Casting call for Mad Science Institute audio book narrator

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Production: Mad Science Institute

Non-Union

Production Size: Independent

Project Length: Audio Book ~ 5 finished hours

Project Format: Digital Audio

Posted On: 6/24/2015

Production Location: Everett, WA

Production Company: Siege Tower Entertainment

Auditioning Online Only

Email: sechin@sechintower.com

Compensation: $400 flat fee.

 

Synopsis:

Sophia “Soap” Lazarcheck is a girl genius with a knack for making robots-and for making robots explode. After her talents earn her admission into a secretive university institute, she is swiftly drawn into a conspiracy more than a century in the making.

 

Character Bios:

Sophia “Soap” Lazarcheck (Female, Young, Any Ethnicity)

Soap serves as the narrator for half of the novel. She’s highly intelligent, quite nerdy, and has a distinct tendency to be oblivious to innuendo and the mechanics of social interaction. Although she’s only 16, she has just enrolled in college and for the first time in her life feels like she belongs to something. When her new school is threatened, she must defend her new home and new friends.

Supporting characters (Various genders, ages, and ethnicities, Young, Any Ethnicity)

Other character voices must be distinctive enough not to be confused with Soap or with each other.

 

Auditioning Process:

Record a reading of the attached novel excerpts, save file as YourName_MadScience as the file name. Please save audio files in mp3 or wav format. For example: JaneDoe_MadScience.mp3

 

Additional Requirements:

Must have access to own recording equipment.

 

 

Excerpt#1

My experiment exploded. Again.

Now I’m thirty feet above a concrete sidewalk, dangling from the railing of a gigantic, burning doomsday machine designed to bring civilization as we know it to a sudden and very messy end. Oh, and BTW: my fingers are slipping.

My name’s Sophia, but people call me “Soap.” They also call me a mad scientist, which I hate. Everyone knows mad scientists are old men in white coats who build monsters and death-rays and stuff and then laugh like maniacs while trying to conquer the world. I’m a sixteen-year-old girl, and whoever heard of a girl being a mad scientist? Besides, I don’t mean to keep blowing things up. For me, explosions are just a bad habit, like talking with your mouth full or chronic butt-dialing. The only difference is that my bad habit causes widespread property damage.

So how did I end up here? It sort of started when one of my gizmos accidentally caused a couple dozen cell phones to explode while they were still in people’s pockets. On the up-side, that experiment got me a college scholarship. On the down-side, it set off a chain of events that included chasing a lizard monster through a radioactive basement and being kidnapped by a motorcycle gang. And now I’m stuck between burning alive and falling to my death.

To be fair, half of the story belongs to my cousin, Dean. For him, it started 16 days ago, when the woman he loved showed up out of nowhere. This was the same woman who offered me admission to the college, so it’s probably fair to start the story with them.

 

 

Excerpt#2

Victor led me back to a table by the far wall, near the stairs that went up to the study area. Nikki was sitting there as pretty as always in a pink sweater. She always wears pink, probably because it goes so well with her chocolate-colored skin tone. Even her lab coat is gumball-pink, and on the back it says “Better to be Feared than Loved” with big skull-and-crossbones symbol to represent poison (not pirates) because she’s a chemist. A skull-and-crossbones is kind of a funny thing to see embroidered in shades of pink, but Nikki says it’s important for a lady to be pretty when it suits her needs and dangerous when it doesn’t. She says it in her nice southern accent which always makes her sound as sugary as sweet tea, even when she’s cussing someone out.

“Soap, darlin’,” she said as I sat down. “You look miffed. What’s on your mind, sugar?”

I like it when she calls me nice names, because it’s a sign of affection that even I can’t miss. This time, however, it didn’t cheer me up.

