Too often trans stories have been written from a cis perspective, with a cis reader in mind, addressing cis concerns about trans people rather than our own concerns. This is especially true when it comes to erotica: literature that deals necessarily with bodies, with our relationships to them, and with our relationships to one another.
Edited by Tobi Hill-Meyer and published by Instar Books, NERVE ENDINGS: THE NEW TRANS EROTIC features thirty writers connected to trans community telling thirty distinct stories about the erotic and our relationship to it.
The stories within NERVE ENDINGS range from orcs in space and surviving the zombie apocalypse, to struggling with anxiety and dysphoria, dealing with awkward hookups, and deciding that sex isn't the right decision right now. Some of these stories are explicit and hot. Some refuse to shy away from topics like trauma and isolation, relationships to pregnancy and chronic illness, sex workers’ rights, and police violence.
So much of the hostility and bigotry trans people face is focused around sexuality: anti-trans bathroom bills conjure fears of "perverts," straight men frame trans women as "deceptive." Others see us as hypersexual and expect us to be available for sex practically on demand, and doctors have historically denied access to hormones and surgery to those who don't have the "right" kind of sex.
Amidst all these intense and often contradictory demands on us around sexuality, it's easy to internalize shame. Thus it's vital--both for our personal well being and our political rights--that we reclaim our personal experiences around sexuality. This anthology presents thirty different ways of doing that.
Instar Books has signed on as the publisher for this book. Instar was my first choice of publisher, and I'm excited to be working with them. But as a small and fairly new publisher, there are certain financial realities to consider.
The most important consideration is to ensure that the contributors can be paid fairly for their work. With thirty contributors, the cost of paying reasonable rates per story adds up. That's where this Kickstarter comes in. The funds we're hoping to raise will cover all of the launch costs, and will ensure that every contributor gets paid in a timely manner.
If you care about the growing field of trans literature, if you believe that artists should be paid for their work, if you're excited to read trans stories that go beyond the typical tropes, and if you want to read something steamy that doesn't skip the depth and difficulty of what make us human, then this project is for you.
Take a good look at this list of contributors and their stories. If you support us, you'll definitely be getting your money's worth.
- Morgan M Page, Rental
- Tobi Hill-Meyer, Brunch Service
- Cyd Nova, How to Fuck: A Case Study for the Bodily Exhausted
- Venyamina maclverra, feelin myself
- Ryley Knowles, Death You Deserve
- Allison Kapitein, A Clean Shirt
- Katherine Cross, Singularity
- Isz Janeway, please don't leave
- Dean Scarborough, Little
- Rae Walker, The Cocksucker
- Aria Sa'id, East Oakland Part II
- John Squire, Nine Months in the Life
- Paige Bryony, The Scholars and the Whores
- Teddy Broadbent, Lace
- Drew Cordes, The Lonely Sissy
- Daemyn Hamilton, The Sorcerer's Summons
- Luna Merbruja, Figuring it Out
- Pretty Eyes Ellis, Hookup Culture
- Anon, Your Average Tuesday
- Rian J. Lloyd, Grease for a Phanton Noise
- Hal Schrieve, A Night in Early December
- Eric Emily Satchwill, Dinner Party
- Bogi Takács, To Rebalance the Body
- Rachel K. Zall, Welcome
- Adonis Alvarez, Hot Story for a Cool Day
- Frances Stewart, How She Is After Work
- andi grace, Ocean Calling Home
- Shawna Logue, Accomodations
- Rocket, A Boy in a Bar
- Rachel King, We Anticipate a Smooth Flight
Details are still coming together, but we're looking at a venue in New York City Friday, February 17th. Between six and twelve of the contributors should be present to read, we're seeking out assistance from local performers, and there will be one hell of an afterparty. More details will be released when we confirm them.
All backers will be given an "Digital Invitation" to the launch party. What does this mean? We're trying to set up a livestream so that you can watch alongside everyone else no matter where in the world you are. (At minimum, we will be sure to record it and send you a copy.)
