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The charming story of two brothers who discover that -- with a little imagination -- a jellyfish might be the most useful friend ever!
The charming story of two brothers who discover that -- with a little imagination -- a jellyfish might be the most useful friend ever!
The charming story of two brothers who discover that -- with a little imagination -- a jellyfish might be the most useful friend ever!
205 backers pledged $11,184 to help bring this project to life.

About this project

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"Sometimes You Need a Jellyfish" Children's Book

$11,184

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Thank you so much for your support! For more information on this book and to order copies, go to JellyfishBook.com!

In 2009 I became a full-time stay-at-home dad, to my then-8-month-old son, Tucker. My days with him were -- and continue to be -- amazing. Life-changing, really, in ways that I never expected.

One of those ways was in how he inspired me creatively.

The Routly Family; Chris, Anna, Tucker (6) and Coltrane (3). | Photo credit Jeff Bogle
The Routly Family; Chris, Anna, Tucker (6) and Coltrane (3). | Photo credit Jeff Bogle

Despite attending film school in classical animation, and a childhood full of dreams that I would someday draw comic books for a living, for many years my freelance work as an artist was in the realm of web and graphic design instead. To scratch that creative itch, and to have a little bit more fun, I have done a few web comics in my "spare time" and found them hugely satisfying. However, with the changes in life that come with the arrival of a baby, I had been finding it tough to commit to regular, thrice-weekly comic strips. My schedule was not my own, if you know what I mean.

When decorating Tucker's nursery, I had illustrated a series of animals, one for every letter of the alphabet. One day when reading him a slobber-covered board book, I somehow I got the notion that I should turn them into a book of my own.

I did that, when I released The Animalphabet, printed through an on-demand service. This was followed shortly by Now I Eat My ABCs, featuring fruits and veggies instead of animals, and a Spanish-language adaption of The Animalphabet called El Animalfabeto. Neither sold many copies beyond friends and family, but then I also got the chance to work with my dear friend Mike Howerton on his book Wonder, and much to my surprise, I discovered that I loved making kid's books. I wanted more.

I knew I wanted to move on from alphabet books and to try my hand at something bigger -- something fun and rhyming and with a real story and characters. After playing with a few ideas, inspiration finally hit one day when I was lying on the floor, drawing with Tucker. I asked him what he would like me to draw for him, and he requested a jellyfish.

"Why a jellyfish?" I asked, as I drew it for him.

"Because, Dada," he replied, "SOMETIMES YOU NEED A JELLYFISH!"

I knew I had the title of the book. After that, the ideas flowed and the rest fell into place quickly.

My original sketch for Tucker. Note his own version on the left -- this was one of the first times he ever drew something for me that was recognizable!
My original sketch for Tucker. Note his own version on the left -- this was one of the first times he ever drew something for me that was recognizable!

Over the next few days I wrote the story and then roughly sketched it out into a mock-up, that I could sit on the floor and read to Tucker and his newly-arrived baby brother Coltrane. They loved it.

Many months of work later, I had the illustrations complete, and began formatting the book for publication. Once again, I had it printed initially through an online print-on-demand service.  But this time, as soon as I saw the finished product, I knew that this one deserved better. This one needed to be done right.

I hope you'll agree.

Sometimes You Need a Jellyfish tells the story of two young tiger brothers. While packing to go visit their grandparents, one discovers that the other is bringing along a jellyfish for the trip. Why? Well, you'll have to read to find out!

Here's a sneak preview of the first few full-spread pages:

 I expect the finished, printed, 8 1/2" x 8 1/2" hardcover book to look something like this:

Since the book is almost complete, beyond minor changes and final file formatting for the printer, the vast majority of the funds I need to raise are to be used for printing, storing, and shipping the initial first-edition print run of "Sometimes You Need a Jellyfish," as well as costs associated with setting up my own self-publishing business, registering an ISBN number, and getting the book onto shelves and into the public eye.

Reward Level #1 - The Well-Wisher - $5

My eternal thanks, and a virtual high-five, for not wishing me any specific harm.

Reward Level #2 - The Digital - $15  

You also get my eternal thanks, and that sweet virtual high-five, PLUS you get digital copies of the book in PDF and eBook format.

Reward Level #3 - The Basic - $25

You get my eternal thanks, PLUS a signed first-edition hardcover copy of "Sometimes You Need a Jellyfish", a selection of fun goodies like stickers, temporary tattoos, and bookmarks, and your name in the Acknowledgements section of the book!

Reward Level #4 - The Fan Pack - $50

Everything in the "Basic" Level, PLUS you get a limited-edition jellyfish t-shirt, toddler shirt, or onesie! Stylin'!

(***Final t-shirt design/colors may be slightly different.*** Click here to read about my partnership with New Avenues INK, the non-profit Portland screen printing company I will be working with, that exists to provide job training and work experience for at-risk and homeless youth.)

