Queen of the May: A story of faeries, botany and the scientific method
Every year, on May Day, a young woman is spirited away by faeries to become their Queen for a year. This time, a young botanist called Shakti finds herself tricked into becoming faerie royalty. As she stands trapped in the Summer Lands she can do nothing but watch as the previous Queen, herself once just a normal human, takes on Shakti’s likeness and walks away to steal her memories, her boyfriend, her life.
But the faeries have bitten off more than they can chew. Shakti is not about to let some impostor nick her life and will do whatever it takes to get back to the human world. As she struggles to work out how to use faerie magic get home, she uncovers the dark underbelly of faerie life and finds that she is not the only one who needs saving.
I'm running this Kickstarter project so that I can get Queen of the May into print. As you can see from the rewards, I'd like to provide a variety of options, from ebook to paperback to hand-bound hardback with a variety of covers. I will, as far as possible, hand-bind the hardbacks myself. If we're incredibly successful I might have to get some help in, just in order get things wrapped up for you in a timely manner.
Your support will mean I can get in a professional designer to make sure that the cover is the kind of high-quality you deserve, as well as being able to afford a few other finishing touches such as ISBNs. After doing my previous novelette Argleton, I already have a fantastic printer on hand who's lined up to produce Queen of the May, Oldacres, whom I am very much looking forward to working with again.
The first draft of the story is complete and currently stands at around 21,000 words, which makes it a novella, but that is very likely to grow as I rewrite it. Once I’ve a draft I’m happy with, it will go out to a select group of readers so I can get some feedback. Then it’s due for another rewrite, proofreading, typesetting and we’ll be ready to rock!
I love making books almost as much as I love writing them. There’s something about the process of folding the pages, sewing them together into a book block, and then adding a beautiful cover that is just incomparable. It’s a time-consuming process, though, so I am going to work through the hand-bound rewards in batches, which means some people will get their books before others. If there's demand, I'll make more hand-bound rewards available but they'll be made when the others are finished and sent out.
If we beat the goal
Simply put, if we beat the goal, that will mean more rewards for you! I’ve several fantastic ideas in mind if we over-fund, and I’m hoping that I get the chance to share those ideas with you. The moment we hit $10,000 I will announce the first extra, which will go out to everyone who pledges. So get your friends on board and let's get that goal met!
How to back Queen of the May
Supporting a project on Kickstarter is really easy, no matter where you are in the world. Simply click the big green “Back This Project” button, pick your reward level, then either log in or sign up to Kickstarter, and follow the instructions to pay via Amazon Payments.
If you have problems with Amazon Payments, see if this fix helps. If not, please let me know in a comment what problem you're experiencing. If you're outside the USA and don't have a credit card, this video from Double Fine may help.
Your card won’t be charged unless the project successfully completes and up until that moment you can change your support level at any time. If the project doesn’t complete successfully, no one get charged a dime. I’ll sit in the corner and sob for a bit, but no one will lose any money.
For more details, seek Kickstarter’s own FAQ.
Get a taste for my writing and bookbinding
You can read my previous novelette, Argleton, for free on my website at chocolateandvodka.com/argleton where you can download it as a PDF, .epub or .mobi file, amongst others. Please do take a look at that if you’d like to sample my writing before you pledge, but bear in mind that this new story is a little different — for a start, there’s no technology in it at all!
You can see some of the books I’ve made on my Flickr stream. This Flickr set details my bookbinding history, and this one has photos of Argleton in various stages of preparation.
Spread the word
Whether you back the project or not, you can still help by spreading the word. The biggest challenge for any project on Kickstarter is getting it in front of enough people. Kickstarter has several tools that you can use to spread the word about this project. Just under the video you’ll see a series of buttons to help you tell your friends about Queen of the May, including:
- a Like button for Facebook
- a Tweet button that will send a link to Twitter
- an embed button so that you can grab the code to add the video to your blog or website
- the short URL to use in a social network update or email to people
Please do take a moment to write a Tweet or a Facebook, LinkedIn or Google+ update. And if you know someone you think would like this project, point them in this direction!
Can I choose any character name for the Grand Eagle reward? Within reason, yes. For obvious reasons I can’t use a name associated with an existing character or a distinctive public figure, so no Slartibartfast or Madonna. And to be fair to the readers, we’d best avoid particularly weird names, so no Furtling Bartlebottom, I’m afraid.
I’m a Double Demy supporter. How will you pick the library my second copy goes to?At the end of the fundraising drive I’ll know exactly how many library copies I have to give away and will ask interested libraries to give me their details. I’ll work on a first come, first served basis, so if you have a particular library that you’d like to get a copy, please talk to them beforehand and ask them to follow the updates on Kickstarter or on my Twitter stream so they don’t miss out. I am happy to send to libraries worldwide.
Who will bind the books? Insofar as is possible, I will be your bookbinder, but how many I can do depends a lot on how many are ordered. If we have a lot of orders for the hand-bound options, I may have to outsource some of the work just so that it gets done in a reasonable time, but I’ll try to outsource the boring bits like cutting up the boards or sewing the book blocks together.
Will you make the leather-covered books too? That’s the plan, although again, I may have to call on the help of a bindery if it looks as if we’ve lots of hand-made books ordered.
How long will this all take? I’m estimating that it will take three to six months to complete, depending on a few factors that are currently un-nail-down-able. I will be sending rewards out in batches, as soon as they are ready, but because some of the reward levels will take longer than others to make, some people will have to wait a little longer. Everyone, however, will get the ebook at the same time, as soon as I’m happy with it.
How will I know if I like your writing? You can visit my website at chocolateandvodka.com/argleton and download my previous novelette, Argleton, free, gratis and for nothing! If you like my style, pop back and pledge!
Do I need to pledge extra for international shipping rates?Because I’m in the UK and most of my previous supporters are in the US, I’ve just worked in international shipping to the pledge levels. If you live somewhere particularly obscure, please feel free to add a few dollars, but otherwise shipping is included.
I want to buy more than one copy. What should I do? Let me know in a message or a comment which formats and how many and we’ll figure out how best to accommodate you.
I run a bookshop. Can I put in an order? Yes! Drop me a line via the Kickstarter messaging system and we’ll figure out how best to look after you. Please note that, unlike traditional publishers I cannot do sale or return. I am also unlikely to do a second print run in the foreseeable future, so you should order what you think you can sell.
Antiquarian Special Thanks. What does that mean? There will be a Special Thanks to you or someone of your choosing at the beginning of the book (the Acknowledgements section is at the end). Note that if no one selects the Emperor reward, you will automatically be upgraded from Special Thanks to Dedication, meaning that the entire book will be dedicated to you/your friend.
You’re not really serious about the Emperor reward, are you? Oh yes. I will indeed sit down and carefully write out the entire novella. I will do my best to keep it neat, but crossings-out can’t be ruled out. (No pun intended there, honest guv). Legibility is almost guaranteed. The book itself will then be bound by professionals in the most exquisitely beautiful way we can imagine.
Photo with thanks to Stephen Heron.