Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Perfect Pawn - Kickstarter (FAQ)

I’ve gotten some emails in response to my Kickstarter campaign to self-publish my novel, Perfect Pawn. I thought it would be best to answer some of them to clarify things and correct any misunderstandings. As always, I’m happy to answer any questions you may have.
How do I get your book?

You can’t, at least not yet. The book is finished, but it has not been published yet. Which is the reason for the Kickstarter campaign. It is my goal to fund the self-publishing of the book.

What is Kickstarter?

Kickstarter is a site that helps to connect artists, designers, inventors, etc., with supporters to bring their project to life. It is what is referred to as crowd funding. You go on the site, find something that appeals to you, and make a donation to fund that project. By sharing with friends and family, and asking them to share with their friends and family, you increase the odds exponentially of successfully funding it.

What’s in it for me?

Well, besides the satisfaction of helping a worthwhile cause, there are generally rewards for your donation. For my campaign, you can click on the link (Perfect Pawn Kickstarter Campaign) and as you scroll through the outline you can see all the different rewards listed on the right hand side.

What happens if you don’t meet the goal?

Nothing, literally. This is an all or nothing campaign. If we don’t meet the goal I don’t get anything and anyone who donated doesn’t get charged. It’s as if it never happened. I could get pledges of $8,499.99 and being short that one penny means the whole thing is a bust.

Why not submit it to a publisher?

Because to them it is simply a business of dollars and cents. The  model for this genre of books is 80k – 100k words. Which is fine, but what happens if the story goes beyond that? Well for a brand new author paper is money and the extra 17k is going to be trimmed. But everything in the book is there for a reason. So do I cut something out or self publish? To me the answer is self publish. This allows me to give the reader everything I intended.

Why does it cost so much?

Like the old axiom: Garbage In, Garbage Out. Cutting corners at this point would be a waste of time and money. If you have ever walked into a book store and looked at the rack of books you are immediately drawn to a book with a dynamic cover. When you pick the book up and flip through it you expect a level of quality. Or, if you have ever read an e-Book, then you know how infuriating it is when the formatting is non-existent. You get frustrated and give up. In this business you have only one opportunity to make a good impression with readers and I want to give them the best book possible. I’m a writer. I’m not a copy-editor, graphic design artist, or formatter. When it comes to these folks, you get what you pay for.

Will this be an actual “real” book?

Yes, despite what you may have heard, or think, self publishing a book shouldn’t have any impact on the finished product. However, like I said above. You get what you pay for. Instead of having the book done by the big publishing house, I’m doing the organizational work and choosing the best people to accomplish the job.  This way, when you pick up that hardcover or paperback, it is the same as one you’d get from your local book store.

To read a free excerpt from the book click here: Perfect Pawn – Prologue (Excerpt)

To contribute to our Kickstarter campaign click here: Perfect Pawn Kickstarter Campaign

Please remember, this project is only as successful as the outreach. If you enjoyed the excerpt from the book, please forward this to all your family and friends on Facebook, Twitter and via e-mail. Taking the time to send this out might make the difference between success and failure.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Perfect Pawn - Kickstarter Campaign

Welcome, I’d like to take a moment to thank you for reading this. I hope that when you are done you will consider helping to fund my Kickstarter campaign to self-publish my debut suspense / thriller novel Perfect Pawn.

As many of you know, I completed the manuscript for Perfect Pawn awhile back. However, it was not until after the actual writing was completed that I began to see how much work actually was ahead of me. After much consideration and research, I have decided to self-publish the book. I have taken the time to outline the reasons below.

I have decided to utilize a  Kickstarter campaign. Kickstarter is a crowd-funding campaign. What this does is allow you to pull together a diverse group of individuals who invest in your project. That investment can be as little as $1.00 or as much as you care to give. There are two things to Kickstarter that I thought were unique. One is you can provided rewards to your investors based on their financial support. The other is that Kickstarter is all or nothing, meaning that if I don’t get to the goal I set for the campaign, no one gets charged.

Right now you might be asking why I am choosing to do this campaign. In fact, this was not an easy decision to reach. So I’d like to take a moment to explain the reasons for this choice.

If you had asked me a year ago what I thought was the hardest thing about writing I probably would have told you that it was the writing. As the months rolled along what I found was that the writing part actually came quite easy to me. I could close my eyes and watch the scene play out in my head and it was just a matter of putting what I saw onto the paper, or in this case typing them onto the computer screen.

