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A little boy and his robot buddy learn about making mistakes in a hardcover book with real watercolor illustrations by Joe Kennedy.
A little boy and his robot buddy learn about making mistakes in a hardcover book with real watercolor illustrations by Joe Kennedy.
100 backers pledged $5,309 to help bring this project to life.

About this project

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$5,309

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Tyler and Brian Find a Bug tells the story of a little boy named Tyler and a robot named Brian who accidentally breaks the First Law of Robotics, which says he can't allow a human to get hurt. Even though Brian is doing his best, he can't prevent bad things from happening. Together, Tyler and Brian learn that the only real mistake is giving up.

Tyler and Brian Find a Bug is a 32-page picture book that will be published in hardcover and eBook formats. The book is written for early readers and the story is approximately 650 words long. The illustrations will be high-resolution scans of real watercolor paintings. There will be at least one picture on each page, and the pictures will convey the entire story to children who might not know all the words yet. The hardcover book will be printed and case-bound in the USA, and the eBook will be released in Kindle, ePub, and PDF formats.

Sample Pages

Rewards

This Kickstarter campaign will fund the printing and shipping of a print run of 1,000 copies of the book, along with the costs involved in creating the book and Kickstarter rewards. In exchange for supporting the project, backers will receive digital and/or physical rewards based on their level of support, including copies of the book, pencil sketches, art prints, and watercolor paintings.

BUG - Thank You! You will receive a special thank-you email and access to backers-only updates and surveys. (included in all higher tiers) (no shipping required)

BRIAN - eBook You will receive a DRM-free digital copy of the book in Kindle, ePub, and PDF formats. (included in all higher tiers) (no shipping required)

TYLER - Hardcover You will receive a hardcover copy of the book. (included in all higher tiers) (U.S. shipping $2, international shipping $10)

BEST BUDDIES - Original Pencil Sketch You will receive a pencil sketch of your choice of any character from this story, a non-copyrighted character, or even a character of your own design (no erotica). Some sketches may be shared as backers-only updates. (U.S. shipping $5, international shipping $15)

MOM - Art Print You will receive a matted watercolor print of Tyler and Brian, signed and numbered by Joe. (U.S. shipping $5, international shipping $15)

FINAL WEEK BONUS TIER - Original Charcoal Portrait you will receive an original charcoal sketch by the artist. You may submit a photograph or portrait of a human being, pet animal, or space alien, and Joe will sketch it for you. Some sketches may be shared as backers-only updates.

THE WHOLE FAMILY - Watercolor Painting You will receive a signed watercolor painting of one of the six characters from the story (first-backed, first-choice): Tyler, Brian, Mom, the Doctor, the Robot Repairman, and the Bug. (free shipping)

DOCTOR - Original Short Story You will receive an original short story by the author. You may submit an idea for a 5,000-word short story (no romance, erotica, or copyrighted works) and Steven will write it for you. Some stories may be shared as backers-only updates. (free shipping)

ROBOT REPAIRMAN - Original Watercolor Painting You will receive an original watercolor painting by the artist. You may submit an idea for a watercolor painting (no erotica or copyrighted works) and Joe will paint it for you. Some paintings may be shared as backers-only updates. (free shipping)

Add-Ons:

Hardcover Copies - $12 each

Pencil Sketches - $20 each

If you want to receive a combination of rewards from higher tiers, message me and I will let you know the cost and shipping for the entire package.

Characters

Motivation and Creation

I wrote this book for when kids feel like they can’t do anything right. Kids often feel extremely guilty about the mistakes they make, even when things turn out okay in the end. I want them to understand that mistakes are an important part of life and that they should never give up.

The inspiration for the book came from a discussion with a friend about Isaac Asimov's First Law of Robotics: "A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm." We tried to figure out how a robot would determine whether an action would harm a human being either directly or indirectly. Should a robot replace a manhole cover because somebody might fall in, or could that trap somebody else in the sewer? Should a robot stop people from smoking or eating unhealthy food in order to protect them from harm? When you think about it, robot morality is a neverending chain of hypotheticals.

Of course, human morality works the same way, and figuring out the right thing to do is even harder for kids who lack the world experience to know what to decide. That's why I chose to use a robotic character to explain to kids why it's hard to make decisions and that they have to keep going even when they don't make the right choice.

For the illustrations, I wanted something light and character-centric that would convey the humor and emotion of the story. When I saw Joe Kennedy's watercolor character portraits, I knew his style of painting would work perfectly. I first met Joe in person at WillyCon XVI in Wayne, Nebraska, where he was selling prints and I was selling books. Since then, we have worked this project on and off, producing a preliminary pencil version of the book and refining the book to fit the standard 32-page children's book format. Now that the page layout is finished, Joe has begun painting the final versions of the interior pages. All that's left is to raise the funds to actually print the book!

Creator Biographies

Steven x Davis

Pictured with an uncooperative robocat*.
Pictured with an uncooperative robocat*.

My name is Steven x Davis; I am a speculative fiction writer and freelance editor from Lawrence, Kansas. I graduated from high school in Leavenworth, Kansas in 2006. After high school, I studied math and computer science at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln for three years before ultimately completing a bachelor's degree at the University of St. Mary in Leavenworth in 2011.

I wrote my first children's book, "Welcome to Puff-a-Lot", in 1996. (The name is similar to yet legally distinct from the setting of a cartoon series about bears who care.) During the rest of my scholastic career, I went on to write a little fan fiction and a lot of pointless essays. In 2014, I decided to become a creative writer full-time and wrote my fist novel, Favor. Since then, I have written several more short stories and poems, some of which won (mostly second-place) awards at WillyCon, DemiCon, and ConQuesT. I have also given presentations about fiction writing and cryptography at those same conventions.

