Tag Archives: Kickstarter

Manifestation Cover Reveal

If you’re a regular reader of my blog, you may have noticed that I haven’t posted much lately. There’s a few reasons for that, but one of the big ones is that I’ve been busy getting ready for the release of Manifestation, Volume One of the Arcana Revived series.

Manifestation began its life here on this blog two years ago. Since then it’s evolved from a post-by-post story into a full-fledged novel, the first book in what is (so far) a six book series. The story follows Gabby Palladino as she struggles to survive in a world being changed by the return of magic after centuries where it was considered to be nothing more than myth and legend. Arcane powers return and begin spreading to more and more people, none of whom understand these powers or know how to control them. The result is chaos and danger all around while Gabby tries to figure out why this is happening and what it has to do with her.

The cover was designed by the wonderful and talented Ravven. You can check out more of her work on her website or her deviantart page. She also designed the cover for the short story Radiance that was released last year.

mani_promo

The book will be released in ebook and paperback form very soon. I’ll post more here when I have the exact release date, but it’ll be within the next couple of weeks for sure. In the meantime, if you’re interested in a preview, you can always check out Radiance, a short story set in the same world as Manifestation.

Also, a special thanks to everyone who participated in the Kickstarter I ran last year. They’re the ones that raised the funds that paid for this cover.

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Radiance – Now on Amazon Kindle and Smashwords

My short story, Radiance, is now available through both Amazon and Smashwords:

"Radiance" Short Story
“Radiance” Short Story

Radiance is the first short story released in the Arcana Revived series. The ebook contains the 3000 word short story, Radiance, plus a poem, Frozen Petals, and a short excerpt from my upcoming novel, Manifestation. It’s just 99 cents (US price; price in other countries is automatically adjusted based on conversion from US dollars).

Radiance is also listed on Goodreads.

Kickstarter Update #16: Rewards Sent!

You can also view this update on Kickstarter.

I just finished sending out each of the ebooks to all backers who selected a reward. You should have received an email from Amazon that says:

“A Gift For You

Hello (your name), you’ve received a Kindle Book gift from Jason Cantrell.”

You should be able to download the ebook once you click on the “Get your gift now” button. If you have any trouble accessing the ebook, you can email me (cantrelljason@gmail.com) and I’ll figure out what is wrong and work to fix the problem. I’ve tested the download, however, and everything should work out fine.

A small number of people provided a different email address when I sent the rewards survey than the email address you registered with Kickstarter. In those cases, I sent the ebook to the email address you specified in the survey. So while this update will be sent to the email you’ve registered with Kickstarter, you’ll need to check your other email address to get the ebook. Of course, if you used the same email address you can ignore this part.

If you did NOT receive the Amazon “A Gift For You” email, it may be that there was a typo in your email address. Or the email may be in your Spam folder. Check the Spam folder first, and if you don’t see the email from Amazon, contact me, and I’ll have it re-sent.

For most of the backers, this should cover all of the rewards, since the poetry collection was mailed out last week. If you are also supposed to receive a critique or custom story, you’ll just need to contact me regarding the specifics.

I think that about covers it. Thank you!

Kickstarter Update #15: Finishing Touches

You can also view this update on Kickstarter.

Earlier this week, I sent out several emails to different groups of backers, depending on the reward level you selected. I’ll review everything here so that if anyone has any questions, you can email me and I can address them individually.

1.     Poetry Collection – If you chose a reward level that included the poetry collection, it has been emailed to you. If you haven’t received it, or for any reason you have trouble opening the file, email me and I’ll send it again.
2.     Critiques or Custom Ghostwritten Stories – If you chose one of these rewards, you should have received a separate email asking for the specifics (such as asking what piece of writing you’d like critiqued). Once I hear back from you with the details, I’ll get to work on your critique or story in as timely a fashion as possible.
3.     Special Thanks List: You should have received a Kickstarter survey asking what name and website you’d like listed. Even though I have your name through Kickstarter, a few people didn’t want their last names listed or preferred a nickname, so I’m waiting to hear a response before I list each person. As of this writing, I only need to get info from three more people. If you’re one of those three, please get back to me soon (preferably before the end of the week, so I can send the ebook out this week).

