The Alliance Crowdfunding

On several occasions I have discussed re-branding my Alliance series of YA novels and crowdfunding ideas. I basically took the information I learned from last year’s failed Sacrifice Kickstarter and implemented a much more reasonable goal for the Alliance series.

This is basically just a small update to say I will launch an Indiegogo campaign tomorrow evening, and hope to receive help funding self-pub costs for cover art and formatting for the first two Alliance novels. I would love to have your support. Become a part of the “Alliance Street Team” and share the campaign even if you can’t donate. Word of mouth helps campaigns and sell books.

I’ll post a link to the crowdfunding page tomorrow evening when the project is live. Stay tuned!

Sacrifice Novel Kickstarter is Live!

The Sacrifice novel Kickstarter is now live! Even if you can’t donate right now, I would be forever grateful if you could share with friends and family. Don’t just share the link, but tell them WHY they should click it. This is my attempt to bring more diversity to literature. I just recently finished an author interview where I discussed the importance of diversity in literature, so i’ll link to that blog here once it’s published. If you have a blog or site that you would like to use to help spread the word, I have an official press release that I can send you!
 

Sacrifice-Facebook

 

Click here to view the campaign, and please let me tell you why Sacrifice is important.

 

Sacrifice Novel Excerpt

There’s only a week left until the Kickstarter campaign launches, and i’m eager to share more information about my upcoming novel. Instead of sharing another piece of concept art or character bio, I decided to include a teaser from the Sacrifice manuscript. Did you miss my formal announcement? If so, you can click here to find out about the importance of my campaign and diversity in literature.

Sacrifice KS image cropped
Here’s an unedited excerpt from chapter eleven of the Sacrifice manuscript. I hope you enjoy this little taste of Sacrifice.

The sunset painted the concrete around me with a gorgeous orange highlight. I had no idea where I was or how I got here, but I stood on a city sidewalk in some dystopian wasteland. Collapsed and broken buildings littered the streets as vegetation crept up around the ruins. My eyes scanned the rusted yellow cars left abandoned in the street. Where were their owners? What had happened here?

Regardless of the city’s obvious decimation, I found the silence of this vast area to be quite eerie. Where were the birds and other signs of wildlife? This place had to be home to more than just plant life. I listened for several moments, but there was no sound to be heard.

Warm air still lingered from the departing sun, and I walked out toward the crumbled patch of concrete in front of me where I faced a lone parking meter. The meter seemed oddly placed even though it obviously wasn’t, but everything else I could see was deconstructed. I felt overwhelmed with an urge to reach out and touch the last surviving meter, but a cold draft of air stopped my hand before my fingers reached the metal post. Chill bumps paraded all over my body, and an icy breath tickled at my neck. I spun around on my heels, but there was no one to be seen.

I glanced back and found Micah next to the parking meter—my body jolted at his unexpected presence. My hand went to my chest as if to calm the beating of my heart, but I was even more relieved than startled.

“I’m so glad you’re here. Where ever here is. I’ve worried about you.”

“Sorry for scaring you,” he said in a soft voice. “I suck at this whole ghost thing.”

Micah’s pale grey eyes locked on with mine, but his expression was unreadable. He stepped off the sidewalk, and his eyes shifted to an enormous crater formed in the pavement nearby that was shaped like a monstrous footprint. I shuddered at the thought of what might have created such a print.

“I always wanted to visit here someday, but this is definitely not what I had in mind,” he said with a sigh.

“And where exactly is here?”

“Times Square.”

“This is New York City?” I gasped. I’d been to the city that never sleeps a few times, but never seen the place look anything shy of fabulous. Times Square made sense because the ground was littered with shattered pieces of what I recognized to be L.E.D lights, which were often used for the city’s signature lighting and billboards. The beautifully lit part of the city was always such a spectacular site, and now the entire area was growing dark as the sun continued to set.

“I always wanted to go to a Yankee’s game. Come back as a ghost and I’m still out of luck,” he said. His lips curled up slightly to match the mood of his joke, but the effect was lost with such weary eyes.

I opened my mouth to speak, but I didn’t know what to say. I felt a pull at my chest that was all too familiar. It pained me that he was gone, and we never got that baseball game he wanted.

As if he knew my thoughts had wandered to a sorrowful place, he tilted his gaze to the faded orange sky. “We need to leave here before the sun fully sets.”

“Why? What will happen at nighttime? Ghosts should be nocturnal, right?”

“I can see fine, but we won’t want to see what becomes of this place at full darkness.”

“What happens here?”

“This is the same outcome that happens everywhere if you don’t stop them. Every nasty supernatural being will be unleashed on our world if you don’t. The demons won’t come out during daylight so that keeps them at bay, but once they’re in total darkness they will come out to play.”

“Who causes this? When does this happen?”

“I tried to tell you last time, but they wouldn’t let me. The things they did, God Kat, I didn’t know it was possible to torture a ghost,” he said with a grimace. His eyes weren’t tired now, they looked troubled. A ghost with such haunted eyes just reeked of irony.

“Please Kat you have to figure this out. This isn’t just some random dream. I’m showing you the future. They know you’re the threat and they’ll be coming for you.”

Micah’s last words faded to a whisper as the sun disappeared, and the broken Times Square horizon filled with glowing eyes of inhuman color. I was suddenly engulfed in the darkness as I shouted for him.