“That stupid zombie tag game!” I just about yelled. “They tagged me with sock balls. Sock balls! I never want to play again.” I slurped up another cheese-covered chip and thought about it. “On the other hand, if we can eliminate that one last human player, we’ll get to start a new round right in time for Halloween, and this time I could be prepared for the sock balls…”

Nikki cleared her throat, which I’ve learned is a polite way of saying “shut up,” so I listened.

“I called y’all here to talk about the future of the Institute. Particularly the new students.”

“What do you want us to do?” Victor said to Nikki. “The newbies are smart. They’ll figure things out. Meanwhile, I’ve got research to do.”

“That’s not a very welcomin’ attitude, Victor,” she said. “Besides, I happen to know that the president of the university wants to shut us down if we don’t fill up our student roster. What’s more, he told campus security to keep an eye on us—all’a us, new and old.”

“Wait a minute,” Victor said. “How do you know what he said to campus security?”

“A lady never reveals her sources,” she smiled mysteriously. “The important thing is that we’ve gotta be kind to our new students. Make sure they stick around and stay out of trouble. You know: take them under our wings.”

Victor drummed his fingers on the table. “Are you sure you’re not just trying to become queen bee by organizing everyone around you?”

 

 

Kickstarter lab for writers: working with vendors

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When you order Kickstarter rewards for your backers—be they diploma covers, t-shirts, or even copies of the book itself— you just can’t help biting your nails in anxiety. Will it look as good as the computer-generated mock-up online? Will your backers hate you for a bad product? Will people demand refunds?

Sometimes there’s just no way to tell until you open the box and hold an item in your own (nail-less) hands, but there are some ways you can increase your chances of getting stuff that looks good.

As I asserted in a previous post, you’re better off sticking with improving the core product rather than adding bunches of random add-ons. Still, if you have a good idea for some nifty swag, it can feel too good to pass up—and if you can’t pass it up, there may be some backers out there who can’t pass it up, either.

This time around, I made sure not to have to work with too many vendors on too many things, especially because I’ve already bifurcated my Kickstarter project into both a new novel and an audiobook of the original novel. (I’ve never seen anyone do that before and it’s probably a bad idea, but that’s why this is an experiment).

In a previous post, I discuss what kind of add-ons you might consider. Once you have a few good ideas, however, you have some homework to do because you need to make sure everything is not only affordable but also up to your quality standard

In the past, I’ve been very lucky with hiring third parties to make some of the add-ons for Kickstarter rewards. Full disclosure: a big part of this was dumb luck. This time around I was smarter because I knew a lot more about what to do and who to ask.

Here’s a rundown of how to find reliable, quality third-party vendors:

  • Ask a friend. You might be surprised how many people around you have ordered goodies for their company picnics or t-shirts for their bowling leagues. Word of mouth is the most reliable endorsement for a vendor.
  • Ask a stranger. This doesn’t mean you have to be the crazy person on the subway who mutters incoherent diatribes about crowdfunding and economies of scale, but you shouldn’t be shy about your project, either. Put out an all-call for good vendors on Twitter or strike up a conversation with your barista in the morning or your readers at a book signing. Tell them how excited you are about your project, because you never know where those conversations will lead.
  • Ask people at a convention. If you get a chance to go to a convention such as Comicon, Gencon, or any other geeky gathering, don’t be shy about introducing yourself to the creators of books and games that you admire or seeking out panels where they appear. Many of them will be glad to tell you about their experience with promotional items and recommend some places you can go.
  • Ask the companies. Don’t be afraid to search out a few vendors and email or phone them. They’re there to help you, and any place you want to work with will certainly welcome your questions.
  • Ask for samples. While you’re on the phone with those companies, you might ask if you can get a sample of the product. They may or may not be able to provide free samples for small orders, but you might be surprised. A good friend of mine created fleece sweatshirts for our gaming group and even though he was ordering only a dozen or so, the company 4imprint sent a free sample sweatshirt with our logo embroidered in it. Their customer service was amazing, and most of their items are made in the USA. (Maybe that takes us back to #1: ask a friend, but 4imprint is so good they deserve the shout-out.)
  • Go with what you know. I’m having the t-shirts made at the same screenprinting shop that I once used to decorate lab coats. I know them, they’re very affordable, efficient, and friendly. Nothing beats firsthand experience for knowing who gets the job done!
  • Make it yourself. I’m also making some of the items by hand—well, by hand and with a 3D printer. And when I say “by hand,” I mean by the hands of a bunch of high school students. The hazard symbol lapel pins and earrings I’m offering this time around are designed and created by members of the Technology Student Association at my local high school, and for every one that sells I’m paying $3 that will help them go to their state technology competition. Point being: if you hand-make items, you have ultimate control over quality.

