About this project
LAST SECOND UPDATE!
Folks! WE HIT THE $10,000 GOAL. My jaw is still on the floor somewhere. THANK YOU ALL.
Before we bust out the champagne, I just wanted to pass out one more reminder. If you had in mind nabbing any of our special rewards like the Clockwork Phoenix pins or the Cherie Priest chapbook, there's only half an hour left. Get 'em while you can!
WE DID IT! WE MADE OUR GOAL! CLOCKWORK PHOENIX WILL PAY PRO RATES. AND NOW OUR NEXT GOAL: A NEW WEBZINE FOR POETRY AND FICTION. TARGET: $10,000.
Thank you all so much! We're overwhelmed.
The next volume of Clockwork Phoenix will pay 5 cents a word for fiction. Again, thank you.
So, we're here. Earlier than expected. And I think there's time to try for something more. In the story below I mentioned that one of our stretch goals could be creating a new webzine for showcasing poetry and fiction. This is something we've wanted to do for years but completely lacked the resources.
But now, I think we could make it happen.
If this Kickstarter can reach $10,000, that should be enough to fund 12 issues of a new Internet magazine. Each issue will hold one story (word limit 4,000 at 2 cents a word) and two poems ($5 each.) In essence, it will be a continuation of the MYTHIC anthologies we used to produce.
If we hit that goal, we'll launch in 2013.
I can't think of what else to say other than to repeat, again: Thank you!
UPDATE 7/30: WE MADE OUR FIRST STRETCH GOAL AND WILL PAY 4 CENTS A WORD FOR FICTION!
Folks, we've made our first stretch goal! We're past $6,500, and we'll be able to pay writers 4 cents a word when we open to submissions for the next volume of Clockwork Phoenix.
Of course, as I've said before, our goal is to go pro. We're still shooting to get past $8,000 and offer 5 cents a word. It certainly seems possible. The response to our new rewards -- including the Cherie Priest limited edition chapbook, the tote bag full of books, and the short story critiques -- has been wonderful so far. But there's only nine days left. The countdown is on.
Thanks so much for everything you've done so far to help us make this happen.
I should mention, I pledged that I would do something special if we hit $6,666. Well, that happened. And Something Special is now in the works. So watch this space.
The video below explains the last but not least of our four new rewards, the "book case" for your favorite e-reader. There's also an update on our pins and a hint when we'll open for submissions. Check it out.
UPDATE 7/27: NEW REWARD LEVELS -- including a limited edition, signed, illustrated chapbook of a Cherie Priest short story
In pursuit of our goal of going pro, we've added some new reward levels. Anita and I are offering story critiques at $100 — fair warning, I'm known for brutal honesty when I do these — and we're also offering a "bag full of books" reward at $125.
And we've got another one that's really special, that I'm really thrilled about. Please forgive me for being long-winded, because it requires a little back story.
Before I edited the Clockwork Phoenix anthologies, I edited another anthology series called MYTHIC. It only had a two-volume run, but wound up being the prototype for what we did with the Clockwork Phoenix books. I had the pleasure of including in the second MYTHIC book a delightfully whimsical little story called "The Immigrant" by a writer named Cherie Priest.
In 2006, when the "The Immigrant" came out, Cherie was in the middle of her Southern Gothic trilogy that begins with Four and Twenty Blackbirds. Three years later she came out with Boneshaker, the book that threw her career wide open, combining the Old West, steampunk and zombies. Cherie was nominated for a Hugo, won a Locus Award and Boneshaker was snatched up for a movie adaptation by Hammer Films.
"The Immigrant" displays the same seamless blend of the historical and the fantastic that marks all Cherie's work. Here's how Strange Horizons described the tale's opening: "An American GI finds a young dragon, injured and alone, in the cellar of a French church during the days following the Normandy invasion."
I asked Cherie if she'd be willing to let me reprint this story in a special limited, numbered edition just for this Kickstarter and she said yes, and that she's willing to sign copies too. I then asked regular Mythic Delirium illustrator Paula Friedlander if she'd be willing to create the cover and illustrations, and she's also on board. Paula works exclusively with paper cutouts; no one's work in this field looks quite like hers.
So here's the deal: this special edition signed chapbook of Cherie Priest's "The Immigrant" brought to life with Paula's art will be made available only through this Kickstarter. We'll make as many as we need to fill the orders we receive here and no more. I've created a new $45 reward level that adds a pre-order of this book to the pre-order of the paperback edition of the fourth Clockwork Phoenix volume that you get at the $25 pledge level (along with all the accompanying e-books.)
Furthermore, if someone has backed us or wants to back us at one of the reward levels ranging from $50 to $100 and also wants to add "The Immigrant" to their swag, increase your pledge by $20 and it will be yours — I'll track who does this (or you can e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org and let me know) and follow up once the Kickstarter closes. If you pledge at one of the levels that gets you listed as a supporter in all our future publications ($125 and up) this chapbook will automatically be included in your bounty.
My heartfelt thanks to Cherie and to Paula for their willingness to make this happen, and a hat tip to Rose Lemberg, who sparked this idea. And thanks again to all the rest of you who've backed the project so far, for presenting me with the wonderful problem of how to come with ways to make an already successful Kickstarter even more so.
UPDATE 7/22: CLOCKWORK PHOENIX 4 is a GO!!!!! (and now it's time for stretch goals...)
If anyone had told me that I would wake up on the twelfth day of our Kickstarter campaign and discover that WE ARE ALREADY FULLY FUNDED I am not sure what I would have said to them. But I can tell you what I have said this morning: many, many iterations of, "OH MY GOD WE DID IT!"
