About this project
New Mini-Stretch Goal Announced: "Ten Generations" Bookplate Stamp
At 22K, Jamin will custom design a 2nd "Wishes of the Fish King" bookplate stamp. This one will go inside the back cover of the book and will provide a space for ten generations (or owners) to record their ownership of the book and the date it was passed on to someone in the next generation. We hope this addition will enhance your family's experience of "The Wishes of the Fish King" as a multi-generational gift!
Stretch Goal #3 (20K) is a DONE DEAL! An Original Musical Score to Accompany the Book, + an Audio Book version of the Fish King!
You've nabbed the 20K stretch goal now! That means Douglas Kaine McKelvey’s daughter Ella, a gifted composer who studied for years at Vanderbilt’s Blair School of Music, will translate the mood and movement of The Wishes of the Fish King into a 20-25 minute musical score perfect for playing as you read the book aloud with your child, and also perfect for leaving on afterwards as they fall asleep. At this stretch goal we will also record an audio book version, so children younger than reading age can enjoy the book on their own. And just announced: If we reach 25K, 2-Time Grammy Winning Producer Charlie Peacock takes the helm as producer of the book's musical "soundtrack"!
Stretch Goal #2 (17.5K) is in the Bag! All Art Prints are now BIGGIE-SIZED!!
Because this 2nd stretch goal was reached, all The Wishes of the Fish King art prints (at every applicable reward level + add-on prints) have magically increased in size from 8"x10" to 11"x14"! SHAZAM!
You Have Netted Stretch Goal #1! (15K) We are adding 4 PAGES & 2 NEW PAINTINGS to the book!
We have reached 15K! That means Jamin will paint 2 EXTRA ILLUSTRATION SPREADS for The Wishes of the Fish King book and eBook, increasing the length by 4 pages. We will re-imagine where the page breaks fall in the flow of text in order to bring you two gorgeous additional Jamin Still illustrations.
JUST ADDED: "Stories We Shared; a Family Book Journal" add-on option!!!
Halfway through the campaign, we've had an idea. And though it seems a bit crazy to launch it midstream, we're too excited about it not to. Stories We Shared will be a gorgeous, hardback, reading journal designed specifically with parents and children in mind; a thoughtful way to record the shared literary journey that a family embarks on together. We envision beautiful art from Jamin, an intro essay from me, spaces to record title, author, and notes from several hundred books, plus a number of added features (like literary quotes peppered amongst the pages) that will make it an even more useful and inspiring volume for families to enjoy together. We're guessing this will be a book resource many of you will want for your own families or to give as a gift. Stories We Shared is available as part of two NEW Reward Levels (THE ROYAL FAMILY, and THE ROYAL BABY GIFT BUNDLE) and is also a $20 add-on option to any reward level. Check out Update #10 for more specifics.
New Baby Shower Gift Package + Personalization Option Added!
If you're looking for a thoughtful baby shower gift (though keep in mind it won't ship till November 2016!), take a look at our new THE ROYAL BABY GIFT BUNDLE reward.
One of the funnest things about that level is that your copy of the book gets customized and personalized with an original sketch from Jamin Still, and a couple of lines of original, poetic blessing for a child, penned by Douglas Kaine McKelvey. Here's a sample:
This new personalization option is also available as a $25 add-on to any existing reward level that includes a copy of the book!
About The Wishes of the Fish King
"Fairy tales say that apples were golden only to refresh the forgotten moment when we found that they were green. They make rivers run with wine only to make us remember, for one wild moment, that they run with water." --G.K. Chesteron, Orthodoxy
The Wishes of the Fish King is a poignant, poetic reflection on a bright and fleeting season, expressed in the voice of a parent but seen through the innocent eyes and fantastic imagination of a child. The story conjures fairy tale elements, blending them seamlessly with the natural world and making one bright weave of the two. The words and images flow into one another, transporting readers inside a storybook universe, where one briefly remembers that the wonders of this world are--especially when experienced for the first time by a young child--as deeply fraught with real magic as any fairy tale ever was.
Written by author, poet & lyricist Douglas Kaine McKelvey (The Angel Knew Papa and the Dog) and illustrated by Jamin Still (Ellen and the Winter Wolves), The Wishes of the Fish King is all about "making us remember, for one wild moment," the wonders of this brief, shared life.
