Start It With A Kick

It’s time to stop putting it off. I’m going to self-publish Broken Magic.

(Caveat: If something drastic changes during the next month, I may not. Since I am unlikely to get a positive response on any of my existing queries – or, rather, any response at all as they’ve been out for a while – I’m moving forward under the assumption nothing will change.)

I’ve barely a clue of what self-publishing will mean for me. I don’t know how I’m going to market, what goals I’ll set for sales, how many times I’ll flog myself if I don’t make them…any of that. It’s up in the air, and will remain so for the better part of May. I’ve got a meeting in the works with The Smartest Marketing Person I Know to discuss some of the above (except for the quantity and quality of the self-flagellation, which I will have to determine on my own). I hope to have a stronger idea of what my plan is when that’s done.

The big thing beyond marketing is that the novel needs cover art. It needs awesome cover art, because I like art and I want people to have a nice looking book on their shelves should they buy it. Nice enough looking that even if they despise said book they’ll think, “Oh, but what a lovely cover. It shall decorate my shelf for a time until I find some poor sod I can trick into taking it.” I’m going to end up with a stack of these in my house, so I might as well not hate the way they look. The good news is I think I’ve found an artist who will be perfect, and his quote is in line with my hoped for budget.

Speaking of budgets.

One possibility for getting the (relatively modest) funding I’ll need is to use Kickstarter. For those who  haven’t heard of it: Kickstarter is a crowd-sourced funding tool. Someone (like me) sets an amount they need. They set up a bunch of funding levels, the way a non-profit does for donors. Each funding level comes with a gift – usually the higher levels get all of the gifts up to and including that tier. Give $5 and get an e-book copy. Give $10 and get a printed copy in addition to the e-book copy. Give $25 and get a shirt AND a printed copy AND an e-book copy. Like that.

My campaign will, probably, be asking for somewhere around $1,000. That means, I’d wager, that I’ll have a top funding tier of not more than $200-$250 with a bunch of decent tiers in-between. The question I’m trying to sort out is: what do I give as rewards for the tiers over the ones where I give the book? Assuming $5 gets you an e-book copy and $10-$15 gets you a print copy, where do I go from there? What’s at the $25, $50 and $100 levels? I’m not expecting many people to go for the higher tiers (Hi, mom and dad!), but I don’t want them to be insultingly crap rewards. They should, at the very least, make people think, “I wish I could justify giving that!”

If you were to give $50 or $100 to a book’s kickstarter campaign, what would you consider cool enough to make it worthwhile? Even if you don’t intend to give a cent to this campaign, what would get you to give at one of those tiers for a campaign you would support. Seriously, if you leave a comment with a suggestion, it is in no way setting an expectation that you care to actually support my kickstarter campaign. I’m just trying to brainstorm and I could use some help. Should I give posters of the cover art? If so, at what level?

It’s possible I decide not to do a campaign and to simply fund out of pocket. I’m a little squishy on the idea of raising money, but the part of me what wants to see how this Kickstarter thing works (as well as the part of me that knows that any money I raise means the money I’m going to put in out-of-pocket anyway can go even farther) is urging me to explore it. If you think doing a Kickstarter campaign is a putrid, silly idea, you can tell me that, too. I’m interested in your opinion.

If all goes well, I hope to have Broken Magic out by the end of summer. July, if I’m lucky, August if things drag out a bit. I’m really looking forward to letting you read it.

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12 Responses to Start It With A Kick

  1. Moshe Marvit says:

    Give marginalia to the higher levels. For $50 or $100 say that you’ll give a copy of the print book, signed and with gratitude, that will have your notes in the margins of what you were thinking when you wrote a certain section, or what you were thinking when you re-read it. This personalizes it to a degree not usually found.

  2. Brian says:

    With your directing skills, you could make a killer video ask. This sounds a little meta, but if your pleased enough with it, you could offer a DVD of the ask and “Making of “Broken Magic” Kickstarter Video.”

    Seriously, I’m so excited that your doing this. I hope to have some funds when your campaign starts. I’m angry that I came up short when the EG t-shirts were available.

    I like the cover art poster idea. Signed copies and maybe a mention in the book under “Thanks to:” might work, too.

    Bets of luck,


  3. shezcrafti says:

    What about something cool and unique like a one-of-a-kind short story written about the contributor, or offering to include the contributor in the book as background/supporting character based on them? The short story could even tie into the main book somehow; like a side story that happens in the same world.

    I also like Moshe’s idea. You could offer higher tiers a “special edition” with notes, additional insight, & tidbits about your ideas, inspiration, etc. Or even some kind of annotated author diary as you were going through the writing process. Or — perhaps ask that same talented cover artist to contribute illustrations to include inside?

    So awesome to see you doing this, btw!

  4. To be contrarian: I’d avoid higher-level rewards. People are here to support the book and your writing, so focus on smaller rewards that are book-oriented: a signed copy, maybe a small poster version of the cover, etc.

    Best of luck!

  5. I think it’s a great idea to have a page at the beginning of the book, separate from the dedication page, saying “the book wouldn’t have been possible without the generous support from …”

    Good luck, Eric!

  6. Mere says:

    If one of your higher-level rewards was “A swift kick to Eric’s nads,” you’d Amanda Palmer the *shit* out of this thing.

  7. Meghan says:

    I agree with Megan (because she has a cool name! Even if she does misspell it!) – I like a shout-out Kickstarter page.

    I also like the I-will-name-a-character-after-you idea for the tippity-top level.

    Happy to hear about the Kickstarter campaign. Do it your own damn self, (with the help of all your friends, of course.)

  8. QuoterGal says:

    I’m happy and deeply satisfied that I will *finally* get to read the rest of “Broken Magic”. I’m inclined to agree w/ folks saying skip the upper, uppiest levels altogether & focus on the lower & mid-range – I’d prolly stop at $50 – and your ideas for them thus far sound good.

    Dude! Break yer legs with this. This is a story that I enjoyed reading from Word #One. So will other folks…

  9. samatwitch says:

    I’m already excited about this, Eric. Getting to read your book in its entirety would be sweet!

    I think a Kickstarter thank you page would be great and a signed book as another level and perhaps at the top ($50) level, naming a character after the donor – doesn’t have to be his best friend or a member of the band, but just an ‘extra’ in a crowd scene so you could have several of them at the $50 level.

    Go, Eric!!

  10. Claire says:

    KS makes me queasy too (and yes I have donated before) If you have $1000 then my feeling is don’t KS. It’s the cost of doing business. KS for when you really truly need funds for say, launching a book tour or renting a hall for massive, awesome book launch party. My two cents. ;)

  11. Rob says:


    Hope you do the kickstarter idea – I look forward to contributing!
    Best of luck,

  12. Pingback: On Not Kickstarting | Saalon Muyo

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