The good news: Exactly the editor I would want to work with to self-publish the Big Book wants to work with me. We’re at the point of discussing prices and schedules. She thinks the manuscript is in good enough shape, the number she’s quoting me is lower than the figure I’d budgeted for the developmental edit in my grant proposal. If the grant comes through, I’ll be able to do more in the production phase than I originally thought.

The bad news: I also worked on figuring out what kind of goal amount I should set for a Kickstarter campaign in case the grant doesn’t come through. For a first-timer, the number of people who know me in real life is a bigger determining factor than the merits of the project are for how much I can plan to raise. Note the distinction between hope and plan here. It’s not unusual for people to exceed their goals on Kickstarter, but if you don’t at least meet your goal, you get nothing. (That may sound nutty, but there are good reasons for doing things that way.)

All the old hands at crowdfunding agree: Figure out what is the most scaled-down version of your project that you can still bring yourself to do. What it costs to do that should be your starting goal.

The upshot: The lowest number that works for the editor is higher than the highest number I can be really sure of raising through crowdfunding. Even if I could raise money for the editor, the entirety of the production process would be a stretch goal. Under these parameters, this project really is out of reach, at least for a year or two and possibly longer, without the grant. I said so in the application, but for a moment I hoped I’d been mistaken.

So I go on playing the long game — I’ve been playing the long game for 11 years, it’s nothing new — and I work on changing the parameters. At the risk of buzzwording myself into unreadability, I need to expand my circle of influence (more readers = more potential backers). I need to connect with my readers in more ways. Just possibly, I might need to try the crowdfunding/self-publishing process with a smaller project before I try a bigger one.

First order of business: I need to set up a proper email list. It’s kind of shocking that I’ve gone on this long without one. My website has a link for joining my email list, but nearly all my blog readers prefer to find me at Livejournal, so the people most likely to join an email list have no idea there’s one to join. Not that I’m entirely sure what authors do with their email lists, or what readers get out of joining one. I should always be able to come up with at least one good answer to the question, “What’s in it for the reader?”
Source: Dr Pretentious


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