On Crowdfunding. Oh, and Read an Ebook Week

Dear all,

I bring you this missive – so soon after the last one (at least by my standards) – to discuss two totally different topics. That’s right, I’m mixing and matching today in a perfectly nonsensical way, because really, Read-an-Ebook-Week and Crowdfunding have nothing to do with one another.

Oh well.

Read an Ebook Week

is a Smashwords event. I had a moment of nostalgia, or something like it, when I realised it was coming up. I first heard about Smashwords through last year’s event; I couldn’t possibly have imagined at the time that a mere one year later, I’d have four titles on Smashwords and I would be participating in it as an author.

But so it has proved. Read-an-Ebook-Week is (surprisingly enough) a week-long event encouraging people to try digital reading. Loads of Smashwords authors, including yours truly, have allowed deep discounts on their book for the week of March 4th to 10th – and many books are free! How cool is that. Draykon #1 and my new title, The Rostikov Legacy, are both available to download for free until the end of the event. Huzzah (click the titles to go to the Smashwords pages. The freebie code is RE100).

So… if you know of anybody who might like to try those books, now’s a great time to mention it =)

Moving on.


I mentioned in my last post that I want to do a map for the Draykon world. I also said that I’ve been planning this for a while, but I’m finding it hard to work out the best way to do it.

That wasn’t entirely true. The fact is, I’ve worked (and am working) very hard to make the books as good as I can, and I’ve been lucky enough to get some magnificent cover art for them. I don’t just want any map to go alongside that: I want a magnificent map, something of the highest possible quality that’s worthy to stand alongside Elsa’s book covers.

The obvious thing to do, then, is to ask Elsa to do the map. Only, I don’t mind admitting that my funds are about tapped out for the present; and being an international indie author (by which I mean, not a US resident) means I get the privilege of waiting quite a lot longer to get paid.

So I was staring at my screen on Saturday morning in that weekend-haze sort of state, trying to figure out how I could reasonably fund a map project in the next couple of months, when Fate intervened. Or something. A crowdfunding project called Kickstarter popped up in my daily internet-and-blog rounds no less than three times. Here’s what happened in my sleep-fuzzed brain.

How can I get a good map done?


Ooo kickstarter how interesting


Kickstarter again


Oh look, more crowdfunding



Aaaannd most of the rest of Saturday went on researching this option.

What is Crowdfunding Anyway?

It’s a way of raising a given sum of money through a large(ish) number of small donations. The really good part is that it isn’t charity per se. It’s not about someone (say, me) asking people to donate to a project and other people (say, you) generously agreeing to do so. In a good crowdfunding campaign, every donation, no matter how small, earns a prize related to the project – and the best campaigns offer exclusive goodies that you couldn’t get any other way. Sounds interesting? I thought so.

The idea has huge possibilities. For example, I’ve been dreaming for a while about doing a companion book to the Draykon world, featuring some new fantasy art by Elsa Kroese along with loads of world-and-background material to go alongside the books (by the way, the Draykon Series you’ve been reading and hearing about ends with book #3, but I don’t plan to abandon this world – there’ll be more Seven Realms books in time). Such a project would be glorious-beyond-belief but it would also be very expensive, so I put it on my “maybe someday” list. But if crowdfunding can work, perhaps it could be done rather sooner.

Going back to the map. This would be a relatively small project, and therefore an ideal way to test the waters and see if it can work. I’d need about £300 (approx. $470) to get the map done, and that would include a black-and-white version to go in the books, plus a more beautiful and elaborate colour version for, um, Other Things.

What Would You Get?

The way it works is, the larger the donation the bigger-and-better the reward. So smaller donations might net you a few ebooks and some other digital-fun-stuff, while larger ones could get you some juicy physical merchandise.

I have a few ideas for possible prizes. The obvious ones include: digital copies of all three books in the new edition (with the beautiful new map and the glossary); digital copies of the new maps, both black-and-white and in colour, possibly signed (digitally of course) by both author and artist; hard copies (i.e. prints!) of the new maps with a real signature from yours truly; prints of the cover art, personalised and signed by me; maybe even signed print copies of the books, though there would be a delay on those since it’ll take me some time to get them ready (another way in which not being a US resident bites me).

Here’s the big question: if I launched a crowdfunding test campaign to get a good map done, would you be interested in participating? And if so, what other goodies would you like to see? I’m interested in any and all ideas.

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