At the VIP Level or higher, backers will be given reserved seating near the front of the show, a chance to talk with contributors, and a free ticket to the afterparty.
The purpose of this fundraiser is to raise money for contributors. If we hit our goal, we will be able to pay our contributors $50 each ($1500 in total payments.) If we can hit our stretch goal, we'll be able to pay contributors $100 each ($3000 in total payments.)
After Kickstarter takes a cut, some of the money will be used to cover costs associated with backer rewards (postage, printing bookplates, etc). Whatever is left over will go to Instar Books to cover the costs of releasing a book (printing, book design, cover design, and of course paying contributors.) You can think of backing this project as preordering the book.
Please note: In the interests of transparency, all rewards are a few dollars higher than what we expect retail price to be. This is to help cover kickstarter fees. For that extra price, you'll get a few things that won't be available anywhere else. For example, all backers will get an invite to the livestream of the launch party, and any backers who request a paperback of the book will also get an exclusive bookplate indicating your support of the project.
DIGITAL LAUNCH PARTY INVITE
This launch party will be one hot event, but if you can't make it to New York that doesn't mean you have to miss out. We're working to pull together a livestream of the event and every backer at this level or higher will get an access code.
Maybe you want to go paperless, or maybe you just like the idea of having access to Nerve Endings anytime you have access to your phone. This level secures your access to all 30 stories in a Nerve Endings ebook.
There's something about a physical book that you can touch, share, leave out on a coffee table or donate to a library. This level reserves your very own paperback copy of Nerve Endings.
PAPERBACK + EBOOK
You just can't choose? Why should you? Get both the ebook and paperback together. Now when someone says you've got the best of both worlds you don't have to cringe.
EXTENDED DIGITAL PACKAGE
Tobi got her start self-publishing short stories as zines back in 2006. After years of tabling at zine symposiums, all of her early work has been digitized, and now you can get it all. This digital only package comes with over a dozen e-zines plus an audio reading of her most published story, in addition to a ebook version of Nerve Endings, of course.
You don't want to miss our launch party and at this level we'll save a seat up front for you. Get a chance to talk with the contributors and free entrance into the afterparty, along with your own Nerve Endings paperback and ebook.
SPECIALTY POEM / STORY
Get everything from the VIP Backer level along with a specialty poem or story from one of our contributors.
Bogi Takács- Get a custom poem based upon your three word prompt.
Venyamina maclverra - Get a custom poem based upon a topic of your choosing.
Rocket - Get a custom written smutty story based on your short description.
SPECIALTY ART COMMISSION
Deamyn Hamilton - Get a custom sketch made using traditional medium; that is, pencil and paper. Perfect for hanging on walls and whatnot!
metalarmedhobbit - Get a high quality digital sketch with up to 2 figures based on your description - including one round of corrections if there are any details you want fixed in the image. See work examples at http://metalarmedhobbit.tumblr.com/
Hal Schrieve - Get a 9 by 12 inch custom watercolor of one or two people with a color background. See work examples at http://halmarin.tumblr.com/
In the story, Dinner Party, protagonist Cecilia wears a pair of distinctive earrings. Pledge at this level and get a pair of those earrings crafted by the author of the story who also happens to be a jewelry maker. Whenever you wear these out to your own dinner party you'll always have a conversation starter.
GET IT ALL AND A SIGNED BOOK
Getting your book signed can be complicated when there are 30 different authors to track down across three different continents. Back and this level and we'll do a good chunk of the work for you. Several authors will be attending the launch party and we'll pass your book around, each signing our stories with a personalized message before sending the book off to you. Also includes everything from the VIP Level.
If you want this reward as well as one of the specialty items from a contributor - please select the reward level of your specialty item, but add $50 to your pledge.
