Help make the first ongoing original monthly super powered prose story possible!
Everyone that backs in the final 3 days or increases their pledge will get a free ebook copy of Living Legends: Old Soldiers added to their order!
My name is Nicholas Ahlhelm. I am a writer. I am an editor. I am a publisher through my Metahuman Press line of books. And now, I want to do something different.
Lightweight is an experiment on my part. As a prose writer of super powered fiction, I am constantly looking for ways to innovate the process. Lightweight is an attempt to frame prose super powered fiction in a monthly serialized format akin to comic books. The process will be simple: produce a monthly release of thirty to forty pages. The first volume will run nine the course of nine individual stories, basically covering our hero’s senior year in high school. They will all standalone, but ultimately they will tie together to form a cohesive life for our lead.
The story revolves around Kevin Mathis, a soon-to-be-eighteen high school senior in the fictional city of Federation. He has known of his powers for months, but has tried to deny them until one day he is forced to use them to save the lives of his friends. This experience sets him on the path to becoming Lightweight, but it also creates complications in the day to day life of a modern American teen. It also exposes Kevin to a conspiracy involving ancient super-powered beings with an intense interest in his development—or possibly, his death.
I want to make these short stories at a low cost of entry, but I also want to give readers a package they will enjoy. Great cover art is necessary for any story of superheroes, but in order to keep the price of entry on the individual chapters of Lightweight low I need to ask readers up front to support the project.
Hence, Kickstarter. We are here to raise funds to fund art that would grace the first five stories, all to be collected in the first print edition due early next year. At our basic goal, one cover with varying dress would cover the first five ebook originals as well as the volume that collects them in print. Should the Kickstarter prove successful, stretch goals would unlock the cover for the second half of the first year as well as individual covers for various chapters. The talented Brent Sprecher has agreed to provide those covers and I could not be more than happy to have him on board. Brent has provided art for previous Kickstarter projects by Spectrum Games and his detailed work is exactly what Lightweight needs to come alive.
The book will be released initially as a monthly ebook serial through major ebook retailers. After five chapters, the first print volume will be collected. The second half of the first year of story will continue monthly and be collected by the second print volume. Anyone that orders the print editions will also receive the ebook volumes.
While one of my purposes is to expand serial storytelling through the production of nine interconnected tales, the serial format allows me to do much more though. I can also use each chapter of the book to open a forum with fans of the work. I plan to use extra pages at the back of the book not just for author’s notes, but for bonus essays or letters and emails from fans of the work. The first 20 backers will even get a chance to see the first volume before everyone else and have their letters appear in the back of the book. Together, I hope to make a community around the book and its world. I look at comics like Savage Dragon, Starman or The Maxx, where often the letter columns could be as compelling as the story.
Profits for the project will be split with about 30% going to Brent, about 40% going to printing the books and funding rewards, about 10% to other contributors and 10% going to administrative costs for the project. I plan to invest at least a small percentage of our profits back into other Kickstarters as well. The remaining amount will remain as a buffer in case shipping costs should increase between now and publishing and will otherwise be used to fund future projects.
Anyone interested in a sample of my writing, please feel free to check out the short story Dracula: Half-Life at Smashwords. You can pay anything you would like for the tale, including nothing. Though more horror tinged, it is very much in the spirit of what I would like Lightweight to be.
Everyone that supports the project will get a thank you in both the ebook and print edition books.
I hope everyone that reads this or watches my video can bring half the excitement I have to this project. Thanks for your support.
(Art samples on this page are previous works by Brent Sprecher featured in Spectrum Games' Cartoon Action Hour Season 3, Capes, Cowls and Villains Foul or Gallery of Evil. Stay tuned to our updates for original Lightweight art!)
Risks and challenges
The main challenge in making Lightweight is twofold. First, cover art is a necessity for any story project to sell and I don't want to ask my artist to work without money. I also need to cover the costs of editing and layout.
In addition, I need verification that a serialized piece of superhero fiction can and will sell before devoting much of the next year to it. A successful Kickstarter will be an instant proof of concept that Lightweight is heading in the right direction.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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