Update #2: $50,000 stretch goal!
12/20/2013: Wow, thank you to all the new backers who helped us reach our first stretch goal! :) We only have about a day and a half until the Kickstarter closes, but we're adding a new stretch goal anyway: SIGNED BOOKPLATES. This reward will be exclusive to the books we send out to our 1000+ Kickstarter backers, to set your copies apart from the ones we sell in stores and on Amazon later on. If we reach $50,000, each physical book will automatically be upgraded to include a bookplate inside the front cover, designed by the cover artist and personally signed by the book's author.
Update: STRETCH GOALS!
12/19/2013: Thanks to our 950+ backers (so far!), we've reached our main target of $40,000! Our first stretch goal is to reach $45,000, which will pay for extra illustrations in each of the books. See yesterday's update post for more information! To help spread the word in the last few days of the crowdfunding period, please share links to our KS page and our website, or reblog this post on Tumblr!
If we manage to pass $45k significantly before the Kickstarter deadline on Saturday night, we'll announce another exciting stretch goal for $50,000!
***End of update***
Big Bang Press will develop and publish original works by talented fandom authors. We were inspired by the difficulties many amateur writers face when trying to make the leap to professional writing:
- It can be very, very difficult for first-time authors to get their foot in the door of the mainstream publishing industry.
- There are plenty of talented fanfiction authors who are posting high-quality work online, but have no way of gaining a wider audience for their original fiction.
We have selected three original novels by fanfiction writers, ranging in genre from Young Adult Fantasy to Literary Fiction. If you take a look at some excerpts from their manuscripts, you’ll be able to tell that these guys are the real deal. We want to be able to share their work with the world, and prove that fanfiction writers can be as good as (or even better than) many successful mainstream published novelists.
The Books & Authors
If our project is successfully funded, A Hero At The End Of The World, Juniper Lane, and Savage Creatures are on track to be published starting in the Fall of 2014. For now, you can pre-order an ebook for $10, a hard copy for $20, all any one of the many reward levels we have available from the sidebar on the right.
You can read excerpts from each book on our website but first, here’s the lowdown on our three novels and their authors.
A Hero at the End of the World, by Erin Claiborne
"Sixteen year-old Ewan Mao knows one thing for certain: according to prophecy, it's his destiny to kill the evil tyrant whose dark reign has terrorized Britain. Although he's just a normal boy, deep down Ewan is confident that he has exactly what it takes to be a hero. But when Ewan's big moment comes, he freezes. His best friend, the clever and talented Oliver Abrams, defeats the villain for him, and Ewan's bright future crumbles before his eyes.
Five years later, Oliver has a job as an Unusual in the government's Serious Magical Crimes Agency, the life he and Ewan always dreamed of. But a routine investigation leads him and his partner, Sophie Stuart, to uncover a dangerous and powerful cult... one that seems to have drawn his former best friend into a plot to end the world."
A deftly plotted, hysterically funny take on Chosen One narratives, A Hero at the End of the World expertly walks the fine line between satire and sincerity. Its sensitive depiction of a broken friendship and wry take-down of unfairly great expectations will appeal to all readers of modern fantasy.
London-based Erin Claiborne (eleveninches) works in education, pursuing her dream of being able to yell at teenagers all day long. As a young teen, she wrote terrible self-insert X-Files fanfiction in Microsoft Word. The magic of the internet subsequently enabled her to foist further, marginally less awful, works on an unsuspecting readership. No-one has been able to convince her to stop writing, so it's lucky that she's a little better at it now. In addition to her fanfiction and academic writing, her first short story was published earlier this year. Her passions are history, photography, languages, and reading about crazy people on the internet. When not sitting in a pub, she can be found travelling the world, looking longingly at puppies in parks, and taking pictures of buildings. She has a Masters in Medieval History from a Well-Known UK Institution.
Juniper Lane, by Kady Morrison
"Mim Robinson never expected to find herself back on Juniper Lane, the opulent suburban street where she spent one hazy childhood summer, nor to be taken in by her aunt after a nasty break-up. She certainly didn't expect to find herself striking up a strange, unexpected friendship with the intimidating Nadia Bahjat, the only other twenty-something on the street. But now that she's here, Mim thinks she might just do anything to stay – no matter the cost.
