Funded! This project was successfully funded on July 25, 2013.

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I'm self-publishing my science-fantasy novel Vika's Avenger, and I need money for professional editing and a great cover!

The Story

Back in 1971, in high school, I started planning out a setting -- Ragbaan, the oldest city on a far-future colony planet, with twelve thousand years of history. It was built by a high-tech civilization that collapsed into barbarism, then recovered, and has gone through this cycle several times, until the remaining old technology is considered magic -- in fact, the terms "tech" and "magic" are used interchangeably -- and the city is a patchwork of ancient glories and modern improvisations. Half-drowned skyscrapers stand in the harbor, airships provide intercity transport, and the city is run by assorted guilds and factions, with no functioning central government.

I thought this was cool, but it was decades before I finally came up with the story I wanted to set there -- Vika's Avenger.

It's the story of a young man named Tulzik Ambroz who comes to Ragbaan looking for the man who murdered his sister.  The only tool he has to find a single individual in a city of three million is the portrait his sister drew of the man who would later kill her.

He's lucky enough to find the information brokers Azl and Hrus, and to catch the interest of a creature called the Ilm, but will that be enough?

And if he finds the killer, what will he do about it?

Why I'm Here

I'm an award-winning author with more than forty novels to my name, but no New York publisher wanted this one.  "It's science fantasy," they said.  "We don't know how to market that."

Um... John Carter of Mars is science fantasy.  Star Wars is science fantasy.  Hundreds of the classic pulp stories are science fantasy.  Apparently, though, the folks in New York have forgotten how to market the stuff if it doesn't have a major motion picture attached.  Most of the editors my agent approached wouldn't even read it.  No one ever said it wasn't a good story, only that they didn't know how to market it.

I think it's a cool story, and I bet you will, too, marketing or not.  Aliens, airships, secret societies, genetic engineers...

So help me publish it, and you'll get to read it!  Not to mention some of the cool extras.

Thanks!

A little dialogue to whet your appetite.
A little dialogue to whet your appetite.

Stretch Goals:

Now that we're funded, what else can we do?

Well, here are a few ideas:

$8,000:  The cover and interior will be professionally laid out, and there will be a frontispiece.  Made it!

Actually, I think we're looking at a total of three pieces of interior art.

$10,000:  More interior illustrations!  Details not yet determined, but if we reach this total there will be interior art, in black and white, in addition to the three illustrations already promised.  Backers who are getting the ebook will receive them as separate PDF files; they will not be incorporated directly into the ebooks.

$12,000:  I'll write an appendix, "A Traveler's Guide to Ragbaan," which will be included in the book.  This will describe a few of the city's features; since I haven't written it yet, I don't know just what it'll say.

Risks and challenges Learn about accountability on Kickstarter

The novel is entirely written, but I need money for a professional editor and a decent cover -- the more money pledged here, the better the cover artist I can afford. (No, I can't use the Pulp-O-Mizer cover I have here; even if I had the rights, the resolution isn't anywhere near good enough.)

I have an editor lined up -- Deborah Hogan, who edited several of my novels for Del Rey, back when. I've talked to a few artists, and found out what they would charge, but I'd need more than my minimum for most of them -- much more, for some -- and I haven't worked with any of them before, so commissioning the artwork will be uncharted territory for me. I've self-published before, but using existing art or reworked photos, and I've commissioned art before, but not under exactly these conditions.

I've published through various print-on-demand outfits and small presses before, and l've put out ebooks through several outlets in the past, so I know what I'm doing there.

Packing and shipping -- I've done that before, too, working from my house. If it looks like it might be more than I can handle, I'll look into other options.

Really, the only place I see where anything might go wrong is the cover art, and even there, I'll be working with professionals, and I have multiple options. I don't foresee any problems -- but of course, by definition, the unforeseen can crop up anywhere.

Because I'll be working with artists, and things can always go wrong, I can't promise delivery by a specific date, but I think I can promise everything will indeed get delivered.

FAQ

  • I screwed up, but yes. I didn't initially provide for foreign shipping because I didn't know whether there would be any interest and I didn't know how much shipping will cost. By the time I realized there obviously IS interest, it was too late to add the option on most reward levels.

    I've added a new reward, "Outlander," to take care of this, and future rewards will be available outside the U.S.

    Last updated:
  • It's just about 90,000 words. For those of you not in the publishing business, that works out to probably a little over 300 pages, though it may vary depending on layout, typeface, number of illustrations, etc.

