I wrote a novel for parents everywhere who wish they could get proper credit or at least a 'hey, thanks!' for taking on the weighty task of raising the next generation. Now I'm asking for your help to publish it.
"How nice would it be if parenting was really, truly valued in our society?" I thought to myself as I rocked my baby and fed my toddler way back in 2013 while reading yet another article which described parenting as a 'lifestyle choice'.
'Why not?' asked my husband in 2014 as I explained to him why I could never write a novel even though I'd been scribbling stories since I could hold a pen.
'Why not, indeed?' I muttered in early 2015 as I finally picked up my laptop and started banging out the first words of Maternal Instinct, enraged by being told - albeit by well-meaning people - to 'have a nice day off' from paid work to look after the kids.
As any parent of small children knows, being at paid work is the 'day off' after the hard (but wonderful!) work of parenting.
A few hundred words became 10,000 which rolled on into 77,000 as I built a fictional world for where parenting was really, truly valued.
Be careful what you wish for...
Imagine a world where pregnant women are actually looked after
Maternal Instinct has been described as a 'soft dystopia' and I can't quite decide myself whether I've built a paradise or a hell on earth.
Imagine you're pregnant or you've just given birth. You're surrounded by other women and babies just like you in a comfortable, relaxed home. There are young men who wait on you hand and foot - massaging your back and feet, cooking meals, cleaning, walking the baby up and down the hallway in the middle of the night. There are no bills to pay, no clothes to wash, no housework to do. Just you and your baby in a blissful bubble.
But there are two catches.
First, you don't get a choice about whether you have a baby or not. After high school everyone has to do National Service - for girls that means popping out a couple of babies. For boys that means looking after the girls and the babies.
Second, after 6 months you have to give the baby up to be raised by professional parents called 'Maters' and 'Paters'. But don't worry, you'll get to visit him or her every Sunday...
Maternal Instinct's publishing journey (so far)
Maternal Instinct has had quite a journey already. It was adopted by a wonderful literary agent all the way over in New York in 2017. It's been flown over to the U.K., toted around the London Book Fair and written about in Ripen the Page Literary Magazine. It's been read by a number of commissioning editors in big-name international publishing houses around the world. It's come *this close* to being offered a traditional publishing contract a couple of times.
But - sadly - not close enough.
So I'm publishing it under my own imprint, the newly minted Story Addict Publishing. And that's where you come in! I need your help to raise the funding for the editing, design and first print run.
Want to know more about the journey? I've been writing about my writing and publishing journey since 2015: Read my novel-in-progress blog series.
Listen to (or read) an excerpt from the book
If Maternal Instinct were already printed you'd be able to pick up a copy and read a random page.
In lieu of this, I've recorded an excerpt as part of a special episode of the Story Addict podcast. Simply search "Story Addict" on your favourite podcasting app, or head over to the Story Addict website where you can also read the excerpt if you prefer.
Reviews of the book - what early readers say!
"Couldn't put it down, even when I was exhausted, breastfeeding a newborn and running around after a two year old. A fascinating, intriguing and sometimes heartbreaking world, I became incredibly attached to the characters and their stories." ~ Angela (my sister)
"It’s a cracking good read about upholding the rules, until time shows you that maybe the rules aren’t right in the first place. This is feminist dystopian fiction at its finest, set in a not-too-distant future that is not at all difficult to envisage. Settle in, because you won’t be putting it down any time soon!" ~ Amy, Handbagmafia
"Stunningly original, suspenseful and chillingly dystopian, I gleefully devoured this book in one day." ~ Kylie (long-standing friend)
These lovely early readers read the book when it still looked like this:
The characters and their story: meet Monica and Alice
Rule-abiding Alice is a 39-year-old senior official in the Department of Genetics and Reproduction charged with compliance and education.
Her fiery daughter, Monica, has just given birth to her first son and is threatening to refuse to surrender him to the state.
Monica’s anguish stirs the ghosts of Alice’s past trauma of first giving birth to a stillborn baby then being forced to relinquish baby Monica.
Alice’s resolve to tow the state’s line is further challenged when she discovers she has fallen pregnant herself - accidentally and illegally.
Her mission to discover the truth about the death of her first child, help Monica and save her own unborn child leads to the discovery of a government conspiracy and a choice - will she do what seems best for the welfare of all children and relinquish her baby to professionals again? Or will she follow her maternal instinct to help her own child?
What will you do with my money?
Give it to an editor, a designer, a printer and a distributor who will turn the manuscript into an actual book.
$5000 will mean Maternal Instinct will be available to buy online in paperback and ebook form. It will also pay for the first small print run - and postage - of 100 books.
Any $$ raised over the $5000 goal will go towards more printing, distribution and marketing - initially for the Australian launch, then internationally if all goes well.
The more we raise, the further we can spread the word!
How does pledging work?
At the top (if you're on mobile or tablet) or to your right (on desktop) you'll see a list of 'rewards' based on how much you choose to pledge.
You can pledge as little as $10 or as much as you like.
You can pledge 'just cos' or you can choose a reward.
The more you choose to pledge, the bigger your reward. A $20 pledge will be rewarded with a paperback copy of the novel, a $25 pledge will be rewarded with a signed copy, and so on.
It's all-or-nothing funding, which means that if the campaign doesn't hit $5,000 in total pledges by the end date, you pay nothing and I go and cry under my desk again.
If we do manage to hit $5,000 I will drink a few glasses of champagne and then get to work. If we reach the goal, you can expect to receive your reward/s in early October 2019. You'll also get updates in the months leading up to publication, especially the most exciting part of all - the cover reveal!
All pledgers will also receive an invitation to the launch party in mid-October 2019. Exact date, time and location to be confirmed, but it'll be in Melbourne, Australia somewhere.
Thank you, in advance, for helping my dream come true and for helping this story reach the hands of readers!
Risks and challenges
The book is already written and structurally edited. I've found a fabulous book designer, editing services and printing and distribution services. Now I just need the funds to commission them!
The timeline I've given myself is quite generous, so I have no doubts that payment of your pledge will cause your reward to materialise in a timely manner.
This isn't the first time I've published a book, so your pledge is in safe hands! In 2013 I published an ebook of a collection of my parenting blogs.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (28 days)