That should cover everything related to rewards, until the ebook itself is sent out (which will be just as soon as I get the last three Special Thanks responses). If you have any questions or concerns, or just want to chat, you can email me at cantrellwriter@gmail.com or tweet me @CantrellJason. Thank you!

My Journey as a Professional Writer, Part 6: Self-Publishing

It’s been awhile since the last time I wrote a post about my writing career. Well, that’s not entirely accurate. The last month of blog posts have mostly been about my Kickstarter campaign, which is very much a part of my writing career. But those posts were focused on the specifics of the campaign itself; this one is about me, what I’ve learned, and where I’m going from here.

Working a Kickstarter campaign had ups and downs. The ups were amazing moments where people I know–or in some cases strangers–pledged their support and made the drive a success (and if you haven’t seen it yet, check out the cover that was made as a result of the drive). There were moments I was fighting tears at seeing how wonderful and generous some people can be.

The downs, however, were there throughout the drive. One issue, which is something most writers I know deal with, is the doubt. There would be days where I wondered whether any more support would come in, and whether I would meet my goals. There would also be days when I would wonder about the scale of establishing a self-publishing career. Once the ebook is out, will it sell? How will I spread the word and market it? Will people be interested in buying an ebook of a short story as a stand-alone tale? These kinds of doubts are similar to any writer’s doubts about whether they will find an agent, whether their book will be picked up by a publisher, and whether they will ever make decent sales on the book they worked so long and hard on.

But here’s what I think about those doubts: everyone has to start somewhere, and I think this short story is a pretty strong start. The readers who’ve critiqued and commented on it so far all had high praise. I think the plot is intriguing, and offers a good glimpse into the world I’m creating for the novel “Manifestation.” And, since the ebook will be selling for just 99 cents, it’s a low-risk venture for customers. I’ve done a lot of research into ebook price trends, and I’ve come to believe this is a good move. When “Manifestation” comes out, the ebook will probably be priced low, since that’s one of the ways self-publishers work to compete with the higher-priced publications from traditional publishers. In addition to a competitively low ebook price for the novel, readers who want to see what my writing is like will be able to read a short story at an even lower price. If they like my writing (and I certainly hope they will), then maybe they’ll buy the novel as well. If they don’t like it, well, it was only 99 cents, right?

I’m also planning on publishing many more short stories in the future. “Radiance” is just the first one. The short stories are part of the reason I decided to go with self-publishing to begin with. Traditional publishers aren’t likely to publish individual short stories by an unknown author. The only way most writers I know of publish short stories is by selling them to magazines, but the vast majority of those magazines focus on “literary” stories, not urban fantasy. Because of this, the number of places I could publish “Radiance” would be very slim, and if I DID manage to get it published in a magazine, it would be a single, flat payment for publication in one issue. After that one printing, it’d likely never be heard from again.

Instead of publishing a story in a single magazine where it appears in one issue then gets buried in the back of a doctor’s office waiting room, I’m publishing it online. It will be available forever (I hope), with more stories to follow in the series. I have more than half a dozen stories already written, so one day there will be a huge collection published in this series. “Arcana Revived” will be comprised of a minimum of three novels and a dozen short stories, and probably a lot more than that, as I add to it over the years.

This is one of the ways I feel I can overcome the writer’s doubt. This project may only be my first, small start, but I have a business plan. One I’ve researched extensively, with plans for marketing, advertising, and branding. I think that’s going to be the difference between good versus bad self-publishing. Self-pub gets a bad rep a lot of the time, because frankly, the self-publishing world is filled with as many crappy ebooks as there are crappy videos on YouTube. Every once in awhile, however, you see a YouTube video with millions of hits, and a self-published author who winds up on the New York Times bestseller list. The difference between the unknown author and the successful one, in my opinion, is based on how hard you work and how much you learn about the industry. I still have a lot to learn, but I’m working to learn it. I’m not just throwing an ebook out there and waiting for a magic fairy to sprinkle pixie dust on it to make it sell. This is my job. I clock in every day and work hard to make sure it will succeed.

