Stretch Goal: Publicity, Marketing & Book Tour!
Ordered by most backers. NYC area Backers have pulled into 3rd place.
9k - San Francisco Bay Area [Done!]
10k - St Louis, MO [Done!]
11k - New York and Washington DC (+ Claymont) [Done!]
12k - Los Angeles, Seattle, and Portland
My name is Tony Brasunas. I've written a book and want to share it with the world, but I need your help. Please join me on the adventure—make a book with me!
At twenty-two, I had never left the United States, nor taught a class on anything. I applied with an organization called Princeton in Asia to go to China, and they sent me to teach English at a high school in the hot, huge city of Guangzhou. The journey that changed me forever, that broke open my heart and expanded my universe, that awakened my mind and taught trust in my intuition began there in a high school classroom in coastal China and culminated on the plateaus of Tibet.
The story opens at Peizheng Middle School when 32 rambunctious ninth graders jostle into a classroom and gape at their school's resident celebrity. Utilizing game shows, skits, and oral reports, and playing folk songs on my acoustic guitar, it takes months before I stumble upon how to teach them English. Out in the streets, I am the student, force-fed lessons by an unfamiliar city: I get ripped off repeatedly in the markets, struggle as my ears open to Mandarin, and fall deathly ill in a hospital. Through survival, contemplation, and mouth-watering rabbit, an insatiable thirst to understand China drives me ever deeper into local life.
After the school year, I leave the city behind and backpack across the Middle Kingdom by train, bus, and bicycle. I meet Han Chinese, Tibetans, Hui Muslims, and people of countless other ethnicities and walks of life. When China reclaims the British colony of Hong Kong, I march alongside the People's Liberation Army to clear Tiananmen Square. From there, alone and curious, my trail leads me to the Silk Road in the north and to the remote waterfalls of Tiger Leaping Gorge in the south. Beside a Tibetan monastery in Xiahe, after months of abiding by abstemious local rules of affection, I finally open my heart.
A journey across China and into the heart of a young American, Double Happiness is a labor of love and a tale of transformation. It's a soulful and rugged adventure in an ancient kingdom during the complex and exhilarating time of modernization.
The manuscript has been meticulously edited and revised, and it is complete.
A narrative cross between the courageous and risky Into the Wild and the humorous and introspective Eat, Pray, Love, the story of Double Happiness recounts a dauntless search by a curious young American far from his roots in this time of globalization. The book will appeal to adventurous people in their teens, twenties, and thirties seeking their place in a shrinking world. Double Happiness will also appeal to armchair travelers, to English teachers, to China followers, to intrepid backpackers, to Americans living in Asia, and to anyone interested in a young man's coming of age in a foreign land.
Why Double Happiness?
Double Happiness (囍) is an unusual Chinese character. It is formed by taking two of the normal character for "happiness" (喜) and pushing them together. This forms "double happiness," or shuang xi (雙喜), often written its own way: 囍. This character—and the notion "Double Happiness"—describes a happiness that comes from a union of two things.
My story is about teaching and traveling, and the chapters of the book are interwoven in such a way that these two parallel experiences are united in the narration. Also, throughout the story is an underlying search for a union between two happinesses—the happiness that comes from one's desires fulfilled, and the happiness that comes from a delighted awareness of what already is.
What is the Point of the Book?
Were there just one point, I might have written a haiku instead of a book!
The story is about the power of humor and love and pain and discovery. It's a tale of trust and exploration—and finally what happens when we let go of our fears and follow our intuition.
"Learning consists in daily accumulating,
The practice of the Tao consists in daily diminishing."
- Tao Te Ching, 48
How Does the Book Fit Into the World Today?
Double Happiness is a calm, quiet, humorous, incisive account of awakening by a young American. It is also a product and a reflection of our modern times. Thus, if we step back and look at the new globalism—the current movement to unite our planet's peoples, spread peace and prosperity more equally, and save our life-sustaining climate—the tale of an American going out into the world, learning it is far bigger than he thought, and being personally transformed by the experience is something that we as a planet of interdependent individuals can hear and celebrate. My hope today is that this transformation and others like it affecting people all over the world will overtake our planet and open us more deeply to love, wisdom, and peace.
This is the book's very first page:
To read the rest of the prologue, click here.
Watch Tony read the book's first chapter:
My name is Tony Brasunas. I love music, good food, soccer, the truth, laughter, solar energy, travel, open hearts, and curious minds. When I'm not writing, I'm programming websites at a solar energy company in Oakland, playing guitar and soccer with friends, and traveling with my wife. I grew up in an intentional spiritual community others might call a hippie commune in West Virginia. I went to a public high school in Atlanta, a conservative college in New England, and then I boarded a plane for Communist China. I didn't study politics in China, but the year I spent there awakened me, broke me open, and transformed my life. I've written this book to share my experiences there, and nearly ten years in the writing, it's now time to publish it into a beautiful and suitable volume. If you think you might like me, you'll probably like my book even more, and if you support publishing my book, I'll connect with you, send you some of the great rewards described at left, and the book will be much better because of your participation!
