Click here to find the original novel, Ship's Boy, free on Amazon
Once upon a time, there was a boy named David, who slew a terrible foe.
David Birkenhead might have been only twelve years old, but his entire life was already laid out for him. First his father was supposed to teach him how to run a starship's engine room. Then, when the time came, he'd take over the job himself. This was the way of things for slavebunnies like David; luxuries like career-choices were reserved for humans only. Not that David was complaining; compared to the farmbunnies or domestic-servant rabbits, he had it made. There was even a pretty doe waiting for him in the wings.
Then the ships of the Boyen Emperor arrived on David's homeworld and nothing could ever be the same again. Great Houses of Nobility would contest for power, kingdoms would teeter on the edge of oblivion…
…and out of the resulting vortex young David would bring peace and justice to a thousand worlds.
How we got here
Two years ago, author Phil Geusz offered us a proposal: A series of seven short books, geared toward the digital market, all of them inexpensive but the first one free. That idea was so far removed from normal publishing to be absolutely toxic to any mainstream publishing house. But we'd already gambled and won on Phil's work before, so we were game.
That was the start of the David Birkenhead series, and an amazing and wild ride! The book exploded on the Amazon Kindle market, at one point trending in the top 500 books. That may not sound that impressive, but Amazon's catalog of books at the time was over 6 million titles, so we were in the top percent of a percent. Of course, some might say that when you're giving something away for free, it's an easy sell. We were gratified, however, to see that when the rest of the books were published, 65% of readers came back for the second book, and over 50% stayed through the entire series. The first book is still free on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Smashwords, and demand was good enough that we put out an Omnibus edition to gather all seven books into one volume. At one point the entire series was in the top 100 books in the Space Opera category!
Now we're wanting to bring this book series to an entirely new audience by adapting it into a series of graphic novels. This Kickstarter covers the first book, Ship's Boy, and covers both production and graphic design costs. We've contracted with Studio Prey to produce the artwork, and they've provided the first nine pages as a preview. We're expecting the softcover to round out at 104 pages, with the hardcover containing 16 pages of bonus content.
We are also participating in the Kicking It Forward program:
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- Citizen: Gratitude of the author, artist, and publisher
- Ship's Boy: Omnibus e-Book
- Midshipman: .pdf of Graphic Novel
- Lieutenant: All of the above
- Commander: Ship's Boy Graphic Novel Softcover
- Captain: Signed, numbered Ship's Boy Graphic Novel Softcover
- Commodore: Signed, numbered deluxe Hardcover
- Admiral: Commodore, plus 3-volume Omnibus Hardcover
- King: Admiral, plus all add-ons and digital content.
In addition to the kickstarter reward tiers, we have the following promotional add-ons, that can be combined with any reward tier of Commander or above.
- +$5 16 x 24" poster of the image above
- +$15 T-shirt of the image above, up to 4X
- +$15 Add an extra copy of the softcover graphic novel
- +$8 Commemorative collector's coin
- +$7 Add copy of Omnibus e-Book
- +$8 Add .pdf of the graphic novel.
If we make it past our base production goals, we intend to upgrade the comic by adding grayscale, partial color, or full color, depending on our funding levels:
- $25,000: Upgrade to grayscale, adding detailed shading and texture to each page.
- $30,000: Spot color. Backgrounds will remain grayscale, with some pages containing color for clarity and emphasis.
- $40,000: Full color. If we double our production goal, all pages will be rendered in full digital color!
Risks and challenges
We've published small comics and pamphlets before, but this will be our first foray into actually producing content. We have an art studio under contract to provide the artwork, and we're coordinating with the author to ensure that everything matches his vision of the work.
Our biggest challenge going forward is the collaboration, but everyone involved is committed to making this project work, and we all have good financial incentives to do so.
One of our big advantages is that we started out as a print shop, so all of our production process is in-house. We don't have to send off proofs to the printer, because we are the printer. By combining publishing and printing into one operation, we eliminate the substantial price markup between the printer and the publisher. This allows us to offer books at prices most small publishers can only dream of, prices that are competitive with mainstream publishers.
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