Funded! This project was successfully funded on November 21, 2012.

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A tale of leaving LA life to work at a Scotch distillery. The whisky process serves as an analogy for how boys try to mature into men.

* I'm am incredibly thankful that we are moving this campaign along so successfully, having passed our first two stretch goals! As we enter the final 24 hours of the campaign, I'm pleased to announce that portions of the final day's proceeds will go to 826LA - a non-profit that helps children with creative and expository writing skills. Click here to learn more about the organization.

The Book

An already completed memoir/travelogue that is approximately 270 pages. This campaign is for the final edit, design and distribution of the book.
My book's website, www.distillingrob.com provides the unedited prologue and two unedited sample chapters from the book to give you a better understanding of the story, my writing style and, hopefully, of me.

The Background

My name is Rob Gard. I am a former Los Angeles newspaper editor/journalist/humorist who has written more than 2,500 articles, an award-winning television writer, a public affairs communications strategist, and a whisky writer and expert (www.whiskyguyrob.com). I’ve added author to that list.

In 2009, I left a high profile career in L.A. to move to a small island off the coast of Scotland. I went from beaches and sun, working with politicians all day and partying Hollywood style all night, to putting on overalls and a hardhat to awake before dawn (with bleary-eyed reluctance) to work at a whisky distillery in a wild and windswept land in the dead of winter.

The view from my cottage on Islay.
The view from my cottage on Islay.

The Story

“Distilling Rob: Manly Lies and Whisky Truths” tells of how I abandoned life in Los Angeles to reexamine my Midwestern blue collar roots by working at the Bruichladdich whisky distillery. The drastic move was an attempt to comprehend why I didn’t feel connected with the adult, with the “man," I was supposed to be now that I was in my thirties. I desired to see if I could find "life wisdom" in the working class type of life I had run from years earlier...  tripped, stumbled and bumbled my way from might be more accurate.

The still house at Bruichladdich Distillery on the island of Islay.
The still house at Bruichladdich Distillery on the island of Islay.

The story uses the whisky-making and maturation process as an analogy for how boys mature into men, weaving together past and present personal narrative arcs on a journey of understanding. My life, from insecure working class boy to a "man” who masked that past behind the persona of an L.A. insider, serves as the vessel to examine how people in their twenties, thirties and beyond, bombarded with fictional role models and the appeal of an endless adolescence, struggle to understand what it means to be an adult.

“Distilling Rob” includes stories of my personal encounters with some of the actors who played these fictional role models, such as Leonardo DiCaprio (which somehow results in me singing onstage with Maroon 5), Jack Nicholson (who sits with more strut than most people have in their walk) and Clint Eastwood, the latter of whom changed, if not saved, my life. This story is set against the exotic (i.e., very gray and wet) backdrop of life on an island where I encountered more sheep than people. In a purely platonic way, mind you.

Each stage of the whisky making and maturation process that I am assigned to work serves as an analogous window into my life experiences, pitfalls and pratfalls from childhood through the present. As I gain a deeper understanding of myself the longer I work at the distillery, the question looms of whether or not I’ll comprehend the meaning of ”adulthood” before I have to leave the island.

My story connects with anyone, male or female, who sometimes feels like a childish impostor inhabiting the body of an “adult,” no matter how successful one’s life appears from the outside. Balanced between the external adventure of a foreign land and the internal voyage of self-comprehension, “Distilling Rob” uses humor and honesty to challenge readers to take that same journey within their lives, even if it’s just from the comfort of their own armchair or Kindle.

The Campaign

This campaign will cover the minimum cost for me to bring this story to an audience. You will help me raise money for:

  • A formal and final manuscript edit
  • Front and back cover design
  • Set-up costs for print and digital editions
  • Some incentive costs
  • ISBN purchase
  • Some shipping

Ideally, this campaign will exceed the minimum goal significantly. Additional funds would be used for:

  • Marketing
  • Additional costs for incentives, shipping, etc.
  • Extra copies to send to reviewers, book fairs and public events
  • Release on multiple publishing platforms
  • An edition featuring color photographs

The Incentives

In addition to copies of the book, I have several fun incentives to thank you for supporting the project:

