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Victor Hugo wrote the book...but he didn't tell the whole story!

All it takes is one move, one action, to change the universe.

In 1855, when Victor Hugo moved to the Isle of Guernsey rather than live under Napoleon III, the trunk containing his unfinished masterwork Les Misérables was almost lost overboard when a careless sailor tossed it haphazardly into the longboat; fortunately for the world, the trunk tipped back into the boat at the last second.

The pivotal word is "almost." What if--by caprice, by wind, by a swell of the sea--the trunk had actually gone the other way, straight to the bottom of the Channel? And what if, in coincidence of Hugoesque proportions, the person responsible for this accident--was Jean Valjean?

Here then is a six volume work that takes that idea and runs with it across 40 years and circumnavigates the globe with it. Why does Hugo write that Valjean is dead in 1833 when he is alive in 1855? And how does he publish the book when the manuscript is lost? Hugo has to recreate it, and Valjean will help him do it. 

There's only one catch. Jean Valjean is not the only one to still be alive twenty years after he shouldn't be, according to the book. Valjean's traveling companion is the last person on earth one would imagine.

print by Colleen Doran available with $24 pledge or higher
print by Colleen Doran available with $24 pledge or higher

If this were a movie pitch, this is where I'd say the story is Les Misérables meets Shakespeare In Love.

The series title, Pont-au-Change, not only means "Bridge of Change," but it is also the spot in Paris where, unable to reconcile his duty with his conscience, Inspector Javert chose to end his life by throwing himself into the Seine. At least, that's what Victor Hugo wrote in the original...

The first three completed volumes of Pont-au-Change--Resurrections, Sanctuary, and Adrift--were originally self published with a company that shall be nameless, let's just keep it between I and U. The fourth one is halfway completed, and the remaining are being written and scheduled to be completed by the end of the year. After a bad situation with the publisher, after I got the rights back, I have re-released the first three as e-books. But my goal with this campaign is to get them back into print, my way, the way I first envisioned them, and to move forward with completing the series as a unified  whole. To do this I need some help. Because to be honest, the writing is the easy part.

Here's what I'm looking to do with the funds from this project:

1) Right off the top, Kickstarter and Amazon take their tithes.

2) the e-book covers are great for small images but I will need a professional to reimagine them for larger and more complex print files, which will need to be designed in PDF, which the e-book cover creator does not do. Also the book files themselves will need to be reformatted for print, as the original publisher owns the actual print PDFs for that version so I cannot use them for the reprinting.

3) although I have had some decent success with people volunteering to proofread and edit these works, I personally would love to have them professionally cleaned up. As much as they've already been gone over, there's always more that can be polished. I want them done right. As e-books I can always upload corrections, but once it's on the page, that's what it is. So I need to raise funds to have someone who does this sort of thing for a living take it apart for me, oil all the gears, and file away the burrs.

4) the printing itself will be the easiest; I am still deciding between Lulu and Createspace for the actual production. However, if this crowdsourcing goes well I want to purchase ISBNs for the books that are mine and not the printer's. This sounds like a small thing but in the publishing world there's still a stigma attached to self publishing, so having my own ISBNs, in effect being my own publisher of record, would go a ways to alleviate some of that.

5) complete website redesign with Wordpress support. If you've seen my website at www.pontauchange.com you will understand how badly this needs to be done. I already have a person lined up who does awesome work at a not unreasonable price. In addition to being the home of the book series, the Pont-au-Change website is also home to the Gallery, a huge (1000+)  database of illustrations from various editions of Les Misérables from all over the world, arranged in chronological order of where they appear in the book, and the Les Misérables Media Comparison Checklist which reviews the various movie, television, radio, cartoon, play, and comic versions of the work with regard to how much of the original was left out and how much (and what) was kept in.

The due date for the rewards is the latest I'm projecting they will be fulfilled, according to my estimates. Most likely they will be sent out before. But as some of the books are still in process, it's better to overestimate the amount of time than underestimate it. Certainly all progress will be communicated between now and then. I'm an inveterate clock watcher and I consider "on time" to be late. So, le bon Dieu willing and the Seine don't rise, we should be seeing this project completed early 2013.

Remember: unless the goal amount is reached before the end date, the project is unfunded.

and that would make Cosette very sad. Okay, sadder.
and that would make Cosette very sad. Okay, sadder.

.

Lastly, if/when I reach the halfway point in funding I will be unlocking some extra rewards (stickers, magnets, bookmarks, prints, whatever looks best) to add onto the current ones (meaning if you're already a supporter, you will get them added on automatically at the appropriate levels or above; what that level is I don't know yet but I'm thinking at the $24 Shagreen or Rosary level). And if the crowdfunding fairies are extremely kind and I go more than a little over my marks, I will be able to produce hardcover editions and unlocking other, totally different, and incredibly awesome rewards. But first things first.

All it takes is one move, one action, to change the universe.

______________

Music: Tom Fahy, "Your Own Private Ghost" (www.tomfahy.org)

FAQ

  • YES! Those already available in e-book format will be delivered immediately if the project funds. And the other three, as they are released, will become available to pledgers one full week before they are available to the general public. The projected delivery date is the date I anticipate having the final e-book ready for delivery.

    This also applies to lower level pledges. If your pledge amount gets you two books and you want two that are already out, you get them immediately. If you want one that's already out and the next one in the series, the first one goes out immediately and the other one goes to you a week before the e-book is available to the public.

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  • LOL ^_^ The cat's name is Simon. He and his brother Morgan are collectively known as "The Troublemint Twins" for reasons which are probably obvious.

    Simon says "back this project!"

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  • No. Here's how it works: if you pledge enough to get two ebooks, you get those two only, not in addition to the one at the level below it. However, if you pledge to get the print copy of volume 1, you still get all the ebooks from the lower levels even if one of those is also volume 1. And, if you pledge to get all six print volumes at the $94 level, you don't also get a second copy of the first print book from the $24 level, but you DO get all six e-books from the $24 level. So you may get two copies that way, one print and one electronic, but you will not get two identical print books or two copies of the same ebook.

    UPDATE: Unless you want the print volume from the $24 level instead of the ebooks. Then at the $96 level you would receive 2 print copies of volume 1, and one copy each of the print volumes for the rest of the series. But only if you want it that way. When I send the surveys out at the end of the project we can work that out then.

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    String of Buttons level: merci mille fois (a thousand thank yous) and a "hauts cinq" (high five) if we ever meet on a bridge (bridge optional)

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    Shagreen Locket level: St. Christopher Medal level PLUS receive ALL the rest of the series of e-books in any format! Or if you already have them or want to begin with the print books...

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    Lignum Vitae Cane level: Daguerrotype level PLUS the entire set of all six print volumes (as they come out), all signed! (add $30 international shipping) (or if you don't want them signed, that's okay too *snif*)

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    Silver Candlestick level: Lignum Vitae Cane level PLUS I will write you into the book. I don't mean making you a character. I mean that I will take the letters of your name and write a chapter with each paragraph beginning with a letter so it all spells out. These will be the final two chapters of the final book (one for each candlestick). And you can show this to your friends and family and watch their eyes get big as they see all the letters line up. That is much cooler than writing you as a character (since I tend to only write in people I don't like, it's probably for the best)

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