What makes The Wishes of the Fish King unique?
This is a children's book, but it is a children's book for generations; mesmerizing for the child, and poignant for the adult. In fact, the book is designed to be a "full-circle" experience, so that a child who returns to The Wishes of the Fish King as an adult will find in it then a deeper layer of wonder & longing than they had first perceived. In that sense it is a story that readers will continue to grow into throughout their lives.
The Wishes of the Fish King unfolds as a bright reminiscing, a luminous & joyful ache that hovers in that wonder-filled space between fantasy and reality. Poignant, lyrical text paired with magic-laced paintings create a mesmerizing book for children as well as for the child that still resides in the heart of every adult. This is a story meant for generations to read aloud, share and delight in together!
The Story Behind the Story
I wrote The Wishes of the Fish King when my first daughter (I have 3 of them now!) was two years old. We lived in a house on a hill at the edge of a forest, surrounded by sweeping views of fields and hills and pond and wood. At dusk we would walk together and explore this wonder-filled world. I was privileged to be my daughter's first tour guide to the many magics that pervade creation, and I was blessed to shed my own worn out vision and to see the world again, as if for the first time, through her eyes. It was a short, precious, magical season.
But even as we were living it, I was consciously grieving the impending loss of it, for I knew it would pass so soon and would be but a memory for me, and for my daughter it would not even be that. She was too young to remember. And so I set out to record in words, and in images built of words, a sense of what that season had been to her and to me. I began the writing of the story for myself and my daughter, but by the time I had finished, I realized it wasn't just about capturing that brief magic time in our shared lives, it was really about naming that precious, luminous season for other parents and children as well.
I wrote The Wishes of the Fish King and set it aside, tucked away in a drawer. I set it aside for 18 years. I had other books published in that time, but I held on to this one because I instinctively knew that it was a delicate weave, a shimmering sort of dream. Because of that, the illustrations had to be just right. I was waiting to find a painter whose works were already luminous with a blending of nature and the magic that lies beneath our world, of landscapes and animals and children, of leafy boats and shimmering gardens and fantastical voyages across sea and sky. I wanted a painter whose images were already brimming with stories.
When I discovered the paintings of Jamin Still, I knew I had at last stumbled upon the perfect illustrator for The Wishes of the Fish King. When I further learned that Jamin was a first-time father with a young son just approaching the advent of the same precious, magical season that the story describes, I knew this would be the perfect time to enlist him. I want the illustrations to capture Jamin's particular vision in this brief season with his son, even as the words captured my experience with my daughter almost 2 decades ago.
My hope is that The Wishes of the Fish King will find its place in the world as a gift to serve families for generations; one that will be shared by grandparents and parents and children together. When a child is introduced to this story at a young age and then grows up and pulls The Wishes of the Fish King from the shelf and reads it to their own child for the first time--that's when the work of the story comes full circle and is complete. Because it is both a celebration of that magical season while it lasts, and a looking forward to what is to come in the years ahead. It is a remembering of the beauty that has already been, and a comforting reminder that though we will one day be gone, the beauty and wonder will remain, and the magic of the love we share in our brief days will continue to ripple across generations.
So now, fully 18 years after I first penned the story, I am delighted, with Jamin's help, to invite you to join me in finally making The Wishes of the Fish King a reality.
A Sample from the Manuscript
About Douglas Kaine McKelvey
Douglas Kaine McKelvey has honed his craft over two decades as a full-time author, writer, essayist, poet and song lyricist. His published works include a short novel (The Angel Knew Papa and the Dog), 2 picture books, a collection of poetry, numerous articles, more than 300 recorded songs, and various collaborative art and film projects (as well as a new fantasy novel currently in its final edit). Douglas happily dwells in the long shadows south of Nashville, TN with his Norwegianish wife and their 3 semi-Norwegianish daughters.
About Jamin Still
Jamin lives in Wichita, Kansas with his wife and young son. He does creative work for a living and is the author and illustrator of Ellen and the Winter Wolves. He's been drawing since he was small and has enjoyed stories since before he can remember.
