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$300 pledged of $3,500 goal
$300 pledged of $3,500 goal


Press mentions for To Breathe Free (listed from most recent)

- "AudioJungle – The Best Place for Backing Tracks for Your Kickstarter Video" by Adrian Try

- Mentioned in Poets & Writers Magazine "Daily News" section from April 17, 2012 by Evan Smith Rakoff

- “Why Some Authors Are Turning To Self-Publishing” by Justine Ashley Costanza of the International Business Times

- “Day 90: Literary Legacy” by Alex Hoekstra (full disclosure: Alex is also a backer of this project)

Hello Kickstarters,

This is Andrew. Thank you for stopping by my Kickstarter project page. Below you will find more detailed information about this project including a synopsis of To Breathe Free, my personal and writing background, what you'll get for pledging, how I'll utilize your pledge to bring To Breathe Free to publication, and other info. Please be sure to read everything before you make a pledge.

I hope you’ll become part of this journey to publish To Breathe Free.

Thank you!

About To Breathe Free

Have you ever been completely engulfed and consumed by an idea or goal that all 86,400 seconds of your day—even those fleeting moments upon your pillow at night as you ponder the future or life’s unanswerable questions, or those hazy, semiconscious moments as you awake—are fixated on that goal or idea?

To Breathe Free is that sort of idea and goal for me.

I must publish this novel and I cannot sleep soundly until I do.

Two major goals are fueling this desire, as I talked about in my video.

One, I want to keep my Grandfather’s dream alive, helping his writing reach as many people as possible so that it can be enjoyed “…and perhaps to be remembered” by readers as he wished for in his poem "Is what I am Where I am," which I recite in my video (starting at 1:50).

My second goal is to write the first “Great American Novel” to be initially and only published in electronic format, or the first "Great American eNovel." Just trying to write the “Great American Novel” in print is a lofty goal. As an ebook, it is even more difficult, since the electronic format is still in its infancy. Ebooks are changing things though and are only going to become a more powerful force in literature and culture.

And why not aim for a large goal? Life is too short to hold back.

I have written a manuscript for To Breathe Free of roughly 104,000 words, which comes out to around or under 420 pages if it were printed in standard book size and format.

I have made many revisions and I’m proud of what I’ve written in those 104,000 words but I also know that I need assistance in making To Breathe Free even better so that I can realistically strive for the “Great American Novel.”

Synopsis of To Breathe Free

***Spoiler alert: I contemplated how much to reveal about the story of To Breathe Free in this synopsis, but for this Kickstarter project I need to be open and honest with you. So the following is quite detailed but certainly does not reveal everything and To Breathe Free still needs to be read in its entirety for the following to be fully understood, appreciated, and experienced.***

Lonely, lost, and incomplete, the twenty-something narrator of To Breathe Free seeks refuge and answers in New York City and in his family’s past. A past in which his Great-Grandmother, Mildred, has just been orphaned by an automobile accident at the age of twelve, and in which his Great-Grandfather, Thomas, the black sheep of his wealthy Connecticut family, sets out for New York City to restart his young life.

From here, American Dreams are chased as Mildred also journeys to New York from her native England, while Thomas becomes a newspaper writer and a husband to his wife Nora and father to their four boys: Theodore, William, Dylan and Christian.

Just when American Dreams have been captured, they are quickly slaughtered and sacrificed.

Nora deserts her four boys and her husband Thomas. Poverty quickly engulfs them, forcing Thomas to do the unimaginable and surrender his boys.

Thomas doesn’t accept defeat and works to pull himself out of poverty and his boys out of their orphanage.

After being reunited with his boys, the Great Depression hits, putting all that Thomas has worked for at jeopardy again. The Depression strains Mildred’s home life too, while her husband fools with her greatest fear: being abandoned.

WWII offers the country a way out of its circumstances and a just cause to empower the nation and its young men, including Thomas’ boys.

