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A picture book to help children of military families cope when a parent is deployed far from home.
A picture book to help children of military families cope when a parent is deployed far from home.
A picture book to help children of military families cope when a parent is deployed far from home.
40 backers pledged $5,151 to help bring this project to life.

About this project

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My Heart is in Afghanistan Picture Book

$5,151

40

From the Author:

My Heart is in Afghanistan first dawned into my life around 2011. The Main Character, Lizzie’s story of what life is like when your father is deployed indefinitely to another country for military service captivated me. How do you explain to a child that one of their parents will be gone for an extended time and you don’t know exactly when they’ll be back? 

My Husband, David Dobbins, serving in the Army
My Husband, David Dobbins, serving in the Army

My husband served in the US Army before we met. He joined the Army National Guard the year I gave birth to twins in 2004. Then, my husband was offered a large re-enlistment bonus and told that he would be sent away for 3 months of training right after he re-enlisted. I balked. I did not want to be alone with a 5-year old and baby twins. Even though he had a strong desire to serve his country, I convinced him that at that time he was needed too much by his own family.

My Family
My Family

I've always felt guilty about that when I think of all the young children and spouses who sacrifice and give up having their loved ones. This fueled my desire to help. Lizzie and her story was born from that. I hope to help children whose parents are deployed in the military by sharing a story that they can relate to and make them feel that they are understood and not so alone. After publication, a portion of net proceeds will benefit charities such as Folds of Honor that give children of fallen and disabled soldiers college scholarships (NO Kickstarter funds will be donated to charity, only a portion of the proceeds from the sale of books after all the Kickstarter rewards have been fulfilled.).

The manuscript won 3rd place in the Society for Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators Carolinas picture book writing competition in 2014. Continuing to refine the story has been a labor of love and I am so excited to finally say the manuscript is ready for publication. I've decided to self publish to speed up the process—I've been waiting a long time to see the main character, Lizzie's story come to life in this picture book!! Also, it will give me more control of the creative process, the ability to choose the illustrator and dedicate a bigger percentage of profits to charities that benefit military children.

Images Like This Tug at my Heartstrings
Images Like This Tug at my Heartstrings

My Publisher:

Demi Stevens
Demi Stevens

The Year of the Book Press is headed up by Demi Stevens, who has not only been my friend since first grade but is a fabulous editor and publisher. I get goosebumps when I listen her share about her clients and the stories of how the reality of getting their book published impacted their lives. Demi does this work because she loves books and making people's dreams of becoming authors come true and I know that she will put all that love into helping me complete this project. Plus, she's already helped hundreds of writers successful publish their books. You can learn more about her and the Year of the Book Press here: http://yotbpress.com

Just an aside: In 5th grade, Demi and I tied in a class competition to see who could read the most books in a month. We both spend most of recess time reading and it seems that things haven't changed much in all the years. We both still adore books.

My Illustrator: 

Daniela Frongia
Daniela Frongia

Daniela is a talented illustrator who has already illustrated many beautiful picture books. She currently lives in London, UK. She was born in Cagliari, Italy in 1979. By the age of 4, she was already showing a passion for drawing, inspired by the colourful style of the Disney classics and later Manga. She studied and obtained a degree from the Art School in Italy. Now she's a professional children's book illustrator, characters design and visual development artist and works with Authors and publishers all around world. In 2013, She was chosen among the top ten "THE UK’s MOST ENGAGED WOMEN ON LINKEDIN.” You can learn more about her and see some of her portfolio at http://caisarts.com

Daniela has already completed many of the rough sketches and one complete color illustration. Once we get funding, she will be able to start on the color illustrations and as soon as they are complete the sketches will go to one of The Year of the Book's graphic designers to put them together in a beautiful layout with the manuscript and then we'll get them off to the printers as soon as possible.

Here are a few of the sketches and the one complete illustration:

Lizzie eating breakfast with her family before daddy leaves
Lizzie eating breakfast with her family before daddy leaves
Lizzie making a heart for her daddy
Lizzie making a heart for her daddy
Daddy tucking Lizzie in bed
Daddy tucking Lizzie in bed
Mama hugging Lizzie
Mama hugging Lizzie
Daddy leaving to go to Afghanistan
Daddy leaving to go to Afghanistan
Daddy surprising Lizzie at her school party
Daddy surprising Lizzie at her school party

How Will the Money be Used:

  • $1,000 for formatting and design through Year of the Book press 
  • $2,000 will cover the cost of the first-run printing 
  •  $500 will cover the cost of shipping and handling backer rewards, Kickstarter and payment processing fees plus the production of campaign rewards
  • $1,500 is needed for the color illustrations which will be completed by Daniela Frongia, a talented picture book illustrator who has many completed projects in her resume. ( I've already invested $1000.00 for the sketches and one complete color illustration)

Backer Rewards:

There are many levels of backer rewards listed on the side. Here is a graphic that illustrates some of the levels that may be more popular. Just be aware that the pictures are just an illustration. The actually book cover has not been designed yet and the dog tags and tote bags won't be designed until we meet our funding goal and I expect them to look a lot better than this representation. 

Stretch Goals:  I have loved Lizzie, the main character, since she entered my mind back in 2012 and I want her story to touch hearts, make other military children feel understood and help as many children of fallen soldiers as possible. Believe it or not, publishing a book is just the first step toward getting a book out into the world. 

The biggest challenge facing any author is getting his/her book discovered in a very crowded marketplace. Therefore, if we receive funding above our $5,000 goal, we will apply it to PR and marketing, along with additional print runs. Another critical way to reach readers is through schools. However, educational budgets have been slashed across the nation, and often the first thing to go is funding for author visits. Therefore, I (Michelle Dobbins) pledge to visit one school free of charge for every $500 we raise above our goal. I will try to conduct as many of them as I can in the more critically underfunded schools and will share my experience via project updates.