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So that’s what I know. Got any other tips or vendor suggestions? Let us know here in these comments or on Facebook or Twitter.

Choop

Choop the "Chupacabra" (from Mad Science Institute and The Non-Zombie Apocalypse)
Choop the “Chupacabra” (from Mad Science Institute and The Non-Zombie Apocalypse)

Choop got his name when the members of the Institute mistook him for a Chupacabra. As such, his curious nature and stealth abilities make him the perfect mascot for the Institute.

Choop’s actual origin is even more strange: he’s a clone of an ancient, highly intelligent species that roamed the earth 200 million years ago. This species, so-called “the predecessors,” left behind many curious objects, but nobody knows why they suddenly disappeared from the face of the planet…

Kickstarter lab for writers: the most important thing of all

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This can’t be emphasized enough: you must get the word out about the Kickstarter for your book.

Once upon a time, you could simply slap anything on a crowdfunding site and people would find it, but you can’t count on that anymore. In fact, there’s a pretty clear link between how successful a project becomes and how many Facebook friends the creator has. This just goes to show that the louder you can bang your drums the more people will want to march with you.

Followers are wonderful, amazing, supportive people. Beyond determining the success or failure of a Kickstarter campaign by backing it or by helping find other backers by sharing and retweeting, they also encourage you, back you up, geek out about the things you love, and generally make your online life worth living. I’ve made many new friends since publishing, and it doesn’t seem to matter that I’ve never met some of them in person. Maybe not everyone will be as lucky as I have been with finding such quality friends online, but I am thankful for each of them every day!

When it comes to finding followers and spreading the word, nothing in human history can rival the effectiveness of the interwebs. You can (potentially) have (almost) as much reach as a big-money corporate marketing campaign, and do it all for (as little as) free. However, even though it might not cost you money, it will cost you something else: time. Be prepared to put in the quality time with your screen not just for hours a day during your campaign, but also as far in advance of your campaign as possible. A person could spend years developing her or his social media network prior to launching a Kickstarter project… and it would be time well spent.

I’ve said before that the best thing you can do for your Kickstarter campaign is to think not how soon you can launch it, but how late. This is especially important for building up the social media platform.

Before looking at some specific social media sites, here are a few different guidelines as well as some ways you might use social media to your best advantage:

 

Guideline #1: Make Noise.

It seems like no matter how often I post, after the event ends there’s always at least one person who says “Darn, I wish I had heard about that!” Depending on your activity levels, you should post on all your favorite sites AT LEAST four times: once before, once to announce the beginning, a reminder in the middle, and a “last day” reminder. That’s a minimum—posting four times a day is probably even better. It helps if you have some extra “news” to report along the way, such as new backer levels added or exiting breakthroughs in backer numbers or pledge amounts. This time, I’m going to run a poll to allow backers to pick the short stories that will come with the package, so that should add some excitement along the way.

 

Guideline #2: No Spamming.

You want to make noise, but it’s not cool to be repetitive or blatant. Too many “buy my book” posts is the quickest way to kill your following.

