Over the last six years, I've used Kickstarter to help launch ten LGBT-focused projects under the Northwest Press imprint—from erotica to anthologies to prose collections to younger readers books. Kickstarter has been an invaluable resource to produce work for audiences who are usually neglected by major publishers, and has helped us to creatively thrive.
As part of the Kickstarter Gold celebration, I'm working with artist Elizabeth Beier to produce a collected edition of her series Bisexual Trials and Errors, a graphic memoir about starting to date women after breaking up with a long term boyfriend. The collection will contain not only the best stories from Elizabeth's Bisexual Trials and Errors comics and We Belong: Collected Stories and Portraits from the Lexington Club, but also 60 pages of brand-new work.
This new collection will be a great companion volume to our most successful Kickstarter project Anything That Loves—the first anthology of bisexual comics. We think giving a comprehensive look into one bisexual life will be a great complement to the 30 shorter stories of sexuality beyond "gay" and "straight" in Northwest Press's award-winning anthology.
Anything That Loves
Putting together the Northwest Press anthology Anything That Loves was a real turning point for me.
By 2013, I'd had over a decade of experience working with LGBT comics creators and helping them reach readers, and had helped organize numerous projects to spotlight their work. Anything That Loves was the biggest project I attempted after becoming a full-time publisher, and I was determined to make it something special.
For Anything That Loves, while I still had a drive to provide a diverse array of voices, I was far less concerned about what particular letter of the alphabet the contributors used to describe themselves: the L, G, B, T (or S). This was not going to be exclusively an anthology about "bisexuals", but about (as Carol Queen put it in her foreword) "bi-behaving people", and that was by design.
My initial reason for doing the book was to put forth the notion that gay and straight people's sexual identity was very often the result of "rounding up" to the identity that worked best for them. That's not to knock rounding up! It's just that one single word rarely encompasses the sexual and romantic variety that we experience throughout our lives. It makes sense for a lot of us—politically and socially—to define ourselves as broadly "gay" or "straight", but on the personal level our stories often get more complex.
Taking that idea and running with it, I found myself not only thinking about bisexuality in a new way, but thinking about gay and straight people in new ways as well. Our differences became far less important than our common human experiences.
Anything That Loves was the queer comics project that challenged my preconceptions about identity and ultimately shaped the mission of Northwest Press. It was populated by straight guys with exceptions, dykes who fall in love with dudes, trans folks navigating sexual identity as their gender identity changes, gay guys falling in love with sporty lesbian volleyball players, and, of course, bisexual people. The end result was funny, educational, heartbreaking, whimsical, and serious. It was the first comics anthology of its kind, and I was delighted when it was awarded the Bisexual Book Award for Nonfiction.
Bisexual Trials and Errors
Fast forward to 2016, when Prism Comics—the nonprofit organization of which I was the Founding President in 2003 and continue to support—awarded a Queer Press Grant to Elizabeth Beier, the talented writer and artist of Bisexual Trials and Errors, an autobiographical comics series.
"After my boyfriend of six years and I broke up," says Elizabeth, "I started going on dates to explore my attraction to women. At first, I felt so awkward and lonely and making comics about my misadventures helped me laugh instead of cry. As I created art about and within the queer community over the next two years, and as my own self confidence grew, my romantic fortunes turned around."
"The Bisexual Trials and Errors comics capture that journey—and the addition of new stories makes this collection funnier, sadder, and sexier than any book I've produced before."
Elizabeth's skill and agility with her art allows her to tell truly genuine stories that give the reader a window into her life. Her work is conversational and immediate, which lends itself particularly well to true stories. If you've been at any comics convention with LGBT programming, you may have seen her panel reporting posted online, consisting of portraits of panelists surrounded with notable quotes from their talk.
I'm pleased to team up with Elizabeth this Pride month to announce the first-ever collected edition—The Big Book of Bisexual Trials and Errors and offer it alongside Anything That Loves as part of Kickstarter Gold.
Our goal is to produce a beautiful collection of Bisexual Trials and Errors, including not only the best comics from the two issues but also Elizabeth's stories about the late, lamented Lexington Club in San Francisco and lots of brand-new stories created especially for this book.
- The Big Book of Bisexual Trials and Errors
- 8.5"x11", 200 pages
- Color cover with B&W interiors
- Perfect bound paperback (or possibly a hardcover!)
This book will be offered alongside to our original Kickstarter project, Anything That Loves, giving a comprehensive look into one bisexual life to complement the 30 contributors who shared shorter stories in the anthology.
- Anything That Loves
- 7"x10", 216 pages
- Color cover and interiors
- Perfect-bound paperback
- 30 contributors in all!
We are aiming to raise at least $15,000, which will cover:
- $1,000 minimum royalty advance for Elizabeth
- $1,500 to Elizabeth for original artwork for rewards
- $1,200 for postage
- $8,000 to print and ship The Big Book of Bisexual Trials and Errors from our printer, Marquis Imprimeur in Quebec
- $1000 for shirt printing (Wibbly-Wobbly shirts are back!)
- $1500 for credit card fees and miscellaneous charges
- That will leave us a few hundred dollars for incidentals and unforeseen costs
(We're particularly excited to be bringing back the Wibbly-Wobbly Sexy-Wexy shirts that were such a hit during the last Anything That Loves Kickstarter campaign!)
We have a few stretch goals as well:
- For every additional $5000 we raise over our goal, Elizabeth's royalty advance for the book will rise by $1,000. (I would love to pay her royalties for the entire run of the book in advance if we can!)
- If we make it to $25,000, I'll make everyone's print edition a limited edition hardcover, exclusive to Kickstarter backers.
Thank you so much for your support of Anything That Loves and the new Big Book of Bisexual Trials and Errors.
We think both of these books are excellent reading for everyone—no matter their sexual identity—and hope that they encourage readers to celebrate being their full selves and to see everyone as human first-and-foremost.
Risks and challenges
Our biggest challenge with Kickstarter projects has been shipping delays, mostly due to an unexpectedly high number of international backers creating budgeting challenges on my part.
To mitigate this, we're only going to be offering two printed edition rewards for backers outside the US: a print copy of BISEXUAL TRIALS AND ERRORS and the limited edition ORIGINAL ART reward.
Most of the other items offered as a reward will be made available to readers outside the USA for direct order from Northwest Press after the Kickstarter is over.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)