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Let's publish electronic and print editions of Shattering Glass, and give it a spectacular debut in Chicago and Flint.
118 backers pledged $5,771 to help bring this project to life.

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Quick Synopsis

Shattering Glass is an avant-garde romp through four students' first term of college, in which challenging coursework, expensive tuition, and romantic entanglements compete for attention with dangerous engines that turn memories into electricity. Samo has to overcome his poor high school grades, Ezzie is almost paralyzed by social anxiety, Dunya faces dropout if she can't obtain financial aid, and Monty is obsessed with the new college's secrets. The novel combines many features of my  hometown of Flint, Michigan and my alma mater of the University of Chicago, in the fictitious city of Arkaic, Michigan.

The Rapid Rise and Fall of Shattering Glass

By the time 2011 rolled around I had written several novels and was just settling into a beautiful new house in my hometown of Flint, Michigan, to which I had returned after fourteen years in the Big Apple and the City of Big Shoulders. I was also coming off of publishing Hungry Rats, a grim and gritty noir novel that had taken seven years to develop and which was also the subject of my MFA thesis and self-published via Kickstarter.  These adventures had been successful, but I was looking for something fun and easy and a little bit stupid, and Shattering Glass was supposed to be the answer.

Cover originally designed by Forge22 (Sam Perkins-Harbin) for Chapters 9 and 10.
Cover originally designed by Forge22 (Sam Perkins-Harbin) for Chapters 9 and 10.

Shattering Glass was intended to be a short, pulpy novella in which I could indulge in allusion, rhythms, and thematic sledge hammers.  The setting would be the fictitious Arkaic University, based upon the University of Chicago where I had gone to college. If you don't know, the U of C is a cult of learning afflicted with both insularity and a fever of intensity. Everyone there is -- admirably, perversely -- obsessed with something.To paraphrase the first chapter of Shattering Glass, "visitors are novitiates; here tread experts."  The city of Arkaic, Michigan has featured in other stories I've written and it, itself, is a much exaggerated version of Flint, which is an odd town, poor but inventive, cold but romantic, religious but radicalized, frustrated and frustrating.  

In Shattering Glass, wealthy philanthropist A. Olan, heir and chair of the Olan Foundation takes advantage of dismal property values to acquire the abandoned Arken County Lunatick Asylum and rehabilitate it as his pet university, but powerful and unseen forces move in the background.

With this in mind, I started writing chapters and throwing them up online.

Cover originally designed by Forge22 (Sam Perkins-Harbin) for Chapters 1 and 2.
Cover originally designed by Forge22 (Sam Perkins-Harbin) for Chapters 1 and 2.

But it turns out that you can't rush a good idea and, more, that a good idea will demand that it receive the time it needs.  When Sam O'Samuel, an aspiring astronaut with a high school GPA of 2.X managed to luck himself into the weird but prestigious university, he wasn't about to let me get sloppy with his future. After all, his real work had only just started.  The same went for Monty, a brilliant student who bought into all of the most outlandish conspiracies; he certainly wasn't going to let me off without responsibly defending his research.  Dunya, the California would-be dropout who accidentally discovered the answer to world hunger, wasn't taking any of my crap about finishing the book so I could "move on," and Ezzie, the confident playwright and confused ingénue kept me going with her silences.  What secrets was she keeping from me?

And so the novel stumbled along, with chapters released sporadically over a year-and-a-half, and its small audience largely evaporated.  However, when people did read Shattering Glass, they liked it. In fact, they liked it a lot. In this review, Critcal Winking was particularly kind:

"Coyne’s work has startling bright characters that ground a story that is prone to the fantastic. Strange things are happening constantly, but the characters stay very real in their reactions to these things."

I read that and I thought, this can work.  But I have to do it right.

Cover originally designed by Forge22 (Sam Perkins-Harbin) for Chapters 7 and 8.
Cover originally designed by Forge22 (Sam Perkins-Harbin) for Chapters 7 and 8.

Help me "do it right"

I've been through this publishing thing before. I've helped launch three issues of the Paramanu Pentaquark literary magazine on half of a shoestring, and then published Hungry Rats with considerably more support.  I'm still committed to stretching out each dollar, but I want to step up the game this time and give this flamboyantly theatrical novel an equally theatrical release. I don't want to choose between "this cool opportunity" and "that cool opportunity" anymore.  I want Shattering Glass to be awesome.