    Last updated:
  • Unfortunately, I can't cover every possible permutation.

    Of course the finished book will be available from the usual online booksellers once all is said and done. I'll think about additional options, and may include some on the eventual survey form that will give me your shipping address.

    Last updated:
  • Yes, they do. I don't mind filling out the required customs forms for those.

    Last updated:
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    Tourist: You'll receive a subscription to the Misenchanted Newsletter, an e-mail update on my writing that's sent a minimum of once a month and a maximum of once a week. Of course, you can get it free just by signing up, but if you pledge here you also have the satisfaction of helping me publish Vika's Avenger

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    Resident of Ragbaan: You'll receive the finished ebook (either .mobi or epub) of the novel. You can get the Misenchanted Newsletter as well, if you want -- your choice. Full disclosure: The estimated delivery date is only very roughly estimated -- it's dependent on when the cover's ready, which depends on who does the art, which depends on how much money I raise.

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    Airship passenger: You'll receive a trade paperback copy of the finished book, as well as the ebook edition and (if you want) the Misenchanted Newsletter.

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    First-class passenger: Exactly the same as the $25 airship passenger, but your copy of the trade paperback will be signed by the author -- personalized or not, as you choose.

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    33 backers Limited (67 left of 100)

    Scion of the Nine Families: You'll receive a signed, clothbound limited-edition hardcover of the novel. This does NOT have a dust jacket or cover art -- just type on cloth. (You'd be amazed how much a dust jacket adds to the price!) You'll also get the ebook, and if you want, the Misenchantedl Newsletter.

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    10 backers Limited (240 left of 250)

    Antiquarian: A key plot element is a portrait Vika Ambroz drew; Boston artist Kiri Evans has provided a replica of that portrait, and people who pledge this level will receive a limited-edition 12" x 18" print of her drawing, as well as the trade paperback, ebook, and (if desired) Misenchanted Newsletter.

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    Outlander: You'll receive a trade paperback copy of the finished book, as well as the ebook edition and (if desired) the Misenchanted Newsletter -- and I'll ship it anywhere you want. (This should have been an option on "Airship passenger." I messed up.)

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    9 backers Limited (91 left of 100)

    Pilot: The $30 First-Class Passenger rewards, plus your name on a "Patrons' Page" at the back of the book; if you choose, you can add a comment of up to fifteen words to your listing.

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    Doppelganger: You'll receive both the cloth-bound limited edition and the trade paperback, as well as the ebook and (if desired) newsletter.

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    Ambassador: You'll receive a signed, limited-edition hardcover of the novel with dust jacket. You'll also get the ebook, and if you want, the Misenchantedl Newsletter.

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    8 backers Limited (42 left of 50)

    Starfarers' Guild: The $45 Antiquarian rewards, plus an autographed first-edition hardcover of Dragon Weather, The Wizard Lord, or Ithanalin's Restoration -- your choice.

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    Courier: The Outlander rewards, plus your name on a "Patrons' Page" at the back of the book; if you choose, you can add a comment of up to fifteen words to your listing. (Another feeble attempt to make up for screwing up shipping outside the U.S.)

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    Churzkeeper: You'll receive a signed copy of the limited-edition hardcover, as well as signed copies of the first-edition hardcovers of Dragon Weather, The Wizard Lord, AND Ithanalin's Restoration. Not to mention the ebook and newsletter.

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    3 backers Limited (2 left of 5)

    Gene-Cutter: You'll receive a signed copy of the trade paperback of Vika's Avenger, the ebook, and (optional) the newsletter, AND you will have a minor character in another upcoming novel, Tom Derringer and the Aluminum Airship, named after you -- a fellow adventurer the hero encounters briefly in New York or hears about in passing, one of the villain's henchmen, a resident of Phoenix circa 1882 who encounters the hero, or one of the hero's hired hands. (The hired hand must be male, and there may be restrictions on the ethnicity of the hired hand and the resident of Phoenix; I'll try to give backers their choice of which character they get, but obviously there are limits on what's possible.)

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    1 backer Limited (4 left of 5)

    Information Broker: Your signed copy of the book will be hand-delivered when you and a guest have dinner with the author (and his wife, if you want) at any reasonably-priced restaurant in Washington, DC; the city of Baltimore; or Montgomery County, Maryland. Getting to the area is your responsibility, but transportation from the airport, train, or bus station is included.

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Funding period

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