It is high time we put the next two Schlock Mercenary books into print, and into your hands. We love these books, and we're excited for you to have them.
Broken Wind: Schlock Mercenary Volume 14
"Think of it as a great, big can full of sky... You could drop Mars into that can, and then tuck Luna and Europa in on top."
The Toughs have taken a small contract in a very, very big place. It's just the sort of mission Captain Tagon excels at, but his gunboat isn't answering to him, and his command chain includes the outed spy who stole the gunboat, the retired general who took it for a joyride, and the disgraced major from whom it was stolen in the first place.
With air on both sides of the airlock it's tempting to start throwing people through it. They'll fall for days, provided nothing with wings decides they look tasty...
This comprehensive print collection will be 176 pages long, perfect-bound in full color, with 9 pages of all-new story and over 30 pieces of margin art.
Delegates and Delegation: Schlock Mercenary Volume 15
"I have standing orders to start exactly zero wars."
Captain Alexia Murtaugh has a new ship, and a new contract to provide embassy security. Sergeant Schlock has a new title, and a shiny new "get out of jail free" card. Lieutenant Haley Sorlie has new friends, new implants for spying on them, and a newfound distaste for the politics of diplomacy.
As Earth orbits its way into a new century her people have new allies, new enemies, and that old, familiar panic one gets upon discovering that there really is something new under the sun.
This print collection will be 160 pages long, perfect-bound in full color, with 9 pages all new story, and over 30 pieces of margin art.
WHY WE USE KICKSTARTER
For years we handled our print runs by taking pre-orders in our online store. Last year we changed that, using Kickstarter for the pre-orders of Random Access Memorabilia: Schlock Mercenary Book 13. We were very pleased with the way it worked out.
- We like Kickstarter's system for communication between us and you, our backers.
- Kickstarter delivers a great pre-order experience for backers, and with Backerkit we get very robust fulfillment tools, making the job of shipping thousands of books much easier on us than it's been in the past.
- Kickstarting this print run lets us offer you more than we've been able to offer in the past.
When we say "offer more," we don't mean "more pages." The books are finished, and we're all better served if we don't mess around with that part. We'll be offering additional merchandise, both physical and digital, that we wouldn't otherwise be able to produce. You'll find those in the Stretch Goals.
$60,000 Desktop Backgrounds - UNLOCKED!
All backers at 1 book pdf level and above will get desktop backgrounds featuring the cover art for Broken Wind and Delegates & Delegation.
(Howard has finished a few of them already, and is trying them out.)
$70,000 Fleet coins - UNLOCKED!
Three new ship coins, one each for Broken Wind, Neosynchronicity, and Cindercone. The coins will be available to purchase as add-ons for $10 each. We cleared this goal, and Howard has finished the line-art for the ships. Here's Broken Wind:
$80,000 Maxim 70 Key fob - UNLOCKED!
Maxim 70 reads: "Failure isn't an option. It's mandatory. The option is whether or not to let failure be the last thing you do" Our M70 coin has been one of our most popular challenge coins. This time we want to reprint it as a key fob, so that you can more easily keep it close. The key fob will be available as an add-on for $10.
$90,000 The Reprints - UNLOCKED!
Teraport Wars: Schlock Mercenary Volume 2, is almost out of stock, posing a problem for building book sets. A second printing isn't cheap, so that's where the lion's share of these stretch funds will end up.
Reprints aren't terribly exciting, however, so we're offering you something else, too:
This will be a PDF/Mobi/ebook collection of stories that have appeared in other publications. Absence of paper notwithstanding, that does technically make it a reprint, and we've just said that's not exciting, but it should be exciting because most of you haven't seen these, so they're new to you. Also, they'll be included with any purchase that includes electronic versions of books 14 and 15.
The four stories in this book are "UI," first appearing Shared Nightmares, "An Honest Death," first appearing in Shadows Beneath, "Flight of the Runewright" from Space Eldritch, and "Fall of the Runewrought" from Space Eldritch II: The Haunted Stars. Taken together they add up to about 46,000+ words, which is about half the length of your average novel.