Kickstarter Update #14: Success!

You can also view this update on Kickstarter.

So as of about one minute ago, the pledge drive ended. It ended as a success because 31 wonderful and amazing people pledged their support, and because many others helped spread the word by emails and tweets to help gather more support. Thank you all, you’ve been wonderful!

But you didn’t pledge just to get my thanks, did you? No! This was about getting some beautiful art! Well, as promised, the cover for the short story “Radiance” is here. Check it out, and keep an eye on your email inbox for the backer survey so I can get more information about sending you your rewards!

radiance_promo

Kickstarter Update #13: Counting Down the Hours

You can also read this update on Kickstarter.

It’s been a crazy month. 30 days watching a Kickstarter campaign work its magic ends up seeming like a lot longer than it really is. The ending sneaks up on you. When I checked the status today, the counter had switched from days, to mere hours.
As of this writing, there just over 60 hours to go. That’s less than three days. Wednesday morning, it’ll be over. I’ll also have an absolutely beautiful piece of cover art to share with you all then.
I’ll also be sending out the backer surveys that day. This will be to collect names and email addresses for sending out rewards. Those who are getting a critique or a ghostwritten story, when the surveys go out we’ll discuss the specifics of each one. The poetry collection will be sent out right away since as a pdf, it needs no extra work. The ebook for “Radiance” will need to be assembled with the cover and the “Special Thanks” section, but it shouldn’t take long to do all that. The reward details say November, but that was a worst case scenario date. The story should actually be distributed not long after the pledge drive ends. All backers will get the chance to download their copies of the ebook first, before I post it for sale on my website.
One final note for anyone reading this who is not currently a backer: while the “Radiance” short story ebook will be available for sale (at the same $1 price as the reward here), the poetry collection will NOT. It will only be offered here, or as a future Kickstarter reward if I run a second pledge drive in the future. It’s possible they poems will be published for sale eventually, but at this time I have no plans to publish the collection outside of this drive. The poetry collection contains more than a dozen poems, totaling about 4000 words in length. If you want to see a sample, you can find one of the poems published here: http://quantumfairytales.com/2013/01/jcantrell/shadow/ If you like what you see, just a $3 pledge can get you both the “Radiance” short story and the “Poetry of Gabriella Palladino” collection, not to mention by extreme appreciation and thanks for your support.
Put another way, $3 for both rewards is like a dollar for the story and less than 20 cents per poem. Read the sample I linked, and ask if that poem is worth twenty cents (I hope it is!).
I think that about covers the important details. Thank you again for your support, and keep your fingers crossed (and maybe send a tweet or two) that a few more backers sign up in the last remaining hours!

Kickstarter Update #12: Second Goal Reached!

You can also view this update on Kickstarter.

Hello all, and once again I’d like to offer a very deep thank you for all of your support! Tonight in particular was an amazing night… more than $100 in contributions came in just in one night!

This is not only amazingly generous and supportive, but it also helped me to reach my second goal! The funds raised so far are enough for the cover art for both the short story “Radiance” and the novel “Manifestation.” The “Radiance” cover is ready to be revealed as soon as the Kickstarter drive is over, so in just a few more days you’ll be able to see the cover that you, yes all of YOU made possible!

There’s just 4 1/2 days left of the Kickstarter drive. If possible (and yes I do think it is possible), I’d like to try and raise enough in these final days for just one more cover. There are actually several different short stories the third cover could be for, depending on which order the stories get released in. So I decided it would be nice to share some excerpts from those stories with you, so you can get a preview of the work your contributions are supporting.

These excerpts are from three different stories. Each is set in the same world as “Radiance” and “Manifestation,” and each is from the point of view of a different character. These characters all play a supporting role in the novel, and the short stories are a chance for each of them to shine in their own starring role.

