About this project
Do you love Chicago? Cute Dogs? Kids? A Good Mystery? and Photojournalism? Then this is your new favorite children's book! Read on, and join the Jack Chaps History Mystery Debut Tour!
Hi, my name is Marya Lucas, and I'm the author, creator, and publisher of the children's book, "Jack Chaps, Dog Detective: The Curious Case of the Cow and the Great Chicago Fire of 1871" (ages 5 - 100).
And, pictured below is the unmistakable Jack Chaps - the hero of this book and a hero in life (read on to see why Jack Chaps is a real-deal life hero)! He is my best friend, and my muse - and soon he will be yours also! We're here on Kickstarter to raise funds for the printing & distribution of the completed Jack Chaps book.
About the Book - www.JackChaps.com
This book, the first in a series of city "history mysteries" for children, highlights the beauty and culture of our magnificent Chicago. It's a doggone good tale, in which Jack Chaps is the accomplished dog detective bent on solving the mystery of who or what started the Great Chicago Fire. While local lore says that Mrs. O'Leary's cow, Daisy, "kickstarted" a lantern that fueled the Great Fire of 1871, Jack Chaps and his fat-cat side-kick, Dr. Biggs Quigley, have their doubts. While solving this historical mystery, Jack Chaps tours our modern Chicago, looking for clues and a cow named "Moo-ster" Bumpy who supposedly knows what really happened that ill-fated October night of 1871. In short, it's all about history, mystery, and an adorable tour guide all wrapped in one. Featuring whimsical photographs of Jack Chaps with resident characters and Chicago landmarks, the book is sure to educate and delight!
Kids and adults alike have already fallen for Jack Chaps, his large ears, and the cast of characters he meets along the way. The book also offers challenging, yet fun words, like melodious, dashed, and poppycock! It's an heirloom treasure that you, your children and grandchildren can cherish forever.
And, what better month than October to kick off this history mystery tour guide? Over 100 years ago in October, the Great Fire saw its last smoldering embers crumble before the second city of our modern Chicago would emerge bigger and better than ever!
For those who don't know, Kickstarter is an all or nothing model. That means, if I meet my intended fundraising goal of $20,000, all that money will be devoted to my book project. In other words, when you support my project by "backing" it - either by preordering one or more books, or just donating money - your contribution will be tallied along with the rest of my backers. However, you'll only be charged when I raise ALL the intended funds. So, every $ counts, and this is your opportunity to help launch the book's publication.
I'm on Kickstarter for 4 reasons:
(1) To generate publicity and preorders for the Jack Chaps book. So, tell your coworkers, tell your friends, it's word of mouth on which this project depends!
(2) To raise funds for the printing and distribution of the book. Ideally, I would like the final product to be printed in the United States as a hardcover, Smyth-sewn book with a jacket and several additional touches (like an embossed title) using an offset printing press. In other words, I'd like the printed copy to reflect the quality and hard work that I've already poured into the book. A quality printer costs money, however. Printing estimates so far reflect some $15 per book for an initial 2,000-copy printrun - which equals $30,000, although I'm currently consulting with an experienced print representative to find the best deal possible and something more along the lines of $10-$12 per book. The cost-per-book also depends on how many preorders I generate; the more preorders, the higher the printrun, the lower the cost-per-book!
(3) To raise funds for additional costs and fees. These include trademark applications ($2000), licensing agreement fees (some $500 plus), incorporation fees to establish my publishing company ($175), an ISBN Number ($275-$350); Bar Code ($20-$30); Copyright registration ($35); website development, and etc.
(4) To pay ALL the awesome people who have helped me along the way. See their full bios below! Hire them!
The Sequels & Jack Chaps' Story
So, now that Jack Chaps has completed his first city "history mystery" tour, he's ready for the next! Every city has a mystery, so what's yours?
In the meantime, however, Jack Chaps has one more unsolved mystery to tackle and it's of a different type -- cancer survival. That's right, Jack Chaps is not just a fictional hero, but a real life hero, as well! Not long after completing this current promo copy, Jack Chaps was diagnosed with canine lymphoma cancer. With lots of care from his vets and me, Jack Chaps endured a 7-month chemo treatment protocol like a champ; he's in remission and now feeling fit as a feisty fido. Triumph and perseverance are his story, and he's ready to share it so he can spread hope and inspiration to all. He's the little dog that could, the little dog that would, and the little dog that did!
