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$3,825 pledged of $19,000 goal
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By The Road Virus
$3,825 pledged of $19,000 goal
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About this project

We (Em and Sade) are two best friends who, beyond all else, love books. We spent our entire childhoods in bookstores and libraries. Sade is an author, Em is a former librarian.

It has been a lifelong dream of both of ours to own a bookstore. Unfortunately, we live in a location where opening a brick and mortar store just isn’t financially viable for two people to start from scratch.

So, we thought of the next best thing; we decided to purchase an ex-bookmobile and convert it into a full time living space and bookstore, circumventing the need for pricey overhead and rents. The chance to combine the element of running our own bookstore with living in a self-sustainable manner into one cohesive vision is exceptionally rare. 

We’ve decided to focus on the underrepresented fringe genres of literature, allowing us to tap into a vein that’s long been ignored.

In specializing in fringe literature, The Road Virus will serve as a venue proving to be an outlier's dream. No longer will someone with a different worldview need to walk into a bookstore and immediately beeline for the back shelf consisting of one or two rows of books. Instead, amongst our shelves, you will find yourself literally surrounded by words and stories trained on releasing the darker parts of life.

Now, onto the main aspect of our vision for The Road Virus; horror. 

Even in the year of blockbuster hits like The Conjuring 2 and The Purge: Election Year grossing hundreds of millions of dollars in the box office, the broad genre of horror still remains to this day an underappreciated and trivialized one, especially in literary circles.

Horror as a genre is more of a subjective feeling rather than an objective and defined set of characteristics and the periodic successes that we see as a community owe a higher debt of gratitude to the visual rather than the written word.

Most people consume horror through movies and the occasional book. Then, there are people on the other side of the spectrum: those who themselves are consumed by horror.

When you think horror and household names, you think Stephen King, Edgar Allen Poe, Anne Rice, R.L. Stine, and H.P. Lovecraft. These are authors who are synonymous with the genre but don’t entirely encompass it.

The Road Virus strives to bring not only the critically acclaimed fan favorites but also esoteric and lesser known authors to horror-loving doorsteps around the US.

Throughout recent years, horror has had cyclical success on a broad scale which has brought attention and new fans to the genre; we want to give access to a wider variety and more specialized set of printed media.

Though our crosshairs are primarily centered on the terrifying, the spooky, and the generally off-putting, we will also set our sights on the following:

  • science-fiction 
  • spy/espionage thrillers 
  • true crime
  • fantasy 
  • underground graphic novels/comics 
  • queer studies/lit 
  • modern poetry 
  • underground film/music biographies & histories
  • splatterpunk 
  • erotica

and other fringe genres.

Another big aspect for us will be our children/YA section. Em, as a former YA librarian, has always been passionate about literacy in the younger crowd. Sade, a voracious reader from very early on, has always been obsessed with written words that could make him squirm.

Together, we believe that children deserve to be scared too. Some of our favorite children’s authors were ones that refused to hold our hands, those who believed that children shouldn’t be talked down to, and that they’re smarter and more resilient than common culture allows. We believe that society sometimes puts children into infantalized silos and tells them exactly how large their imaginations should be. We hope to help break that spell.

Our children's section will carry some of our personal childhood heroes such as R.L. Stine, John Bellairs, Roald Dahl, Edward Gorey, Shel Silverstein, Bruce Coville, and Christopher Pike. 

Let's talk about community: the Road Virus wants to give back with more than just books. We are passionate about literacy above all else and want to reach the widest audience possible. 

Anyone of any age who feels like their reading level is not up to par can come by the Road Virus every Sunday from 10 AM - 4 PM and have private tutoring and free access to wi-fi to find other instructors in the area to continue their reading lessons. 

We believe that everyone deserves to read regardless of what kind of book interests them; we subscribe wholly to the ideal that whatever excites someone about reading is what is most important, be it horror, comic books, or Twilight (and everything in between). We will do our best to find a touchstone to teach literacy to an under-served community of non-readers wherever we go. 