Theodore, William, Dylan, and Christian enlist to fight. Their father is full of pride, and of fear, as they are sent overseas.

To Breathe Free now follows Dylan, the narrator’s Grandfather, as he and readers are pushed to the frontlines of the Battle of the Bulge in the snowy Ardennes Forest. In this ancient landscape, Dylan experiences the horrors of man, the beauty of nature, and salvation of writing.

Upon a safe return home, Dylan and his brothers quickly start their lives.

Dylan becomes married to Mildred’s daughter, Abigail, and moves to suburban New Jersey where they begin their own family.

The new generation is born, including the narrator’s mother Aubrey, but old fates return as Dylan and Abigail's marriage collapses.

The cycle of these old fates are then linked back to the present-day and the young narrator’s own short history. As he walks around Manhattan, the narrator reflects on his father deserting him and his sister when he was nine years old, and of the years his father savagely beat his mother Aubrey right in front of their young eyes.

While following the narrator and his family, To Breathe Free constructs a mosaic of Americans who are living different, yet similar experiences of “yearning to breathe free” as Emma Lazarus wrote in her poem “The New Colossus” from which my novel’s title pays homage to.

As it pays homage to history, To Breathe Free encapsulates the present and looks towards the future of America. While doing so, it courageously explores difficult issues such as racism, homophobia, depression, politics, war, religion, poverty, and immigration.

About me

Prior to writing To Breathe Free I have been an entrepreneur since I was fourteen years old (I’m about to turn 24). I have launched a variety of businesses since then, from a search engine, to a music site for struggling artists, to my most recent and most successful venture Lyved is a blog that I started in 2008. I, along with guest writers, write on “life and living it” as our slogan goes and have always aimed to inspire, motivate, and provoke deep thought in our readers. In the past four years Lyved has reached well over a million people worldwide and has been linked by such major sites as Entrepreneur .com, Portfolio .com, and CBSNews .com. Today, it continues to make an impact on readers.

If you would like to learn more and read some articles for a sample of my writing, I encourage you to please visit Lyved's home page here: or our most popular articles page here: .

In addition to all of the above, I'm also set to achieve a Bachelor's degree in English this May.

As attested to my entrepreneurial and writing background, I am creative, very independent, very driven, and possess marketing savvy. Crucial assets I will use to make To Breathe Free a success.

What you’ll get for helping out and joining this journey

  • For a pledge under $4 – You will receive a thank you email containing an update at the launch time of To Breathe Free.
  • For a pledge of $4 - You will receive ONE DRM-Free copy of To Breathe Free in your choice of EPUB or MOBI format sent via email.
  • For a pledge of $8 – You will receive TWO DRM-Free copies of To Breathe Free via email. One in EPUB and one in MOBI format. If you ever switch to a different ereading device or app you’ll have the freedom to easily transfer To Breathe Free over.
  • OR for a pledge of $8 - You can receive ONE copy of To Breathe Free in the format of your choice and provide a friend’s email. Your friend will then receive the second copy of To Breathe Free as a gift from you. When choosing this pledge please think about what format you would like your friend to receive their copy in.

EPUB is a standard ebook format that works with iBooks, Nook, Sony eReaders, Kobo, and an assortment of other iOS and Android book apps. And the MOBI ebook format works with Kindle readers and Kindle apps. I have kept To Breathe Free DRM-Free for both formats so that you’ll enjoy more freedom and convenience. "DRM" means “Digital Rights Management.” It is an encryption placed on ebooks by publishers and authors that attempts to prevent illegal sharing and downloaded. However, it also prevents readers from easily moving their books to different devices and creates other annoyances. While I don’t want people to illegally share, download, or profit from To Breathe Free, I also have great trust in each of you and every one of my readers.

