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A book about the five months I spent cleaning the home of an aspiring cult leader on a remote Swedish farm. Accidentally.
A book about the five months I spent cleaning the home of an aspiring cult leader on a remote Swedish farm. Accidentally.
188 backers pledged $8,760 to help bring this project to life.

About this project

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$8,760

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Swedish Lessons: A memoir of love, sects & indentured servitude. Sort of.

I wrote a book about me.

Sounds exciting, right? Well, it's not so much about me, as it is about something that happened to me. Or, rather, something I let happen to me because I was a big dumdum. 

In 2005, I was invited to be an au pair for a family in Sweden. I asked no questions, I simply dropped my whole life and went. I mean, why would I not want to spend a year of my twenties gallivanting around Europe, having adventures by night and nannying by day? 

What happened, however, was something significantly different. There was no gallivanting. There weren't even children to nanny. There were teenagers who had no use for me, horses wearing coats, a mother intent on building a new career within a metaphysical, new-agey, pseudo-religious sect, and an insane amount of house cleaning. And all of this happened on a farm, miles from the closest city. Oh, and there's some romance (of sorts), backstabbing and several instances of attempted fraud in there too.

"Wowzers," you say? Wowzers is correct.

So I wrote a book about it. 

Does it really take $7,000 to self-publish a stinking book?

Well, it doesn't have to, if you're OK with a PDF file full of typos that no one will ever download, much less read. I'd like Swedish Lessons, however, to be more like, you know, a book. So here are a few of the different people I need to hire to make this happen:

  • Graphic Designer
  • Book Editor
  • Lawyer (It's a memoir, aka, a litigation magnet.)
  • Company that magically makes books into Kindle books
  • Company that magically makes books into iBooks (not the same company!)
  • Actual paper book printer
  • Advertising costs
  • A bunch of other little things

As it turns out, once you add up all of those line items, you wind up with a number between $6,400 and $10,000, depending on the vendors. Again, wowzers. 

I plan to keep you, my backers, up to speed on what's happening with Swedish Lessons, so you don't forget about me and/or think I've run off with your generous financial support. I wouldn't get very far. I have two very large dogs, and they don't travel well. 

Stay tuned for updates throughout the campaign, including sneak peeks at rewards, campaign progress, and how things are going in the final stages of getting Swedish Lessons ready for bookshelves. 

Thanks so much! 

love, nat

Amazing Cover Art by Sibling Design

Super Sweet Video by Scott Van de VyverFrank Terenzi

Incredible Music in Said Video by Mike Vial

Risks and challenges

If the greatest challenge to publishing a book is actually finishing it, I have good news for you: Swedish Lessons is done. It took many nights and weekends over a three year period to write, with breaks for things like finishing grad school, moving twice, getting a new job, meeting my husband, quitting my job and becoming a writer full time, marrying my husband...a few little distractions.

I also have a fairly clear plan for what vendors I'll use for self-publishing, so there shouldn't be too much risk for your investments involved there. Really, unless my computer, external hard drive and my Gmail account all crash the same time, the completed manuscript is safe and ready to be made into a book.

Time is our most serious variable. I have based the estimated reward delivery dates on the time estimates given to me by my selected vendors. However, if any of those vendors take longer than expected, or I need to switch vendors for some reason, those dates could change. I've allowed for some extra time, so don't expect they will, but I believe this will be the greatest risk associated with the project.

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $5 or more About $5

    THE BUDDY ~
    A sincere, not even snarky thank you note written by me, including as many applicable Swedish words as I can remember, and a Swedish Lessons bookmark. You know you want that bookmark.

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    Pledge $15 or more About $15

    THE e-READER ~
    You'll receive everything above (you know you want that bookmark) and a digital download of Swedish Lessons as soon as it's all good and digitized.

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    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    THE BOOKWORM ~
    Get everything above (including that bookmark), plus a real, live, physical copy of Swedish Lessons. Made out of paper.

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    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    THE COLLECTOR ~
    Now we're getting fancy. You'll get everything above, and your real, live, physical copy of Swedish Lessons will be signed. Plus, you'll find two of my favorite and one of my least favorite Swedish recipes tucked inside just for you. And don't forget about the sweet bookmark.

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    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    NEW! THE COLLECTOR UPDATE ~ All current and future COLLECTOR backers will now also receive the set of Swedish Food Lessons flashcards described in the PRACTICALLY SWEDISH category! Woo-hoo! Bonus! As well as everything else from THE COLLECTOR, of course.

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    Pledge $75 or more About $75

    PRACTICALLY SWEDISH ~ Sure, you could buy a Swedish dictionary to learn Svenska, but if you back Swedish Lessons at this level, you'll get everything above, plus a set of Swedish Food Lessons flashcards, complete with the Svensk names of classic Swedish dishes and my own snarky definitions on the back. Designed by the amazing Alisa Bobzien of Sibling Design.

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    Pledge $75 or more About $75

    NEW! PRACTICALLY SWEDISH UPDATE ~ All current and future PRACTICALLY SWEDISH backers will also receive an advanced chapter of SWEDISH LESSONS, in addition to Swedish Food Lessons flashcards and all other items above. Advanced chapter will a PDF, delivered via email. Future-y!

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    Pledge $125 or more About $125

    HITTIN' THE BIG TIME! ~
    Ooo! This one is good! Not only will you receive everything above, but you'll also be mentioned in a special thank you section of the Swedish Lessons website. You! On the Internet! Plus, you'll be invited to the book launch party. You! At a party!

    Transportation to the party is the responsibility of the backer.

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    Pledge $250 or more About $250

    THE IN-STATE VISIT & FIKA ~
    If you live in Michigan, yea for you. You'll get everything above, plus a book club visit from me, and we'll all fika together (It's Swedish. Google it). We can talk about Swedish Lessons or, you know, whatever else you guys happen to be reading. I'm flexible.

    Book club visits will be scheduled over a period of one year from publication and in Michigan only. Please allow time for our schedules to align. No weirdos, please.

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    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    THE INSIDER ~
    This makes you truly a part of Swedish Lessons. You'll get everything above, including the book club visit and fika (in Michigan only). Additionally, you'll be mentioned in a special thank you section of the book. You! In a book!

    Book club visits will be scheduled over a period of one year from publication and in Michigan only. Please allow time for our schedules to align. No weirdos, please.

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

    AUTOMATIC BEST FRIENDS FOREVER ~

    As if being my automatic best friend forever wasn't enough, I'll do everything above for you, and your special book club visit can be anywhere in the continental United States. Plus, we'll have a fun shopping day together at your nearest IKEA store.

    Book club visits will be scheduled over a period of two years from date of publication and in the continental United States only. Please allow time for our schedules to align. IKEA visit applicable only if the nearest IKEA store is within a 4-hour drive of your book club meeting place. Otherwise, we can do some online IKEA shopping together. Really important that we don't have any weirdos on this one, please.

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Funding period

- (30 days)