Book Authorizations & Supporters
I completed the copy and design of the Jack Chaps book in July 2012, and I've spent the past year obtaining trademark/copyright authorizations from entities featured in the book. Authorizations have been obtained for: Wrigley Field; the Green City Market; Navy Pier; Frank Gehry, architect of the Pritzker Pavilion; Anish Kapoor, artist of Cloud Gate; Jaume Plensa, artist of the Crown Fountain; the CTA; Harry Caray (via representation); the Field Museum; the John Hancock; and artist Krista Brooks.
And, here's what people & places are saying about the book...
Wrigley Field: "Holy Cow!! It's a home run!"
The John Hancock: "I wholeheartedly endorse it!"
Lake Michigan: "Finally, something bigger than me."
And, from my favorite 6th-grade teacher, Dorian Strong Pickering: "Hot diggety dog! Jack Chaps is a GRRRRREAT read."
Paula Fasseas, PAWS Chicago: “So exciting to have a PAWS Chicago kitty featured in your book!”
Supporters also include Chicago Aldermen Joe Moreno (1st Ward), Robert Fioretti (2nd Ward), Edward M. Burke (14th Ward), Michele Smith (43rd Ward), as well as former Alderman and Old Town Triangle Assoc. President/Green City Market Board Member, Vi Daley. I hope you will be next to join this list of notable supporters of the Jack Chaps book!
To hear the Jack Chaps Song, press play below:
So, please contribute to the Jack Chaps book series! And, join me in saying, "Jack Chaps, you're hired!"
The Making of the Book & More ...
The Jack Chaps book has been a labor of love. And to get this far has truly taken some dogged determination. I first got the book idea in 2005, but that initial idea would take lots of watering, pruning, and growth -- and buying my first digital SLR camera -- before flowering as the completed Jack Chaps book! Following preparation of the copy, I devoted 2011 to taking photographs around Chicago for the book. Here are a few book scenes:
In addition to my pets, Jack Chaps & Dr. Biggs Quigley, the model characters in the book are real Chicagoans from all walks of life. "Sailor Joe" or Aaron Wilhoft, for example, is in fact a real sailor (as well as a Chicago singer-songwriter sensation, www.aaronwilhoft.com - he sang the JC song in the current video). The "L Conductor" or John Zupko has been a dedicated CTA rail instructor for over 30 years. The Millennium Park "Children" are refugee kids from Burma and Nepal who now call Chicago their home. Some of the models are also my wonderful friends, and Chicagoans in their own right. In short, these model characters really do capture the essence of this wonderful city, while also helping to create the wacky world of Jack Chaps.
After taking the majority of photographs, I set to the important task of designing the book with the help of my fabulous team, DeAnna Clark, the book's graphic designer, and Caitlyn Eakins, the book's photo editor and my photography coach. We basically spent a year meeting almost every weekend to put the words in line with edited photographs and to add the computer-graphic and hand-drawn illustrations. It was very hard work, but also very fun.
Thank you to my family (my editors and cheerleaders); each and every friend who participated or modeled in a photo shoot, gave me an idea to run with (Naomi Kogan Dein!), or edited the script -- you know who you are!; every person who has helped with this book's production.
A special thank you to Dr. Chris Leach of Peach Tree Animal Hospital in Columbia, MO (www.peachtreeanimalhospital.com), and to Dr. Natalie Marks of Blum Animal Hospital in Chicago and Blum's awesome staff (www.blumvet.com). We couldn't have done this without you!
Video Editor: Hillary Leben (www.hillaryleben.com) is an award-winning animator, motion graphics designer, and projection designer working throughout Chicago. A graduate of the School of the Art Institute, she has designed projections for Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Chicago Opera Theater, Court Theater, and Yo Yo Ma's Silk Road Ensemble. Her films and 2D puppet animations have been screened at film festivals in Illinois, Michigan, and California, and have aired on the Travel Channel, TBS, and Lonely Planet TV. When she is not waiting for RAM previews she spends her time drawing for her comic blog (www.thehillsite.com) and learning to dance Tango.