The following excerpt is from “Man of Faith,” which is centered on the character of Father Alexander Donovan:

——

“And God bless and protect the souls of our children,” he prayed, one hand raised to the heavens while the other clutched a bible to his chest. Near the front of the crowd, a woman dropped to her knees and her sobs echoed loud into the night. Father Donovan knelt beside her and wrapped his arm around her. “And let our memories remain pure and strong, and our hearts unite as we stand together in the face of tragedy. Let us find comfort in each other, and in the shelter of the Lord, may His light ever guide and shelter us…”

A commotion started in the distance, where the HAZMAT crew stood. Over the roar of the fire and the cries of those in mourning, it was impossible to hear what was going on. Muted screams sounded from that direction. Father Donovan looked up and saw signs of a struggle, lit by the flickering light of the flames. In the distance, a young girl screamed. The priest’s heart ached with the weight of the sorrow behind that scream. The sound that pierced the air was more than a scream of loss, a scream of pain. The scream carried the dreadful awakening of horror and guilt, and the realization of some truth too horrible for the priest to contemplate.

Then came the light. It was sudden and blinding, rising into the sky from some unseen source in the parking lot. Father Donovan covered his eyes and gasped, clean air filling his lungs as the light banished the smoke and soot. He strained to look, to see the source of the light, but all he could make out was shadowy figures moving near the base of the luminous pillar.

The clouds parted when the radiant pillar struck them, and streams of light flew through the sky bringing day to night. All around the priest, people fell to their knees in awe. Tears stained many faces, including Father Donovan’s.

Then chaos erupted.

——

The second excerpt is from the story “Soldier of Light,” which is centered on the character Jeremiah Pritchard:

——

The shadows fled from Jeremiah’s mind, leaving an awakening in their place. Pure light streamed from his raised arms, crystallizing in the air. The lamp smashed into the light and shattered, golden shrapnel flying into the walls. The girl across from him gasped and threw her hand at him. Green and gold flew through the air and slammed into the light before him, piercing the crystal barrier in a dozen places. Jeremiah grunted as he was pushed back, his feet sliding across the floor until he shifted his stance and found traction. The girl stared at him and he stared back, wide-eyed and sweating. The green and gold tentacles piercing his light strummed with power, stretching and writhing as they tried to pull the barrier apart. He winced and closed his eyes, some strange instinct driving him to pull back against the light. Instead of repelling it, he drew it in, strengthening the crystal with each passing moment.

The girl grunted and squealed, thrusting her hand forward and pouring more of her light against his. He dropped to one knee, but kept his arms up, refusing to let the barrier drop or allow anyone else to be hurt. The girl whimpered with strain, then lowered her hand and released the light. Jeremiah’s arms dropped to his sides and he slumped against the wall.

—–

And the third excerpt is from the newest story, “Belladonna,” centered on the character Maelyssa Southeby:

——

Mae ducked back inside when the cop started repeating his message again. She turned to face the door and sat on the window ledge, tapping her fingers against it. She wasn’t surprised they were being evacuated; between the power outage, the attacks throughout the city, and the oddities that had arisen all over, the inner city wasn’t safe.

The only problem was, she was one of the oddities.

“Mae, dear.” She looked up and saw her mother standing in the doorway, holding a suitcase. “Come on. We need to go. I packed some of your clean clothes. We can talk about what happened once we’re someplace safe.”

Mae just stared at her mother, her mind spinning. The thought of going downstairs, where the cops were waiting, made her mouth go dry. She hadn’t had the chance yet to even process what was going on. She suddenly realized that she couldn’t go. She had killed someone. It had been an accident, but that didn’t matter. She was a killer.

——

These excerpts are just small teases of the overall stories to be told, but hopefully they spark a little interest in the reader. Each of these stories is in the process of revisions, and each one will be following “Radiance” into publication. Of course, in order for that to happen, I’ll need cover art for them as well.

As of this writing, the pledge drive is at $410. If we can raise another $190 and hit $600, then one of these stories will get the chance to be born and be shared with the world. If, somehow, we surpass that, the others could get their covers at $800 or $1000. I don’t realistically expect to reach those higher marks with just under five days left, but I know the $600 mark is reachable.