(Please note that I cannot assist you with any technical issues that may arise with uploading and viewing your copy of To Breathe Free in your choice ebook app or ereader. There are some readers and apps that allow you to easily upload your ebooks via USB cable or by opening an email attachment, while others don't have such features. I cannot be held accountable for that. If you have any problems please contact your ereader or app’s customer support. Please also note that you are responsible for any data fees that your ereading service of choice may charge for uploading content to your device or app.)

While I would greatly appreciate a pledge of more than $8, there is absolutely no obligation to because this is partially a commercial creative project. To Breathe Free will be retailing for $3.99 at the ebookstores I publish with so $8 is in line with the retail price of two copies of To Breathe Free. Please note though, that the ebookstores I publish with could change my suggested price of $3.99 and I don’t have control over it, but my aim is to make $3.99 the standard across all my retail outlets.

Can’t afford to donate?

No worries at all! I completely understand and I still would love it if were part of this journey with all of us. If you can’t donate, please instead consider Tweeting, Facebooking, blogging, emailing, or sharing my project in any other way. Please look directly under the video above to find a Facebook like button, Twitter tweet button, video embedding code, and a shortened link that brings you to this page.

Sharing my project in this way would be just as valuable, appreciated, and helpful in keeping our dreams alive.

And if you can donate, sharing on Facebook, Twitter, through email, your blog, or wherever is greatly appreciate too.

Funding goal and what I’ll do with your pledge

I have set my funding goal as a minimum of $3,500. I will be working hard to raise more though so that I can hire the most experienced, dedicated, and enthusiastic of the freelance editors I have already spoken with. If any funding is left over after working with this editor, I will use it towards publishing To Breathe Free and for raising awareness of my novel, as I describe in more detail right below.

Many of the aspects of bringing To Breathe Free to electronic publication I will be performing myself. As you can see above and in my video, I’ve already designed a book cover. I have a preliminary website set up which you can view here: . I also already know how to format my novel so that it works properly with all the major ebook readers and apps. And I will be using my social media and marketing skills to spread the word about To Breathe Free. So I am not particularly seeking funding for these aspects of bringing my novel to fruition.

My primary need with funding is to hire an exceptional freelance editor for an in-depth read and critique of my manuscript and assistance with fixing any problems such as plot holes, characterization, flow, dialogue, or anything else that may need work. I think one of the biggest problems with self-published ebooks is that they lack proper editing. Not just editing to find typos but developmental editing where editors push writers to work harder and objectively look at their work. I am open-minded enough to know that my manuscript for To Breathe Free needs assistance while still remaining extremely proud of what I’ve written and loyal to the distinct voice that I portray in the story.

After working hard on revisions to address the problems that the editor finds in my manuscript, if I feel it’s necessary, I may seek a second read and critique from the editor and further assistance with any problems that may still exist.

I’ve already spoken with professional and reputable freelance editors who have worked in the book publishing industry in New York City. They are compelled by To Breathe Free and are interested in assisting me. All I need to get things in motion is adequate funding.

As I was mentioning above, if any funding is left over after working with the freelance editor and being satisfied with the revisions I make, I will use it towards other costs such as purchasing ISBNs (which are needed to sell with many ebook retailers), for advertising To Breathe Free through traditional online ads in conjunction with my social media and personally-driven marketing campaign, and anything else that pertains to raising the awareness for To Breathe Free and bringing it to more readers.

Other details

Here are a few other details to note about this project:

First, I will be doing my very best to get the revisions of To Breathe Free finished by the listed deadline for your incentive rewards. I guarantee that I will work every moment I can. However, revisions do need patience and focus. I will keep you updated if there is any delay.

Second, since major revisions will be done to my manuscript, the names, characters, parts of the plot, or other details in the above synopsis could be altered in the final published version. However, the core of To Breathe Free will remain. Also, the length may change. It could be longer or shorter than what my manuscript is now, but it will still remain the length of a novel.

