(See section on stretch goals lower down. Love, Salome)
Step into a world which looks like this one, but which is stranger than you’d dreamed possible. A world where sinister forces roam the city streets, skulking through neon-lit rain.
Haunted by thoughts of the man who abandoned her, Amber goes walking in the deep London night. The phone box she enters takes her on a journey she could never have imagined, one in which the past and the future will be rewritten. Others follow on her heels, their lives all intertwining. The fate of the world will come to depend on them. Talbot, torn by an unhappiness that reaches up to overwhelm him. Cory, a young shape-shifter on a desperate quest for allies. Jon, who has lived and died and lived again. Gloria, who only really intended to annoy her daddy. They and others will find themselves swept up as the playthings of gods who have managed to get along reasonably peacefully for millennia – until now.
Ben Templesmith Poster!
The product of twenty-nine imaginations twisting together over a period of over a year, Red Phone Box includes an original story by the legendary Warren Ellis, the creator of Transmetropolitan and author of Crooked Little Vein and new release, Gun Machine. The book depicts the events which unfold as various realities and characters collide. This volume contains 52 tales. If you followed the original web series, you won't have seen about half of these there in any form. The half that were part of that series have been reworked mercilessly, re-ordered, and all have been forged into a compelling whole.
Add in ten full page illustrations by American artist Kara Yoon Frame and the gorgeous cover by Hungarian artist Gábor Csigás, and you begin to get a glimpse of the magic.
A complete list of contributors can be found here.
ADDED MARCH 9: Here's a link to an excerpt, previously attached to an update. (Oh Aye Crofton by Gethin A. Lynes)
And here's an audio version of the story recorded for us by Scottish writer Iain Lowson.
With your help, Red Phone Box will raise the funds via Kickstarter to have the book printed in trade paperback. We're thinking of this as a pre-order system. We'll also be offering a special edition hardcover and signed copies for backers only.
Who manages this beast?
This project is managed collaboratively by Tim Dedopulos and Salome Jones. (See Salome's Kickstarter profile here.)
Tim Dedopulos has written over a hundred books of both fiction and non-fiction and has worked in publishing for the past twenty years including as an editor for Wizards of the Coast and other game publishers. He runs a small digital first publisher called Ghostwoods Books and does contract editing and promotional writing for other writers and publishers. He’s also a member of MENSA.
Salome Jones has an MFA in Writing from Pacific University and an M.A. in Creative Writing from Roehampton University in London. She works as an editor and writing mentor at Flourish Editing, where she and Tim team up on book projects, editing manuscripts and writing promotional materials to help authors find agents and get their books in print.
How it all came together
Salome: In May 2011, I was in London working on a graduate degree in writing and fell in love with the old fashioned red telephone boxes. 'Boxes' they call them, not 'booths' like in the US. On a kind of whim, I dreamed up an anthology idea with a red telephone box at its core. I was looking out the window over the balcony, which gives this vast, sweeping view of the central London basin when I wrote the first story, ‘What a Little Moonlight Can Do.’
I posted the story on my website and invited people to submit stories that built on it, using the same setting – modern London – and including a red telephone box and two other details from either that first story, or any other story in the series. Warren Ellis blogged about the project and tweeted a link to my request for submissions. Through the magic of the internet, a lot of people read the story and got interested in the concept and for the next few months, people wrote and submitted stories, like a game of Exquisite Corpse, except one that made more sense.
Stories came from writers around the world. Four of the writers are non-native speakers of English. American, Canadian, British, Australian, European, Middle Eastern. Twenty-nine different writers and artists all together. There really was a hive-mind effect in the writing of the stories. People who hadn’t seen each other’s work wrote stories that had intricate, seemingly impossible connections. It was an incredible thing to witness as the curator of these stories. I had to stop myself from writing to these complete strangers and saying, “Okay, you guys are collaborating about this behind my back, aren’t you?”
It was coming together nicely as a short story anthology when writer and puzzle designer Tim Dedopulos, who had already written a story for the collection, showed me the proofs of The Global Treasure Hunt on Google Earth. It occurred to me while I was looking at it, that while the anthology was good, with just a little extra work and a few more carefully selected stories, we could turn it into a novel co-written by over twenty people. So here was the genius of Tim Dedopulos, master puzzle creator and brilliant writer. I asked him to help me reorder and reedit the stories, take the threads of connection that were already there and weave them together better. He said yes. In the autumn, I asked Warren if he would write a story for the book and he agreed. Because he was working on GUN MACHINE, he couldn't get the story to me until February 2012.
In the time since, I've been collecting more stories, recruiting additional, specific niche writers, laying out the eBook, conferring with printers and distributors, and planning the Kickstarter. There's one story left to write for the book. And hopefully a foreword by someone interesting.
About Ghostwoods Books
Ghostwoods Books has published four books so far as eBooks, and in one case, in POD. Red Phone Box offers the opportunity for us to publish not only eBooks, but also to have physical books printed and get them into distribution. That's where your help is needed.
What you’ll get in return for your pledge
You'll get books and sometimes special treats when we meet a goal or possibly just because we're excited about this whole project. We have some other rewards in mind to add if we make our minimum, but we're trying to keep costs down for now because, hey, it costs a lot of money to publish and distribute books. We also have special things made for us by cool people.
You'll also get the satisfaction of knowing you helped make this happen. Even with the hundreds of hours of work that we've already put into this project, we can't finish it without your help.
Where the money will go
The writing, the art, the editing, the cover - these have all been donated to this project through the generosity of creative people. The only things we can't get for the love of it are printing, distribution and marketing.
£2600 for printing (about $4000) £1000 - £2000 for reward fulfillment (it'll increase if we throw some of the fancier rewards up there for you), and KickStarter fees take around 10%. (Worth it though, because this is the only way we have of getting the initial print run finished.) So this is just for books and prizes at this point.
We'd like to get the books into distribution which will add another £2500 to the total. But we're setting that as a stretch goal for now.
As previously mentioned, we'd like to get the books into distribution with an actual book distributor, giving us a way into bookstores. It could take up to £2500 to do that. So that's what we'll shoot for. If we make it that far, we'll consider hiring a 'stunt writer,' that is, another bigger name writer to write an additional story in the story cycle. We're looking at possible candidates now, Just in case.
Right now we're planning to get the books printed in the US because it's less expensive and because it's a more central starting point for shipping books out. If you help us raise more than we need for printing and distribution, we'll add a UK edition of the book, printed on this side of the Atlantic, with its own ISBN, and we'll try to get it into Waterstones.
We'll add other stretch goals if it looks like we need them. At the moment we're focused on making the books happen.
Risks and challenges
The way printing works, it costs almost as much to get half the number of books printed, so it's better to print as many as we can afford. The other thing we have to consider is how many we can actually sell. Books take up a lot of space so you have to pay to store them and to have them shipped. If we want bookstores to have access to them, they have to be in a distributor's warehouse and on a distributor's list. Both of those things cost money as well.
Tim has a long history in publishing and a deep understanding of how these things work. Salome has been learning the ropes over the past couple of years. We've made some helpful connections with a printer and distributor and we have a lot of Red Phone Box writers and artists helping us behind the scenes. The main thing we're lacking is money. Kickstarter will also help the book gain publicity for the book launch which can only help us sell all the books.
Basically, it's you and us as a team. We have the skills but we need you to pre-order the books so that we can get them out into the world.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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