Lucy is a friend of mine and I enjoy her short fiction, reading and publishing it whenever I can. I’ve also been published by Alliteration Ink with good results. So, this particular kickstarter has my double support. It’s a perfect way to get all of the Jessie Shimmer novels at once.
First off, I’d like to offer my thanks to Jennifer Brozek for giving me the chance to write about my current crowdfunding project. Courtesy of my new publisher, Alliteration Ink, the Kickstarter for my urban fantasy novel Devils’ Field is going on now and will end at 9pm EST on April 13th.
This is the sixth crowdfunding project that I’ve participated in, but it’s the first time that my work has been front and center. The other projects were four anthologies and one game, and I was just one of several contributors each time. The Devils’ Field Kickstarter has gone well so far, but I must admit that it’s been far more nerve-wracking than the others I’ve been involved with. Most of the others handily made their funding goals, but a couple didn’t. For those crowdfunding failures, it was easy to not take it personally. After all, I was just one creator among many; it didn’t mean the projects foundered because people were indifferent to my fiction, specifically. But now my novel is the main course, and of course I want people to be receptive to it.
So, it’s simultaneously exciting and queasy-making to see my work up on the public block like this. One might fairly wonder why I went this route. Why didn’t I seek out a more traditional publishing situation?
Well. Let’s flash back a couple of years: I was working on my Jessie Shimmer trilogy for Del Rey. I’d sold the trilogy on the strength of a finished first novel (Spellbent) and synopses for the next two books. I was working on the second book, which would be released as Shotgun Sorceress. It was already 65,000 words long and was due in two months … and I hadn’t gotten through half the narrative I’d described in the book’s synopsis. Whoops!
So, I had two choices: turn in a book that was wildly late and twice as long as my editor had expected, or figure out a way of gracefully wrapping up the primary plot threads, get my book turned in on time like a pro, and write the rest of the second volume narrative in Switchblade Goddess. I hoped that Del Rey would want more books past the original trilogy so that I could finish up the narrative arc I’d planned for the series.
Alas, Del Rey declined more books. My series did well – the three books earned out their advance, which 70% of standalone novels don’t manage to do – but none of the books were bestsellers. It was frustrating, but I was glad to have my work published by a very big house that was able to get lots of copies of my novels into readers’ hands. And I took some comfort knowing that writers such as Tim Pratt, Harry Connolly, and Carolyn Crane were also cut loose.
But I still had an unfinished series, and plenty of ideas for more books. At the very least, I wanted to write the novels containing the storyline I’d planned for the third volume in the trilogy.
Readers would approach me at conventions and ask me when the next Jessie Shimmer book would be coming out, and I didn’t know what to tell them. I knew I would write the books, but who would publish them? Most big houses are pretty reluctant to pick up a series that a different publisher started. I knew I could self-publish, but successful self-publishing involves a tremendous amount of non-writing work. I’d mostly rather be a writer.
I weighed my options while I worked on other writing projects, and I kept an eye on what my fellow writers with newly liberated series were doing. Harry Connolly and Tim Pratt both turned to crowdfunding, and Pratt’s Marla Mason series was resurrected as strong as ever thanks to highly successful Kickstarter campaigns.
When I got involved with Alliteration Ink as an anthology contributor, I was really impressed by what publisher Steven Saus did behind the scenes to coordinate the Kickstarter campaigns for What Fates Impose and Steampunk World. It seemed to me that he had exactly the skill set I was looking for in a crowdfunding partner. So, I talked to him at the Context convention, and we made a plan of action.
That plan is bearing fruit, and once the campaign reaches its funding, I’m going to get to work on that fourth Jessie Shimmer novel I’ve been promising myself and everyone else ever since Switchblade Goddess came out. If all goes well, the book should be out in late 2014 or early 2015, and I hope readers enjoy it.
Lucy A. Snyder is the Bram Stoker Award-winning author of the novels Spellbent, Shotgun Sorceress, Switchblade Goddess, and the collections Sparks and Shadows, Chimeric Machines, Orchid Carousals, and Installing Linux on a Dead Badger.