NEW BOOK BUNDLES:

Since we would love to see these books get into the hands of as many children of deployed soldiers as possible, we've added discount book bundle packs. You can select a bundle pack reward to share copies with friends, family or military children you know. We will, also, include a list of organizations, in with your bundle shipment, that can get the books delivered to children deployed soldiers if you choose to donate them once you receive them.

IN ADDITION, we have some fantastic rewards that will be "unlocked" if we meet our stretch goals! 

Stretch Goal #1--$8,000: Every backer at the $25 level and above will get a heart coin that says "My heart is always with you" that can be giving to deployed parent can give to a child or anyone can give to someone they love.

Stretch Goal #2--$11,000: Every backer at the $25 level and above will get a set of note cards featuring illustrations from the book

Stretch Goal # -- $15,000: Every backer at the $25 level and above will get a deployment journal with a picture from the book on the cover to write stories and snippets in that they don't want to forget to share with a deployed loved one when they return.

If you want to check out the stats on this project, you can see out Kicktraq page here: 

Risks and challenges

As with any publishing project, there is the risk of delays in the creation, production and/or printing of the book. Any delays in the production of the book should not create delays in the production of most of the other rewards, once the illustrations are complete. Daniela Frongia has already completed most of the sketches and has given me at 6-8 month timeline for the completion of the final color illustrations.

Any rewards that would be impacted by a book production delay (such as an author visit) will simply be postponed and rescheduled once the book becomes available. Backers will be kept apprised of our progress and timeline throughout the publication process.

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $1 or more About $1.00

    PRIVATE:

    Behind the scenes previews of the illustrations as they are completed and a shoutout on a video "roll call" thank you from the author uploaded to her Youtube channel

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    PRIVATE FIRST CLASS:

    All of the above, plus digital coloring sheets from the book and a digital copy of the book when it's complete

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    Pledge $15 or more About $15

    SPECIALIST:
    All of the above, plus a SOFTCOVER COPY OF THE BOOK and ACKNOWLEDGEMENT ON THE AUTHOR'S BOOK WEBSITE (including a link to your website, if applicable)

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    SERGEANT:

    All of the above, plus SIGNED HARDCOVER COPY of the book and listed as backer in print and electronic versions of the book

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    Pledge $35 or more About $35

    SERGEANT FIRST CLASS:

    All of the above, plus a set of "My Heart is in Afghanistan" dog tags which read: We're Far Apart but You're in My Heart"

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    CAPTAIN:

    All of the above, plus a tote bag custom printed with one of the illustrations from the book

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    Distinguished Service Bundle Pack: 5 Hardcover Books

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    Silver Start Bundle Pack: 10 Hardcover Books

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    Bronze Star Bundle Pack: 25 Hardcover Books

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    Pledge $250 or more About $250

    MAJOR:

    All of the above, plus an EXCLUSIVE VIDEO OF THE AUTHOR READING THE BOOK directly to the child or children of your choice (a classroom, your children, grandchildren, etc.). The video will be sent via a private link on YouTube AND an mp4 or mov file for your direct download. The video can also include a personal message from you or something you would like the author to say to your child(ren).

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    Purple Heart Bundle Pack: 50 Hardcover Books

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    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    LIEUTENANT COLONEL:

    All of the above (except book bundles), plus a LIVE, IN-PERSON VISIT of up to three hours from THE AUTHOR (within a 200-mile radius of Greenville, SC) to a school or library of your choosing, plus a 5 pack of signed books or a Skype visit to a school or library anywhere in the world.

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    Meritorious Service Bundle Pack: 100 Hardcover Books

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    FULL BIRD COLONEL:

    All of the above--except the Lieutenant Colonel Level and book bundles --plus the Author and her husband will deliver your books over dinner paid for by the author at High Cotton restaurant in Downtown Greenville, SC ( transportation to and from restaurant your responsibility)

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    Pledge $1,000 or more About $1,000

    GENERAL:

    All of the above, --except the lieutenant colonel and full bird colonel levels and book bundle--plus, 1-year goals coaching with the author including a one day 6-hour planning session(in person or via Skype), twelve 45-60 minute monthly calls, one per month for 1 year and 48 weekly emails to keep you on track to meet all of your goals

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    Pledge $5,000 or more About $5,000

    5 STAR GENERAL:

    All other levels up to and including Major, (not including lieutnent colonel or full bird colonel or book bundles) plus author Michelle Dobbins and husband will FLY YOU AND A Companion to Asheville, NC for a unique day of FUN! We'll pick you up at the airport the day before, hand deliver all of your rewards, and drop you off at the Biltmore Inn. We will pick you up in the morning, treat you to breakfast, then take you on the Premium Biltmore House Tour followed by lunch on the estate. Then, we will take you to downtown Asheville or surrounding area for whatever you would like to do until 5 when we will drop you off at either the hotel or the Asheville airport. Michelle will contact you via phone and email prior to the trip with different options for you to choose from. RESTRICTIONS -- PLEASE READ BEFORE SELECTING THIS REWARD: Up to $600.00 will be allotted for two plane tickets. Any amount over this will be the purchaser's responsibility. One night at the hotel is provided. If you stay additional nights, those will be at your expense, including the cost and arrangement of transportation back to the airport. Breakfast and lunch will be provided on the day of the tour. All other meals and incidental expenses will be your responsibility.

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Funding period

- (30 days)