About this project
Success! Thanks to your support we've hit the goal. Let's not stop here—the more funding we receive, the more books we'll be able publish in the future.
Updates on funding, progress, schemes, and gratitude can be found here.
Ryan Starsailor, one half of the VIII Nothing governing oligarchy, is almost done with his first novel (or roman à clef, if you please). He has been writing it for over a year. It is currently being heavily edited (already on the third draft) and will be Totally Finished in early January. He has decided to call his book Injury & Aftermath. We at VIII Nothing are proud to publish a book whose title includes an ampersand (we adore them).
Using Kickstarter, we can do what we want to do most of all, which is to connect people to literature. So: You chip in a few bucks, and you get something out of it. Chip in some more, you get some more somethings out of it. And in the process, you'll be helping to support the creation of a real, honest-to-God thing you can pick up and hold or leaf through or smell or throw at a mischievous child.
Your contribution will put Ryan's book into print. These books, in the hundreds, will arrive in big cardboard boxes. They will live in his kitchen and/or garage until he sells all of them. The money he makes selling them will help fund reprints and help VIII Nothing put out brand new books by authors who deserve to be read. It's a neat situation.
Injury & Aftermath is a novel about a young man who, dumb with psychic pain, leaves his home in the post-apocalyptic wasteland of Baltimore to find comfort in Austin and New Orleans and Washington, D.C. and San Francisco and New York City (to name a few). He figures his six-month tour of the United States will be the last thing he ever does: It is a trip he plans to end with permanent self-destruction. Along the way, he meets and falls in love with a dozen or so women, befriends an honest-to-God psychopath, sees High On Fire perform in Oakland, is diagnosed with a mental illness, eats at a Denny’s with the hardest dudes in existence (writers Tim Rogers and Zak “Delicious” McCune), writes a suicide note, walks in on two consenting and lustful adults engaged in the act, gets lost in the sinful parade of Bourbon Street, sleeps on a table in a two-story deli in Manhattan, and makes a sweetheart out of the lead singer of Deer Tick during a show at a bowling alley/music venue at midnight on New Year's Day.
Honestly, it's pretty hard to describe a book. How do you encapsulate tens or even hundreds of thousands of words in a few catchy sentences? For instance, get a load of this:
"Hey J. R. R. Tolkien, what's The Hobbit about?"
"Um, it's about a little person who accompanies some dwarfs and a cantankerous wizard on a quest to steal treasure from a sleeping dragon. The little person finds a magic ring, it's a pretty cool ring, and it helps him show that little people can do big things too, or whatever."
Or how about this:
"Yo Albert Camus, gimme the straight dope on The Stranger."
"I'm glad you asked. It's about a guy who doesn't really care about anything, or what happens to him. He is a sensory being. And then the sun gets in his eyes or whatever, he shoots a guy and realizes how terrifically absurd everything is."
See, none of these wonderful books can be described in a short and concise way. They sound kind of ho-hum, actually. But we'll give it a shot:
"Ryan Starsailor, I'm thinking about buying your book. What can you tell me about it?"
"Uh. Well. It's about a guy named Ryan, and something really bad happens to him in the prologue, and it's totally his fault. Then he spends the next six months traveling all over the country in order to be around humans who love him. Oh, and he wants to die. So he's trying to not feel like dying, too, maybe. It is pretty good, I think, but I wrote it, so maybe I'm not the best person to ask."
Elevator pitch: "It's heartache with a punchline. It's a freak show on wheels. It's a love-blasting, planet-exploding, God-eating spookfest."
Back-of-the-book snappy synopsis: "Ryan Starsailor, a twenty-three-year-old American weirdo who is perpetually despondent and newly crazy, leaves his home in the doom-metropolis of Baltimore and embarks on a tour of several major U.S. cities in order to stop his brain from overheating. Along the way he meets up with old friends and new freaks. He falls in love with maybe a dozen women he's known for less than thirty seconds. He rides on trains and planes and buses. He also nearly dies on purpose."
Excerpts from the first five chapters are available as a book preview on our website.
VIII Nothing is a literary collective and independent publishing company run by some dudes named Ryan Starsailor and John Blacksher. The pair, who are blood relatives, created the company out of necessity. They figured writing was the only way to stay sane.
(We will now cease to refer to ourselves in third-person plural.)
The thing is: There are plenty of literary collectives and independent publishing companies. Another thing is: Most of them just aren't very good. What to do? Plenty of budding artistic endeavors will gladly toss around the word "different" (it's a great word), but hey, are they really different? Probably not! My God, how many quarterlies produced by eager twenty-somethings are there now? Millions? And how many make it past the year mark?
This new thing we wanted: It had to be a cohesive whole, a constantly evolving project focused on the personalities of the writers themselves, and not a smattering of fly-by-night submissions.
