About this project
A few of you know me, and a few of you don't (welcome new friends!) from last year's campaign to print my debut novel, Song of the Summer King. (You can peek at it here.)
You can also learn a bit more about me, my experience and writing at my website, http://www.jessowen.com.
And become a member of the pride or (if you aren't a gryfon ;) an official friend of gryfons over at the SOTSK Facebook Page!
Shard is a gryfon in exile from the pride of the Silver Isles. After learning of the injustices wrought by the Red King he once served loyally, Shard now seeks to fulfill the promise of the legendary Summer King, who is destined to bring peace and balance when he appears.
Shard's quest will take him across the sea to the homeland of the gryfons who conquered the Silver Isles, into a web of new allies and new enemies, winged and wingless alike. There he will learn of the fierce enmity that drove the Red King and his pride from their homeland, and the deadly grudge stretching back two generations that, if left unfinished, could destroy them all...
This story is perfect for readers 11+, and anyone who loves a fantasy adventure! Enter a lush natural world filled with mystery, ancient power and featuring a cast of all animal characters including wolves, gryfons, and (shhhhhhh) possibly Dragons.
Fans of Warriors, Ratha, Firebringer, Watership Down, Redwall, The Mage Wars and other animal-based stories have found themselves right at home with Shard in the Silver Isles (and all the lands beyond), so if that sounds like your brand of fun, I urge you to join the adventure.
And heck, don't just take my word for it, please check out praise for Song of the Summer King on Amazon!
As you can see, last year was a whomping success. We laughed, we cried (actually we didn't cry, mostly it was awesome fun), and in the end, we printed a darn beautiful book and made new friends all over the world.
At this point some of you might say OMG you've literally (literally) doubled the Funding Goal from last year, what's happening? Well, believe it or not, it has nothing to do with me being greedy or overly ambitious. Last year, I lost money! I swept through the process with rose-colored glasses and I didn't take all costs into account. So despite exceeding my original goal, I had just under enough to do everything. Yes, you read that correctly.
I will be completely transparent so that you know this is Really the minimum amount needed to complete my goal. The estimated cost of printing a "small" run of 1,000 books and shipping them to me is about $8,000. Include the price of rewards, the cost to me running anywhere from $5-$150 to produce. Also take into account that Kickstarter & Amazon will take their (well deserved) cut of the action in exchange for handling money and hosting this awesome site. You get the idea!
These costs do not include the editing, cover art, and book design costs which I have already paid for. This project is exclusively to fund a first print run and cover the fun rewards involved.
So this year I'm asking a little more, to give a little more. The book is richer, denser, longer, we have beautiful art and fun rewards and I know we can do it!
For new backers curious about my writing style, I'm wary of spoilers, so please help yourselves to the first three chapters of Song of the Summer King here at my website. For those who have already read SOTSK, I will post the first chapter of Skyfire at the end of the first week of the campaign ... in a backer only update.
So You've Been Selling Books All Year, Haven't You? Where did the Money Go?
I would like to say that SOTSK sold out and made me the next J.K. Rowling, but it did not. While everyone who's read the book loved it (or said they did ;) there are realities that go along with self-publishing, and one includes the challenge of distribution and marketing. However, I am proud to store, sell and distribute the books locally the way in which I do.
Any profit from selling SOTSK has gone to marketing and to paying my talented artist & editor for their work on Skyfire.
My books are not about making money. "Har har," you say--and of course it would be nice to make money (who am I kidding?), I'm not going to pretend I'm above it. But bear with me...
There are plenty of jobs that make more money than writing, and there are easier and less expensive ways to publish books. I chose self-publishing not because I can't get my gryfons out in any other way, but because I'm a story teller. By self publishing I have the creative freedom to tell the story my way, to hire my preferred artist, editor, designer and printer, and turn out a story that is not just beautifully told, but beautiful to behold.
PSsst... That's Where You Come In
The cover art is done and paid for. The editing is paid for. The interior design and cover lettering are soon to be in progress. The final and largest cost is the print run and shipping of the books to me.
I ask for you to join the gryfon pride, pledge your loyalty and help me print this book the way it deserves to be printed. In return you will receive honor and glory and the status of 'gryfon friend' all the days of your life.
Oh, and of course some fantastic rewards.
I have streamlined the pledges a bit, basing them off the popularity of the artistic type rewards last year. We had a group of art fiends last year and I have a feeling they'll be back ;) I have repriced the manuscript critique to be a bit more friendly to writer budgets, and hey--I'm open to suggestions! If there's a reward that involves the book that you desperately want and don't see (deleted scenes, peeks at the draft, whatever...) shout it out and I just might add it.
NOTE: Every reward $5 and up includes the electronic copy of Skyfire! E-copies of SOTSK are only included in the pledge where it's listed.
To add an e-book of Song of the Summer King, please add $5 to your pledge!
Finally: I have added some rewards that are not pictured: Hugin's Token, Munin's Token, Loyal Pride Member, Kindred Spirits, and Star Isle. Please read the reward tiers carefully in the sidebar to the right to make sure you get what's perfect for you!
So without further feather-fluffing, may I present...the rewards. (Better details at right. :)
Each 5x7 mini print of the Summer King cover, the 6x9 print of the Skyfire cover and the 11x14 poster print of the Skyfire cover will be on beautiful, rich Kodak Lustre photo paper (I've seen it, it's Beautiful!) and hand-signed by the artist, Jennifer Miller.