This story collection will be given to all backers at 2 book PDF level and above.
$105,000 More coins - UNLOCKED!
Two more challenge coins: Sanctum Adroit, which is the contract police force of Eina Afa (and Murtaugh's former employer) and JSC, the Jurisindependent Security Covenant, the capitol city police of Dom Atlantis on Earth. These coins are available as add-ons for $10 each.
$110,000 Sketch Book PDF UNLOCKED!
Howard Tayler Retrospective Sketch Book PDF. We've often been told by readers that they enjoy watching the development of Howard's artistic skills as the comic strip continues. We intend to use this sketch book to examine that process and tell stories about how it all happened. The PDF will be at least 32 pages and will include sketches and art from Howard's last 18 years of drawing. It will feature a mix of strip art, sketches, margin art, and art that has never before been publicly available. This PDF will be given to all backers at 2 book PDF level and above.
$125,000 R&D UNLOCKED!
If we reach this goal, we'll have created enough financial space that Howard can devote some time to work on something a little different: pulp detective fiction in the Schlock Mercenary universe, featuring some characters we haven't seen since Sergeant Schlock helped them escape the authorities on Mars.
Shafter's Shifters and the Dragons of Damaxuri would be prose, probably in the 40,000 to 60,000 word range. Think "Doc Savage" meets "Dirk Gently," with amorphs.
We aren't promising this book as an add-on for this project. We're promising that if we hit this stretch goal we'll MAKE this book, and either e-publish or Kickstart it (or both) sometime in the next 12 months.
Pledging for Add-Ons
An "Add-on" is additional merchandise that you can purchase after the Kickstarter closes to add to your package. We'll be using Backerkit to manage surveys, collecting address, and allow add-on ordering. About two weeks after funding closes, you'll get an email from Backerkit to allow all of this. In Backerkit you can purchase additional items that aren't automatically included in your pledge. You don't have to wait, though! If you increase your pledge to cover the cost of add-ons while the project is still running, you help us reach our stretch goals more quickly.
Example: You've pledged for $40 to get both books, but you also want three coins. Just increase your pledge by the cost of the coins ($40 + $30 = $70). When the project closes, you'll be sent a survey which will show you how much you pledged, and which will allow you to specify exactly what you want your additional pledge money spent on. Please see the shipping section to learn about additional shipping costs for add-ons.
All previously published Schlock Mercenary books will be available as add-ons. Here are the prices on previous Schlock Mercenary books:
There is a fixed shipping cost per pledge level based on your location and pledge level. This is handled automatically by Kickstarter's system. If you are not adding anything to your order, you do not need to look at this chart. It is only meant as a help for people who are trying to increase their pledges to account for add ons. Add ons of physical items will have additional shipping costs, particularly for international backers. Adding in your expected shipping cost to your pledge can also help us reach stretch goals. You can calculate your add-on shipping costs using this chart. Please note these are actual costs for shipping items internationally. In some cases we are losing money by setting these price points.
This Kickstarter's funding period closes on Friday November 9. There is a two week waiting period until the project's funds are released to us. Surveys will go out then. We will send the books off to print as soon as we hit the funding goal, but production on coins or other add on items will wait until we have funds in hand and surveys answered.
We're really excited to run this Kickstarter for you. Thank you for your support.
Risks and challenges
The last time we ran a book Kickstarter there were a few "odds and ends" to finish up before sending the book to print. Due to creative schedule conflicts, those odds and ends dragged out for several months longer than we had intended. This time absolutely everything is done. The files are in the hands of the printer being checked over. As soon as the project hits funded, we will give the okay to print.
The new challenge with this project is that it is the first time we're releasing two books at once. The logistics of scheduling simultaneous sketch editions and shippings may surprise us. We have built in extra space in the delivery schedule to account for this.
For everything else, we've run Kickstarters before, we've shipped books before, while every project brings unexpected surprises, we have lots of practice adapting to those surprises and delivering products to customers in ways that make them happy they supported us.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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