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MURDER IN THE MAIL: A BLOODY BIRTHDAY is a mystery told through letters, objects, and artworks posted to you over several weeks.
MURDER IN THE MAIL: A BLOODY BIRTHDAY is a mystery told through letters, objects, and artworks posted to you over several weeks.
MURDER IN THE MAIL: A BLOODY BIRTHDAY is a mystery told through letters, objects, and artworks posted to you over several weeks.
67 backers pledged AU$ 5,247 to help bring this project to life.

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Murder in the Mail: A Bloody Birthday

AU$ 5,247

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Some of the art and objects included in "A Bloody Birthday".
Some of the art and objects included in "A Bloody Birthday".

A mystery told through letters, objects, and artworks physically posted to the reader over several weeks.

In this story, you are a character trying to solve the death of your cousin.

Naomi was killed at her own 18th birthday party, surrounded by friends and family. One of the party guests is the killer. You know it wasn't you, but was it your Aunt Adelle? Your old friend's new girlfriend? The quiet Laramie? Or Roshan (who is holding something back)?

Everyone has secrets, and their artworks and letters will help you figure out which secret got Naomi killed. Every piece of art is beautiful, but also holds clues that you can unravel to find out who murdered your cousin. . . before they kill again.

Additional items included in the premium version.
Additional items included in the premium version.
Additional items included only in the one-off ultimate edition.
Additional items included only in the one-off ultimate edition.

 Please note: Artworks are available in high-quality A4 prints only.

Full list of contributors (many of these people are both writers and artists, but I've only listed them as artists if that's their role in "A Bloody Birthday"):

Barr, Julian: Writer

https://jbarrauthor.wordpress.com/

Banks, Felicity: Writer & Curator

https://felicitybanks.wordpress.com/

Bendon, Carmel: Writer

https://talesinthemist.com/author/carmelbendon/

Denman, Carolyn: Writer

http://carolyndenman.com/

Goodin, Laura E: Writer

http://www.lauraegoodin.com/

Hore, Phil: Writer

http://philhore.blogspot.com.au/

Lee, Adam: Artist

http://www.adamleephotography.com.au/

Lee, Annabelle: Artist

PublisherObscura.com

O'Meara, Shauna: Artist

https://theshaunacorner.wordpress.com/

Turgoose, Tash: Writer & Artist

www.tashturgoose.com

Van Order, Keely: Artist

http://keelyvanorder.com/

Virgo, Jane: Artist

https://csfg.wordpress.com/our-members-v2/jane-virgo/

Risks and challenges

The biggest problem with a story like this is postage. It costs a lot. Each story costs $17 in stamps alone.

Solution: Careful budgeting. Although this project is very much connected to and supported by Publisher Obscura (an imprint of Odyssey Books, who publishes my novels), the boss and I ultimately decided that I should take over the entire project (design, marketing, sourcing, packaging, and the big one FINANCING). That means it's my money on the line, but I'll also reap the lion's share of profits. Assuming there are profits.

The second problem is finding the audience. How do you market something so unique? (There are a few other similar projects, like Hunt A Killer, but it's not a normal part of life like coffee or novels.)

I travel to writing/pop culture/fan conferences very often, where I meet a lot of fantastic people who love the idea of something so unique. That's probably enough to scrape by financially. I also write a lot of interactive fiction, and in fact that's the community that inspired a lot of the design elements of the story (such as calling the reader "you" and making them a character in the story). That is a massive pool of readers who enjoy something a little different. If the story takes off, it will probably be because interactive fiction readers quickly grasp the concept and run with it. There are also a full dozen collaborators on this project. Every character has a different writer (under my direction), and every single writer either has books published or has books accepted for publication. The community of authors published by Odyssey is a very special crowd, and the majority are quite good at marketing their stories too. If nothing else, everyone has a mum... so that's another 12 copies sold.

The third problem is writing a story that makes sense, hides real clues in real art, and both satisfies and torments the reader.

This story is SO GOOD y'all. I can't wait to send out the first round!

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge AU$ 5 or more About $4

    Collaboration & Coffee in Canberra

    Join contributors in a chatty and enjoyable session of putting together packets for readers while drinking coffee and chatting. (Some spoiler danger!) You would need to make your own way to Tilley's Devine Cafe in Canberra.

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    Pledge AU$ 10 or more About $8

    Art Art Baby

    A full quality-printed set of the eight artworks of the story, in a single envelope.

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    Pledge AU$ 40 or more About $31

    "A Bloody Birthday" story (Australia/NZ)

    You will receive a letter, postcard, object and artwork every week for eight weeks. This includes postage costs and high-quality art prints. At the end of eight weeks, the story will be complete and you will know who the killer is.

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    Pledge AU$ 50 or more About $38

    Notebook with Cover Art

    A spiral notebook, A5 size, with one of the artworks from the story on the cover.
    80 pages. You choose which artwork, and blank or lined pages.

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    Pledge AU$ 55 or more About $42

    "A Bloody Birthday" (US/UK/China)

    You will receive a letter, postcard, object and artwork every week for eight weeks. This includes postage costs and high-quality art prints. At the end of eight weeks, the story will be complete and you will know who the killer is.

