Join me in the creation of Project Gecko, Book Two of the Lara Kingsley Series. Rather than simply ask you to help me publish a book, I’m inviting you to become part of the story and help me choose names, pick settings for story scenes, and decide what actions characters take and how they should evolve.
How Does the Crowdsourcing Concept Work?
You'll participate in crowdsourcing if you sign up for Reward #4 (Fan Club) or Reward #6 (Super Fan Club), becoming a member of my private Lara Kingsley Facebook Group (or my email list if you don’t use Facebook).
As I edit the first draft of Project Gecko, I’ll pose questions to the group (on names, settings, character actions, and storyline).
Here’s an easy example from the book. In Project Gecko, a craft beer (the favorite of a male character) plays an important role in the story. I’m currently using a real world name (Blind Pig Ale), but I'd like to use an original name if possible.
What would you name this craft beer?
The “crowd” or in this case, you and other members of my fan club, respond with creative suggestions. Then I’ll review the list, choose my favorites, and put 3-5 options back to the group for a final vote.
The idea with the highest votes will be used in the book. If you’re the one who came up with the idea, I will give you credit on a special “Credits Page” in my book. And so, you’ll become part of my fiction novel and my story as an author.
I might be new to publishing fiction as an Indie author, but I’m a longstanding defense expert (18+ years) on national security issues, weapons of mass destruction (WMD), and emerging technologies. I think about nasty stuff and future scenarios for a living.
Of course, I have the fancy degrees to prove it, including a Ph.D. in international relations with a specialization on nuclear weapons proliferation. I also have years of experience working for think tanks, the United Nations and the U.S. government. For the past nine years, I’ve been teaching senior military officers about these critical national security issues, thus making the world a safer place. Well, at least, I'd like to think so.
For years, I’ve been drawn to the profound impact of pop culture on national security topics and decided to make my own foray into the world of fiction. My mystery series, though works of fiction, reflect my expectations for our technological world ten years from today.
The Lara Kingsley Series
Meet Lara Kingsley. Private investigator. Military Officer in the National Guard special forces. And now, Amateur Detective. Her adventures have just begun...
Is this mystery series for you?
- Do you enjoy an action-packed novel that has a satisfying and tidy ending?
- Are you a thriller reader looking for something lighter to enjoy on the beach or at a mountain cabin?
- Do you read classic mysteries and yearn for an extra kick of action or thrill, but don’t like modern crime fiction for its graphic violence and dark plot lines?
- Do you like thinking about the future but prefer books grounded in reality to sci-fi novel set fifty years into the future?
If you answered yes to any of the questions above, then this series is written for you.
The Lara Kingsley Series is a set of mystery novels that takes place in Washington, D.C. ten years from today and uniquely blends elements of mystery, techno-thriller, and speculative fiction. For more information about my genre choices, please read When Technothriller meets Cozy Mystery.
Each novel thrusts Lara, her brilliant side-kick, Vikram Abhay, and a vibrant cast of supporting characters into a new technological world to solve crimes involving drones, biotechnology, gene editing, robotics, nanotechnology, artificial intelligence, cyberspace, and 3D printing.
Warning: This is not your grandmother’s mystery novel.
Bionic Bug (Book One)
Imagine you’re sitting in a crowded baseball stadium enjoying the game when hundreds of quadcopter drones fly into the park and swarm in formation. Are they friend or foe? Lara must decide in Bionic Bug...
In Bionic Bug, Amateur Detective Lara Kingsley must sacrifice everything to stop a rogue scientist from unleashing the ultimate biological weapon—a deadly swarm of bionic bugs.
When Lara starts up her business to install surveillance systems for wealthy clients, she never imagines having to solve any grisly murders. That is, until her best friend and fellow private investigator drops dead before her eyes.
Lara begins a harrowing search for her friend’s killer and uncovers far more than she bargains for. Racing to unravel the mystery, she finds herself becoming deeply entangled in a new technological world of drones, gene editing, and the Dark Web—the notorious underground of the Internet.
To solve the murder, she must enlist the help of the rogue scientist himself while trying to stop him from killing thousands of innocent people.
Project Gecko (Book Two)
Imagine you’re riding in a self-driving car, and someone else takes control via the wireless Internet connection with the intent to cause you harm. What would you do? Find out how Lara responds in Project Gecko...
In Project Gecko, Lara Kingsley must choose between her integrity as a PI and her patriotic devotion to her country. If she fails to make the right call, China will acquire vital defense technologies, putting U.S. national security in grave jeopardy.
