We hit our Goal! $15000 towards the Modo graphic novel

We've made out funding goal! Thanks to everyone who participated! As of this writing there are still a few hours left to join in on the steampunk fun--just click this amazing link: http://igg.me/at/modo/x/2317118

One of the traditions when you make your funding goal is to have "stretch" goals. These are new perks for people if you make a certain amount beyond your original goal. We don't have enough time to do a campaign for a stretch goal (only 13 hours left!), but I thought I'd share the stretch goals that we had in mind:

 If we hit $100,000 we would have given all contributors a steam powered eye You can both see out of it and make tea at the same time. Zounds!

At $500,000 we were going to ground all those noisy jet planes and give everyone personal airships to travel in. No Hindenburgs, though!

 At 1,000,000 we would create a steam powered superman who would go backwards around the world and take us all back in time to the Victorian age and we could live in that era forever...but get this--we'd be able to bring our iPods and smart phones along. And dental floss!

Ah, the world was going to be so different!

But wait...just $84,000 more dollars and it's steampowered eyes for everyone!

Thanks for all the fundraising help!


Wot? I'm not Rich Yet? Observations on Crowd Fundraising

For the last twenty days I've been deep in the world of crowd fundraising with a project @ indiegogo.com. It's a graphic novel inspired by my series The Hunchback Assignments that I cooked up with artist Christopher Steininger.

I thought I'd share what I've learned up to now. First, in order to understand the whole crowd funding process, I followed (and supported) several campaigns, asked for advice from those campaigners, saw what worked for them and attempted to emulate that. I chose Indiegogo to do my crowd fundraising because Kickstarter is not open to Canadians (unless you have an American partner) and Indiegogo has flexible funding, which means you keep the money even if you don't make your goal. This was appealing to me as I will be going ahead with the project either way.
This is what I've learned so far:
1) It's work: Okay, I knew that going in but there is a lot of "informing" to do. I've written to my newsletter, posted on Facebook, approached family and friends directly, posted on listservs, written and sent out a press release, finished up the final details on the script, emailed those who contributed personally...well you get the picture. There's a reason why campaigns that are 30-40 days long tend to do better than longer campaigns. It's because of how time consuming it is to keep the momentum up.
2) Think very carefully about the amount you need. We've asked for $15, 000. That's almost exactly what it will cost to do a print run and pay the artist a decent page rate. But I now wish I'd only asked for $10,000. The reason is that since I'm willing to foot the rest of the bill (write offs are fun) we would make our goal earlier and look more successful (we're at 31% right now, but if I'd chosen 10K we'd be closer to 50%). Apparently more people buy in to a project when it is closer to meeting its goal (and afterwards...we all want to be part of a success story). Of course, you don't want to ask for a very low amount...
3) Be prepared to educate your buyers. It turns out not everyone knows about crowd fundraising and Indiegogo or Kickstarter. And the idea of fundraising for an item before it is created is not that common. So there might be some explainin' to do! Many of my books are sold to schools and libraries. They're not used to buying something before it's created. Clearances have to be given, etc., etc., So education is key.
4) Dream big. Deal with the reality. Yes, there are many projects that make mountains of cash. But buried back in the archives of Kickstarter and Indiegogo are the mountains of campaigns that didn't make their goal. When we started we had big dreams of fans and friends chipping in, then the social networking magic would happen, and a giant sized snowball would carry us the rest of the way--maybe even in the first week. After all, my books have sold hundreds of thousands of copies...I just have to convince about 500-1000 of those fans to pick up the graphic novel. The problem is reaching those fans. They may have enjoyed my books, but they might never hear of the graphic novel. Also remember, apparently the last week of a campaign is when the most contributions happen. Nothing like a deadline to motivate people.
5) Be Social. Of course you should do all the social networking you need to do (without becoming annoying...very hard to find that middle ground), but you should also be social with other people who are crowdfunding. Follow their campaigns, cheer them on--they're in the same boat as you. You can learn from each other and support each other's campaigns...getting the word out to more people.

There. That's most of what I've learned so far. Time to march forward into the 2nd half of the campaign.

Of course I'll add my fancy widget to this post. If you like what you've read or are interested in graphic novels and steampunk, just click on the image below or right here. Or if you just want to simply support us then hit the link and use the "Tweet" or "Facebook" buttons to tell the world. It gets the project out there and also puts the project higher in Indiegogo's rankings. Every little bit helps.

Thanks for listening,


What if Star Wars was your Ex-girlfriend?