We looked around and found that the thing we envisioned didn't exist. So we assumed pseudonyms, made a black and white website, started an indie press, and called the whole project "VIII Nothing".
For more information, have a gander at VIII Nothing. It might help to read some of our favorite writing samples from Ryan Starsailor, John Blacksher, Fielden Nelson, Samantha Copping, and Kristi Modlin.
Ryan Starsailor (né Ryan [Something Else]) is a human who has existed for twenty-four years. During those twenty-four years, he has seen a lot of the United States, and a few countries that aren't the United States. He has driven many cars, and has eaten many meals. Every now and then (though not too often), a female human will say to him, "I love you," and Ryan will say, "Huh," and be genuinely confused as to how that's possible.
Flaws aside, we are proud to announce that Ryan Starsailor is, in fact, an OK Dude ("OKD"). We would go so far as to say he's a Pretty Cool Dude (or "PCD" for those in-the-know). He has a clean driving record and loves his grandmother. He owns many flannel shirts. He plays a sonic-blue 1996 Fender Jag-Stang that he won't shut up about, and owns about fifteen pairs of corduroy pants in a variety of colors. He has not eaten meat in four years. What else could you possibly want?
He is, primarily, whether he likes it or not, both a professional and hobbyist writer. By day he works in an office writing stuff that a lot of people will read, and by night he works in his bedroom writing stuff that not a whole lot of people will read.
In addition to his work on Injury & Aftermath, he sits down once a month and writes a thing called The Starsailor Newsletter, which you can read in its entirely here. If you feel like subscribing, that's a thing you can do.
As it turns out, publishing a book can be pretty expensive.
In addition to the cost of just printing the damn thing, we also have to factor in ISBNs (one for the e-book, one for the physical book), bar codes, (sometimes vague) associated publishing fees, and the cost of commissioned illustrations.
Every penny contributed to this Kickstarter goes towards making Injury & Aftermath a beautiful thing that exists. To be honest, our goal of $3,500 is practically the bare minimum we need to print a couple hundred copies and get them shipped (with backer rewards) to everyone who pitches in. The more money we make, the more books we can print. And the more books we can print, the more we can sell. If we sell enough books, we'll be able to fund our next publishing endeavor.
Anyone who gets into writing to strike it rich is . . . missing the point. We're going to make next to nothing on this book—and that's completely OK with us. As overused as this phrase is, this really is a "labor of love". We want to put out a book, and we want you to enjoy that book. Money is irrelevant so long as we cover our costs.
That said, our business model is simple. We'll ship out the books owed to our Kickstarter backers first, then we'll have Injury & Aftermath on sale on the brand new VIII Nothing store. After the initial Kickstarter funding, our venture will be able to support itself for years to come. The money we make with this first book will be spent on the publication of the next one, and so on. Eventually we'll have a whole catalog of books from VIII Nothing authors available, and the profit made will be funneled back into the business toward growth and expansion.
Finally! The entire time we've been writing this, we've been itching to get to this part. We have goals! Goals are good to have. Here they are:
$3,500: Success! We're putting out Injury & Aftermath and crying tears of poverty. (Just kidding.)
$5,000: If, by some miracle, we hit five thousand dollars, we have something very special planned. Get this: Everyone over the $50 donation mark will receive a print collection of all twenty issues of The Starsailor Newsletter—a free, novel-length "sequel" to Injury & Aftermath. This collection will feature a forward (not written by Ryan, obviously), some art, and additional stories that haven't been published elsewhere. It would be really nice to be able to give these out, so please help us hit this goal!
$8,000: IT'S A SECRET. (Note: We don't anticipate raising $8,000—but if we do, hell, we've got some neat plans.)
Risks and challenges
Honestly, the biggest challenge is the geographical distance between the two of us. To wit: We live 1,500 miles away from each other (we won't be roommates until next June). Running a (small, indie) publishing company from two different states ain't gonna be easy, but we're going to make it work.
Ryan will be handling most of the orders and doing most of the shipping from his fortress in Austin, Texas. He has told his roommate that he will have no choice but to help him pack and ship every single copy of the book. He also told his roommate that he will not be paid for his efforts. So: free labor. That will help us out tremendously.
John, on the other hand, will be dealing primarily with trade shows and promotion in his college town of Lexington, Virginia. He will receive a box of books, and will sell them to anyone who is interested. For the next seven months, John's home will be referred to as "VIII Nothing Press: East Coast Office".
Our whole enterprise is a risk, and it's going to mean a lot of work. VIII Nothing Press will very likely become second full-time jobs for us. But we're eager to do it, because, like it or not, we were put on planet Earth to write stories and make them available for other humans to read.
Thank you for reading, and thank you for your friendship.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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