Kickstarter is the most popular form of "Crowd Funding" available today. Kickstarter allows creative people with a dream to directly approach people like you. You participate via Kickstarter in a creative dream and help to make that dream come true. Plus, you often come away with something creative and cool.
Kickstarter is the ideal path to publication for Double Happiness. At its heart, Double Happiness is a tale of adventure, and Kickstarter brings adventure to the process of publishing a book. It's a risk to put my dream here on this web page and hope people like you will see it and support it. I don't know who I'm going to connect with! And it was taking exactly this kind of risk that led to the journeys and discoveries Double Happiness is written to share.
Why Did You Choose the Amount, $8888?
This amount is the minimum I need to produce Double Happiness. Fortuitously, 8888, or 88-88, also happens to be a number the Chinese consider extraordinarily lucky. In fact the pairs of eights are considered to resemble and evoke the principle of shuang xi (囍)—"double happiness"—one meaning of which is the happiness that comes from the union of two things. So for Double Happiness, $8888 is both essential and lucky.
What Will You Use the Funds For?
The funds raised by this Kickstarter will cover the costs of designing and producing the book and bringing it to market. You will help me to:
- Hire a book designer to create an e-book, a paperback, and hardcover.
- Work with a cover designer to make a cover that looks great both in print and electronically.
- Complete work with an illustrator who has begun drawing the maps.
- Pay literary usage permissions for several copyrighted quotations.
- Pay initial set-up fee for electronic publication.
- Cover the printing costs for the first run of books.
- Do outreach and marketing.
- Create and ship the great rewards, listed at right, to your mailbox.
How Close Are You to Completing the Book?
It is done and complete. I've been working on it meticulously for a decade, and the manuscript is now finished and polished. I've edited and revised it extensively, as well as hired a professional editor to assist with narrative structure and a secondary editor to comb through the manuscript for grammar, style, and usage. The manuscript is done and complete. The time has come to publish it and share it with the world!
What Are Your Stretch Goals If You Raise More Than $8888?
Here we are, and your generous support has indeed brought us over the initial goal! I'm thrilled and will put more resources into creating a beautiful book, and, most of all, into marketing and distributing the finished product, so that it will reach more people across the world. Most exciting of all, I want to launch a Book Tour! I will add cities to the tour in order by Most Backers, so that I can see as many of you as I can and deliver many rewards in person!
The current Double Happy Book Tour:
9k - San Francisco Bay Area
10k - St Louis, MO
11k - New York and Washington DC (+ Claymont)
The cities I hope to add:
12k - Los Angeles, Seattle, and Portland
13k - Chicago and Atlanta or Boston
15K - If we get here, I'll be able to do some serious, creative marketing of Double Happiness to spread the word far and wide! Plus two more cities on the tour. Plus I'll create Double Happiness 'Adventure Water Bottles,' for you to take on your own adventures. Have Fun, Take Risks, Stay Hydrated! This will be included for all GRAND HERO Backers and above.
My eternal gratitude for visiting this page, considering this project, watching the video, and supporting Double Happiness. Everything about this book is a work of gratitude. I am first and foremost grateful that I had the opportunity to travel to China, to teach there, and to travel further—into China, and into myself. I'm grateful too that I lived to tell the tale. I thank the universe every day for the adventures, the fun, the lessons, the challenges, the forgiveness I found there. It is with this gratitude that I wrote Double Happiness and that I stand before you today seeking your help in publishing the story. The journey hasn't always been predictable, and certainly hasn't always been easy, but it's always made me more fully awake, conscious, and alive.
My goal with Double Happiness is to express my gratitude by sharing what I learned, so that anyone who might find my experiences and lessons useful—including the many who may never be able to travel to China—can discover that most of our suffering is unnecessary and that a path to a deep and lasting happiness is available to us all at all times.
For My Chinese Visitors, Guests, and Backers
Explore, Connect, Contribute
If you are interested and haven't already, click the links above—'share' Double Happiness, 'tweet' Double Happiness, and connect with me and the book via www.Facebook.com/DoubleHappy and www.DoubleHappy.be.
And please pick your favorite reward level and fund Double Happiness at the highest level you're comfortable with.
Once again, thank you.
Risks and challenges
The most challenging part -- writing the manuscript -- is done. After ten years of work on my own and with several editors, it is complete. If this Kickstarter fully funds, the book will be published this calendar year, 2013. I won't fail, nor be delayed, barring acts of god or massive tragedy.
Of course, challenges can always arise in life, files can be deleted, printers can go bankrupt, trucks carrying books can drive into rivers. Should such tragedies unexpectedly befall this project, I will promptly keep all Backers informed by replying to all comments and questions posed to me and by updating this page often.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (27 days)