I wrote last week about the incredibly disappointing, incredibly shitty quality of the ALT proof produced by CreateSpace. My plans for the second edition were derailed. I had to go back to the start and rethink things.
So I did. Here’s what I came up with.
Rather than utilize the services of a middleman company like Lulu or CreateSpace, I want to deal directly with a reputable printer. I looked into Lightning Source back before ALT was finished. I’d heard–and continue to hear– great things about them. They’re the best in the industry, often utilized by the big leagues, and there’s a good chance most of the books you own were printed by them. Thing is, getting started with LSI is expensive. Atop the set-up costs and the fees associated with the possibility of re-submitting artwork (which must always be considered), there is the cost of the ISBN block. Those numbers exemplify independence. Once you have those, you are officially your own publisher. And they’re not cheap.
I got some info and pricing schedules from LSI. I signed their contract. I went as far in the application process as I could without ownership of the ISBN numbers. How could I possibly come up with the cash to get this off the ground? After all, this would mean more than just making ALT 2.0 available; it would also mean establishing a publishing entity to back my own work and, potentially, the work of others. This could become something huge and, as a dear friend of mine often reminds me, great things have humble beginnings.
First thing’s first, though. It needs cash to get off the ground. When I published my first collection back in college, I paid for the offset run by accepting donations. Anyone who donated got a free, signed copy and their name in the book. Could I do something like that again? Yes, I think I could, but on a much larger scale.
I remembered reading about this guy, Robin Sloan, and how he used a site called Kickstarter to raise money to fund the completion of his novel. He gave away rewards in the form of free signed copies and other little things to anyone who pledged cash. As you can see from the link, he raised over $13k. I wrote a proposal to Kickstarter last week. This past Tuesday it was accepted. I have since retired ALT from Lulu (due to a non-compete with LSI), and in about 6 to 8 weeks it will be officially out of print across all distribution outlets. If you bought a first edition, congratulations–it’s now a collector’s item.
My intentions: Publish ALT 2.0 and subsequent works by way of LSI, completely independent of third parties, in order to guarantee creative freedom and the highest possible print quality in the industry. This means hardcovers and paperbacks. They will be available simultaneously alongside digital editions, across all distribution channels.
How I’m going to do it: Utilize Kickstarter to raise the funds necessary to make this happen and get it off the ground.
What’s this mean?: It means, starting now, I have the next 65 days to raise $2000 in pledges. Those who pledge get varying rewards based on the amounts they pitch in. If, at the end of 65 days, I’ve raised at least $2k, I take the cash and put it toward making the best damn book I can. The more that’s raised means upgrades for everyone. If we hit $5k, everyone gets a hardcover. If I hit $10k, I’m going on tour. And, if I can’t raise $2k, I get nothing, and ALT 2.0 doesn’t happen. At least not in print, but that’s a bridge we’ll cross when we come to it.
Now this is where I turn it over to you. I do not expect much given the state of the world’s economies. I know how tight things are. Even if you can only toss $5.00 into the hat, I will be eternally grateful. And if you can’t do that, then pass it along to a friend or relative, someone who enjoys books and supporting the little guy. I believe ALT’s message is important, and I do not want to see that message compromised by crappy presentation. With your help, this can happen. I know it can.
There ends my rousing speech. The link to my Kickstarter page is right here. Show some love.
P.S. If you have any questions, or want to give but don’t want to use Kickstarter, email me and we’ll figure something out.