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Is Crowdfunding the Answer for Small Publishers?

Every Day Publishing pursues the dream of a pro-level anthology in a Kickstarter partnership with an experienced editor

Raygun Chronicles
PRLog - Feb. 25, 2013 - VANCOUVER, British Columbia -- VANCOUVER, CANADA — Crowdfunding is the latest hot thing, especially in the publishing world, where it works to essentially pre-sell books not yet created. At the small-press level, where skills and ideas and commitment abound but financial resources are scarce, crowdfunding services such as Kickstarter and Indiegogo open doors to possibilities that would have previously been out of reach. “Crowdfunding is the only way for us to organize the kind of capital needed to acquire the work of authors at [a professional] level,” says Camille Gooderham Campbell of Every Day Publishing, adding, “Without crowdfunding, it would take years and years to inch our way upward.”

Every Day Publishing is stepping into the ring with Raygun Chronicles: Space Opera for a New Age, in partnership with editor Bryan Thomas Schmidt, who has previously operated a successful Kickstarter campaign. The project aims high, packaging highlight stories from respected space opera magazine Ray Gun Revival’s six-year publishing history with new work from some of today’s top science-fiction authors, and of course those big names aren’t cheap. Among those writing new stories for the project are two NYT bestselling Star Wars novelists and three Star Trek novelists, along with multiple Hugo and Nebula award winners.

“I love space opera,” Schmidt says. “Especially the classic stuff with good versus evil and larger-than-life characters is what drew me to my passion for science fiction and for storytelling generally.”

In order to attract backers, the publisher has created some tempting rewards over and above ownership of the book itself, including an exclusive limited-edition t-shirt and a set of space-opera-themed bookmarks, with the designs to be revealed as the Kickstarter campaign reaches milestones along the way. Other rewards are only accessible to higher-level backers — “Tuckerization is always popular,” says Schmidt, referring to the practice of embedding someone’s real name or nickname into fiction, generally as a minor or incidental character. “For fans, it’s an opportunity to be immortalized. It also creates a since of belonging and an inside wink at fans who bond together to make such anthologies possible.”

According to author and blogger Tobias Buckell, there are three requirements for a successful Kickstarter: first, that the product itself be intriguing; second, that one’s ability to deliver the product has been proven; and third, that one has a reach or following significant enough to make the project known. In this case, space opera is enjoying a surge of renewed popularity — commitments from headliners including Kristine Kathryn Rusch, Dean Wesley Smith, A.C. Crispin, Mike Resnick, Seanan McGuire, Allen Steele, Brenda Cooper, Robin Wayne Bailey and Sarah A. Hoyt should make the book stand out for fans of the genre, and cover art from the talented Paul Pederson is an additional draw. Schmidt has already demonstrated that he can package and sell a science fiction anthology — his previous crowdfunded science fiction colonist anthology Beyond The Sun releases from Fairwood Press in July — and Every Day Publishing has a proven track record for book production with five print books already released in both hardcover and paperback editions. Any doubt is only on the third point — does this team have the following and reach to spread the word about Raygun Chronicles in time to hit its rather intimidating goal of $8000 by March 7th? That, as always, is an unpredictable mystery.

“Crowdfunding allows us to create opportunities not just for ourselves, but for up-and-coming writers to work alongside some authors they admire,” Schmidt says. “It also creates the opportunity for fans to share the dream and watch a project develop from the ground up, knowing they get to enjoy the fruits of it in a special way as a result.”

The Raygun Chronicles Kickstarter has several reward levels, from tuckerization to signed copies and even a Skype chat with editor Schmidt and one of the headliners. The top level is a trip to Orycon in November for the book launch, with airfare, hotel, and con membership included. “We have some pretty exciting rewards available,” says Gooderham Campbell, “and of course we expect the physical rewards, the t-shirt and bookmarks, to be attractive to backers, but the real appeal for space opera fans will be ground-level participation in making this project a reality — your name forever on the list of supporters in every edition of the book, with the knowledge that the stories in it would not exist without you. That’s powerful stuff.”

Raygun Chronicles Kickstarter campaign page:

Raygun Chronicles information page | Every Day Publishing Ltd.:

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Source:Every Day Publishing Ltd.
Location:Vancouver - British Columbia - Canada
Tags:science fiction, space opera, crowdfunding, kickstarter, Publishing
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