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What if the new pet store near your house sold animals everyone thought were extinct? A new novel from the author of “After The Blue.”

What if the new pet store near your house sold animals everyone thought were extinct? A new novel from the author of “After The Blue.” Read More
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This project's funding goal was not reached on May 18, 2013.

About this project

What if the new pet store around the corner from your house sold animals that everyone thought were extinct? Barry and Lena are about to find out...

Prehistoric Pets is a new novel I am writing. It is for children and young adults (target audience is roughly 8 or 9 to about 14 or 15), though I hope that even older teenagers and adults will find Prehistoric Pets enjoyable too, in the same way that I find enjoyment in sharing books with my own kids. Prehistoric Pets tells the story - as the title suggests - of a pet store that sells animals from prehistory (i.e., extinct animals). How the store manages to do this, and the consequences, are the subject of the novel.

The novel will be written in a lighthearted, comic style that includes illustrations and humorous digressions, with something of a debt (and please excuse my perhaps obscure reference) to Jerome K. Jerome's humorous nineteenth-century novel Three Men In A Boat (To Say Nothing Of The Dog). Other similarities, particularly in the use of illustrations in the text and their relationship to the text, are to the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series and the Captain Underpants series (both of these series were introduced to me by my own children). And finally, and perhaps most importantly, there will be similarities to the humor and sensibilities of my first two books – in a very real sense, the evolution of Prehistoric Pets will be traceable to After The Blue and A Bowl Of Fruit, A Whale In The Woods.

You can read a bit more about the new book, including a draft excerpt, at the web page for Prehistoric Pets.

Why do I believe I can do a good job with this project?

Because I have a great track record!

I am the author of two previously published novels: After The Blue and A Bowl Of Fruit, A Whale In The Woods, both of which were favorably reviewed in Booklist, the review publication of the American Library Association (according to the American Library Association, a review in Booklist constitutes a recommendation for library purchase). More about both of my previous books can be found at http://www.russlike.com/.

After The Blue was used by a number of schools, ranging from middle school through college, and from New Jersey to british columbia, to teach satire, as described here.

After The Blue was also a selection of the Booksense 76, which was a bimonthly list of books recommended by the American booksellers association at the time After The Blue was published (see here).

After The Blue had an unusual route to print (that is, for the pre-Kickstarter age). The original publisher appeared to lose interest after the editor whose project it was left the firm; ultimately, the publisher offered to let me have the rights back, and even let me keep my small advance, if I found another interested publisher. The publisher I found was one that I decided to start myself (since at that point I was tired of waiting for someone else). My vindication for releasing the book into the world came in the form of numerous positive reviews and write ups, including Booklist (the review publication of the American Library Association), the American Booksellers Association, and the New York Times, not to mention the fact that so many schools chose to use the book to teach satire – enough to require a second printing.

My second book, A Bowl Of Fruit, A Whale In The Woods, also received excellent reviews (example at http://www.sfsite.com/02a/ab169.htm). More about the book can be found here. Here's a picture of the cover:

Both of these books were written several years ago, before my own children were old enough to read them. Now that my kids are old enough to read books of this sort, I am inspired to write for this audience again. My experience as a parent will give my writing greater depth. The middle school web site MiddleWeb has published an essay I wrote about the route that brought me to write for children - you can read the essay here.

Question: why are you asking for this much money, and what will the money be used for?

The money will be used for the following:

-typesetting / layout

-professional cover design (the cover you see above is a draft!)

- ebook production

-illustrations (I can write but I can’t draw)

- to presell enough copies to show that this project is worth publishing. I have been through the publishing process before, and I know that it takes time and effort to do it right. The story already exists in my head, but if I am going to go to the effort of publishing and promoting it, it would be nice to see if there is interest. Kickstarter is great in that it lets me know whether this latest book is something people want to see. I'm looking forward to your support!

Risks and challenges

I have done this sort of thing – i.e., write books – before, so there is every reason I should be able to do it again. The principal risk here is that my estimate of the completion timeline for the book might be off by a few months. Also, since I will need to hire someone else to do cover and interior illustrations (I can write but I can’t draw), I won’t be in complete control of the timeline for the creation of these illustrations; that adds uncertainty to the timeline for completion of the book.

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $1 or more About $1.00 USD

    Your name on a list of supporters on the Prehistoric Pets web site. And my gratitude! By the way, the gratitude applies to all of the other award levels, too!

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    Pledge $8 or more About $8 USD

    An ebook copy of Prehistoric Pets.

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    Pledge $15 or more About $15 USD

    A signed print copy (trade paperback) of Prehistoric Pets.

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    Pledge $22 or more About $22 USD

    An ebook copy of Prehistoric Pets and a signed print copy (trade paperback) of Prehistoric Pets.

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    Pledge $30 or more About $30 USD

    An ebook copy of Prehistoric Pets and TWO signed print copies (trade paperback) of Prehistoric Pets.

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    Pledge $30 or more About $30 USD

    An ebook copy of Prehistoric Pets, a signed print copy (trade paperback) of Prehistoric Pets, and a signed trade paperback copy of my first novel, After The Blue.