All it will take is spreading the word a little bit further. So, if you find these stories interesting, I’d just ask for you to tweet, text, or email a link to this Kickstarter to a few more people. A lot of the people that have already pledged found out about the project because someone else shared it with them. That extra communication makes all the difference in the world.

And once again, THANK YOU all for your support!

Kickstarter Update #11: Cover Art Progress

You can also view this update on Kickstarter.

The cover artist I’ve hired has begun work on the cover for “Radiance.” At the current rate of progress, I expect the cover will be finished at just about the same time the fundraiser ends. Which means that as soon as this campaign is complete, I should be able to pay the artist’s fees and post a preview of the cover right away. Based on the initial proofs the artist has shown me, I’m certain you’re going to love it as much as I do.

There are still a few decisions to be made about things like what type of font to use for the title, etc. What we’ve done so far is discuss the themes of the story and how to reflect them in the art. The artist sent a few different initial drafts, and we settled on one that will be refined and worked into the final design. Even the rough draft I’ve seen so far is beautiful, just absolutely stunning. I can’t wait to see the final product.

The campaign is currently 119% funded. There’s just over a week left until it’s over. I’m hoping to be able to bring in one final surge of activity in this last week, so that I might be able to carry some of the funds over to a second piece of cover art.

Thank you again for all of your help with this project.

Kickstarter Update #10: Planning Ahead

You can also view this update on Kickstarter.

It’s been a slow week for the Kickstarter campaign, but a busy week with making plans for future projects. I’ve finished putting the final polishes and revisions to “The Poetry of Gabriella Palladino,” and started thinking about future poetry. As I’ve mentioned before, the poems in this collection were written over the course of about the past two and a half years, and they’ve been through several revisions in the meantime (a couple of them I think I revised 5 or 6 times before I got them perfect). What I hadn’t done in a long time, however, was to write any new poetry. That’s the consequence of working so hard on revisions; there isn’t as much time left to devote to new material.

In the last few days, however, I’ve written first drafts of two new poems based on Gabby’s life. They won’t be included in this poetry collection, since like the other poems, they’ll need multiple revisions before they’re ready to be released. What I plan to do is work on a new series of poems, which will most likely follow the events of Gabby’s life in the second novel in the series, “Contamination.” The poems in the first collection primarily relate to the first novel, “Manifestation.” The way I’m planning things, by the time “Contamination” is complete and ready for publication, I should have another 10-20 poems ready to include in another collection. If I run another future Kickstarter, I’ll probably include both the first and second poetry collections as rewards (combining them into a single set). That way, anyone who backed this project and who also considers backing a future project will have something new available as a reward.

Of course, there’s still 12 days left on this project, and even though it’s met the initial goal, I’m still hoping for some more backers to get involved so that I can hit the first stretch goal. I’ve been studying Kickstarter campaigns, and I’ve read some articles that show many campaigns have a “lull” in the middle, then come back strong with a rush of funding at the end. That would make a big difference, so I’m thinking ahead now and trying to plan some ways to give this project that extra push that it needs to get over the next goal.

In order to do that, I’ve been working on an advertising campaign through “Project Wonderful.” If you’re not familiar with it, “Project Wonderful” is an advertising service that allows individuals to bid on ad space, similar to how you can bid for products on eBay. The good part about this service is that it allows you to set limits on the amount you’ll spend for advertising, and you only get charged for the length of time your ad remains up (so if another bidder outbids you, you stop getting charged). The ad campaign has helped spread the project to a new potential audience of thousands, though it’s yet to be seen how many of those in the “potential” audience will actually prove interested.

It also helps a great deal when others lend a hand spreading the word. A friend of mine from Twitter, Rachel Lynn Brody, was kind enough to post this project on her daily online newspaper. This kind of support is wonderful and I’m very grateful for the help. The more people who see the project, the more there are who might take an interest in it, and every little bit helps.

Thank you for your ongoing support, and a double thank you to the people I’ve seen tweeting links to the project and helping spread the word!