Give the Gift of Publishing This Christmas
It's the holiday season and present-buying, non-profit donating and general money-spending are in full swing. Likewise, kickstarters and other crowdfunding campaigns are asking for a bit of support this holiday season to publish new books that authors and presses can't release without The People's buy-in.
Crowdfunding is nothing new. With LeanPub, PubSlush, and the recently crowdfunded publishing company Unbound, crowdfunding has officially broken into the publishing world. Even large publishers like Macmillan have created their own platforms in order to gain feedback on possible future releases, like Swoon Reads.
But what I find to be the most exciting about crowdfunded publishing is that it gives little known authors and presses the ability to publish new stories that large publishers may hesitate to pick up. Stories on queer characters and characters of color that don't fit in a LGBT or African American Lit genre? This could be scary stuff for mainstream publishers.
With that in mind, and since this is the season of giving, I've decided to highlight some lesser known crowdfunding campaigns that may just change how we view book publishing.
Big Bang Press, the startup with dreams of releasing three original novels born of the fan fiction community, knows fan fiction has a place in the publishing world, despite reticence from mainstream publishers.
"I think there is a tendency to see all the smutty stuff out there that's doing well, and assume that must be all there is," says Morgan Davies, editor-in-chief of Big Bang Press.
In reality, though, fan fiction writers cater to audiences that mainstream publishers overlook. Big Bang's tagline "Original stories for an original audience," emphasizes that trait and its novels run the gamut from literary fiction to urban fantasy noir and YA fantasy satire.
Davies and her team are only $8,500 away from their $40,000 goal, as of this writing. You can learn more about Big Bang's novels and the authors behind them here.
Another Kickstarter worth noting is The Magazine's recent campaign to publish a book featuring the best articles from this digital magazine's first year of publication. A unique model in and of itself, The Magazine has redefined what a digital magazine can offer by selling its online content for $1.99 a month on both Apple Newsstand and its website.
The 200-page hardcover and ebook will feature 25 articles that its subscribers and contributors agreed meant the most to them. For a $25 donation, The Magazine fans will receive both the hardcover and DRM-free ebook, featuring stories on how D&D boosts confidence in real life, how small farmers turned to tech to invent the tools they need, and a city's dreams that rest on the construction of a giant lava lamp.
"We like to tell stories," says Fleishmann in his Kickstarter pitch, "We want to make a book of the stories that provoked the most response in people, and turn that into something you can hold in your hand, turn over, lend and read again and again."
Fleishmann is $17,000 shy of his $48,000 goal, but he's offering plenty of swag, including T-shirts and original artwork, in return for donations.
Finally, and because these are the most common type of crowdfunded project, I would be remiss if I didn't feature an independent author trying to launch his novel. I scoured Kickstarter and Pubslush for something that sounded unique, and I came across a story that speculates what would happen if through new technology, we could bring Jesus back to life. It may be the sci-fi fan in me, but it got my attention.
This is Christian Piatt's first work of fiction, though he has written several books on the topic of Christianity and religion, including a forthcoming book for Jericho Books called postChristian. He's hoping to raise $11,000 to cover the cost of editing, designing and self-publishing his work. You can learn more about the project here.
If you're feeling generous this holiday season, maybe give a donation to one these kickstarters and receive a great book in return. Although it's incredibly cheesy, a crowdfunding donation truly is the gift that keeps on giving.
Ellen Harvey is a freelance writer and editor who covers the latest technologies and strategies reshaping the publishing landscape. She previously served as the Senior Editor at Publishing Executive and Book Business.