Meanwhile, Nadia, a professional chef and a perennial disappointment to her parents, has been forced by her father's illness to return to Barn Ridge, Ohio. Though she loathes her wealthy, seemingly perfect neighbors as much as she always has, she's increasingly finding her growing friendship with Mim a balm to heal old wounds. But the longer she stays on Juniper Lane, the more she begins to suspect that when it comes to her family, not all is as it seems."
An innovatively structured queer romance that encompasses both a cutting satire of suburban American life and a nuanced depiction of the psychological aftermath of abuse, Juniper Lane is a moving paean to the freedom of embracing the chaotic uncertainty of adulthood.
Kady Morrison (gyzym) lives in Cleveland, where she splits her time between writing, eating, and occasionally showing her face at her day job, which tragically involves neither writing nor eating at all. After studying creative writing at a university in Ohio that isn't The University In Ohio, she's spent the last several years writing fanfiction, as well as blogging about such topics as feminism, queer representation in media, the ongoing myth that bisexuality is a myth, and rape culture, under an ill-advised pseudonym she often regrets. She has recently overcome her childhood fear of becoming an adult due to a lack of alternative options.
Savage Creatures, by Natalie Wilkinson
"Francis Harding has always been good for one thing: doing what his family tells him. So when his mother asks him to travel across the Atlantic to hunt down his mysteriously vanished sister Catherine, he goes without hesitation, only to find himself an unwelcome shapeshifter in a strange city looking for a woman who may not want to be found.
Without any alternative, he finds himself turning to Jamie Besckei, a slippery but compelling character from the wrong side of the tracks. His particular brand of magic makes Francis' skin crawl, but it just might help him track down Catherine. As his own magical abilities begin to fail him and his options grow fewer, Francis makes a bargain that binds him to Jamie in ways he never expected, and that will change the course of his life forever."
A fantasy noir cum psychological thriller set against the backdrop of a grim, quasi-dystopian Europe only a half step away from our own, Savage Creatures is a haunting meditation on the destructive power and vital importance of family that will rivet readers from first page to last.
Natalie Wilkinson (febricant) lives in London, having recently moved back into the city from the depths of a remote forest. She is still adjusting. As a child she hung out with horses and remained illiterate until age seven. Several fist fights later, a counselor suggested learning how to read, and thus was born her love of stories. Somewhere along the way she managed to live in three countries, learn three languages, and avoid adult responsibilities. She now has an exceedingly useless degree from a "totally legit" university and started writing fiction in her twenties. She is still really glad she did not join the army.
How we picked the books
Our publishing team began the selection process by contacting around thirty fanfiction authors who are known for writing high-quality, novel-length fanfics. From this shortlist, fifteen writers were interested in submitting a three-chapter sample of original fiction.
Our submissions editor Aja Romano worked with these authors to make sure they produced the best work possible, and the final manuscript excerpts were submitted anonymously to the other four members of Big Bang Press for a blind read. After some deliberation, it was a unanimous decision to go for the manuscripts that turned out to have been written by Erin, Kady, and Nat.
Why not just go with traditional publishing?
It’s true that the mainstream publishing industry is slowly catching onto the fact that the fanfiction community represents a huge, untapped pool of writing talent. However, most traditional publishers are still a long way from understanding how fandom works, and how to locate the best writers. Everyone at Big Bang Press is familiar with fan culture, and our goal is to find talented fanfiction writers and publish their original fiction to a professional standard.
All of our authors are known for producing popular and well-written work online, and now Big Bang Press is giving you an opportunity to read their original fiction. We’re incredibly proud of the novels they’re working on right now, and we’d love you to check out some sample chapters on our website. If you like what you read, please help us get this show on the road by pre-ordering books and ebooks on Kickstarter, or choosing one of our other amazing reward levels.
Who We Are
Morgan Davies (morgan-leigh) is our Editor-in-Chief. She is a writer and editor living in New York whose work has been featured on The Toast, PolicyMic, Full Stop, and the Oxonian Review. At any given time, she is probably writing.
