question of Will. 15% discount over single copy purchases.
    Tax invoices available here: http://michaelmilford.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/general_invoice2.pdf (copy the link into the address bar of your browser).

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    Pledge AU$ 100 or more About $93

    LISTED ALPHA TESTER: One high quality physical copy of A Question of Will, ebook copy and the opportunity to shape future versions of the book and the series through feedback. You will have a named acknowledgement in the book (unless you just want to provide feedback). Includes shipping within Australia

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    Pledge AU$ 150 or more About $140

    SCHOOL/LIBRARY 10 COPY PACKAGE: Ten high quality physical copies of A Question of Will. 25% discount over single copy purchases.
    Tax invoices available here: http://michaelmilford.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/general_invoice2.pdf (copy the link into the address bar of your browser).

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    Pledge AU$ 200 or more About $186

    SCHOOL VISIT TO TALK TO MATH FACULTY + SCHOOL 10 COPY PACKAGE: I will come and visit your school and give a talk and discussion session on the project (schools within 45 minutes drive of Brisbane only). Plus I will provide ten high quality physical copies of A Question of Will.

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    Pledge AU$ 500 or more About $466

    NAME A SIGNIFICANT CHARACTER: You get to name a significant and frequently occurring female character in the book (naming with author's final approval).

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    Pledge AU$ 500 or more About $466

    BRONZE CORPORATE SPONSORSHIP: Small company logo and name at back of book and 10 physical book copies.

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    Pledge AU$ 500 or more About $466

    NUMERACY ADVOCATE: You get 10 combined physical books + Complete School packs, either sent to yourself or to your organisation/school of choice (maximum of two different destinations).

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    Pledge AU$ 1,000 or more About $931

    SILVER CORPORATE SPONSORSHIP: Medium company logo and name at back of book and 10 physical book copies.

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    Pledge AU$ 2,000 or more About $1,862

    NUMERACY CHAMPION. You get a full page acknowledgement at the front of the book for ensuring the success of the project, and can write a short story on your motivation for doing so. You also get ten signed copies of the book.

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    Pledge AU$ 5,000 or more About $4,655

    GOLD CORPORATE SPONSORSHIP: Full page for company logo and name at back of book and 10 physical book copies. Up to two paragraphs on that same page pitching why your company is supporting a project like this.

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Funding period

- (24 days)