In 2015, I founded Acidic Fiction, an online magazine for science fiction and fantasy stories. After editing and publishing 74 short stories, I decided to focus on more personal projects like this one. In addition to editing two Acidic Fiction anthologies, I also proofread two English translations of Japanese bestsellers, Tree Ring Management: Take the Long View and Grow Your Business Slowly and Saving the Mill: The Amazing Recovery of One of Japan's Largest Paper Mills Following the 2011 Earthquake and Tsunami.

Although this is the first children's book I've written since elementary school, I think the story, artwork, and message will appeal to a lot of kids.

*Normal cat.

Joe Kennedy

Pictured with a well-trained robotic** dog.
Pictured with a well-trained robotic** dog.

My name is Joe Kennedy and I have been creating art my whole life. As a child, I mostly did coloring books, but soon I began to create my own animal and character designs as well as trace and free-hand characters from my coloring books. However, it wasn't until freshman year at Kearney High School that I discovered I have a real artistic talent, as I had a piece or two selected by my art teachers for the annual high school art show at the Museum of Nebraska Art.

I attended the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in the fall of 2005 as an art major, and after cramming 4 years into 5, I graduated in May of 2010, and in doing so, was the first person in my family with a college degree. I all but gave up on art for a few months after graduation; I was burned out but always felt I wanted to do something new!

I got married in the summer of 2012 and in the fall of 2012, I decided to paint a few watercolor pieces for my wife, mostly re-creating art I liked. I should mention that up to this point that, because of college, I had despised even the idea of watercolors. Soon after, I started a Facebook page for my new art and ventured into new territory as JK iMAGES. All the while, my uncle who is also an artist was pushing me to take my art to conventions, but it wasn't for another year that I made it a business and began attending and selling at conventions.

I met Steven Davis at WillyCon in 2014 and he contacted me for a collaboration on a new children's book he had written! And here we are. I hope to exceed your expectations, and I hope you enjoy the pages I have done already for your viewing pleasure :)

**Not robotic.

Budget

Risks and challenges

There is no question that the book itself will be finished and published electronically. Joe has everything he needs to create and scan the paintings, and I have published multiple eBooks in the past. This Kickstarter will determine if the book gets a print run and how large the initial print run will be. The Kickstarter funds will also enable us to create some additional artwork and rewards for people who support the project.

The printer I will be working with is based out of Kansas City, Missouri, which is within driving distance of my home. I'm hoping that contracting a local company will prevent the miscommunication and delays that other Kickstarter projects face when dealing with cheaper printing companies overseas. I will be able to review proofs in person and address any problems that come up during the printing process. As for the budget, the printer has explained that the only increase in their estimate would be due to an increase in the cost of paper, which would be well within the safety cushion included in the budget.

I will handle the shipping and fulfillment of the hardcover books directly using pre-sorted USPS Media Mail, which is the most cost-effective shipping method available within the United States. Joe will be creating and shipping the physical rewards separately using USPS First-Class Mail. All digital rewards will be emailed directly to backers.

The biggest risk for this project will be the timeline, which is why I've chosen a fairly lax time frame for publication. I would rather take the time to do everything correctly than rush to print an unpolished product, so I chose not to run the risk of promising too much too soon.

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $1 or more About $1.00

    BUG - Thank You!

    You will receive a special thank-you email and access to backers-only updates and surveys. (included in all higher tiers)

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    2 backers
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    Pledge $5 or more About $5

    BRIAN - eBook

    You will receive a DRM-free digital copy of the book in Kindle, ePub, and PDF formats. (included in all higher tiers)

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    6 backers
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  3. Select this reward

    Pledge $12 or more About $12

    TYLER - Hardcover Book

    You will receive a hardcover copy of the book at a 20% discount from the cover price. (included in all higher tiers)

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    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    51 backers
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  4. Select this reward

    Pledge $35 or more About $35

    BEST BUDDIES - Original Pencil Sketch

    You will receive a pencil sketch of your choice of any character from this story, a non-copyrighted character, or even a character of your own design (no erotica). Some sketches may be shared as backers-only updates.

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    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    7 backers
    $
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  5. Select this reward

    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    MOM - Art Print

    You will receive a matted watercolor print of Tyler and Brian, signed and numbered by Joe.

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    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Limited 18 backers
    $
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  6. Select this reward

    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    FINAL WEEK BONUS TIER - Original Charcoal Portrait

    You will receive an original charcoal sketch by the artist. You may submit a photograph or portrait of a human being, pet animal, or space alien, and Joe will sketch it for you. Some sketches may be shared as backers-only updates.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    4 backers
    $
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  7. Select this reward

    Pledge $200 or more About $200

    THE WHOLE FAMILY - Watercolor Painting

    You will receive a signed watercolor painting of one of the six characters from the story (first-backed, first-choice): Tyler, Brian, Mom, the Doctor, the Robot Repairman, and the Bug.

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    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Limited 4 backers
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  8. Select this reward

    Pledge $300 or more About $300

    DOCTOR - Original Short Story

    You will receive an original short story by the author. You may submit an idea for a 5,000-word short story (no romance, erotica, or copyrighted works) and Steven will write it for you. Some stories may be shared as backers-only updates.

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    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Limited 1 backer
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  9. Select this reward

    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    ROBOT REPAIRMAN - Original Watercolor Painting

    You will receive an original watercolor painting by the artist. You may submit an idea for a painting (no erotica or copyrighted works) and Joe will paint it for you. Some paintings may be shared as backers-only updates.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Limited 1 backer
    $
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    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

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Funding period

- (30 days)