The large print of the full dust jacket artwork at the $100 level will be printed on "Somerset Velvet" paper which has a soft, watercolor paper look and adds rich depth of color. A frame-able, collectible piece of artwork hand-signed by Jennifer Miller. Limit 100 on these gorgeous and special pieces!
The Shard Plush
Ermehgrd, you might say, he's sooooo amazing. And he is. I found a wonderful and friendly artist on Deviant Art who was already making adorable gryfon plush pieces, and we had a conversation. I'm very excited to have her as part of this project, and I know people who have an eye for art and skill (and FLUFFINESS) will truly appreciate the Shard she has created. Here are some more shots!
Marvel in the gorgeousness.
The mini Shard that she's creating is also ADORABLE, and will only feature a bit less detail than the "grand" Shard pictured above. I'll post pics after she's created one. :)
Quick note on stretch goals: As Kickstarter grows and matures, their project guidance and advice has grown and matured, and they urge creators to think carefully and realistically about creating stretch goals. I am primarily a writer, and every goal I add to the project represents something fun and amazing--that will, unfortunately, take time away from writing. Like all of you, I also work, have a family, and so on. I want to be realistic with you and myself about what I can accomplish if we succeed wildly!
So at the moment I'm being tentative with Stretch Goals, but not because I'm greedy or lazy. Crazy extra amounts of funding will go toward the editing, cover, and printing of the NEXT book so that I don't have to bug you next year ;)
BUT...I want so much to reward the supportive Kickstarter community for your enthusiasm and support, so with that in mind, here are a couple of of the Stretch Goals I have planned for:
Early Funding: ~ Bookmarks!~
Okay, so it's not a stretch goal, it's a 'HEY! We funded EARLY!' goal. Because those are awesome.
Last year I created some bookmarks featuring character art by moi, to include at a certain pledge level. Based on time and cost involved, this year I have chosen to make these bookmarks a stretch goal! If we meet this goal I will create TWO original, full color images of characters and print them on beautiful bookmarks for every backer of $35 + . (That's two bookmarks per backer. :)
These bookmarks will also be a BACKER EXCLUSIVE collectible, with special notation of the year and date, vow by my wings, never to be reproduced, handed out, or sold by me again. And we don't even have to make extra money, just fund early! Breezy, right?
Stretch Goal 1: $13,000 ~ Original Short Story!
When we reach $13k I will pen an original short story about the most popular character from SOTSK. Once we meet the goal I'll post a date, by when you will need to have Voted for your favorite character, and I'll give them their own feature story this fall/winter! (Other backer rewards--art, etc, are a priority).
Stretch Goal 1.5: $13,500 ~ All Backers Get Bookmarks!
If we reach $13,500 ALL backers at Every level can have the backer-exclusive Bookmarks with art by Yours Truly!
Stretch Goal 2: $14,000 ~Doodles for All!
If we reach $14k I will do small, original sketch in each copy of Skyfire (& SOTSK, what the heck) that I send out for this campaign. That's right. An original drawing in every book that goes out from the $35 level and up! Does that mean possible delay? You bet. My hands will cramp and I will curse the day I decided on this stretch goal, but at the end of the flight, you'll have something original, personal and heartfelt from me, indeed.
(Please Note: These Stretch Goal Doodles will be much smaller and less detailed than the drawings offered at the original $100+ tier, but will still be a token of my deep and genuine gratitude. I will post samples so people get an idea, once we approach stretch goal territory!)
Stretch Goal 3: $15,000 ~Special Contest
As some of you may know, I'm hosting a contest over at my website.
Please read the details and rules of the contest on the website before you ask questions here! Just know that the DEADLINE IS AUGUST 23rd (same as the end of the campaign!)
If we reach this ambitious stretch goal, I will PUBLISH the Grand Prize and first prize winners of each category in the e-book version of Skyfire. Whether you're an artist or writer, that means your work will be included, full color, in the E-Book.
That's right--your work, published alongside the second installment of the Summer King Chronicles! My long term goal is to publish others, so why not start now?
Thank you, I'm sincerely looking forward to 'meeting' each and every one of you through this campaign.
Risks and challenges
The way I look at it, the only risk is delayed satisfaction.
As backers from last year know, there are so many moving parts (me, designer, book printer, art printer, delivery, shipping, etc) that something is bound to kink up and slow things down. So understand that, despite everyone's best intentions, there is a risk of delay.
The biggest Challenge for me is to complete a final edit of the book. After I received professional feedback from my editor, I realized that this story had so much more it needed to say, and I needed to look at it in a major way again. I cannot put out a book I don't wholly believe in and feel excited about just to meet a deadline. (Another luxury of self publishing). To be open with you, personal circumstances this spring made it an extremely rocky time to try to be creative, I was not at my best, and so the manuscript lay dormant for longer than I intended. I had hoped to be ready-to-print-except-for-money by now, but that didn't happen. So I'm working on a final, powerful polish of the story, one I think you'll be happy I took the time to do.
Also, the number one "critique" of Song of the Summer King is that it was too short! I take that as a compliment. It touched my heart and meant that readers were engaged in the world, the story and the characters. They wanted to stay. And so did I.
So to old readers, I promise a richer, longer, even more awesome adventure. To new readers, I promise fulfillment. It might seem sketchy to bet on a novel that's not Quite done, but I assure you I have completed multiple novels and there is no question of this project not going through to a completed, beautiful book!
You will always be updated of delays and changes in a timely manner.
If you'll be the wind under me for these thirty days and up until the book is in your hands, I promise we'll fly high together.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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