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    Pledge AU$ 55 or more About $42

    "A Bloody Birthday" parcel (worldwide)

    You will receive a single parcel containing the full story, with each week's content clearly marked so you can discover it piece by piece or all at once. NB: If you live in Australia, New Zealand, the UK, US or China but you can't stand the suspense, you can choose this option but you'll have to pay the extra fee.

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    Pledge AU$ 60 or more About $46

    An Impatient Birthday

    You receive the full "A Bloody Birthday" story in a single package, so you don't have to deal with the more suspenseful full-length version of the story. The contents are identical to the standard story—the only difference is that you receive it in one parcel instead of receiving it over eight weeks.

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    Pledge AU$ 70 or more About $54

    Mini Book Bundle

    Every one of the seven writers on this story has at least one novel published (or soon to be published) by Odyssey Books (Tash Turgoose, as both writer & artist, is published by the Publisher Obscura imprint).
    This pack includes one digital novel from each of the novel writers.
    *Bendon, Carmel: Grasping at Water
    *Barr, Julian: Ashes of Olympus
    *Banks, Felicity: Antipodean Queen 1: Heart of Brass
    *Denman, Carolyn: Sentinels of Eden 1: Songlines
    *Goodlin, Laura E: After the Bloodwood Staff
    *Hore, Phil: Order of the Dragon

    And, of course, "A Bloody Birthday".

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    Pledge AU$ 100 or more About $77

    "A Bloody Birthday" Premium Edition

    The "A Bloody Birthday" story with several special extras including a hand-stamped notebook, the type of pen that the character of Drew uses for both his letters and his art, and a ring based on a ring in the story.

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    Pledge AU$ 100 or more About $77

    Pitch Session (Aust/NZ only)

    15-minute skype pitch session with Odyssey Books & Publisher Obscura acquisitions editor Michelle Lovi. Odyssey Publishes fiction and non-fiction for middle grade and up. Publisher Obscura publishes visually stunning books for adults.

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    Pledge AU$ 150 or more About $115

    A Story Just For You

    Felicity Banks will write a story just for you, on the back of a postcard—by hand—and will post it directly to you. We will need your postal address and (if you like) a prompt of up to 12 words. Eg "Something sad", "Use my name for a cowboy", "Old age", "Something with dinosaurs". The story will be photographed for records, but it will not be sold elsewhere (except in later physical versions of the story, as a bonus).

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    Pledge AU$ 250 or more About $192

    "A Bloody Birthday" Ultimate Edition

    Every item in this story is made by hand. It includes the original hand-written letters, original versions of the art (as much as possible), a hand-stamped cloth notebook, hand-stamped clue storage case, and a hand-made ring that is completely unique and lovely.

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    Pledge AU$ 300 or more About $230

    Custom Artwork

    A piece of art by Shauna O'Meara, based on your specifications.

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    Pledge AU$ 500 or more About $384

    Mega Book Bundle

    All but one of the 12 contributors in this story has some kind of physical book presence elsewhere, ranging from a short story in an anthology to multiple novels. This reward gets you every single one: an epic collection of twenty books by all the writers and artists from "A Bloody Birthday". Novelists published by more than one publisher only have their Odyssey-published books included.
    --Novels:
    *Bendon, Carmel: Grasping at Water
    *Barr, Julian: Ashes of Olympus
    *Banks, Felicity: Antipodean Queen 1: Heart of Brass, Antipodean Queen 2: Silver and Stone, Heest Trilogy 1: The Monster Apprentice
    *Denman, Carolyn: Sentinels of Eden 1: Songlines, Sentinels of Eden 2: Sanguine, Sentinels of Eden 3: Sympath
    *Goodlin, Laura E: Mud and Glass, After the Bloodwood Staff
    *Hore, Phil: Order of the Dragon
    *Warren, Kaaron: The Grief Hole, illustrated by Keely Van Order
    --Canberra Speculative Fiction Guild Anthologies:
    *Never Never Land: Cover and illustrations by Shauna O'Meara, short stories include stories by Shauna O'Meara and Laura E. Goodin
    *Winds of Change: Cover by Shauna O'Meara, short stories include a story by Jane Virgo and her model Cat Sheely.
    --Other Books
    *Lee, Annabelle: Octopus and Family, Super Arm-ey Heroes, 3rd Octopus Book
    *Turgoose, Tash: Makeshift Galaxy
    *Van Order, Keely: Companion to "The Grief Hole"

    And, of course, "A Bloody Birthday" is #20.

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    Pledge AU$ 500 or more About $384

    Bloody Cake (small version)

    A real and delicious version of the ruined birthday cake from Naomi's fateful party (but with strawberry sauce instead of actual blood). It would be served at the book launch on August 25th. And, of course, a copy of the story for you.

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    Pledge AU$ 950 or more About $729

    Big Bloody Cake

    A real and delicious version of the ruined birthday cake from Naomi's fateful party (but with strawberry sauce instead of actual blood). It would be served at the book launch on August 25th and would serve 100 people. And, of course, a copy of the story for you.

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    Pledge AU$ 1,000 or more About $768

    Join Us

    Become a contributor: A 1-hour skype meeting with the convenor (Felicity) to discuss art and ideas (with potential influence from you) for another story in the series, including choosing at least one character's name and being paid sales bonuses along with other contributors (most likely $50 per 100 sales after the first 200 sales).

    And, of course, "A Bloody Birthday".

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Funding period

- (59 days)