Reward Level #5 - The Super-Fan - $65

Everything in the "Fan Pack" Level, PLUS a second first-edition hardcover copy of the book!

Reward Level #6 - The Book Worm - $100

Everything in the "Fan Pack" Level, plus three more first-edition hardcover copies of the book! (That's 4 books total!) In addition, your name will be included in the Special Thanks section of the book.

Reward Level #7 - The Artist - $300

Everything in the "Fan Pack" Level, plus a limited edition canvas art print featuring a scene from the book, signed by the artist. In addition, your name will be included in the Special Thanks section of the book.

Reward Level #8 - The Cameo - $1,000

Everything in the "Book Worm" Level, PLUS a cameo in the book by an animal of your choosing. It could be based on a favorite pet, a stuffed toy, or the whim of your child. (Limit 2)

Reward Level #9 - The Reading (West Coast) - $1,000

A personal appearance by the author to do a live reading of "Sometimes You Need a Jellyfish" at your school, book club, library, playgroup, or wherever else, within the states of Washington, Oregon or California, as well as an age-appropriate basic cartooning lesson. Includes 10 copies of the book.

Reward Level #10 - The Reading (US & Canada) - $2,000

A personal appearance by the author to do a live reading of "Sometimes You Need a Jellyfish" at your school, book club, library, playgroup, or wherever else, within the continental US or Canada, as well as an age-appropriate basic cartooning lesson. Includes 10 copies of the book.

Add-Ons

We now have Add-Ons! To find out more, click here.

         

At this point my goal is just to make the best book possible. To that end, initial stretch goals will be all about making a better product: better quality paper, embossing, a wraparound cover, etc.

Beyond that, here's what I have in mind:

    

For more information on stretch goals, and each of these specific goals, please read the update here.

Risks and challenges

One of the reasons I am so confident in this book is that it is, for all intents and purposes, done. You are definitely not buying a book that exists only as a manuscript and some promotional art. I have left room for a couple of animal cameos (see Reward Levels) which would need to be illustrated, but otherwise the book is ready to go!

So with that in mind, I expect that the only potential challenges will be those associated with getting the books printed, packed, and out the door to you. I am confident we'll have your book to you, looking amazing, in a timely manner.

The number one risk? Not making our goal! So please support, and share with your friends and family! Thank you.

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $5 or more About $5

    The WELL-WISHER: My eternal thanks, and a virtual high-five, for not wishing me any specific harm.

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  2. Select this reward

    Pledge $15 or more About $15

    The DIGITAL: You also get my eternal thanks, and that sweet virtual high-five, PLUS you get digital copies of the book in PDF and eBook format.

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    11 backers
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  3. Select this reward

    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    The BASIC: You get my eternal thanks, PLUS a signed first-edition hardcover copy of "Sometimes You Need a Jellyfish", a selection of fun goodies like stickers and bookmarks, and your name in the Acknowledgements section of the book!

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    117 backers
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  4. Select this reward

    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    The FAN PACK: Everything in the "BASIC" Level, PLUS you get a limited-edition jellyfish adult t-shirt, toddler shirt, or onesie! Stylin'!

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    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Limited 33 backers
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    Pledge $65 or more About $65

    The SUPER-FAN: Everything in the "FAN PACK" Level, PLUS a second copy of the book for yourself or to give to a friend!

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    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    7 backers
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  6. Select this reward

    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    The BOOK WORM: Everything in the "FAN PACK" Level, plus three more first-edition hardcover copies of the book! (That's 4 books total!) In addition, your name will be included in the Special Thanks section of the book.

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    18 backers
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  7. Select this reward

    Pledge $300 or more About $300

    The ARTIST: Everything in the "FAN PACK" Level, PLUS a limited edition canvas print of original artwork from the book, signed by the artist. In addition, your name will be included in the Special Thanks section of the book.

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    Pledge $1,000 or more About $1,000

    The CAMEO: Everything in the "BOOK WORM" Level, PLUS a cameo in the book by an animal of your choosing. It could be based on a favorite pet, a stuffed toy, or the whim of your child. (Limit 2)

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    Reward no longer available 2 backers
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    Pledge $1,000 or more About $1,000

    The READING (WEST COAST): A personal appearance by the author to do a live reading of "Sometimes You Need a Jellyfish" at your school, book club, library, playgroup, or wherever else, within WA, OR, or CA, as well as an age-appropriate basic cartooning lesson. Includes 10 copies of the book.

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  10. Select this reward

    Pledge $2,000 or more About $2,000

    The READING (US and Canada): A personal appearance by the author to do a live reading of "Sometimes You Need a Jellyfish" at your school, book club, library, playgroup, or wherever else, within the continental US or Canada, as well as an age-appropriate basic cartooning lesson. Includes 10 copies of the book.

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Funding period

- (30 days)