Thank you, all of you, so much!
Reaching $5,000 means that this book will happen. We've reached the minimum Anita and I need to make it work. But I'd probably best repeat what I said yesterday: we hope to do better than the minimum. Both with this new book and with our future endeavors to come.
Our first stretch goals are simple. At $6,500, I can guarantee paying 4 cents a word to the contributors to the fourth CLOCKWORK PHOENIX volume. At $8,000, we'll be able to pay 5 cents a word, which is considered professional rate. This is what our sights are set on next.
Take a moment to bask in the glow. Then feel free to spread the news, and to let folks know about our next phase. A phase that all of you made possible. Thank you, thank you, thank you so much!
UPDATE 7/21: Clockwork Phoenix pins sold out at $60 reward level, still some available at $125 reward level
Just a quick update to state the above. As of this writing we're closing in on $4,000. This is wonderful.
UPDATE 7/19: A preview of the Clockwork Phoenix jewelry pins
Several people have pledged at a reward level that gets you one of our special Clockwork Phoenix pins, so we decided to have Anita provide a preview of what they'll look like.
The Clockwork Phoenix 4 Kickstarter
Here's the quick version: we edited three ground-breaking, acclaimed science fiction and fantasy anthologies that showcased some amazing new work. We want to continue the series, but to do that, we'll have to publish it ourselves, and we can't afford those costs on our own, so we've turned to Kickstarter for help. For the full story, read on...
What's a Clockwork Phoenix?
Hi, folks! Mike Allen here, writer and editor of science fiction, fantasy and horror stories. From 2008 to 2010, with help from my wife, artist Anita Allen, I edited a series of anthologies, called Clockwork Phoenix, that showcased offbeat, interstitial, groundbreaking short stories and novelettes. Our criteria were simply that a story must be strikingly original both in the tale itself and how it's told. (The name "Clockwork Phoenix" doesn't really mean anything; it's meant to evoke a startling juxtaposition of unrelated things. Plus it sounds kinda cool.)
It was a humble venture -- it paid only 2 cents a word -- but we gave new writers a chance to shine and experienced writers the opportunity to try their hand at stories that were really weird and different. The three books nestled contributions from stars like Tanith Lee, Catherynne M. Valente, Marie Brennan, Laird Barron, Saladin Ahmed and Mary Robinette Kowal alongside talented newcomers like Joanna Galbraith and Georgina Bruce.
See, we've been editing a little poetry journal with an sf and fantasy flavor, Mythic Delirium, since 1998. And that zine has done quite well for itself as the first home for several award-winning poems as well as publishing the likes of Ursula K. Le Guin and Neil Gaiman. We wanted to apply our sensibilities to fiction and see what would happen.
So what happened?
It went better than we could ever have dreamed. To give some examples, stories from the Clockwork Phoenix books were finalists for the Nebula Award, the Shirley Jackson Award and the Aurealis Award, and were reprinted in Year's Best SF 14, Year's Best Fantasy 10, Best Horror of the Year 2, The Year's Best Science Fiction & Fantasy 2010, Nebula Awards Showcase 2011, The Year's Best Science Fiction & Fantasy 2011, and even more places. Even more stories received honorable mentions from Year's Best anthology editors and landed on the Locus Magazine Recommended Reading Lists. We're also proud to have published a diverse, international range of contributors within our pages.
But our publisher fell on hard times, as many have in this economy. Once Clockwork Phoenix 3 came out in 2010, we thought the series might be done for. After an amicable parting of the ways with our publisher, we searched for another, but anthologies are expensive to produce, even small ones like ours -- so publishing companies coping with their own economic struggles weren't willing to take us on. Yet online and at conventions, people always ask me, "When is the next Clockwork Phoenix coming out?"
Anita and I do want to make another Clockwork Phoenix. We think that the stories we find fill a gap that other anthologies and magazines don't cover. But the only way to do this is to publish the next book ourselves, and we can't afford that without help. That's where this Kickstarter comes in.
We've budgeted for $2,500 to pay writers 3 cents a word for a little over 80,000 words of new fiction. The remaining $2,500 includes set up fees with our printer, the actual cost of printing these trade paperbacks for readers and reviewers, shipping and mailing costs, cover art and design, and some contingency funds for those unexpected expenses that always crop up in these ventures, not to mention the portions that go to Kickstarter and Amazon. The rewards we're offering include an assortment of things we've made already and things that we know we can make. We're both creative people and we hope you find our wares entertaining.
Should we reach our goal, my next step will be to assemble the stories, both by soliciting established writers who we know can deliver what we look for, and by holding an open call for submissions, which we'd love to kick off in September. It's my goal to have the new anthology finished and for sale by June 2013.
In the wonderful event that we exceed our goal, there are a number of stretch goals that we could shoot for, including raising the pay rate for the anthology, securing funds to publish the next book in the series, revamping our ancient website to reflect our new role as a book publisher, upgrading the ancient software we use to make these books, and even -- though this is just a flight of fancy -- creating a new Internet magazine specifically to showcase the kind of fiction we promote in Clockwork Phoenix.
Most importantly, it's our hope that we can bring another volume of Clockwork Phoenix into the world, and that it be at least as fun and challenging as the first three were.
The main source of the rewards is the new anthology itself, whether we're talking about an acknowledgement within its pages, an electronic or physical copy, or swag with a related logo. But Anita and I are creative people with a long track record of writing, publishing, and crafting, and so we have a lot of other items to pitch into the mix.
Here's some of the things we have available or will be able to make ahead of the publication of the new anthology.
But when it comes down to it, if you can just help us spread the word about what we're trying to do, we'll be grateful.
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