Update: WE'VE HIT 100%!!! ON TO STRETCH GOAL #1!
IT HAS ARISEN AND WALKS THE NIGHT. Our beloved comic shall stalk an unsuspecting world in deluxe softcover and premium digital editions! I am so, so happy and grateful to all of you. :-D
BUT! This also means one more thing -- we've unlocked the first stretch goal, and it's not far away at all! If we can hit
$6300 by 9 AM PST, Wednesday, November 19th
then you get:
- a new bonus section for the book -- beautiful guest art and behind-the-scenes material!
- a bonus physical reward (for most reward tiers -- you'll be informed which, and have a chance to either upgrade or customize your pledge if you're not one of the tiers that automatically gets it)! And psst, if you're a backer, you can vote on your preference for the reward now. Check your inbox! We are looking at one of two possibilities -- a cloisonne pin based on the pin used in the pop-up vampire/victim nightclub in Vol. 1...
...or character charms. Yes, that means chibi Ambrogio. Doesn't that sound like a great idea, Ambrogio?
Okay, fine. Actually, I'm not asking you. I'm asking the backers. :-D
"an awesome, sassy vampire webcomic...with unique and fresh ideas"
-- Meg Markey, ReadComicBooks.net
"shows surprising depth quickly"
-- Chuck Wendig, author of the Miriam Black books and the Heartland series
It’s that time! After Daylight, your one-stop shop for satirical vampire comedy/drama with a splash of socially-aware snark (okay, maybe more than a splash) has been updating faithfully as a weekly webcomic since August of 2012. Now 100 hand-shaded pages are in the can, the grand plot arc of the first “season” is all wrapped up, and it’s time for it to sail out into the world in gorgeous print.
Great. So what’s After Daylight?
Well, you gotta understand. I’ve been writing vampire fiction on a professional basis since the late 90’s, and I still love the bloodthirsty little dears to death, but I can only take them so seriously anymore. As an author, I love the juiciness of a setting where humans must share the planet (or not) with other sentient, powerful beings. Who drink blood. But as a fan, I’ve gotten so tired of books and shows that drop all these intriguing hints about how that setting would work…aaaand then end up way too busy destroying the protagonists’ romance for the fourth time to really follow up on it. Not naming any names.
So I’ve taken that premise of "humans discover vampires! En masse!" and put my own tongue-mostly-in-cheek twist on it. And I’ve written in all those bloodsuckers I knew had to exist if there really were bloodsuckers, but for some reason we never see them. You know: the ones too busy working a crappy night job to stand around with perfect hair, moping existentially. The ones who think blood bank discards taste like rusty nails. The ones who listen to a little too much talk radio. The ones who actually reflect the incredible variety of a modern urban population. The ones who’re more scared of mortals than the mortals are of them.
We see much of this through the eyes of one "Cat" Bernstein, ex-folk-rocker turned undead retail drudge, but this series is all about strong ensemble cast. No matter what kind of vamps you like, I've probably got one for you! Volume 1 takes us through the ominous creeping dawn of Daylight -- that's the vampires' unhappy nickname for this revelation -- from its first deniable Internet leaks (and the inevitable LOLmacros) to the full monty of the inescapable spotlight.
Let’s just say, hijinks ensue. But don’t take my word for it. Feel free to browse over to the webcomic at http://www.afterdaylight.com and take a look!
Okay, but why should I back this if the webcomic is free?
Glad you asked.
Reason #1: The book is way cooler. It’s bigger and much higher-resolution, so even if you’re reading the PDF, you’ll enjoy a nicer view of the lovingly-detailed art and all the jokey little Easter eggs. The print edition will be even lovelier, what with its hip, graphic, UV-spot-coated cover design and all. Both print and PDF versions will have some material not available on the website – with possibly even more bonus goodies, if we can hit stretch goals! Finally, while After Daylight works fine as a page-a-week fix because of the comedy, it also has a continuing dramatic plot that's more satisfying to read in extended bursts. The book/e-book format makes those leisurely reading sessions much more convenient and pleasurable.