What I didn’t know was that the hard work would only begin when the manuscript was completed. It was then that I began to do my research into agents, querying, publishing houses, etc. I spoke to a number of my fellow writers, soliciting their advice based on their experiences. While many were happy to sing the praises of going the traditional publishing route, a growing number seemed to be decidedly against. Here is a breakdown of what I learned.

On average the time it takes for a perfect book to go from manuscript to published is 18-24 months. Mind you that is the perfect book and the perfect scenario. Meaning the stars aligned and you immediately found an agent who loved you, dropped most of their other projects to shop yours, and then found the perfect publishing house that green lighted your project and put it on the fast track. So what are the actual odds of this happening? Well, let’s just say that you might want to go grab one of those lotto tickets.

Consider that Stephen King’s Carrie was rejected 30 times and Margaret Mitchell’s Gone With The Wind was rejected 38 times.

So what does self-publishing entail? Well, a lot more work then the actual writing.

I take on the roll of editor, graphic designer, formatter, agent, advertising, and publisher.

Does that seem like a lot of work to you? It does to me. However, there is a benefit as well. For me, self-publishing gives me something that the traditional road doesn’t:  Autonomy.

What does that mean to the reader? Well, they get an authors story the way it was intended to be. Right now, Perfect Pawn is almost 117k words. If I had opted to go the traditional publishing route it is entirely possible that at least 17k words would need to be removed. Why you ask, because paper is money and those extra words take up a whole lot of paper in a book. Traditional publishers are less likely to take a risk with a debut author and the cutoff is generally 100K words. In my book, 17k words are equal to about three whole chapters. I can’t imagine removing even one chapter let alone three. I personally think that I would be cheating my readers if I did this. I’m a story teller and I have had a number of people beta read this manuscript. Not one time did someone say “you put too much information in it.” Quite the contrary, most were beating down my inbox to get the next chapters to read.

So now I have the responsibility of making my book the very best it can be, which is why I need your help. Here are the things that your funding will help me accomplish:

  • Editing: The book has already gone through a half dozen edits, but now it needs to be done by a professional copy editor.
  • Graphics: I have done the conceptual graphic artwork for the cover, but now I need to have a professional graphics artist refine it and format it for both the paperback as well as the hardcover jacket.
  • Formatting: One of the most important things, aside from having a great story, is to ensure that the reader has an enjoyable experience. That means that the book is formatted correctly. Ever read a book that had bad indentations, line spacing, etc? It’s horrible. In the age of self-publishing, it is important not to over look this, especially since each format: e-book, paperback, hard cover, etc., uses different formatting.
  • Production: Physical creation of the actual books. Despite what many people think, authors, at least not those just starting out, don’t get heaps of books thrown on them. Remember, paper is money. This is especially true for self-publishing. You have to pay to get them printed.
  • Advertising: This is one of the biggest factors. I don’t care how great your book is, if you don’t advertise your book, you don’t stand a chance. Not only do I want your help financially, but I hope that after reading the excerpt (see the link below), that you will forward it to all your friends on Facebook, Twitter and E-Mail.

Perfect Pawn is the perfect debut novel. It has a bit of everything, for almost every reader. It mingles traditional Police / Crime with some Mystery, Suspense & Thriller elements, with a dash of Romance, and a splash of Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous.

With a readers background I knew what I liked and I wanted my readers to feel the same enjoyment I got when I read what I liked to call “roller coaster” books. Those are the ones that you kick yourself for starting in the evening because at 3 a.m. you’re still turning pages.

So that’s why I am self-publishing, to give you the full story and character development as I intended them to be.

Remember, this is only the first book in a series. I’m already about 1/3 of the way through on the sequel. If I can get this project funded, I can concentrate on writing more.

I have posted a portion of the books Prologue for you to read: Perfect Pawn – Prologue (Partial)

If you like what you read, I would really appreciate your support by visiting by Kickstarter campaign site: Perfect Pawn - Kickstarter Campaign

If you can’t financially support me would you please consider sharing this with your friends and family through E-mail, Facebook or on Twitter.

Thank you for your support and God Bless,

Friday, July 26, 2013

Perfect Pawn - Prologue (Partial)


Keenseville, New York State

Saturday, April 28th, 20121:37 a.m.

Patricia Ann Browning didn’t see the deer standing in the middle of the road until it was too late, not that it would have mattered.

She was on her way home from the annual opening of her art gallery in Keenseville and she was in a great mood. It was a trip she had made a thousand times before, having spent her whole life in this area, and one which she was quite comfortable making, even at this late hour.

