I'm Ryk E. Spoor, author of 8 published novels including Golden-Age tribute space opera Grand Central Arena, epic fantasy Phoenix Rising, and the Boundary series with Eric Flint, and with multiple other novels currently under contract
Welcome to my Kickstarter for my Oz-based novel Polychrome.
The original fourteen Oz novels by L. Frank Baum (that's a Gutenberg link) are one of my oldest and most enduring inspirations. They were my favorite books for many years, and even now that I am an adult I read them with great appreciation. I have read them all to each of my kids in turn, letting them share in my joy at the wonder, adventure, whimsy, and sometimes not a little creepiness in the world of Oz, as we travel along with Dorothy, the Wizard, the Scarecrow, the Cowardly Lion, and others -- including, of course, Polychrome, the Daughter of the Rainbow.
Polychrome is my addition, and a very personal addition, to the Oz universe. Inspired by an incredible rainbow I saw while driving home one day (a picture of which is the background for the project image), Polychrome finally burst into my consciousness clearly outlined in my head, all the major events detailed – and proceeded to quite literally take my other, under-contract work hostage. As in, I found that if I didn't write at least a chapter or two in Polychrome per week, I could not write anything else at all.
The resulting story was far, far better than I had expected, or even hoped, it could be. My beta-readers, many of whom had started out extremely doubtful, had become enthusiastic, quite a few of them maintaining to this day that Polychrome is the best thing I have ever written. Other people – deeply versed in Oziana – have also expressed very favorable opinions, some of them almost embarrassingly enthusiastic. A few quotes which I have been given permission to post:
"A wonderful story that brings the Oz mythos up to date without subverting or destroying it; the author's love for Baum's creation is clear on every page. It touched and thrilled me." -- Lawrence Watt-Evans
"In Polychrome, author Ryk Spoor combines the wonder of the original Oz series with a fast paced action adventure tale and a compelling romance... Make no mistake: this is not your childhood Oz. It's bloody, it's sexy (if still safe for work), it's dangerous -- and the threat of death is very real. And if the Oz books were about childhood, this is very much a book about adulthood, mistakes, and redemption. But it also contains the best part of that childhood Oz -- adventure and humor, which means that even in its most serious moments, it's still incredibly fun." -- Mari Ness
“Much as L. Frank Baum reinvented the fairy tale at the dawn of the 20th century, Ryk Spoor’s Polychrome revitalizes Baum’s Oz for 21st century audiences. At once a deeply knowledgeable tribute and a lively modern adventure, Polychrome is a wholly enjoyable read – and just possibly a future classic in its own right.” -- John C. Bunnell
But Polychrome is also a very difficult book to sell to a publisher; multiple publishers looked at it, several spent considerable time thinking about it… but none quite took it. It's not a standard Oz book; it's meant for a general adult audience, not children. It's not a deconstruction, like Maguire's Wicked, or a parody. It's not, except in a very minimal sense, an updating or reimagining, like SciFi's Tin Man.
Polychrome is, simply put, an adventure in Oz – an Oz as close as I could make it to Baum's while still making it… work, so to speak – for myself and others who have grown up but still look back and wonder what's on the other side of the rainbow, across a desert that doesn't exist.
I think that adventure's worth publishing. I hope you'll agree.
Now, you may ask "if you've already written the book, why do you need money?" Well, it's true that the book is written, but it hasn't had a professional editor go over it; and I've learned in the last ten years that a good editor makes a good book better, and enough better that I really don't want to release something without an editor's input.
Second, I really want a professional cover for Polychrome, and professional covers cost a lot of money.
And I need layout, proofreading, all the other details that make a book a professional product that can stand proudly next to books from any publishing house. If I'm going to do this, I want it done right.
Additional stretch goals are listed below, and if by some chance we blow by those, I'll think of other cool stuff to add.
And what do you get for this? Well, besides the satisfaction of helping a little dream get realized, as long as you kick in five bucks or more you'll get a copy of the book – in different formats, depending on just what level you back at – and other perks at higher levels ranging from a personalized signature to inclusion on a Thank-You page in the book, a Tuckerization opportunity, and others. Go check out the full list!
Thanks so much for spending the time to learn about Polychrome!
$7,000: A cover from the legendary Bob Eggleton. The base funding level will still get me a good cover, but at this level I'll be able to afford a cover from one of the finest cover artists alive today, and he's already agreed to do it if I can meet the price!
$9,000: Map and three interior illustrations. The classic map of Oz and Environs has been around for a long time, but it would be nice to have one specific to Polychrome, and Randy Asplund (who did the map for my novel Phoenix Rising) is my current choice to do this. Interior illustrations, starting with a character lineup sketch, will be done by Morineko-Zion who also did the lovely manga-style illustrations for my Grand Central Arena universe.
$12,000: Several more interior illos will be provided by Morineko-Zion. Ideally, depending on cost, I'd like to have one for every major event in the book.
If we get past this... well, I'll find something appropriate!
Risks and challenges
The major risks associated with this project are time/schedule risks. To take a book from "Word file on my computer" to "Fully edited, proofed, illustrated, covered book in readers' hands" takes a lot of work by a lot of people, and each task takes time. A slip in any one person's schedule can naturally lead to delays all the way down the line (possibly longer than one might think, if -- for example -- one person had planned on doing their part during a two-week "window" they had open, and the delay went past that window, meaning their part of the project now is competing with other obligations).
I have chosen a somewhat aggressive schedule in envisioning release eight months after funding; I have found that I focus best with some pressure (but not too much!) on me for any given project. Even with several delays, however, I would not expect release to be any later than one year after funding.
I have done my best to minimize the risks associated with particular tasks; I have alternative persons in mind to handle any of the key tasks if any of my selected people for any reason finds themselves unable to perform their part when the Kickstarter funds. As a published author with over ten years' experience in the field, I've been fortunate enough to have contact with multiple excellent cover artists, illustrators, editors, proofreaders, and other professionals in the field.
I have also already investigated pricing and timing involved in fulfilling any of the stretch goals, so that if I am fortunate enough to reach them those, also, are well covered.
I am therefore confident that if and when the Kickstarter funds, the project will be completed in a reasonably timely and effective manner.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)