Star Wars (Episode IV): The 1st Date

OMG. She's amazing. She like drives super fast spaceships, she wields swords made of light, she's adventurous and yeah, she whines a bit about her farm background and "getting off this boring" planet, but everything she says and does is so new and exciting. I love her wild hair! She's the type who shoots first. She even makes getting her trash compactor fixed sound sooo interesting. And at the end of the meal: Wow! Wow! Wow! Everything just explodes and she gives me a "First Date" medal. I am totally going to see her again.

The Empire Strikes Back (Episode VI): The 2nd Date

All the potential of the first date is realized and then some! She is deeper and more interesting than I thought. She likes snow vacations, but would dive into a swamp for adventure (heck she even once scooped out the innards of a large animal to survive the cold--now that's hard core). She knows even more groovy zen things and martial arts. Yeah, she has some father issues, but that just makes her sooo much more interesting. When the date ends it feels unfinished. She just leaves me wanting more. I HAVE to see her again. We are SO going to go steady. We might even get married.

The Return of the Jedi (Episode VII): The 3rd Date

It starts off like the first date all over again. Excitement! Action! She rescues the conversation when some rather sizeable fellow stumbles into our table. Then things get a little weird. Her friend who she almost dated is really her brother. She spends the last twenty minutes of the date talking about her cute stuffed pets and concocts an unbelievable story about how they could take on an army and win. Yeah right! But then things explode with excitement (again) at the end of the date--alas it's not as cool as last time. She still looks great though. I'm sure that was just a lull. I'm gonna move in with her.

The Phantom Menace (Episode 1): Going Steady

Okay. We're living together. Finally! It's been a long wait. But then she starts talking about politics and trade taxation and everyone she mentions has a hard to remember name. And she buys about ten thousand of those robot vacuum cleaners and makes them fight each other. Boring! Then her cousin, JJB, keeps hanging out at our apartment. I can't understand a word he says. Like who invited him? She gets a little spacey at times and talks more Taoist philosophy and about the virgin birth of her father. Huh? I tell myself be patient. Every relationship has its rough patch.

Attack of the Clones (Episode 2): The What? Moment

It's really hard to remember that first date now. We just sit at home in our apartment in our sweats. She's still talking and talking about politics and voting and clones and plots against her life ...you know I can't pay attention. The robot vacuums fight each other again. At least her cousin isn't hanging around. She just can't stop talking about her dad having to marry her mom in secret. It would be interesting if I wasn't already so bored. I'm starting to look at other women...there's a cute one with pointed ears who catches my eye. I don't do anything about it, though.

Revenge of the Sith (Episode 3): The Breakup

I am so tired of hearing about her past. It's completely, mind-numbingly boring. I think she's joining a republic. Apparently her dad didn't get some promotion he wanted and he went all wacko. What a suck! I look at her and think: can't we just go on one more high speed chase in space? Please? Or swing across a chasm with stormtroopers shooting at us? But no, she is so full of angst and hatred. I guess her mom died giving birth to her. Sad. She starts wearing black armour. At first, I thought, "kinky." But now it just freaks me out...plus she has a bit of a skin condition and all her hair falls out. And she rasps everything she says. Everything. I move out. I'm never coming back. Ever. I don't see her for years and years.

Then I hear that she changed her hairstylist and she wants to get back in touch with me. Yeah, sure. Maybe I'll see you again, darling--just don't bring your cousin.

Arthur Slade is the author of seventeen bestselling novels for young adults and the soon-to-be released graphic novel Modo: Ember's End

The "Modo: Ember's End" Rockin' Referral Contest

Okay, it's hard to put "referral" in the title of a blog and make it exciting.

How about this: whoever refers the most people to our Modo: Ember's End page on indiegogo.com will receive a page of original art from the comic book. A collector's item that is only available at the $150.00 "perk" level. You could win it shipped directly to your door by steampunk storks.

All you have to do is sign up at indiegogo.com and click on our campaign page.  You'll see something like the image below:

From there you just hit the "tweet" or "like" or any of the other "share" buttons. Indiegogo will do the rest (alas you do have to sign up with indiegogo before you share the campaign because that's the only way we can track who has done the referring...but hey, you don't have to buy anything). The more people you refer to our campaign the better your chance of winning (at this point the highest referrer is at 12 people referred).

It goes without saying, but we'll say it anyway--Chris Steininger and I are really thankful for all the word of mouth that is going on with this campaign. And this is a concrete way to reward one of you for that help.