Reason #2: Creators gotta eat. We live in exciting times. Crowdfunding platforms like Kickstarter are opening up whole new possibilities for indie comics. Webcomics in particular have eagerly added it to the business model that’s been emerging over the last decade or so – a model in which you can make it even if your stories are too wild and weird, too niche, too unconventional in art style, or too “hard to market” to sell to risk-averse major publishers. I’ve spent the last two years basically doing my “ante up” – proving to myself that I can meet a regular deadline while creating a story and characters that make people laugh, think, and care. I believe the reader response so far has borne this out. But a comic like this is time- and labor-intensive to produce, and rent still comes annoyingly due every month. So now I have to verify that I can make at least enough money at this to be able to continue with the series. Your pledge money is funding an honest-to-goodness professional offset print run, but this is an all-or-nothing deal. If the funding goal isn't met by the deadline, no money changes hands and that means I can't buy the run, so I need the help of each and every one of you with pledging and spreading the word.
But if we succeed, I can print enough premium-quality books not only to reward my backers, but also to sell on an ongoing basis at conventions, through small retailers, and on the Internet. In other words, your Kickstarter support can help make my indie creative career viable in a way that simply wouldn’t have been possible twenty years ago. As a child of the pre-Web era, I find this change amazing! I hope you do too.
All right, you've sold me. Now tell me what goodies I get!
Glad you asked that, too!
I have many pledge levels for you -- take a look on the right. In all likelihood, there's one that suits your desires and budget. (If not, contact me -- some customization of pledges is certainly available!) But just to give you an idea, here's some of what's on offer at different tiers:
+ Immortality! If by "immortality" you're willing to take "a thank-you by name in the historic first edition!"
+ After Daylight, Vol 1 - premium softcover and/or PDF edition, with possible further upgrades in stretch goals (over 100 pages of story)!
+ Yer very own button, featuring Cat's cheery lovable puss!
+ A "SO. Not. An Early Riser." greeting card for all occasions!
+ A Kickstarter-exclusive 8x10 giclee art print on premium watercolor paper!
+ 11x17 giclee art prints of Vol. 1 pages (with or without text)!
+ A making-of PDF with concept art and creation notes!
+ Custom art creations
+ And more!
$6300 (NOW IN PLAY)
Added material and guest art for the book - including but not limited to the making-of PDF pages
Surprise bonus physical reward!
Detailed sneak peek at Vol. 2
Surprise bonus physical reward!
This coffin may open a crack as the goal approaches...
(ETA: Oh and by the way, I'd like to introduce you to my first-choice print vendor, PrintNinja. They've done absolutely beautiful work on several of my colleagues' books and I'm eager to see what they can do with AD!)
Risks and challenges
+ The 100 full comic pages and 5 minicomics that make up Volume 1 are already completed, so apart from layout -- which is currently in progress -- the book is finished. This has already been a multi-year labor, which I'm very proud and happy to have invested in.
+ There can be no collaboration problems because After Daylight is a one-woman shop. My boss may be a taskmaster, but she can't fire me! Yes, if I get run over by a truck or something, then no further volumes will be created -- and while the first big plot arc is finished in Vol. 1, I plan many more wicked plot arcs that do need me to keep making them. So I hope you'll join me in my fervent desire that no trucks engage me in any right-of-way disputes.
+ This is a first Kickstarter. I've crunched oh, so many spreadsheet numbers and lined up multiple potential vendors for this, but it's still always possible that something will happen to cause a production delay beyond those already anticipated (for instance, my most likely print vendor ships from overseas, so that multi-week delay is all but certain). I'll be very clear about what I expect for turnaround times on each reward category once the funding goal is reached and fulfillment begins. If it looks like there'll be a hiccup, delay, or need to switch vendors, I'll keep everyone apprised of those developments as they happen and listen carefully to backer feedback.
+ In planning this campaign, I'm lucky to follow a path already trodden by similar bound-volume projects that have funded successfully, and whose fulfillment phases were much like what I'm planning. Their triumphs and agonies have been my teachers. I've been soliciting advice from multiple colleagues for many months now, and as a result, I believe I've built in reasonable cushions and contingencies for the known problems of crowdfunding a graphic novel. (For instance, NOT forgetting shipping expenses and fees!) Again, however, if something unanticipated comes up that has the potential to affect my backers, frequent and informative updates will be my response.
+ If I have my way, After Daylight will be around for many years to come -- so my long-term relationship with my readers is one of the most important things in the world to me. In all I do with this campaign, the desire to keep that relationship going strong is my guide.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)