Here's a concise breakdown of the $5600 goal and what I expect it to accomplish:

PUBLISHING EXPENSES:

Documentation and Registration Needs (Barcode, Copyright Filing, ISBN Acquisition): $160

Editorial and Formatting Services: $300

Cover and Book Design Services: $300

Printing and Shipping Expenses (for a 160 copy print run of Shattering Glass):$1897.40

Subtotal: $2657.40

PUBLISHING / ADVERTISING / MARKETING EXPENSES

Book-Specific Materials (Press Kits, Promotional Materials, Envelopes, Postage): $418.30

Paid Advertising Costs (Chicago, Michigan): $300.00

Launch Expenses (Travel Expenses, Chicago Launch, Michigan Launch): $828.00

Subtotal: $1546.30

KICKSTARTER EXPENSES

Kickstarter Fee, Processing Fees, Kickstarter Video, Reward Fulfillment: $1420.00

Subtotal: $1420.00

GRAND TOTAL: $5623.70

Now I know what you're thinking: "What about that extra $23.70?!"  Don't worry, I'll be covering that out-of-pocket, as well as operating expenses, personal tour expenses (eg. coneys I eat while traveling), and the various other small things that come up.

I should sign off by saying that this project, while not a collaboration per se, nevertheless has been blessed with a lot of talent. Sam Perkins-Harbin designed eight beautiful covers for the original online-only release which I'll be making use of as much of possible during this campaign and through the book's launch.  Reinhardt Suarez, who bravely edited the choppy, rough waters of the original manuscript will be formatting the thing for Kindle, Nook, and anyone else who will have it.  Finally, the sharp video you see above was shot and assembled by Shane Gramling.  It was soundtracked by Flint's #1 folktronica band Arlow XanShattering Glass will be published under the umbrella of the Gothic Funk Press, Flint's own avant-garde publishing company.

Risks and challenges

Every artistic venture involves a certain amount of risk; that's the nature of the artistic enterprise. Publication, specifically, involves a lot of different components: registration, editing, cover design, book design, promotion, tour logistics, and so on... and while self-publishing has liberated writers from a contracting publishing industry, it does require an author to be something of a jack-of-all-trades.

I have striven to reduce the risk in this case by completing substantial edits prior to this campaign. Aside from a thorough proofread, the manuscript is ready to go right now. With the writing component largely taken care of, I'll be able to dedicate my time to over the next several months to publication and launch.

Once the campaign is successful, I'll need to figure out exactly *what* the launches are going to be. I'll have resources to provide for unique and enjoyable events (even with food and drinks!), but I won't have an infinite amount of money with which to spend my way to success. I'll need suggestions, from Flintstones/Flintoids and Chicagoans both on how to create genuinely exciting launch events.

Reward fulfillment was a bit of a difficulty with Hungry Rats, although I don't think anyone was stiffed or any feelings were hurt. For Shattering Glass, I've tried to space out reward fulfillment from August through October (with a couple complex rewards to be fulfilled in December) so that people are not kept waiting longer than they expect. I hope that backers will communicate with me about any problems they encounter and I'll fix the situation as quickly as I can.

Finally, the biggest risk is simply that the project won't "take" among its intended audiences. This is the one risk that it is largely beyond my power to address, as plenty of gems of novels fall undiscovered each year, and writers more talented than myself have languished in obscurity despite great effort and resourcefulness. Rest assured that I'm going to write, post, tweet, blog, read, and speechify about Shattering Glass until my voice is hoarse. But I hope -- indeed, need -- for you, its backers to match your financial investment with a spiritual investment.

Read the book. Review it. Tell your friends, family, coworkers, and enemies about it. In the end, that will be Shattering Glass' best chance for success.

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 1 or more About US$ 1.00

    ANTHROMANCER. You will receive (via email) a single line from the novel. For the love of humanity!

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    AN ARKAEN. Everyone who pledges any amount to Shattering Glass will receive an electronic .pdf of the novel in time for the Chicago and Flint launch events.

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    ANTHROMANCER. You will be acknowledged in both print and electronic versions of Shattering Glass.

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    STUDENT. You will receive, electronically, a letter of acceptance to Arkaic University, plus both ANTHROMANCER rewards.

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    STUDENT. You will receive, by mail, a letter of acceptance to Arkaic University, plus both ANTHROMANCER rewards.