Additionally, in our stretch goals, we would love to host free movie nights for every community we park in. Ideally, we will raise enough to purchase outdoor speakers to be mounted on The Road Virus, screen material, a projector, and some comfy seating. 

Our goal is to host a double-feature; the early show for kids/families and a later showing for adult audiences only. The former will appeal to people of all ages, with nostalgic classics such as Watership Down, The Halloween Tree, and The Addams Family. Sade has a storied background with movies that both get under your skin and in your skull, so for the adults, we'll be showing weird cult and horror classics as well as the fringe genres such as exploitation, Giallo, and terrible gory b-flicks. 

Again, horror and the subversive elements of written fiction have always been closely entwined with cinema; we endeavor to showcase that relationship. 

Onto why we're launching this Kickstarter: we have the goals, we have the drive, we have the experience; we just need help with the means. In supporting our Kickstarter, you are making the following possible.

  • $7,500 - The bus itself. We just so happened to come across a devil's deal on Craigslist. Used for many years by Perry County (Indiana) as a bookmobile, the semi-converted retired schoolbus already has a history of promoting literacy. It includes built-in bookshelves, a generator that runs 110v electricity for lights/outlets, and a wheelchair lift, making us universally accessible. Note: we've already purchased the bus with a loan, so this portion is to pay it back. 
  • $1,000 - Rounding out the collection. We have a substantial collection of books in genres like scifi and thrillers already, but would like to specialize our stock to horror and hone in on granular subgenres and hard-to-find titles as much as possible. We plan to hit estate sales and other events across the US where books are bound to be. 
  • $4,000 - Payment to a contractor for framing of a bathroom (and plumbing), self-contained kitchenette, and sleeping area. Em and Sade will be living in The Road Virus full time, and so will require the basic necessities of home. We will also be installing skylights for more natural light throughout the bus. 
  • $1,000 - Fees, Paperwork, Insurance. Starting an LLC without a permanent address requires extensive tax paperwork and fees as well as insurance for the bus and ourselves. Permits in order to park in certain counties/states. Registering the bus. 
  • $1,000 - Full bus tuneup. Oil change, one tire replacement, transport/fuel from pickup (Missouri) to maiden voyage kickoff spot (California). Parking until takeoff (February 1st). 
  • $1,500 - Basic appliances/fixtures. Fridge, toaster oven, sink, toilet, shower, electrical inverter, wi-fi hotspot. 
  • $5,000 - Exterior vinyl wrap for the bus. For us to stand out as a business and not just another RV or bus; so folks know what we are and why we're there. This is a pretty expensive process, and the quotes we've been getting are mostly in excess of $5,000.
  • $950 - Kickstarter fees. With our funding goal set at $19,000, this is Kickstarter's pound of flesh, though we fully appreciate the crowdfunding venue for even making this type of thing a possibility

    While we recognize that our total costs are more than what we're asking for from the Kickstarter community, we hope that other book and horror lovers are generous in helping us reach and exceed our goal. 

Beyond the basics of mobile bookselling, we also want to offer additional services and features to set us apart from your typical retailer. Upon meeting our goals, we would also like to accomplish and incorporate the following into the store. 

Delivery service to your door: We'll purchase a motorized scooter and, for a small fee and within the local delivery area, we can bring your books directly to your door. 

Movie Nights: As described above, we'll purchase the required equipment to allow us to set up recurring movie nights with a double feature for kids and adults. 

Reading Is Infectious Book Club Subscription Service: Available in 3, 6, and 12 month subscriptions, we intend to offer three separate themed subscriptions to readers. You choose a length of time and a genre group and we'll send you one book per month for the length of your subscription. A great gift for the voracious reader in your life. 

Fringe Lit Online Community: On our website, we will be hosting a forum for lovers of fringe lit to come together and discuss the finer points of their favorite widely-unknowns. With the bus itself, we can reach communities across the US in person; through the forum, we hope to provide an outlet for people across the world. Click here to sign up for the forum.

Reading events for authors: In our travels and separate and joined communities, we've befriended many authors; we would like to give them a space to share their craft with their local community by hosting live readings, book signings, and other events. 