Gavia Baker-Whitelaw (hellotailor) is our Managing Editor & Social Media Director, meaning that she’s the one you’ll probably be talking to on Kickstarter, Tumblr, Twitter, and Facebook. She is a freelance writer living in Scotland, and currently works for the Daily Dot.
Alexandra Edwards (nonmodernist) is our Publicity Coordinator. She lives, writes, and teaches in Athens, GA, and won an Emmy® for her work as transmedia editor on The Lizzie Bennet Diaries, a modernized, cross-platform adaptation of Pride and Prejudice.
Caitlin Casiello (caitiello) is our Legal & Business Consultant. She used to do legal stuff once upon a time in New York. Now, she’s working towards a master’s degree at Harvard University with a project focused on Japanese fan cultures
Suzanne Walker (suzannezibar) is our Production Coordinator, handling most of the logistics of the publishing process. She is an editorial assistant living and working in New York.
Aja Romano (bookshop) was our Submissions Editor. She is a journalist living in New York, and currently works as a full-time Internet culture and fandom reporter for the Daily Dot.
Where’s the money going?
Backers will receive a more detailed rundown of our plans as the Kickstarter campaign progresses, but the main goal of $40,000 will pay for all the publishing and publicity costs for the three books. Here are the basics of where that money will be going:
- 3x $5000 advanced payment for each author: $15,000
- 3x $5000 printing and publishing costs for each book: $15,000
- The remaining $10,000 will go towards Kickstarter payments (5% of the eventual total), Amazon payments, and compensating our publishing team, website designer, graphic designer, and artists.
If we manage to raise significantly more than our original goal, we have specific plans for various stretch goals, which will be revealed once we get close to (and hopefully beyond) $40,000. We aim to be as transparent as possible, so backers will be receiving up-to-date information on our budget and publishing process until all three books are published.
Although most of our Kickstarter reward levels give the “estimated delivery time” as September 2014, this is an approximate date for the release of the first book. We plan on releasing the books at two month intervals beginning in Fall 2014, so we have time to give each book the publicity treatment it deserves. We wish we could get all the books to you sooner, but it does take a while to finish, edit, format, print, and mail out one book, never mind three.
If you order one of the combo reward levels (ie, books + postcards + art prints), you will almost certainly receive the “extras” first. So if you order a short story, or a WIP continuation from Kady, or a Mystery Box from the team, you can expect that to arrive before the release date of the books themselves. Basically, we will send everything out as soon as it’s ready.
How you can help Big Bang Press succeed
If you’ve already pledged some money, or if you can’t afford to pledge anything but you still want to support this project, the best thing to do is spread the word. Tell your friends. Tell your followers on social media. Tell your mom, if you want to. Pass the message on to anyone you think might be interested in the idea of a publishing house that caters to fanfiction writers and readers. Follow us on Tumblr, Twitter, and Facebook, and submit our website/Kickstarter to your favourite geek culture websites and blogs.
The more people who know about what we want to do at Big Bang Press, the more likely we are to reach our goal and start working on all the amazing stretch goals and rewards we have planned for you guys!
Risks and challenges
Here’s the deal with Kickstarter: If a project doesn’t pass its goal by the end of its fundraising period, no money changes hands. In other words, if we don’t reach $40,000, these three novels will not get published. After months of work from the authors and publishing team, that's the risk we're taking.
In return, we are attempting to minimise risk for you, the backers. Realistically, we are a first-time publishing venture, so there are bound to be a few unpredictable obstacles on the road to success. But when it comes to the practical side of the publishing process, we have a solid financial and logistical plan in place.
As for the creative side of things, our authors may only be part of the way through their novels at the moment, but this Kickstarter campaign will pay them to finish in time for the projected publishing dates beginning in Fall 2014. All of our authors are experienced at finishing novel-length works at an unusually fast pace, and this time they've signed a legally binding contract to do so. Plus, Morgan and Gavia, our Editor-in-Chief and Managing Editor, have flexible schedules and are available to tackle any potential mishaps along the way.
Our contact information can be found on the Big Bang Press website, and we're happy to answer any questions you might have about the project.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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