"Elizabeth Donald is a writer fond of things that go chomp in the night," or so I usually begin my bio. My novels include vampires, zombies, aliens, evil teddy bears, ghosts and the occasional homicidal human. I am a three-time winner of the Darrell Award, a Prism nominee and have received critical acclaim for my work in speculative fiction. With five books on the shelf and several more ebooks published over the last ten years, I have a number of new projects on their way in the small press - but that isn't why I'm seeking your support.
In October, I will be required to take a one-week furlough from my day job as a newspaper reporter. After I finished cursing and downed a chocolate-peanut butter milkshake, I thought of a way to turn this particular sow's ear into the best silk purse ever.
One thing I have never been able to do in ten years as a published author is a major book tour. With the constraints of life as a reporter, I simply have not been able to travel farther than about five hours from my home near St. Louis. It's been difficult to give my regrets to readers in Pennsylvania, New York and other points both east and west, but since airfare isn't free and cars take time to travel the roads, I simply haven't been able to go everywhere I've been invited.
But time off work isn't so much of an issue when you're on furlough. So I'm planning an ambitious book tour, taking me halfway across the nation and back again. I want to spend my furlough speaking and signing in the places I've never been able to go, meeting the readers who've asked me to appear for years.
Coffeehouses. Libraries. Book clubs. I'll set up anywhere they'll have me! The formal book signing is sometimes intimidating, and I prefer a more casual meet-and-greet where people can share a cup of coffee and ask questions they might not feel comfortable asking in a bookstore with people standing in line behind them. I'll be reading from my new work as well as my older projects; I might even take requests!
The tour is timed to coincide with the release of a new project: a reimagining of The Dreadmire Chronicles. Dreadmire is an early fantasy novel of mine that will be re-released in a new, improved edition by Inkstained Succubus Press in October. I am very excited that this story will see new life - or unlife, depending on your definition - and I'm looking forward to bringing it across the country with me.
In addition, a new novella is in the works! Gethsemene is a unique work that will be released to backers of this tour months before its popular release. This project will help fund that release, with a projected launch in December.
How far will I get? That depends on you! It all starts at the Harvest Thyme Book Festival in Carlyle, Ill., which will host me on Oct. 12. Then I'm off! The preferred route would take me all the way to New York City and even possibly up to New England before I have to head back to St. Louis. There are a variety of shorter routes planned, depending on how much I am able to raise. I've set the goal for this Kickstarter at the minimum needed to get me to New York and back, plus the novella's print run.
Among the items planned for this Kickstarter:
- A rental car for 10 days, as my dilapidated 14-year-old Toyota is not up to the task.
- Gas for 2,000-3,000 miles of driving.
- Stock of books to offer along the tour.
- The occasional motel room - even authors need sleep!
- Development and release of Gethsemene
This tour would not even be a possibility if it were not for the kind folks in several towns who have already pledged housing space for me along the route. That saves me several nights in hotels, and enables me to set the cost much lower. That won't be possible in every stop, of course, but it makes a big difference.
In addition, you get to follow along with me! I'll be Tweeting, blogging and posting photos across my journey, tagged #furloughtour. I'm looking forward to seeing things I've never seen, meeting new people and sharing everything I see with all of you. It's going to be a great adventure!
Risks and challenges
It's cross-country travel; anything can go wrong. I'm building in a flexible schedule to allow for delays on the highway and other problems that can't be foreseen. I've been traveling pretty regularly since my first book was picked up in 2004; at its height, I spent 31 nights a year in hotel rooms. I'm hopeful I'll be up to the task. One benefit to not risking my ancient jalopy's questionable transmission on the road: if there are car issues, they will be the rental company's problem!
It's short notice for setting up signings, but I'm hoping that focusing on coffeehouse chats over formal booksignings will lead to more flexibility.
I don't anticipate delays with the book release, but the novella is still in production. That's why I've set the mailing date for packages including that item a month later than the others.
If zombies rise? We're on our own.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (10 days)