Typewriter podium: We want to bring out the writer in everybody; we'll have a typewriter set up in publicly accessible space to encourage creative expression. Type a poem, take a poem, leave a poem. 

Little Free Library: We'll have a Little Free Library set up on the outside of the bus. While these books might not always be on brand for The Road Virus, we'll make sure we always have a good selection. Just because you don't necessarily have the funds doesn't mean you have to leave without a book. 

Tiny animals for petting: What's a good bookstore without a few cute critters lying around? Right now, The Road Virus will be traveling with a small chihuahua named Fulci (named after the Italian director, famous for his gory Giallo films). We also intend to adopt a black cat; the chosen color due to the increased difficulty of finding homes for black cats because of the stigma surrounding them. We hope that our resident friends will bring a smile to our patrons' faces as well as encourage more casual browsing. Adopt, don't shop. 

 

Risks and challenges

To put things in terms of black and white - much like ink on a page - we are determined to do this whether our Kickstarter is successful or not. As mentioned above, we've purchased the bus with a loan.

Both of us have experience with small business ownership, from music publishing and distribution to library-inspired ephemera and jewelry-making. We know what it takes to start a small business, and to run it successfully; we understand the trials and tribulations which come with adversity in the small business market and selling wares to niche crowds.

Our biggest risk is that we have a single point of failure; our home, business, and vehicle will all be in one place. Because of this, we fully intend on sharpening our personal mechanical and general home-repair skills.

One of the biggest challenges facing independent bookstores these days is the advent and rapid growth of markets like Amazon where books are readily available and inexpensively shipped to your front door.

We also recognize that horror, thrillers, sci-fi, and comic books might not be everyone's favorites and in some areas of the country they might even be downright unpopular - we hope to show that being scared is actually a good thing. Not only does it release endorphins and dopamine (which are "happiness hormones"), but being scared also releases oxytocin - a chemical produced by the brain that helps with human bonding. So pick up that next tempting creepy tome, because the family that scares together, stays together!

We believe that the experience of browsing a bookstore/sitting in a library is something that people, especially the younger generation, are lacking access to. There is a rich history and culture behind the personal human touch of bookselling that is being stripped down by the internet; with The Road Virus, we can combine the personal touch with the flexibility of setting up shop in communities across the US.

As stated in our stretch goals, we want to offer door to door service in the future as well, giving even Amazon a slight run for their money.

+++++++++

Video designed and narrated by The Dark Somnium
http://darksomnium.com/
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC_e39rWdkQqo5-LbiLiU10g

Video script written by The Road Virus

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $1 or more About $1.00

    PERFECTLY HEALTHY

    Every little germ counts!

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    ASYMPTOMATIC

    You feel bright and chipper; you've just done your small but substantial part in helping The Road Virus go viral.

    You've earned yourself a permanent place on our "Fallout Shelter" supporters webpage.

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    COMMON COLD

    You're starting to feel a bit under the weather, but it's probably nothing. Damn these sniffles, though.

    Thanks twofold, and a The Road Virus bus logo sticker to boot.

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    THE BUG IS ALIVE & KICKIN'

    The tenacious little rascal has taken up residence and kicked back somewhere deep in your folds.

    All the thanks in the world, a sticker, and a pin. Careful to not prick yourself... wouldn't want to break skin.

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    IT'S SPREADING

    You're a goner; the virus has run amok, eating up your inner goodies, so you might as well look good while you're laid to waste, eh?

    Enjoy the previous rewards along with the first edition of the The Road Virus bus logo t-shirt (small, medium, large, X-large)

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    CONTAGION NATION

    Language can be deadly and beautiful, and it's something we should share worldwide.

    In addition to our thanks and merch, the Road Virus crew will also hand-select a book for you from our collection in the genre of your choice.

    Now that you have a new book, you'll also get a TRV tote to carry it in, and a bookmark to hold your place.

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    READING IS INFECTIOUS

    Love the virus, become the virus. At least it doesn't go after the eyes; not being able to read would be torture.