Pledge Level Rewards
***Want to add an extra book or art print to your reward? Scroll past our reward banners to see the new "Add-On Rewards" Chart!***
Want to Add-On to your Rewards?
Simply choose an item from this chart and add the appropriate amount to your pledge total. We'll follow up later with a survey to make sure you get the rewards you want. Note that the +1 Tickets for the "ROYAL BALL" live book release event are only available as an add-on for those who have already funded at a level that includes admission!
15K Stretch Goal #1... ADD 4 PAGES! DONE!!!
When we reach this goal, Jamin will paint 2 EXTRA ILLUSTRATION SPREADS for The Wishes of the Fish King book and eBook, increasing the length from 32 pages to 36. We will re-imagine where the page breaks fall in the flow of text in order to bring you two gorgeous additional Jamin Still illustrations. If you love you some Jamin paintings like we love us some Jamin paintings, please help us reach this stretch goal!
17.5K Stretch Goal #2… BIGGIE SIZE the ART PRINTS!! DONE!!!!
When this 2nd stretch goal is reached, all The Wishes of the Fish King art prints (at every applicable funding level) will magically increase in size from 8"x10" to 11"x14"! SHAZAM!
20K Stretch Goal #3… The SOUNDTRACK!!! + AUDIO BOOK!!! DONE!!!!!
Douglas Kaine McKelvey’s daughter Ella, a gifted composer who studied for years at Vanderbilt’s Blair School of Music, will translate the mood and movement of The Wishes of the Fish King into a 20-25 minute musical score perfect for playing as you read the book aloud with your child, and also perfect for leaving on afterwards as they fall asleep. At this stretch goal we will also record an audio book version, so children younger than reading age can enjoy the book on their own.
25K Stretch Goal #4… MYSTERY GOAL!!!!
This MYSTERIOUS & WONDERFUL stretch goal will be revealed when we reach our second stretch goal at 17.5K. HINT: It will be worth it!
Answers to Questions
Q.Following the Kickstarter campaign, where will The Wishes of the Fish King be sold?
A. The book will be stocked by the Rabbit Room online store and will have distribution to brick-and-mortar bookstores nationwide through Ingram. It will be available for order on Amazon as well. The eBook will also be available on Amazon.
Q. What age group is The Wishes of the Fish King suitable for?
A. The words and images of The Wishes of the Fish King should appeal to a lot of kids as young as 2 (really, whenever they're old enough to sit and be engaged by a picture book read to them) but it's a book that has a depth of substance and that's intended for generations to share. Parents will find a layer of emotional content in the story that is engaging to them. As will grandparents. My hope is to create a book that a young child will connect with, and then continue to "grow into" for the next several decades of their life.
Q. What will the funds be used for?
A. The story is long since written. The primary costs of creating The Wishes of the Fish King are these:
1. The physical printing and shipping of at least 1,000 full-color hardback copies of the book. The majority of funds will go to this. I would love to print in a larger quantity if I have enough funders to justify doing so.
2. Creating the Rewards! Cost of printing high quality art prints. Paying for the creation of an illustration-centered eBook. Costs involved in producing the handcrafted, hand-bound, "treasure" editions of the book to be created by bookbinding artisan Lanier Ivester. Cost of securing a space and staging the live book release party with food and live music.
3. I'm offering Jamin an upfront advance to secure the necessary time this summer to paint the remaining illustrations for the book. This should enable me to stay on a schedule to have the books completed and shipped to backers before Thanksgiving.
4. Shipping Costs: between the cost of padded envelopes, mailing tubes, and actual postage, I figure $3.50-$5.00 x the number of project funders with shippable rewards. This expense adds up quick!
5. 8% of the total funding raised goes to Kickstarter fees and to required funds transfer fees.
6. I've budgeted a (very) narrow margin as well for unforeseen expenses that could crop up anywhere in the design, production, and fulfillment processes.
Risks and challenges
As with any project there is the possibility of unforeseen difficulties. It may take Jamin longer than anticipated to illustrate the book, for example, or we could run into issues with the always-complex design and layout process. But Douglas ran a successful Kickstarter campaign in 2013 (under a joint-venture name) and Jamin ran a successful campaign for his own book in 2015. In both cases they delivered their products in a timely manner.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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