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    Pledge $45 or more About $45 USD

    An ebook copy of Prehistoric Pets, a signed print copy (trade paperback) of Prehistoric Pets, a signed trade paperback copy of my first novel, After The Blue, and a signed trade paperback copy of my second novel, A Bowl Of Fruit, A Whale In The Woods.

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    Pledge $70 or more About $70 USD

    5 trade paperback copies of Prehistoric Pets.

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    Pledge $95 or more About $95 USD

    An ebook copy of Prehistoric Pets and a signed print copy (trade paperback) of Prehistoric Pets, plus 1/2 hr video or phone conference by me with the classroom, library, book club, or child of your choice (anywhere in the world) following completion of Prehistoric Pets (to talk about Prehistoric Pets, my approach to writing, its relationship to my other novels, etc).

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    Pledge $175 or more About $175 USD

    An ebook copy of Prehistoric Pets and a signed print copy (trade paperback) of Prehistoric Pets (following completion of the book). Plus a 1/2 hr video or phone conference by me with the classroom, library, book club, or child of your choice (anywhere in the world) during the writing of Prehistoric Pets (to talk about the progress of Prehistoric Pets, my approach to writing, its relationship to my other novels, etc). Since this will be done prior to completion of Prehistoric Pets, anyone interested can offer ideas about what kinds of prehistoric pets they would like to have and what might happen if they had them – if the ideas are used in the book, credit will be provided on the book’s web site.

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    Pledge $300 or more About $300 USD

    5 trade paperback copies of Prehistoric Pets, 1 ebook copy of Prehistoric Pets, and after the completion of Prehistoric Pets, up to 1 hour visit by me (to talk about my writing, my experience with the publishing process, etc.) to the school, library, or book club of your choice anywhere in Middlesex, Monmouth, Mercer, Somerset, or Union Counties, NJ, or Staten Island, NY. For each additional hour of discussion (for example, to talk to another classroom, or another school in the same district / vicinity), please add $50. Available only for central NJ counties and Staten Island, NY.

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    Pledge $375 or more About $375 USD

    5 trade paperback copies of Prehistoric Pets, 1 ebook copy of prehistoric pets, and, during the writing of Prehistoric Pets, up to 1 hour visit by me (to talk about the progress of Prehistoric Pets, my approach to writing, its relationship to my other novels, etc) to the school, library, or book club of your choice anywhere in Middlesex, Monmouth, Mercer, Somerset, or Union Counties, NJ, or Staten Island, NY. Also, since this will be done prior to completion of Prehistoric Pets, anyone interested can offer ideas about what kinds of prehistoric pets they would like to have and what might happen if they had them – if the ideas are used, credit will be provided on the book’s web site. For each additional hour of discussion (for example, to talk to another classroom, or another school in the same district / vicinity), please add $50. Available only for central NJ counties and Staten Island, NY.

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    Pledge $500 or more About $500 USD

    5 trade paperback copies of Prehistoric Pets, 1 ebook copy of Prehistoric Pets, and, after the completion of Prehistoric Pets, up to a 2-hour visit by me (to talk about my writing, my experience with the publishing process, etc.) to the school, library, or book club of your choice anywhere in New Jersey, New York City, the New York City metropolitan area, Philadelphia, or the Philadelphia metropolitan area. For each additional hour of discussion (for example, to talk to another classroom, or another school in the same district / vicinity), please add $50.

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    Pledge $575 or more About $575 USD

    5 trade paperback copies of Prehistoric Pets, 1 ebook copy of prehistoric pets, and, during the writing of Prehistoric Pets, up to a 2-hour visit by me (to talk about the progress of Prehistoric Pets, my approach to writing, its relationship to my other novels, etc) to the school, library, or book club of your choice anywhere in New Jersey, New York City, the New York City metropolitan area, Philadelphia, or the Philadelphia metropolitan area. Also, since this will be done prior to completion of Prehistoric Pets, anyone interested can offer ideas about what kinds of prehistoric pets they would like to have and what might happen if they had them – if the ideas are used, credit will be provided on the book’s web site. For each additional hour of discussion (for example, to talk to another classroom, or another school in the same district / vicinity), please add $50.

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    Pledge $1,000 or more About $1,000 USD

    Northeast Corridor package: 10 trade paperback copies of Prehistoric Pets, 1 ebook copy of Prehistoric Pets, and, after the completion of Prehistoric Pets, up to a 3-hour visit by me (to talk about my writing, my experience with the publishing process, etc.) to the school, library, or book club of your choice anywhere within the northeast corridor (i.e., within 50 miles of an Amtrak station from the Washington, DC metropolitan area to the Boston metropolitan area).

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    Pledge $2,500 or more About $2,500 USD

    10 trade paperback copies of Prehistoric Pets, 1 ebook copy of Prehistoric Pets, and, after the completion of Prehistoric Pets, up to 8 hours of visit by me (to talk about my writing, my experience with the publishing process, etc.) to the school system (including multiple classrooms / schools), libraries, and/or book club(s) (in the same immediate area) of your choice anywhere within 500 miles of New Jersey.

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Funding period

- (45 days)