Salome Jones writes for Bleeding Cool:
At Ghostwoods, we're turning to Kickstarter to help fund this year's list of books, including an incredible anthology with the working title of Haunted Futures. It's a sci fi/fantasy collection by a number of excellent, popular authors. Many of them have written for comics, including Warren Ellis, Richard Kadrey, John Reppion and Chuck Wendig. Also, so far we have commitments from Liesel Schwwartz and Seanan McGuire. We'll round it out with great stories by newer writers. We also plan to have the book illustrated by John Coulthart, an amazing British artist who has done quite a bit of graphic novel work. We want to do something special with the book, make it stand out as in some way. (We're exploring the possibility of graphic novel-like sections between stories, but there might be other things we think will work better, depending on the stories authors submit.)
We're trying to raise just over £11,000 (that's $17,000). The campaign is a fairly ambitious one, because we're asking potential backers to not just help us pay the authors and illustrator of Haunted Futures, but also to help us properly develop our books for this year. We plan to print Haunted Futures for backers, of course, but we also want to get it and our other books out to a wider audience. The two primary things the money will go for—after the fees and the rewards are accounted for—are paying authors and artists, and promoting the books. Of course, the project has to get funded in order for that to happen!
We've seen a lot of writers and artists being poorly compensated and sometimes just plain taken advantage of by small presses. Not all small presses, of course, but we want to create a public awareness of what kinds of issues authors and artists can face in publishing relationships, and we want to help create some good options.
We want to create a new, fairer deal for everyone. Unlike most publishing deals, our authors currently get a 50/50 split of the profits. We offered our first advances earlier this year, and we'll continue to give half the profits as royalties after the advances are earned out. Now we want to increase the size of our advances and continue to pay 50% royalties. This is a business model that makes corporate types shake their heads—"Why aren't you squeezing more profit?"—but for us books are all about writers and artists.
In order to make this work in the long term, we need to be able to get the books in front of more people who are their likely readers, the way bigger publishers do. Not all good books, or books worth publishing are going to get picked up by those remaining few large publishers, or even the mid-size publishers. For us, this is about a new deal for creators. Even though self-publishing is big right now, there are projects that self-publishing isn't going to make happen. Some books need teams behind them to live up to their potential. Most books can be made better by having experienced editors and creators collaborating on projects.
We're professional editors, and we're writers ourselves. We commit ourselves to every book we take on. Tim, our managing editor/publisher, has worked for numerous games and other publishing companies as a professional editor and writer for over twenty years. We like to pair the best new or up-and-coming writers with better known ones, helping new talent break into publishing, and learning from those who have been doing this for a while.
We have one goal: Writers and other creatives should be able to make a living from their creative work. That can happen now in writing, as it does in Hollywood. The top few percent make a lot of money, while the rest work at other jobs to make ends meet and do what they love, and what they may be best at, in their spare time. We hope we can help some of them have a bigger chance at making a living off their creative work, but also help to prove that such a business model is good for everyone. By getting more great books and other creative endeavors out into the world, we hope we'll convince other companies to try a more creator-friendly business model.
This company will become self-sustaining once we have enough books published. We don't plan on continuously doing Kickstarters. It's a lot of work to crowdfund, and there's no guarantee of success. But right now the influx of this additional money will help us take a quantum leap, and it will also allow us to publish this amazing anthology with all of these brilliant writers and John Coutlhart's art. We can only do it if we get the funding, though. So we'd really appreciate your help. We have less than a week left.