Video Camera Work: Gene Fojtik (gene-fojtik.wix.com/images) is a moving and still image photographer and editor residing in Chicago. Originally from Austin Texas, he works at Univision Chicago and also teaches photography, videography, and design at the Illinois Institute of Art. Gene is fluent in Spanish and Portuguese and is in preproduction on a movie to be shot in Colombia. Once upon a time he pursued a PhD at the University of Chicago in Ancient History. Gene shoots both digital and film.
Graphic Designer: DeAnna Clark, also known as "Dee the Designer"(www.behance.net/deethedesigner/frame), is a freelance graphic designer in Chicago. A graduate of the Illinois Institute of Art, DeAnna has spent over four years working for both large and small companies, including Hyatt, National Geographic, and the Old Town Triangle Association. She has designed for publications, websites, and consulted with B2B clients. Going beyond the ordinary, and a step further, DeAnna uses her design skills and creativity to shape messages that are best for the client and the intended public. She loves what she does! Her spare time is spent with her lovely dog Binny, who is best friend of Jack Chaps.
Photo Editor & Consultant: Caitlyn Eakins (www.caitlyneakins.com, email@example.com) received her B.F.A in Photography and Digital Imaging from Ringling College of Art and Design in Sarasota, Florida. Since then, she has worked as a freelance Photographer and Photo Editor in Chicago; served as the Director of the Chicago Photography Center; and taught classes and private lessons to the Chicago community. She currently lives in Fort Myers, Florida, where she photographs children and food ... although not necessarily together.
Marketing Consultant: Robert Gibbs, an advertising executive at The Publicis Groupe, is a seasoned global business and technology adviser. He is a vehement supporter of Jack Chaps' investigative career, providing the four-legged sleuth with guidance on matters ranging from navigating the printing industry, to marketing tactics, to grooming tips and general life coaching.
Intellectual Property Attorney: Aric Jacover (jacoverlaw.com) has provided and continues to provide legal assistance for the Jack Chaps book.
Book Consultant: Fernando Franco is a chemical engineer from Guadalajara, Mexico, and marathoner extraordinaire. He provides goal-oriented barking orders to Jack Chaps when Jack Chaps gets distracted by the many different scents life has to offer.
Why establish your own publishing company, rather than go through a traditional publisher? This is a good question. When I first completed the script of the book, I bought Writer's Market and Writer's and Illustrator's Guide to Children's Book Publishers and Agents, then investigated whether my book might fit into the roster of any available publishing companies. I found about 15 publishers and sent my unsolicited manuscript to them, but received either no response or rejections. Because I was getting older and so was Jack Chaps, I thought a literary agent, plus traditional publisher, might just take too much time. In addition, the publishing industry people I know encouraged me to self-publish. I then bought The Complete Guide to Self-Publishing, by Marilyn Ross & Sue Collier, and my digital SLR, and the rest is history! Because I have other book ideas, in addition to the Jack Chaps series, I will be happy to have a publishing company to call my own.
Where did I get the name Jack Chaps? It just came to me one day and before I had even gotten the little fellow. Dr. Biggs Quigley is a Chicago PAWS cat named after my friend, Jill Quigley - although, Jill Quigley's a real doctor, not a cat. And, she's slender, not fat.
Risks and challenges
3 Major Challenges:
(1) The biggest challenge will be finding a quality, affordable printer. However, with the help of a well-recommended print representative, as well as my investigatory skills (I mean, I've learned a thing or two from Jack Chaps), I have faith that this will be a surmountable challenge. I also have great people on board to help me with any business or legal obstacles associated with printing.
(2) Another potential challenge involves contract negotiations with the various city entities featured in the book. Because I've already reviewed most of the contracts, and so has my IP lawyer, I don't anticipate this will be a major problem. It's important to remember, too, that if one entity bows out, I can always edit the book accordingly.
(3) The distribution and marketing that follows the printing of the book will be the final challenge. Distribution, in part, depends on my printrun. I am still in the process of investigating how best to go about this. At the very least, I will be a very busy bee of a distributor, myself. I mean, I have a bicycle, and it has great baskets....Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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