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    STUDENT. You will receive, electronically, a membership card to the Arkaic University Student Organization of your choosing, plus both ANTHROMANCER rewards.

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    STUDENT. You will receive, by print, a membership card to the Arkaic University Student Organization of your choosing, plus both ANTHROMANCER rewards.

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    STUDENT. You will receive, electronically, one of the following: a copy of Dunya's high school notes on "ghosting," a page from one of Ezzie's plays, Samo's first impressions of the temporelectrical turbine, Monty's journaling on his Ouija Board experience, a complete list of Arkaic University Student Organizations, or the stolen secret recipe for coneys from the Atlantic Coney Island, plus both ANTHROMANCER rewards.

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    STUDENT. You will receive, electronically, your AB from Arkaic University in the undergraduate field of your choosing, plus both ANTHROMANCER rewards.

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    Pledge US$ 25 or more About US$ 25

    STUDENT. You will receive, by print, one of the following: a copy of Dunya's high school notes on "ghosting," a page from one of Ezzie's plays, Samo's first impressions of the temporelectrical turbine, Monty's journaling on his Ouija Board experience, a complete list of Arkaic University Student Organizations, or the stolen secret recipe for coneys from the Atlantis Coney Island, plus both ANTHROMANCER rewards.

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    STUDENT. You will receive, by mail, your AB from Arkaic University in the undergraduate field of your choosing, plus both ANTHROMANCER rewards.

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    DENIZEN OF CALLIOPE CRADLE. You will receive an electronic .pdf of Shattering Glass, plus one STUDENT reward, plus both ANTHROMANCER rewards.

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    DENIZEN OF CALLIOPE CRADLE. You will receive, in person or by mail, a print copy of Shattering Glass, plus one STUDENT reward, plus both ANTHROMANCER rewards.

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    Pledge US$ 60 or more About US$ 60

    DENIZEN OF CALLIOPE CRADLE. You will receive an electronic .pdf of Shattering Glass, BEFORE THE RELEASE DATE, plus one STUDENT reward, plus both ANTHROMANCER rewards.

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    Pledge US$ 70 or more About US$ 70

    DENIZEN OF CALLIOPE CRADLE. You will receive, in person or by mail, a Shattering Glass coffee mug, a print copy of Shattering Glass, plus one STUDENT reward, plus both ANTHROMANCER rewards.

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    Pledge US$ 80 or more About US$ 80

    DENIZEN OF CALLIOPE CRADLE. You will receive, in person or by mail, a print copy of Shattering Glass, BEFORE THE RELEASE DATE, plus one STUDENT reward, plus both ANTHROMANCER rewards.

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    Pledge US$ 100 or more About US$ 100

    DENIZEN OF CALLIOPE CRADLE. You will receive, in person or by mail, a print copy of Shattering Glass BEFORE THE RELEASE DATE signed by the author, editor, illustrator, all four protagonists, and one antagonist, plus one STUDENT reward, plus both ANTHROMANCER rewards.

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    INDUSTRIOUS ACEDIAN. You will receive, by email, eight computer wallpaper options of Sam Perkins-Harbins' Shattering Glass serial covers, plus one DENIZEN reward, all STUDENT rewards, and both ANTHROMANCER rewards.

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    INDUSTRIOUS ACEDIAN. You will receive, by mail, a poster map of Arkaic University, plus one DENIZEN reward, all STUDENT rewards, and both ANTHROMANCER rewards.

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    INDUSTRIOUS ACEDIAN. You will receive, by mail, a copy of the "Best Of" Reinhardt Suarez's edits of the original manuscript, plus one DENIZEN reward, all STUDENT rewards, and both ANTHROMANCER rewards.

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    Pledge US$ 150 or more About US$ 150

    INDUSTRIOUS ACEDIAN. You will receive, by mail, a poster of one of Sam Perkins-Harbins' Shattering Glass serial covers, plus one DENIZEN reward, all STUDENT rewards, and both ANTHROMANCER rewards.

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    INDUSTRIOUS ACEDIAN. You will receive, by mail, a copy of the 2011 Artemis Hunt List, plus one DENIZEN reward, all STUDENT rewards, and both ANTHROMANCER rewards.

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    INDUSTRIOUS ACEDIAN. You will receive, by mail, either Samo's Temporelectrical Turbine T-Shirt or his Zombie Dolphin T-Shirt, plus one DENIZEN reward, all STUDENT rewards, and both ANTHROMANCER rewards.

