Brenda Cooper

Post #5: Why Crowdfunding, why eSpec?

post-ks-imageThis is the fifth entry in my series about POST, the novel that eSpecBooks is crowdfunding via Kickstarter.  For reference, we’re at $2240 out of $3500 at this moment, which is Saturday morning.  I’m telling stories about the book….and this is the promised story of why it’s coming out via a Kickstarter. It’s more than a story about crowdfunding – it’s also a story about new friendships.

The beginning of the story…..

POST was written a few years ago.  The New York houses chose not to buy it. This is not unusual.  Books from Harry Potter to Dune have been rejected over and over; publishing is hard.  Publishers want safe bets.  Authors want readers, and for their work to live. I like this story a lot, and I think there are people out there in the world who would enjoy meeting Sage and Monday and seeing their adventures. I like the topics it talks about – destruction and recovery, love and hope, a frisson of tragedy.  But what’s an author to do once a book fails in its first run through New York?  Well, there are choices.

  • I could keep trying New York houses. Dune and Harry Potter clearly came out, and did well.  But POST is probably not that big a book.
  • I could give up.
  • I could put it out myself. I have friends doing that. Some succeed. Some sell two copies.  I could learn the skills to do book design. But I don’t really have time. I paid for pretty wickedly good book design for my collection of fantasy stories, Beyond the Waterfall Door, and it cost me what we made on the Kickstarter for it. It’s pretty, but I’m not putting much marketing into it, and only a few people stumble on it via Amazon or Goodreads.
  • I could find someone else to publish it.

All of those seemed overwhelming….I still have my day job, and it’s a busy, big, meaningful job. So POST rested while I worked on Edge of Dark and Spear of Light. They succeeded, which made marketing POST in New York even less likely (it is quite different from my hard SF for adults, and different is scary for publishers).  Now, before anyone thinks I’m dissing New York, not at all. I LOVE working with the whole team at Pyr. My books there are doing well, and my editor, Renee Sears, bought two more. I hope that I have at least one book through a bigger publisher every year.

I also like smaller presses, such as Patrick Swenson’s Fairwood Press, which put out my collection Cracking the Sky. The author generally gets more say in the book design, and books stay in print far longer. I’m reissuing my Silver Ship series via Wordfire Press, and I’m really looking forward to that.

So here begins the rest of the story….danielle

Danielle Ackley-McPhail and Mike McPhail appeared in my life when I was writing my first series, which started with The Silver Ship and the Sea. They liked – and reviewed – the books and helped them out (reviews matter!).  They invited me to write stories in their military SF series, Defending the Future.  I did. I had fun, and some of the people who reviewed Cracking the Sky really liked those stories.  Yes, I’m a pacifist. Isn’t that who you want to write your military stories? Danielle and Mike and I live on different coasts and generally don’t cross paths, but once upon a time Danielle and I were at the same convention. She mentioned she was starting eSpecBooks and asked if I had any books she could Kickstart. “Well,” I said, “I have this YAish story I love called POST….”

So we’re doing this….

I don’t like marketing.  I’m spending a lot of time working alongside Danielle to get this funded, which is marketing.  I cringe when I see posts about the Kickstarter in my feeds. But what doesn’t kill you….Really, I need to get better at marketing.  I’ve had three reviewers this year wondering why more people don’t read my books.  Well, maybe I don’t market enough. So I’ve got the bit in my gritted teeth and I’m going to work to get this done.  The good news is I have a lot of help from my friends, which is the next story I’ll tell.  We have to fund before that matters – the help they gave starts after we fund. There is some very cool fiction in the stretch goals…

Linkish things

Direct lick to the Kickstarter

eSpecBooks has a related blog post about their view of crowdfunding.

The Geek Girl Project interviewed me.

The same campaign is crowdfunding The Sister Paradox by Jack Campbell, so here’s his website.

And now that I’ve finished dinking with this post, we’re at $2,347.  Most of a weekend to inch up $107 dollars.  Crowdfunding is not for the faint of heart.