Thirdly, as mentioned above, To Breathe Free explores a variety of difficult and polarizing topics such as racism, homophobia, war, politics, and religion. To Breathe Free needs to be daring and realistic with its portrayal of these subjects and its characters. Therefore, profanity and derogatory words are used and passages may be very uncomfortable or graphic to some readers. To Breathe Free is NOT appropriate for children. If you have a weak stomach or do not want to support polarizing topics, vulgar words, or graphic depictions, please do not pledge any funds. Because tastes differ, you will not receive a refund if you do not like the content of To Breathe Free. You also cannot ask me for a refund for any other reason. However, be rest assured that you will receive your incentive based on the pledge you give, even if there is a delay. If there is any problem with your delivery of To Breathe Free, please contact me at email[at] and we will solve the problem as long as it takes. If for some reason I cancel my project before the deadline is up, do note that you will not be charged. And like the rest of the Kickstarter projects, you will not be charged for your pledge if my project’s minimum funding goal ($3,500) is not achieved.

Lastly, I’d like to give credit again to the following:

- Library of Congress for access to the following public domain images (listed in order of appearance in video):

  • 1. “U.S. flag, the Stars and Stripes” by Detroit Publishing Company, circa 1900 to 1915. Courtesy of Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division, Detroit Publishing Company Collection, reproduction number: LC-D418-78010.
  • 2. “Ellis Island and Harbor, New York” by Detroit Publishing Company, circa 1900 to 1920. Courtesy of Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division, Detroit Publishing Company Collection, reproduction number: LC-D4-73050.
  • 3. “Arriving at Ellis Island” by Bain News Service, circa 1907. Courtesy of Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division, George Grantham Bain Collection, reproduction number: LC-B2-5202-12.
  • 4. “Ellis Island” by Bain News Service, date unknown. Courtesy of Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division, George Grantham Bain Collection, reproduction number: LC-DIG-ggbain-22287.
  • 5. “Immigrants, Ellis Island” by Bain News Service, date unknown. Courtesy of Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division, George Grantham Bain Collection, reproduction number: LC-DIG-ggbain-01561.
  • 6. “Beggar, New York City” by Bain News Service, date unknown. Courtesy of Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division, George Grantham Bain Collection, reproduction number: LC-DIG-ggbain-00097.

- To Breathe Free’s background cover image: “Sunset off the Battery, New York harbor” by Detroit Publishing Company, circa 1900. Courtesy of Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division, Detroit Publishing Company Collection, reproduction number: LC-D4-12703.

- Book cover font: Ostrich Sans

- Andy Slatter for his soul-stirring banjo rendition of “Amazing Grace.” Please visit this link to experience more of Andy’s music: .

- Emma Lazarus and her poem “The New Colossus,” from which my novel derives its title from and pays homage to:

The New Colossus

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

Emma Lazarus – July 22, 1849 – November 19, 1887

- And my Grandfather for inspiring me with his writing.

Thank you!

And thank you so much for taking the time to consider my project and thank you in advanced for your help. If you’d like to connect feel free to follow me on Twitter: , “Like” To Breathe Free’s Facebook page here: , bookmark To Breathe Free’s website: , or feel free to message me here on Kickstarter, post on the comment page, or email me at email[at] with any questions, concerns, or comments you may have.


Questions about this project? Check out the FAQ


  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $1 or more About $1.00

    A thank you email at the launch of To Breathe Free.

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    1 backer
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  2. Select this reward

    Pledge $4 or more About $4

    1 copy of To Breathe Free in your choice of EPUB or MOBI format sent by email. (Both formats of To Breathe Free are DRM-Free)

    Estimated delivery
    3 backers
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    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

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  3. Select this reward

    Pledge $8 or more About $8

    2 copies of To Breathe Free sent by email. 1 in EPUB and 1 in MOBI format.

    OR have 1 copy sent to you and the other emailed to a friend in either format as a gift from you.

    (Both formats of To Breathe Free are DRM-Free)

    Estimated delivery
    10 backers
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.

Funding period

- (31 days)