Hello! We're working on a graphic novel about a Deaf superheroine. We basically need your help with the print costs and hiring a BSL proof-reader to make sure our portrayal of her is accurate.
It's a good story. We think you'll like it:
So, we're in Edwardian London. Edward VII is on the throne and the British Empire is at its peak.
In this reality, superpowers and magic are very real, but most of the great and the good who are gifted with such talents probably aren't on your side. Particularly if you've got the guts to stand up to them.
Emily, a curiously strong Deaf girl from Deptford docks, discovers this for herself on the day her mother is kidnapped by a pair of peculiarly talented, but thoroughly unsavoury socialites. Now it is up to her and her friends to save her mother from a destiny far darker than dying.
The story is going to be released in two parts. Right now we need help publishing part one. The first book (the one this Kickstarter is all about) is going to be roughly 48 pages long (possibly a bit longer as we're allowing a bit of wiggle room for story pacing at this stage), perfect bound with a soft cover. The artwork will be black and white throughout to reflect the dark and shadowy nature of Emily's world.
We're aiming to launch it in May of 2016 in association with the East End Women's Museum in London. We are planning a cool launch party with some interesting speakers. More on this as the project progresses.
Sarah is drawing the book right now so we will be able to show you her progress throughout the campaign. For now we've got some preview pages that should give you an idea of the look of the book:
So, yeah. Black and white. Atmospheric. Grim and spooky. Kind of Sin Cityish in aesthetic, but with an angry teenage girl instead of a generic grumpy old man as the central protagonist.
Emily's got a really, really tough journey on her hands. We kind of feel bad for putting her through it, but we think it's going to be a brilliant read.
- First off, we could do with some help with our printing costs. Pretty straight forward stuff, really. Initial aim is to raise enough money for a print run of 500 books. If we get more orders or are really over funded we'll be printing a lot more :)
- We also want to hire an editor to make sure the book is the best it can be. A fresh, professional pair of eyes would be really useful. We really want to hire another Sarah, Sarah Logan. She's a writer who works at Manchester University, improving accessibility for students. Her writing is really very good.
- Finally, and super important, the story is about a Deaf teenage girl. Howard is a fluent BSL user and Sarah was a teenage girl a while ago, but we're both hearing. With your help we want to pay a Deaf proof-reader/actor to go through the story and make sure Emily is grounded in more reality than we could manage on our own. It's going to be a big job for them and we want to pay properly rather than rely on favours.
We have some extra things we'd to do with the book now we are base-level funded:
- £3000+ All book-level supporters also get a bookmark with the BSL alphabet for their reference. Yay!
- £5000+ The book gets smart-looking end papers covered with useful signs for everyone to know.
- £6000+ Fancy paper stock! We get to print the book on something that feels 'really nice' rather than just 'very nice'
- £10,000+ Posh cover - Sarah gets to make a really, really nice-looking cover.
Howard Hardiman is the writer behind Deeds Not Words. He has been self-publishing for about eight years and currently has a major exhibition on display on the Isle of Wight on Mythology. He has a couple of other books, The Lengths (Described as "Beautiful and gritty" by Out There Magazine) and Badger's Day Out ("A charmingly ungraphic graphic adventure that understands the journey is the destination" - Kieron Gillen), which are probably worth checking out (no, seriously. They are pretty good).
Sarah Gordon is the visual artist on this project. She has been self-publishing comics/working as an illustrator for about five years. Her latest book, Strip has just been short-listed for Best Comic of the Year at the 2015 British Comic Awards ("a singular piece of art" - Starburst Magazine). When she's not making comics, she can be found doing things like talking to scientists and making art reacting to their work or playing Dixit with her neighbours.
They are both humanoids who met whilst they were in college. They have been itching to do a proper project together for years.
They look like this when they're being serious adults:
And like this when they think no one's looking:
We're going to get on with getting on with the book now. Thank you so much for your support!
Risks and challenges
Production time for the book is being funded by Arts Council England (thank you, Arts Council England! You are very lovely). As I am writing this campaign, the script has been finalised and I am currently filling my sketchbook with thumbnail layouts, rough pages and concept sketches of the Deeds Not Words world. This means as of writing, we don't have the completed book just yet.
If I keep to schedule then DNW part one should be finished comfortably by spring next year. We have about six months to final proposed deadline, which should give us plenty of time to make edits and revisions before the book goes to the printers.
There is always a chance that there will be a minor delay at the printing stage of the book if proofs aren't as perfect as we'd like. If the project needs a bit of extra time we'll take it there, but turnaround with these things is usually pretty quick so any hold ups shouldn't be too lengthy.
If all goes according to plan then the aim is to get advance copies of the book to people by the end of April.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (29 days)