I read somewhere that the “correct” ratio is 1 advertising post to 3 amusing posts. I guess that works for some authors because I see many who post every hour on the hour of the day and night (using a bot, I’m sure) and exactly one in three is a sales pitch. These authors often have large followings, but I routinely unfollow anyone and everyone like that. If that means they unfollow me, fine: it’s not like a bot or a relentless marketer is going to buy my books or be my friend anyway.

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Different Strategies for Different Networks

The world is awash in social media outlets these days. Many writers have had amazing success by establishing a presence in a new social media site early and attracting throngs of followers before the competition arrives. Of course, there have been plenty of social media failures, which means plenty of authors who have received nothing for their hours of work.

Here is a quick rundown of sites and some basic marketing strategies for each.

  • Facebook. I try to keep my personal Facebook account for people I actually know, which means that for me it definitely gives me the highest percentage of backers-to-friends out there. Aside from announcing the project, some other things you might do here include changing your profile pic and banner to show that you’re doing a Kickstarter, creating an “event” and inviting everyone, and creating a page for the book or for you as an author and inviting everyone to like it.
  • Facebook page. This is a good way to meet with people on Facebook who aren’t your personal friends. If you don’t have one you should consider setting one up immediately and inviting every single one of your friends to start. Don’t post the same things to your wall and your page because that means your friends may see it twice, but you can use it as a place to post interesting article and fun memes that are tangentially related to the genre or subject of your book.
  • This is a small-business marketer’s dream, because it allows you a chance to reach infinite people. Some writers like to follow almost indiscriminately in hopes of getting others to follow them back (and some even use software to do this automatically). I used to, but now I regret it because I have a lot of non-human post-bots cluttering up my timeline. In any case, start months if not years before you launch and post as regularly as possible. I find it hard to keep up, but try to post at least once a day and much more often if possible. The average lifespan of a tweet is probably half an hour, so unless you’re posting consistently and at different times of the day you won’t be likely to reach all your followers.
  • Email list. If you’ve got one, this is the time to make it count! Email still seems to most people like the most direct form of communication (short of text messages), so it’s not a bad idea to carry a clipboard with you and encourage everyone you meet to sign up for your newsletter.
  • Dust off those photoshop or GIMP skills and make yourself some pictures you can post here. The nice thing is that it re-posts to Facebook and Tumbler (as well as Twitter, but it only displays a link rather than the whole picture) so you can kill several birds with one jpg.
  • Although not a social media site of its own, Hootsuite (as well as several other apps and sites like SocialOomph.com and tweetdeck) can help you organize and schedule posts that will appear on multiple sites at once. It will also feed your message streams into one app, so it can truly be one-stop shopping if that’s what you want.
  • Snapchat. Snapchat allows you to make posts that will disappear 30 seconds after the recipient opens them. This seems to be the popular site with the kids right now because it gives them the illusion of privacy (their parents can’t read the messages, but they don’t seem to know that marketing algorithms still can). Due to the short lifespan of posts and the one-to-one friend format, Snapchat seems useless as a marketing tool to anyone except paid advertisements, so if you figure out how to make this work for book promotions let me know.
  • Blog. I’m probably going to get some hate for killing this sacred cow, but I think blogs are passé. There was a time when people were amazed and delighted that someone was adding WORDS to the INTERNET (can you believe it!) but now there are too many words out there to digest in ten lifespans, so unless you have some powerful content that will draw people in, you might do just as well with a Facebook page. Still, it certainly can’t hurt, especially because most blog platforms allow instant re-posts to other social media outlets.

If you can make videos for Youtube, rate content for reddit, or do whatever it is people do on Tumblr, then ride those ponies as far as they can go! I’d love to hear your strategies in a comment right here on this post or on Facebook or Twitter.

Kickstarter lab for writers: stretch goals

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If backers want to get their hands on your project then they will be motivated to increase their pledge, boost the signal, and spread the word… up until it hits the funding goal. Then they’re guaranteed what they ordered, and their work is done. But you can keep the momentum going through the magic of stretch goals!

