I'm Cecilia Tan, I'm a writer and editor, and some of you might know me from my professional writing on baseball, or my science fiction, or my erotica. The project I'm asking for help with, though, isn't any of those things.
Daron's Guitar Chronicles is my webfiction serial about a young guitarist coming out and coming of age in the 1980s. The serial has been running since November 2010 and has been very popular on the web, but many people ask: "when will there be a printed book?" Actually, they usually ask "when will there be a 'real' book?" Answer: could be soon, if people support this Kickstarter!
You can read the serial free online (here), but here's a little sample:
I always thought that eye makeup would be as garish and obvious to the wearer as it was to an onlooker. I was wrong; once the mascara and eyeliner and eyebrow pencil and whatever else were on, I forgot about them. Which meant that I got a mild shock every time I glimpsed my cats-cradled self in the men’s room mirror. My hair wasn’t long enough for head-banging and not the slightest bit wavy, so Tollman had slicked it back with some sort of goop. He’d tied a brightly colored scarf to each of my upper arms, too. I may be scrawny but if there’s one thing playing a lot of guitar gives you, it’s biceps.
I tried to be invisible as I searched along the back of the stage in the dim lights for a good place to tape a set list for myself. The crowd was out there, drinking, smoking, laughing, on the other side of a chain link fence that separated stage from dance floor. The club was called “The Cage” and I felt like a circus animal up there, dressed in orange and fluorescent pink, getting ready to play a gig with a band with the fucked-up-edly spelled name of Tygerz Claw.
Later, I would stand at the sink wondering what to do about the mess all the inevitable head-thrashing and sweat had made of my hair. I would stand there at the mirror between sets and debate the merits of running my wet hands through it or just dunking my head into the sink. Add to this the fact that as we we’d come off stage I’d made a terrible mistake: rubbing the sweat out of my eye with the back of my hand and, not knowing better, giving myself a raccoon eye. This would all happen before midnight.
The set itself was fine.
For a long time I never thought this story would see the light of day at all. It's been a wild ride to this point, and I hope a printed book will be the next step.
Daron's story is a 1980s period piece that chronicles his personal journey through the world of sex, drugs, and rock and roll in the era of Just Say No, Silence = Death, and the burgeoning of "alternative" rock. When the story starts he's in the closet but trying to make it in the heyday of MTV, AIDS hysteria, and punk versus metal.
I started writing about Daron when I was a teenager in the 1980s myself. (Yes, that's me in the denim jacket in the video, age 18.) I didn't really start working on the story in its current form, though, until 1992 when I started a grad school masters degree program in writing. That was twenty years ago. Six years later when it reached 300,000 words I wasn't really at the end, but I forced myself to stop and seek a publisher. Several publishers praised it but wanted it to be a third the size so that they could fit it into a traditional paperback. They told me they just couldn't make any money if they published the whole thing.
I tried to edit it, but it just wouldn't shrink down. I got it down to 222,000 words, which was still more than twice the length needed, but couldn't get it to compress any further. A member of my writers group hit it when he said it's not a regular novel, it's a bildungsroman, which is a fancy word for a novel where the coming of age process is long and gradual. The way I wrote it, the short chapters pile up like potato chips. People tell me it's hard to stop after just one. Chopping it down just wasn't going to work. I gave up and I stuck it in a trunk. Ten more years went by.
But then the Internet happened, and blogs, and I realized the super-short chapters were the perfect length for blog posts! So... The web serial of Daron's Guitar Chronicles launched in 2010 and I started posting two chapters a week. The website is completely free to read and supported by voluntary reader donations. It won the Rose & Bay Award for Best Crowdfunded Fiction, and at this point almost two years later the serial is still going with new posts weekly.
I repackaged the serial chapters into ebooks, too. But almost every day someone asks me about a "real" book. A paper book. Like Pinocchio longing to be a real boy, Daron's Guitar Chronicles wants to be a real book.
But paper is expensive. And this book is long. So I've done the math. If I take all three of the existing ebooks and roll them into one paperback omnibus, it'll be 450 pages. So that's what we're doing, we're starting here with the three volumes that are already out in digital, and putting them together into one nice BIG book.
The money raised by this Kickstarter goes to cover not only the cost of printing the individual books for donors, but I'd also really like to pay a professional proofreader to go over it before putting it into print, and pay a professional designer to do the layout. I'd like to pay a cover artist decently, too. Those are the main expenses this Kickstarter is designed to cover.
This omnibus paperback will include volumes one, two, and three of the ebooks, which is chapters 1 through 201 from the website.
By supporting this Kickstarter at the $25 level, you can pre-order an autographed copy of the book. See the list on this page for all the various fun goodies you can get as a supporter, like band logo T-shirts and stickers, and other cool stuff, too.
T-Shirts are Cool
The "1989 Tour" T-shirts will be manufactured by a local company in Somerville, Mass. called Hemlock Ink. I love supporting local businesses when I can, and especially cool ones like them. The shirts will be black and feature the white and gray logo (with guitar) shown below, unless they're so popular that we order enough I can give people a choice between the monochromo logo and the gray and red logo. If you donate at a level where a shirt is part of your rewards, you'll get a questionnaire from me soon asking for your preference on size and color.
Donor levels shown are for US & Canada residents. If you are outside the US/Canada, please add the appropriate additional amount to allow for the shipping of your item ($10 for a T-shirt, $12 for a book, $14 for both) and also anyone who orders a shirt sized XXL or larger, please add $5 to your donation amount.
In the event we raise more than the minimum of $2,750, though, I've got some incentives for everyone. If we reach $3,500, Daron will do a live online chat with all donors. If we reach $4,000, Ziggy will do one. If we reach $4,500 they'll BOTH do one together, and if possible we'll do it in a MixApp room or Google hangout so they can DJ the chat with music! If we exceed the minimum goal, I would also be able to increase the quality of the paper the book is printed on, as well as the quality of the design work and art.
Thank you so very much for reading, for listening, and for your support.
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