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    BASEMENT PERSON... "Be Created" In collaboration with author Connor Coyne, you will be written into a Shattering Glass Single. You can be an Acedian, an Arkaen, a good guy, or a villain. There is even a chance that "you" will appear again when/if a Shattering Glass sequel is produced. You'll also receive all INDUSTRIOUS ACEDIAN rewards, one DENIZEN reward, all STUDENT rewards, and both ANTHROMANCER rewards. (For an example of a Shattering Glass Single, see http://www.connorcoyne.com/blog/2012/08/shattering-glass-2/)

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    BASEMENT PERSON... "Create" In collaboration with the Gothic Funk Press, you will get to write, produce, and/or record a piece of fiction, poetry, music, video, or art to be included in a Shattering Glass Single. There is even a chance that your creation will impact canon by influencing events when/if a Shattering Glass sequel is produced. You'll also receive all INDUSTRIOUS ACEDIAN rewards, one DENIZEN reward, all STUDENT rewards, and both ANTHROMANCER rewards. (For an example of a Shattering Glass Single, see http://www.connorcoyne.com/blog/2012/08/shattering-glass-2/)

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    BASEMENT PERSON... "Clever Allusion" A scene from Shattering Glass will be reinterpreted in the genre (eg. spaghetti western, teen paranormal romance, gnostic miscreant) or style (Ernest Hemingway, Toni Morrison, Marquis de Sade) of your choice (subject to veto... no David Icke). You'll also receive all INDUSTRIOUS ACEDIAN rewards, one DENIZEN reward, all STUDENT rewards, and both ANTHROMANCER rewards. For an example of such an adaptation, see the Lovecraft remix at: http://gothicfunkpress.com/files/Shattering%20Glass%20Single%201%20C.pdf

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    Pledge US$ 300 or more About US$ 300

    BASEMENT PERSON. "Be Created" with a bonus. Not only will you (in collaboration with Connor Coyne) be written into a Shattering Glass single, but members of musical-literary collective The Pork Chop Express (http://theporkchopexpress.com/) will write and record a song about your character to be included in the single. You will also receive, by mail, Monty's own annotated Ouija Board, all ACEDIAN rewards, one DENIZEN reward, all STUDENT rewards, and both ANTHROMANCER rewards.

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    BASEMENT PERSON. Ain't no reading like a Shattering Glass Reading! Author Connor Coyne will read from Shattering Glass and/or another book of your choice at your party or event (subject to veto... no David Icke), and is willing to take requests and dress appropriately for the occasion. You'll also be given the chance to "Be Created," "Create," or offer a "Clever Allusion"... see rewards above. (Note that Coyne's transportation and accommodation costs are not included in this reward.) You'll also receive all INDUSTRIOUS ACEDIAN rewards, one DENIZEN reward, all STUDENT rewards, and both ANTHROMANCER rewards.

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

    BASEMENT PERSON. Ain't no party like a Gothic Funk Party! In the tradition of the Gothic Funk Press, this party will include games, mysteries, live music, decor, and snacks, to be held in either Flint, Michigan or Chicago, Illinois. If you wish, author Connor Coyne will read from Shattering Glass and/or another book of your choice at your party or event (subject to veto... no David Icke), and is willing to take requests and dress appropriately for the occasion. If you wish, he will also help recruit additional authors to read at your event. This adventure will follow a spectacular meal in Hyde Park (if Chicago) or Flint. You'll also be given the chance to "Be Created," "Create," or offer a "Clever Allusion"... see rewards above. And finally, you'll receive all INDUSTRIOUS ACEDIAN rewards, one DENIZEN reward, all STUDENT rewards, and both ANTHROMANCER rewards.

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    Sometimes someone knows more than they know that they know. You'll receive a copy of Ezzie's script for "Quasimodo's Metamorphosis," ripe with clues regarding the future of Samo, Monty, Ezzie, Dunya, and Arkaic University. You'll also receive an Arkaic University party, reading and meal included, the chance to "Be Created," "Create," AND offer a "Clever Allusion"... see rewards above. And finally, you'll receive all INDUSTRIOUS ACEDIAN rewards, one DENIZEN reward, all STUDENT rewards, and both ANTHROMANCER rewards.

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Funding period

- (28 days)