Stretch goals are an unofficial part of Kickstarter but many, many campaigns use them to great effect. The idea is simple: if you hit a certain number of supporters or dollars beyond the minimum, then you’ll add something extra to the project.

Of course, most projects that get funded do so by only a small margin, so stretch goals may never become important. Still, it’s a good idea to think about them ahead of time because you wouldn’t want to miss out on the potential momentum they can create in certain situations.

The best stretch rewards are those that improve the product for everyone. If all your backers have some stake in getting to the next stretch goal, then they’ll be more motivated to help find other backers or even raise their own pledge levels.

Some stretch goal ideas include:

  • Extra Content. This bonus is probably the writer’s best friend, because you can add your short stories. If you offer them electronically rather than on paper, there will be minimal or no production cost. If you have several short stories to put together into a paper anthology, it will have an even a wider appeal. For my first Kickstarter, I did an anthology called THREE WEEKS BEFORE DOOMSDAY, and I made it a limited edition collector’s item that readers can only get directly from me and not through stores. This worked well.
  • Bonus Art. If you have the ability to create alternate covers or extra interior illustrations, then those could make great stretch goals. If not, with very little effort you can transform your cover image into a desktop screen or some other easily-emailed perk. See my previous post on ways to design the visuals for your project.
  • New reward option. Many project offer a new backer level and/or add-on. You might consider setting this to trigger if the project funding has reached a critical mass where it would be worth ordering the minimum amount of a certain item. Beware that most people aren’t going to be motivated to get you to the next level just for some coffee mug or t-shirt that they would have to pay for anyway. If you’re going to have a new add-on, make sure it’s something totally awesome that they wouldn’t be able to get elsewhere.

It’s important to plan several stretch goals in advance, although you can always keep a few hidden to reveal at a dramatic moment part way through the campaign.

For my experiment this time around, I decided to have two tracks of stretch goals, one for total money raised and one for total backers pledged. I anticipate that this will work because this project basically offers two main products (the new novel and an audio book of the original novel). For the backer’s track, I will start reaching those goals before the project is funded, but that’s okay because I’m hoping to use that to create excitement and encourage backers to boost the signal.

I also wanted to do something visual and interesting, so I decided to illustrate my stretch goals as if the pledges are filling up flasks. As we hit stretch goals, I’ll fill them in with color to show progress:

stretch goalsWe’ll see if these two stretch goal tracks complement each other or get in each other’s way. That’s why I’m calling this blog a laboratory—you get to see the results of my experiment!

 

Kickstarter lab for writers: press that button!

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It’s launch day!!!

That day has now come. I have worked out my backer rewards, built my page, and provided plenty of social media support. Yet, somehow, I’m still nervous about hitting that button. Pre-game butterflies in the stomach, I suppose.

Will GHOST STORM be funded? Will it fail and make me look like a fool? There’s only one way to tell.

The Kickstarter project is now a go! Check it out. The video, filmed by the great filmmaker Andy Gill, is worth a look all by itself!

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Kickstarter lab for writers: getting feedback

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So now you’ve figured out your rewards, backer levels, and page design for the Kickstarter campaign for your novel. Are you ready to hit that button? Not so fast!

Most writers know it’s a fool’s errand to put a book on the market without first having shown it to friends and/or editors. The same goes for your Kickstarter project. Aside from finding those spell-check ninjas that seem to slip in and place typos into paragraphs you already read six times, a fresh set of eyes can find new ideas and new avenues.

I previewed my project to several people and each of them had something different and valuable to say. I made sure to ask a mix of Kickstarter project veterans, experienced backers, and also crowdfunding noobs just to make sure I would get all possible perspectives.

Usually, the people you ask will have something specific to say, but it’s always good to prompt them for best results. Here are some questions I suggest you ask:

  • What’s the first thing that catches your eye?
  • What looks bad?
  • If you were going to back it now, what level would you pick?
  • What is confusing or unclear?

