Hello! Thanks for visiting Blank Slate Press’s debut Kickstarter campaign.
Before we tell you about our authors and how this Kickstarter campaign works, we want to introduce you to Blank Slate Press (BSP). BSP was founded by a few St. Louis writers—Kristy and Jason Makansi and Jamey Stegmaier—in early 2010. We had some grand ideas about how to make a dent in the publishing world, and we wanted to test them out. The key elements of those ideas are as follows:
- Cast a Small Net: Everything about BSP is intentionally small. Our authors are from a relatively small radius around St. Louis. And there are only two of them right now (we’re adding a few more this spring) so that we can give them our undivided attention. Rather than market our books to the entire country or world, we’re focusing on that same radius (although our authors deserve the attention of a broader audience). Our inventory is small—the vast majority of our books are either print-on-demand or ebooks so we can save paper.
- Authors Apply—Not Query—to BSP: The standard practice in the fiction publishing industry is that you write a novel and a query letter, send both to an literary agent, and if you’re contracted by the agent, the agent tries to find a publisher for your novel. We’re doing something different. Simply put, we’re looking for great writers, regardless of whether or not they’ve completed their novel. They fill out an application, send us a sample, and then we work with our editorial board of local, avid readers to select our authors. Writers have responded well to this format—we tripled our number of applicants from 2010 to 2011.
- Marketing Support: BSP's focus is to discover, nurture, publish, and promote our authors. We help cultivate writers holistically—we build their brand, adhere to milestones to complete the work, customize the marketing plan to authors and their work, and seek supporters who invest in them. We give each author an editorial team to support them throughout the writing process, as well as a design team that respects the author’s vision. We’re constantly available to the authors throughout the writing, editing, design, and marketing processes for each author. Plus, we’re small, so if we want to try something like a Kickstarter campaign, we don’t have to maneuver through the bureaucracy of a giant company. We just do it.
That’s who we are. If you like what we’re doing, we hope you’ll spread the word about BSP. And that’s where this campaign comes in.
We’ve spent many a day discussing the pricing of our books. We’ve also spent many a day figuring out how to get people to spread the word about our books. That’s the goal, right? You can publish the most brilliant book in the world, but if no one hears about it, you’ve done a disservice to the author and to the readers who missed out.
What we’ve realized is that there might be an intersection between pricing and spreadability. Hence this experiment on Kickstarter.
Unlike most Kickstarter campaigns, all of our rewards are the same—you get digital copies of both of our books in any ebook format. However, your price depends on how much you pledge to spread the word about this campaign, Blank Slate Press, and the books themselves. A reduction in price is our way of thanking you for sharing us with your social networks.
So, for example, if you're willing to pledge to "Like," tweet, and/or e-mail the campaign to a friend, “Like” BSP on Facebook, and subscribe to BSP's monthly e-newsletter, you get our first two novels for only $4. We trust you to follow through on your pledge.
If you just want to support our indie venture, you can choose the $10 level to buy our ebooks at their regular price. Or if you don’t have an Kindle or other eReader, you can buy paper versions of our books at www.blankslatepress.com.
What are we raising money for? We are in the process of selecting the two authors we want to add to the Blank Slate Press team in 2011, and we’d like give them a small signing bonus of $250 each. Thus our first goal is to reach $250 for one author, and ideally we'll get all the way to $500 for both authors!
Every dime that we raise goes towards promoting and supporting our authors. Fred Venturini has written an incredible novel, The Samaritan, a darkly funny coming-of-age story about a man with an unusual ability. Donald Ray Pollock, author of Knockemstiff, calls it “one of the most engaging and ultimately satisfying that I've had the pleasure to read in a long time.”
Anene Tressler’s spectacular novel, Dancing with Gravity, delves deep into the life of a priest who can’t get out of his head. David Carkeet, author of From Away, describes Anene as “a gifted stylist with a keen eye for human frailty, [who] charts the path of Whiting's confused longing with a sure hand.”
Looking for something to read on the beach this summer? Look no further.
Thanks for your support and consideration! Feel free to contact us if you have any thoughts or questions.
- (30 days)