INSTAR BOOKS SUBSCRIPTION
Curious what else Instar Books is cooking up? This reward level gets you a paperback copy of Nerve Endings as well as a copy of every new standard paperback Instar comes out with. You'll get either one year's worth of books or six paperbacks total, depending on the Instar publication schedule. And shipping is included! (Not available outside of US due to shipping limitations)
FEEDBACK AND EDITING
Tobi is a busy woman these days, but now you can guarantee a bit of her time and feedback on anything you or a friend are working on. Want advice and direction on incorporating trans characters into your story? On how to incorporate sexuality into your work effectively? Or just to review and refine your writing? Back and this level and Tobi will dedicate two hours to helping you make your work even stronger.
HAND BOUND EDITION
This one is really special. We'll be working with community writer and bookmaker. Fay Onyx, who specializes in lovingly made hand bound journals, has agreed to bind two copies of Nerve Endings. This will be a truly unique item made based on your aesthetic preferences. Due to the extra time needed to arrange the creation of this book, we'll also be sending you a paperback and an ebook in February so that you won't have to wait to read it.
Several of you have asked about getting the Extended Digital Package in addition to a physical paperback of Nerve Endings. The easiest way for us to do that is as an add-on reward. If you're not familiar with the process, you select the reward level you want and then choose to pledge a higher amount to reflect that you are getting an addition to that reward level. For example, the Paperback is $28 (+shipping). With the Extended Digital Package being $20 as an add on, simply select the Paperback reward level and then pledge $20 higher, or $48 (+shipping).
Here are the Add-On Rewards that are available
EXTENDED DIGITAL PACKAGE
+$20 in addition to the selected reward level
SIGNED BOOK (WITH OR WITHOUT GETTING IT ALL)
+$55 in addition to the selected reward level
We're keeping it simple. This kickstarter is all about paying the contributors to the anthology - because we believe in the importance of trans creators getting paid for their work.
Most anthologies struggle to pay contributorsa decent amount, due to the difficulty of raising money for so many people at once. Even though average market rate might be about $100 for a story, give or take, it's important to remember that including editing, each story can take a couple of months and several dozen hours of work.
$4,500 Baseline Goal (GOAL MET!) - If we meet this amount in total, then we can give a payment of $50 to each contributor
$7,000 Stretch Goal (GOAL MET!) - If we meet this amount in total, then we can raise the contributor payment to $100 each
$11,000 Stretch Goal (GOAL MET!) - If we meet this amount in total, then we can raise the contributor payment to $150 each
$15,000 Stretch Goal (GOAL MET!) - If we meet this amount in total, then we can raise the contributor payment to $200 each
$20,000 Stretch Goal - If we meet this amount in total, then we can raise the contributor payment to $250 each
$25,000 Stretch Goal - If we meet this amount in total, then we can raise the contributor payment to $300 each
Risks and challenges
I ran my first kickstarter in 2012, and despite being extremely successful, I ran into all the classic first-timer mistakes. I forgot to charge extra for international shipping. I didn't think to pay myself in the budget. And that worked fine until I lost my job and was forced to shift my focus. The core project itself was delivered, more or less on time, but the stretch goal was something I struggled with and only just recently admitted that it would not be possible to do a full DVD release and instead started sending out direct downloads - making sure every backer got a full copy of everything as a thank you for their patience.
I've learned a lot from that experience.
This book is going to happen. The deal has already been signed. We're putting the finishing touches on the manuscript. This Kickstarter is to make sure that the contributors get paid in a timely way, rather than waiting for the sometimes lengthy delays in payment from stores, distributors, and other entities inherent in book publishing and distribution. The Kickstarter will also give our strongest supporters the chance to get a little something extra that wont be available after the book is released.
That said, independent projects and small publishers always have risks. There may be a problem we didn't anticipate, and any number of the other businesses we rely on may face their own difficulties. So while I'm quite confident in our February launch date, there is always the risk of delays with things like this.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (31 days)