My project for GHOST STORM certainly would not be what it is without some very valuable feedback. In particular, I’d like to thank Jeff Combos,  Jim Cook, Andy Gill, Eloy Lasanta, Katie Tower, and Tom Tullis for their insight!

Kickstarter lab for writers: when to push the button

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My advice about Kickstarter campaigns is not to think about how soon you can launch it but how late you can launch it. It seems no matter how far out I put the launch date, it always come rushing in before I’m entirely prepared—probably because nobody can ever be entirely prepared.

That day is almost at hand. I have worked out my backer rewards, built my page, and provided plenty of social media support. Yet, somehow, hitting that button is always a nerve-wracking prospect.

Will GHOST STORM be funded? Will it fail and make me look like a fool? There’s only one way to tell.

The Kickstarter project is very soon to launch! In the meantime, check out the preview: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/470819108/1461304188?token=2963d9e3

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Kickstarter lab for writers: making your video

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I was lucky enough to get to work with Andy Gill, the great surrealist filmmaker of his generation. This time, he even gave me special effects! Here’s the world-premier!

If you only get one feature right on your Kickstarter page, make it the video. Most people will watch it rather than reading the rest of your page, and you can post it to Youtube and other sites for added coverage. I can’t stress enough how important it is.

What do I know about video production? Not much. I can tell you that the simple “talking head” video is better than nothing, but it’s not great. Spend some time brainstorming to come up with an idea that is more fun to watch while at the same time gives viewers a feel for your novel. It usually doesn’t hurt to be quirky if you’ve got it in you, so don’t write off those bizarre ideas until you’ve thought them through.

 

Basic outline

I find it’s best to go in this order

  1. Overview of the project
  2. Why I need Kickstarter support
  3. Expand on the book’s content
  4. Toss a few examples of stretch goals and/or add-ons
  5. End with a final statement of thanks for support.

That’s it. Don’t over-complicate it. Even if you do something fancy, like re-enacting scenes from your novel, make sure it stays focused on the project basics. If you want to film the whole movie, then put the link on your page, but make the Kickstarter video a video on its own.

Oh, and if you want a little music? Check out Pond5.com for some cheap creative commons music you can use.

 

Keep it short

If you can say just as much in half the time it’s twice as good. Sub-2 minutes is better than sub-3 minutes, provided you don’t have to cut out anything crucial. Many people will only watch for the first 30 seconds, so place your most important ideas as close to the beginning as possible.

Many phones can now record and even edit a video, but for better sound quality and superior editing options, you might want to consult a professional or at least someone with advanced equipment. You might be able to hire a pro, a semi-pro, or a passionate amateur for only a few hundred, which is a good bargain considering that it will boost your campaign by demonstrating your commitment to quality.

Kickstarter lab for writers: pick your add-ons

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Many Kickstarter campaigns offer special goodie like a shirt or extra content that you can only get here and now. You don’t need add-on items, but if you choose to have some then you should make sure they enhance or connect to your book in some way.

Coming from the game industry, I found it much harder to come up with good add-ons for a novel than for an RPG or a board game. Games usually have lots of artwork to spin off into really cool bonus items like special character sheets, art books, or special game tokens. Nevertheless, a project creator can get good ideas from the thriving world of crowdfunding for games.

If you want to see a great example of a Kickstarter for a game supplement, check out anything being offered by Fat Dragon Games. (You might want to go to Kickstarter and search for Tom Tullis, who is the original Sad Fat Dragon and Dorito Master.) Fat Dragon’s Kickstarters never fail to go supernova and a big reason is because they offer great options to enhance the basic offering in a way that fits each backer’s needs.

But that’s for a game. What can you do for a novel? Here are some ideas:

 

Glorify the backers

Offering to put a backer’s name in the credits is a wonderful way to honor your supporters and it only means adding one extra page to your novel.