 

From the Book: Sacrifice by S.E. Doster Copyright © 2014 by S.E. Doster. Artwork by Cindy Chan.

Enter the World of Sacrifice

Today I wanted to update you on the progress of the Sacrifice novel Kickstarter. I know last week was missing a character reveal, and I apologize for not delivering that as planned. I am still not quite satisfied with my concept art for the next character. I’ll spend the evening trying to tweak the digital portrait a bit so I can try to reveal that later this week. Did you miss my recent announcement about the Kickstarter? Don’t know what i’m talking about? Click here and let me tell you why this project is important.

Several people are asking when the Kickstarter will launch, and i’m glad so many people are anticipating the campaign! I’m currently on schedule for a September launch with either the 2nd or the 3rd as my launch date. I have a friend helping with my video for the campaign, and I am blown away by how amazing the intro looks! I can’t wait to share this with you!

Here are some random pieces of concept art that I created to show one of the books settings, as well as showcase the werewolves and mages from Sacrifice. Disclaimer: I am a digital art noob.

 

Part of Sacrifice takes place in NY's Catskill Mountains.

Part of Sacrifice takes place in NY’s Catskill Mountains.

Werewolves and mage from Sacrifice.

Werewolves and mage from Sacrifice.

Thank you for your support, and make sure you check out my Facebook page for even more content on writing and the Sacrifice novel.

How to Plan a Successful Kickstarter Part 2 of 2

This article is where i’ll break down the planning portion of building a successful Kickstarter. Have you read part 1 yet? If not, I recommend you go here. That article contains information about Kickstarter, and explains what to expect from starting your own crowdfundung project.

Okay, so now you’ve read part 1? Let’s continue.

The planning is where things get really serious. It’s crucial to establish a plan, do the necessary research, and put the plan into action long before you decide to launch.

First question, have you generated any interest in your project on social media? If the answer is no, then I would suggest you start there. Some people might just stumble upon your Kickstarter page, but mostly you’ll need to drive the traffic there yourself. Start generating interest long before you’re planning to launch.

Second, have you thought about your fan base? Who would be most interested in your project? Gamers?  Mothers?  Sports fans? Find out what social media platforms are best to seek out potential backers. Facebook and Twitter are pretty common, but don’t limit yourself to just the social juggernauts.

You will also need a video. Based on all the research I’ve done on Kickstarter campaigns, the success rate of projects without videos is very low. The odds seemed so bad that it’s a risk I wouldn’t take.

You also need a passionate story. If you can’t tell people why the project is so important and worthy of their money, why should anyone care at all?

Set a reasonable goal. Don’t try to aim for a goal that exceeds the amount you really need. Once your goal is locked in place, you have to hope that you reach the amount by the end of the campaign time. You can exceed your goal, but you can’t have a successful campaign if you don’t reach the set amount. With that being said, you must also remember to factor in the small fees charged by both Kickstarter and Amazon, as well as factoring in the cost of your rewards. Not sure what to offer? If you’re completely stumped then I recommend you browse similar projects, and see what others are offering as rewards.

Speaking of rewards, don’t just offer thoughtless incentives. Entice people with simple, yet fulfilling reward tiers. Some people might donate simply based off your passionate story or video, but most people want value from their rewards.

Now that I’ve broken everything down, let’s use my Kickstarter plan as an example.

I’m slowly building my fan base on social media. Sacrifice is an New Adult urban fantasy novel that features a gay protagonist. I knew that if I narrowed down my fan base to very specific groups, my best chance would be with fantasy readers and the LGBT community. I was already a part of several online communities that specifically relate to those two groups, but I still needed to build interest in the novel.

How? I went to talented artists and asked them to create concept art and illustrations that I could use. I could have just talked about my book, but some people want a visual. The art gave me something to show in my video while I explained why Sacrifice was important, and it provided me with art prints to use as rewards.

Next I wrote up a very compelling story that explains why Sacrifice is important. My book offers diversity of both race and sexual orientation, and that needed to be my key selling point. Make sure you make your selling point clear in both the video and written explanation.

I did my homework and got estimates for how much it would cost to have my manuscript professionally edited, with a professionally designed cover, and formatting for both paperback and ebook. I knew I needed a little more than my estimate to cover costs of printing and shipping rewards, as well as the small fees charged by Kickstarter and Amazon payments (it’s 5% for Kickstarter and 3-5% for Amazon as they process the payments). So I didn’t magically pull a number out of the air, and I won’t be asking for more than I actually need.

Now with my rewards I tried to keep my tiers simple, yet still fulfilling to my potential backers. For one of the cheaper tiers I’ll be offering a downloadable PDF of the finished project. The download will allow people to help for a small price while still receiving a fair reward. No shipping there! People also like to receive tangible rewards, so for that I will offer paperback copies and art prints. Small printing and shipping costs are figured into the tier price. I will even offer much larger and enticing rewards such as having a character in my novel named after a backer. So be creative and put time into your rewards.

These tips should give you a great advantage when planning your Kickstarter. You shouldn’t get discouraged if your project fails to meet the set goal. A first attempt at crowdfunding is a learning experience, and you can use that knowledge to make your second attempt even better. Remember to show passion, have patience, and plan as much as you can.