She had just hosted the first showing of the new year and it had been a smashing success. It wasn’t on the scale of a Manhattan opening, but everyone on the Adirondack art scene had been there including some well known art aficionados from the Burlington area in Vermont. The months of working long hours, coupled with having to deal with the sensitive feelings of more than one artist, had finally paid off. She allowed herself the opportunity to bask in the glow of her triumph. A glow fueled just a little bit more by the wine she had enjoyed at the end of the evening.

The black sapphire 2012 BMW M6 streaked along the misty thoroughfare like a spectral image highlighted by the moonlight filtering down through the trees. The vehicle was well suited for its role in navigating the meandering mountainous back roads of upstate New York. Maybe it had something to do with its Bavarian roots.

She had just turned forty-two back in September but neither felt nor acted her age. She took great pains in taking care of herself and the endless hours spent running around the gallery and staging new exhibits served as her impromptu gym.

As she deftly maneuvered the car along the roadway one of her favorite songs from an 80’s rock band came on the radio. She reached over and turned the volume up high. The sound system in the vehicle was impressive, even by an audiophile’s standard, and it made the occupants feel as if they were actually in a concert hall. She leaned back comfortably in the leather driver’s seat and began singing out loud as she gripped the steering wheel tightly.

As the car navigated a particularly sharp turn in the winding mountain road, the headlights illuminated the ill fated animal standing in the middle of the roadway. It was literally the epitome of a deer in the headlights moment. She opened her mouth as if to scream, but had no time to make an actual sound. At the same exact moment she instinctively slammed on the brakes and swerved to avoid hitting it.

While it was a valiant attempt, it fell just short of the mark. The car struck the animal, which appeared frozen in abject fear, and launched it into the air.

Had the car had a slightly larger profile, the animal most likely would have been driven directly through the windshield and into the passenger compartment causing serious injury if not the instant death of the driver. However, the German engineers had succeeded in producing a crisp aerodynamic design which minimized the deer’s impact. The low profile caused the animal to strike the hood before its lifeless body was propelled into the upper most edge of the windshield and over the top of the vehicle where it crashed down on to the wet pavement directly behind the car.

In that same instant the windshield shattered at the point of impact in that familiar spider web pattern which further terrified the driver. As a result of this assault on her senses, she surrendered all control of the car as she desperately attempted to duck down and away from the perceived danger. It was however futile as her seatbelt ensured that she didn’t get very far.

The car, operating on its own at this point, careened wildly until it ran off the road and struck a tree. At that exact moment, even as her body was pressing against the seat belt, one of the vehicles crash sensors detected the pressure wave caused by the impact and sent a signal to the on-board computer. At about the same time other pressure sensors began to respond to the now crumbling engine compartment and sent their respective signals in as well. The vehicles computer then began to calculate the severity of the impact. About a millisecond later the computer determined that it was a catastrophic event and sent a fire signal to the vehicle’s airbag system causing them to deploy at nearly 200mph. The force of the airbags deployment drove Patricia Browning back into the driver’s seat even while they were already deflating in front of her. While the airbags had done exactly what they were designed to do, the violence of the initial impact had rendered her unconscious.

From the moment of the impact with the tree exactly two-hundred and seventy-six milliseconds had passed, less time than it takes for the blink of an eye.

Steam rose from the shattered radiator where it was eerily lit up by the headlights. Somehow in the collision, the right blinker had also been activated, adding an amber and red flash to the mix. The car’s radio continued to play the classic rock ballad which only served to make the whole scene seem even that much more surreal.

If she had been conscious, she would have noticed the headlights come on from the pickup truck that was parked approximately fifty feet away on the opposite side of the road. A male figure, clad in dark clothing and wearing a baseball hat pulled low, exited the truck. He walked purposely around to the passenger side of the pickup and opened the door.

From there he moved quickly in the direction of the hulking wreckage of the automobile. Under the circumstances it was completely unnecessary as it would be at least two more hours before another vehicle would venture down the deserted back road.

The man proceeded to walk past the crumpled remains of the BMW, back to where the lifeless body of the deer lay in the roadway. It was in fact a young three-point buck and weighed in at only one hundred and twenty pounds. The man lifted the remains up off the ground and carried it to the pickup truck where he unceremoniously dumped it into the back.

When he was done, he switched on the LED flashlight device that was attached to his baseball hat and moved to the tree line on each side of the road just behind the BMW. He located the remnants of the cable wires that were looped around the two large sugar maple tree trunks. The same wires which had, a few moments earlier, suspended the deer over the roadway. If anyone had been given the opportunity to examine the remains of the animal they would have discovered that this particular deer had, in fact, died twice tonight.


For more information on how you can help me self publish my novel, please check out my Kickstarter campaign blog entry here: Perfect Pawn Kickstarter Campaign