    In addition to the pin, sticker, tote, and bookmark, you'll get a 3 month subscription to the Reading Is Infectious book club.

    At the moment, there will be 3 genres to choose from - horror, sci-fi, and fantasy. Once per month, you'll receive a *new* book of our choosing in the mail. You'll also gain exclusive access to the RII book club forum to discuss your book of the month.

    This tier gets the special Reading Is Infectious shirt in place of the TRV bus logo shirt. Choose the READING IS INFECTIOUS-ER tier for both shirts.

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    Pledge $200 or more About $200

    READING IS INFECTIOUS-ER

    The READING IS INFECTIOUS tier + the TRV bus logo shirt

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    IN THE HILLS, THE CITIES

    This is your opportunity to reach even the most remote parts of the country.

    With this tier, you'll get all the goodies, the 3 months of the subscription, and we'll include 5 copies of your favorite fringe book with our initial inventory, along with a "recommended by" flag with your name and a blurb about the book.

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    SHARING IS CARING

    What's better than sharing with friends and family; spreading what you've got with your loved ones?

    We'll add some more stickers and pins to your lot, give you the 3 months subscription, carry 5 copies of your fringe fav, and let you curate an entire shelf in the bus.

    Recommend the books to your evil lil heart's content; we'll plaster photos and your words all over our site and social media.

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    GERMS OF ENDEARMENT

    You've been plaguing our thoughts lately...

    This love is surely symbiotic. We'll extend your Reading Is Infectious subscription to 6 months, carry a total of 10 copies of your favorite book, and place a brass plaque with your name alongside the other $1k donators on the special "Invest to Infest" bookshelf.

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    TUBOOKULOSIS

    Everything from the GERMS OF ENDEARMENT tier, but your subscription is extended to 12 months

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    PATIENT ZERO

    You are patient zero, Typhoid Mary, the Quarantine Queen!

    Along with a mountain of goodies, you'll also get the opportunity to help us curate your very own bookcase. That's right, an entire case. At the top, you'll have your own separate dedicated plaque.

    You'll also get a special limited edition handcrafted necklace made from a test tube.

    Most importantly, you'll get to come live aboard The Road Virus with us for an entire weekend (Friday - Sunday). We can either coordinate to be in your area or you can meet up with us in another city and we'll pick you up from the airport. We'll spend the weekend with you, spreading books and infectious reading together - come see what bus living and book selling are all about.

    Offer only valid in the continental US. If you're international or in HI/AK, you'll need to arrange passage to US mainland.

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    TIL DEATH DO US PART

    We'll always be together; or, at least, until one of us expires.

    You'll get all of our Road Virus merch from above and we'll send you one book per month until our due date is stamped or we hit the 13 year mark of being in business.

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    THE EXTINCTION EVENT

    Welp, you've done it; you've killed the entire planet in one fell swoop.

    However can we repay you for your generous act of hitting the reset button?

    We'll make a limited run of 1,000 bookmarks with your supreme visage as our new reigning overlord.

    We'll create you a special Road Virus mixtape (on an actual cassette) with handmade packaging featuring typewritten liner notes.

    We'll have a special black Road Virus germ mask (popular fashion accessory in Japan) screenprinted for you with our teeth logo in white.

    We'll get a one-of-a-kind black and chrome plaque to mount on the outside of the bus door with "THE EXTINCTION EVENT CAUSED BY X YOUR NAME X".

    We'll brand our bodies with a tattoo of the catalog number of your favorite book of all time; Em is partial to the dewey decimal system, and Sade is deciding between ISBN and LOC.

    As a last special tribute, we will gift you a copy of our favorite books:

    From Sade, the horror anthology 999. This is the collection of short stories edited by Al Sarrantonio which essentially paved the way for his love of horror. He still has the extremely weathered hardcover original pressing copy his father gave to him when he was eight.

    From Em, House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski. Everything from the nesting story within a story to the intensity of the ergodic format is perfectly designed to make you feel like you're going mad alongside the characters, and she loves it so much that she's loaned it out and has had to re-purchase it four separate times.

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Funding period

- (30 days)