  • For those who can never get the right amount of water in their whisky, I'm providing special water droppers with the Whisky Guy Rob logo. 
  • If you like cooking, I'm working with the famed whisky writer and chef Martine Nouet to provide several recipes that include whisky as an ingredient. We're also providing pairing suggestions.
  • If you LOVE cooking and are in Los Angeles, I'm teaming with Hipcooks cooking school on a one-night only cooking class that will teach how to prepare a multi-course meal with whisky as an ingredient. We'll also provide pairing suggestions. 
  • For a personalized experience, I'm offering a limited number of whisky education courses which will bring me into your home literally or virtually, and in one instance, the chance to come into my home. You'll learn everything you could imagine about whisky history, culture, the whisky making process and how to nose and taste a whisky.
  • Finally, I'm offering a limited edition Whisky Guy Rob Glencairn whisky glass. Glencairn worked with whisky industry representatives to design a glass that best captures the flavors and aroma of whisky. Now, you'll be able to have your own, with the Whisky Guy Rob logo.
The Glencairn whisky glass.
The Glencairn whisky glass.

Stretch Goal 1 - REACHED!

My original goal for the campaign was $4,500, but I decided to absorb some costs personally to ensure campaign success. The rapid success of the $2,900 goal makes me think we can reach my original goal.

If the campaign reaches the $4,500 mark, every person who contributes $25 or more will receive a special edition set of four short stories I wrote while on Islay as I prepared to write "Distilling Rob."

Each was inspired by a real incident on the island. The stories provide insight into my creative process in the weeks leading up to the writing of "Distilling Rob." In fact, certain descriptions and passages made their way from these short stories into the book that you are backing. I will add epilogues to the stories which will explain how the idea for each was inspired.

Stretch Goal 2 - REACHED!

The next stretch goal will be $6,000. I'm calling this the good time stretch goal. If we hit this mark, I will hold two book release parties -- one in Los Angeles and one in Wisconsin. This is an all-play stretch goal: if we hit it, everyone who donates will be on the invite list. What does that mean to the many backers outside of these markets? You have to love the 21st Century -- for everyone else I will do an virtual book release party which will hopefully include a video feed.

Why parties instead of more "stuff"? Put simply: I friggin' love parties. And, I'd love to personally share the success of this project with you whether that be three-dimensionally or two-dimensionally.

Risks and challenges Learn about accountability on Kickstarter

The biggest challenge I face is the elasticity of the editing process. The manuscript is complete and has had several revisions; however, the details of every last word, punctuation mark and plot transition must be examined. Perhaps some notable issues will appear that will need to be addressed with meticulous care. The process of working with an editor calls for a tremendous amount of "back and forth." I anticipate 2-3 months of editing and rewriting with another month to ready the manuscript for production. But, this could stretch a bit longer, perhaps several weeks longer, if there are snags with the editing and design process.

One significant risk I'm taking is that I am setting my financial goal at the low end of what is needed to launch this project. Five months from now, I may find the cost of producing the books has risen, the cost of customizing the incentives has skyrocketed, etc. The book production and incentive awarding will still move forward, but I may have to reach deeper into my own pockets for this to happen, which could potentially delay delivery. That's why every dollar I raise above my goal is so important.

Fortunately, I'm not a novice at this process. I've published and sold thousands of articles, columns and scripts. I will successfully produce a final story which will live up to the writing standards I expect of myself and that many people have enjoyed and found engaging through the years.

FAQ

Have a question? If the info above doesn't help, you can ask the project creator directly.

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136
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$6,795
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  • Pledge $10 or more
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    25 backers

    A digital download of "Distilling Rob" PLUS your name in the digital credits as a backer.

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    53 backers

    An autographed paperback copy of "Distilling Rob". PLUS all of the above.

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  • Pledge $35 or more
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    9 backers

    A Whisky Guy Rob water measurement dropper to precisely measure the amount of water that goes into your whisky. Also useful for baking and mad scientist experiments. PLUS all of the above.

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  • Pledge $55 or more
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    16 backers

    A special LIMITED EDITION signed hard copy of "Distilling Rob" Plus, Martine Nouet, famed whisky writer and whisky chef, working with me to donate a special recipe for a dish that uses whisky as a recipe for all backers at this level. We are also providing some whisky pairing suggestions. PLUS all of the above, (minus the paperback book).

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  • Pledge $75 or more
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    3 backers

    YOUR VERY OWN Whisky Guy Rob Glencairn Glass. Designed especially for drinking whisky, this glass will serve as your companion as you read "Distilling Rob" with your favorite whisky by your side. PLUS the $55 reward.