A more dramatic option is to offer high-level backers the option to name characters after themselves. This is a tough one for me, because I’m usually very particular about character names. Also, I find I can’t just jam in an unnecessary character without disrupting the pace of the story, so each of the namable characters must be important in some way. With GHOST STORM, I’m offering naming rights for four characters, so my backers will get some good choices.

ghost storm 300

Collectability

Do whatever you can do to make your Kickstarter novel or add-on feel rare or unique. Signing and personalizing a novel is a great bonus that will help you connect to readers in a very powerful way. You might also consider an alternative cover or hardcover copies. Check the costs before you jump in, though: your print service may charge a fee each time you switch the cover image and/or you may need to pay significantly more for hardcover.

A cheaper alternative is to design a cool sticker (perhaps with a version of your cover art). Then you can print and stamp unique numbers on the stickers for each book. If people know they’re getting a limited edition, they’ll want it more.

Let them live the adventure

If you can find some way to allow your readers to feel like they’re part of your book, you will win at Kickstarter.

For my Kickstarter campaign for THE NON-ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE, I offered items that were important to the characters in the novel, namely lab coats emblazoned with the Institute logo and diplomas with their choice of major (Ph.D.s in “Mind Control” and “Death Rays” were popular choices). Thanks to Jeff Combos, creator of HOLLOW EARTH EXPEDITION, for the idea of diplomas!

the-grand-prize-150x150

“Live the adventure” items might not be feasible for every book: I doubt it would be cost-effective to create special swords or suits of armor for your fantasy novel, but wands might work. So might a map or a packet of letters from your book’s characters. You could even print the letters on special paper to look old-timey and thus lend it the feeling of greater authenticity. You’ll have to use your imagination, but, hey, imagination is exactly what authors are good at, right?

 

Extra material

This category is often the author’s friend, because most of us have short stories waiting in line to get out of our brains. Now’s the time to open that door and let them free! Not only do short stories make great side-perks guaranteed to interest the people who buy your book, they also make excellent stretch-goals to keep up the momentum when and if your campaign hits its basic goal. (More on stretch goals in a future post.)

 

Get crafty

Maybe you have a knack for knitting or you thrive on 3D printing. Handicrafts, drawings, and all other forms of art made by the author make attractive bonuses. Beware of quantities! If you promise something that you can’t mass-produce, consider setting a limit on that reward level. Otherwise, if your Kickstarter explodes, you may end up weaving baskets or hot-gluing magnets for the rest of your natural life.

This time, I’m gambling on some 3D printed hazard symbol jewelry. It’s designed and produced by a high school tech club. (And they’ll probably spend all their earnings on robots and video equipment– kids these days!)

 

Merchandise

T-shirts, mugs, posters, bookmarks, and so forth make great swag, but they might not be the best ways to motivate backers. One thing I considered for my GHOST STORM Kickstarter was a skin for the backs of phones or laptops. Aside from costing too much, I just didn’t think there would be too many people out there who wanted stickers for their phones, with or without the Mad Science Institute logo on it. Most people I know don’t really need more t-shirts or coffee mugs, either. That’s not to say they would hate to have them, but I kind of doubt it’s going to get anyone to bump up to a higher pledge level. True, I’m offering mouse pads and t-shirts as add-ons because they’re neat and people like them, but I think when my supply runs out I won’t re-order.

 

How many should you make?

The right add-ons can help sell your books, but if you find that you have to use your books to sell your add-ons then stop and ask yourself what kind of business you want to be in. I wouldn’t recommend having more than one or two different things for your first Kickstarter campaign.

Offering your previous novels, however, is a knockout idea and can help you grab new readers who find this project and want to start from the beginning. Be sure to include offers for everything you’ve published.

Here’s what I’m offering as add-ons for the GHOST STORM Kickstarter:

ADD-ONS-WITH-BLINKY

Science Fiction, Games, Publishing, Random Musings, and More

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