When she is hired to install a high-end surveillance system for a Chinese tech startup called Spectral Industries, Lara has no idea she’s about to get caught up in in a deadly technology race between the U.S. and China.
Her journey begins when a mysterious man scaling the glass windows outside the tenth-floor office where she’s working falls to his death below. Lara begins a desperate mission to prove to authorities that the man’s death was not a suicide.
I’m offering a wide range of backer rewards for readers from Bionic Bug ebooks and signed limited edition hardcovers to unique opportunities to help shape the story in Project Gecko. There are also rewards ideal for authors who want to write about technology.
- Reward #1 - Bionic Bug ebook
- Reward #2 - Bionic Bug ebook and Project Gecko preview
- Reward #3 - Bionic Bug technology webinar and ebook
- Reward #4 - Bionic Bug ebook and Project Gecko preview + Crowdsourcing
- Reward #5 - Bionic Bug signed limited edition hardcover
- Reward #6 - Bionic Bug ebook, Project Gecko preview, Bionic Bug signed limited edition hardcover + Crowdsourcing
- Reward #7 - 2x Bionic Bug signed limited edition hardcovers
- Reward #8 - WMD 101 course, one-hour consultation, Bionic Bug technology webinar, 2x tip sheets
- Reward #9 - Name a Character in Project Gecko
Reaching my stretch goals will unlock additional rewards for backers. If you share my campaign and help spread the word, we may able to exceed my initial fundraising goal of $1,000.
My first stretch goal of $3,000 will unlock the following rewards for all levels of backers:
- Bionic Bug Story Bible - An attractive guide to the characters in Bionic Bug, including their backgrounds, characteristics, likes and dislikes and life goals.
- Bionic Bug Authors Note - A behind-the-scenes overview of the technologies featured in Bionic Bug and online resources for more information.
- Original Bionic Bug Artwork - A postcard with original artwork in the mail, thanking you for your support.
My second stretch goal of $6,000 will unlock rewards for all levels:
- Bionic Bug On Location Videos - I will shoot video footage at several real Washington D.C. locations from Bionic Bug. I’ll talk about how these locations inspired me and why I chose them for a particular scene in the book.
- Original Bionic Bug Artwork - You’ll receive another postcard with original artwork in the mail, thanking you for your support.
- An advanced review copy of Project Gecko ebook (final version) for all backers at Reward #4 and above.
My third stretch goal of $10,000 will unlock:
- An audiobook version of Bionic Bug for all backers at Reward #4 and above
Timeline and Budget
In 2017, I invested my own funds toward the creation and publishing of Bionic Bug (now available and ready to go), and I'm prepared to do the same for Project Gecko if necessary. Here’s a tentative timeline for delivering rewards:
- March-April 2018 - Engage in crowdsourcing experience on Project Gecko in the Facebook Group or via email (your choice)
- April 2018 - Deliver Bionic Bug ebooks and signed limited edition hardcovers to backers
- May 2018 - Send Project Gecko to my developmental editor and hold Webinar on Bionic Bug Technologies for backers
- May-June 2018 - Hold WMD 101 Course and expert consultations for backers
- July 2018 - Send Project Gecko to line editor and a preview copy to backers
- September 2018 - Expected publication date of Project Gecko for the general public
I’ve set my campaign goal to $1,000 (14% of my total budget) because the focus of this campaign is building a reader community around my series rather than funding the publication of my book. My real goal is to reach 1,000 super fans by the end of 2018, and I hope this campaign helps me achieve this objective.
In case you’re interested in what it costs to publish a book, here is an overview of my book budget:
The views expressed in this campaign are those of the author and do not reflect the official policy or position of the National Defense University, the Department of Defense or the U.S. Government.
Risks and challenges
My funding goal is $1,000, which is less than 14% of the total cost to publish Project Gecko. I expect to invest my own money to finish this project if we don’t meet our stretch goals. I don’t anticipate an issue with this since I’ve already successfully completed Bionic Bug. I’m doing this kickstarter to build a community around my series. I want to reach my goal of having 1,000 super fans by the end of 2018.
I’m writing, editing, and publishing Project Gecko in my free time. Any delays to completing the project as scheduled could be caused by illness or other unexpected life circumstances. However, barring any crisis, I expect to submit a draft to my story editor in May 2018 and a final draft to my line editor in July 2018.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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