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    14 backers

    Food. Drink. If you back at the century mark, you'll get ANOTHER Martine Nouet original whisky-based dish recipe, pairing suggestions and a SECOND Whisky Guy Rob Glencairn glass. And, if you're unsure of what to put in that glass, I will also throw in a FREE whisky consultation. I will work with you to identify the perfect whisky for your glass, for a gift to a loved one or as an apology for your boss when she catches you reading "Distilling Rob" during that all-important meeting. PLUS the $55 reward.

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  • Pledge $215 or more
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    3 backers Limited (4 left of 7)

    A whisky cooking class! I'm teaming with LA-based Hipcooks cooking school for a unique three hour cooking class. You and a guest will join me as you learn to prepare a multi-course meal using whisky as an ingredient in the dishes, and I'll teach you how to pair dishes. Throw in two PERSONALIZED signed copies of "Distilling Rob" and two Glencairn glasses and this is a night for you. Note: This will happen in Los Angeles.

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    2 backers Limited (4 left of 6)

    A private whisky education course in your home for YOU AND FOUR guests will teach you all you need to know about whisky. I will walk through your door with my wealth of knowledge and share it with you over the next three hours. By the end of the evening, you'll know all about whisky history, production, regions and what experts look for when they nose and taste. Four personalized copies of the book and four Glencairn glasses will also join me, along with Martine Nouet recipes, water measurement droppers and electronic versions of the book. This is for people in the Los Angeles region, Chicago region, Denver region, and Milwaukee region -- all places I travel to regularly. For the latter three regions, please add $40.

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    0 backers Limited (4 left of 4)

    Same as above, except I will be in your home virtually. Yes, a Skype whisky education session that can happen anywhere in the world. YOU AND THREE GUESTS will receive all the benefits above, except I will ship items to you.

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  • Pledge $500 or more
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    0 backers Limited (4 left of 4)

    Do you really want to impress even more of your friends, colleagues and that neighbor who won't stop bragging about about all those cool things she does? This whisky education course will be for YOU AND SEVEN GUESTS in your home. Eight personalized copies of the book and eight Glencairn glasses will join me along with Martine Nouet recipes, water measurement droppers and electronic versions of the book. This is for people in the Los Angeles region, Chicago region, Denver region, and Milwaukee region -- all places I travel to regularly. For the latter three regions, please add $40.

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  • Pledge $600 or more
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    0 backers Limited (1 left of 1)

    A private whisky education course taught in MY home for YOU AND THREE GUESTS. This is an advanced class that will feature food, the opportunity to hear behind-the-scenes stories of my living on Islay and to see my photo collection from my time there. I will also teach you about old and rare whiskies as I explain what makes them so. I guarantee you'll be Tweeting and texting to make your friends jealous before the evening is through. Four personalized copies of the book and four Glencairn glasses are yours, along with Martine Nouet recipes, water measurement droppers and electronic versions of the book. This will happen in Los Angeles.

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  • Pledge $800 or more
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    0 backers Limited (2 left of 2)

    A private whisky education course taught in your home ANYWHERE IN THE US for you and FIVE guests will teach you all you need to know about whisky. I will walk through your door with my wealth of knowledge and share it with you over the next three hours. By the end of the evening, you'll know all about whisky history, production, regions and what experts look for when they nose and taste. Six personalized copies of the book and six Glencairn glasses will also join me, along with Martine Nouet recipes, water measurement droppers and electronic versions of the book.

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  • Pledge $2,700 or more
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    0 backers Limited (1 left of 1)

    Hit the Kentucky bourbon trail with me! Three days of touring the historic distilleries of Kentucky with special behind-the-scenes access for you and a guest. Hotel & in-state car transportation provided. Airfare is separate. You'll also get two personalized copies of the book and everything listed in the $100 level. Please note, this award will not cover whiskey purchases you may want to make at the distilleries.

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  • Pledge $6,000 or more
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    0 backers Limited (1 left of 1)

    Let's go back to where it all started: A five day trip to Islay, Scotland for you and a guest including in-country transportation, lodging, meals and, most importantly, visits to Islay's eight whisky distilleries with behind-the-scenes access and personal meetings with the distillery managers at select distilleries. Airfare separate. I will introduce you to the people and places featured in "Distilling Rob" and immerse you in my experience. Wellies are optional, but suggested. Plus you get everything in the $100 level and above. Please note, this award will not cover whisky purchases you may want to make at the distilleries.

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Funding period

- (30 days)