Last Saturday at midnight, my first ever Kickstarter Campaign ended, raising funds via pre-orders (and special rewards) for “Murder in the Mail: A Bloody Birthday”.
Mistakes were made.
One of my main mistakes was that, after looking at the Australia Post web site, I thought an A4 envelope thinner than 2cm would cost $1.
Turns out they cost $2.
Another was that I sent out my review copies too late. Only one actually arrived in time to get a review during the campaign (and that was mainly because I literally delivered it to her door here in Canberra). You can read that review here, and listen to her interview here.
Other review copies went elsewhere in Australia, to New Zealand, the US, and Canada. Last I’ve heard, NONE of them have been fully received yet. I do know that the first envelope took almost a month to reach Canada.
(Review copies ready to get their postage on – John Scalzi is on top because his address is public.)
So, as I mentioned, the Kickstarter is over now.
I mentioned “Murder in the Mail” on a few forums when the Kickstarter began (int-fiction and choiceofgames.com, which I’m fond of), and there was a clear bump in US sales as a result, and a little bit of conversation in those forums.
But asking $40 for a thing that doesn’t technically exist yet is a lot! Even though this is dramatically cheaper than anything else similar.
(That pic is review copies getting put together)
I also didn’t realise in my planning that Kickstarter’s maximum time for a campaign is 60 days. I’d been planning a three-month campaign (which included Melbourne Supanova, as well as giving the writing team more time to get certain bits and pieces done in time for those review copies). So that was… unhelpful.
I also named an extra-high amount because… oh, I can’t even remember properly. I need to sell around 100 copies to break even, but there are so many tiny expenses (seed envelopes, special pens, etc) that I would have to audit myself to figure out the actual cost (as opposed to the estimated cost).
That’s not quite true. I’ve been careful to record everything over about $2, and I do know how much I’ve spent. I’ve just ordered a bunch of stuff printed in batches of 100, so after that invoice comes in I’ll know what the actual total cost per 100 turned out to be (approximately; I bought larger quantities of some of the items because it was cheaper that way). Plus I know Kickstarter can take up to 10% (depending on… stuff I don’t understand enough to calculate) so I figured 100 x $40 = $4000; eh, let’s make it $5000. It all seemed so shiny and easy back then. NB: I don’t have to sell 100 copies during the Kickstarter to break even. Didn’t remember that at the time.
(Louisette and I making up hand-written packets of sunflowers that we harvested from our own garden. If the reader plants them in late Spring/early Summer, I think they’ll actually grow.)
Ultimately (and very much saved by the loving support of extremely trusting parents and in-laws) the Kickstarter was a success.
I am VERY relieved, as you can imagine! Kickstarter has a rather exciting rule that if you’re not fully funded by the end of the campaign period, you get nothing. All the pledges already made simply vanish into thin air!
So that didn’t happen, but my parents & in-laws are unlikely to save the day so dramatically in future.
There WILL be a new story. This one will be fantasy, called “Magic in the Mail: Feuding Fae”. It will have 3 parcels instead of 8, and although it’ll have a Kickstarter Campaign the goal will be much smaller.
I’ll also be selling special boxes/folders of “Murder in the Mail: A Bloody Birthday” at all the conferences I attend this year.
(An array of pretty containers for the story.)
Melbourne Supanova (April) in the Artist Alley stall “Aussie Spec Fic”
Nimmitabel Steampunk Fair (May)
Sydney Supanova (June) in the Artist Alley stall “Publisher Obscura”
GammaCon Canberra (August) in Artist Alley
Canberra Launch (probably as part of the Canberra Writers’ Festival) August
Conflux Canberra (September-October)
Goulburn Waterworks Steampunk and Victoriana Fair (October)
There will be limited quantities of the packaged version, so email me in advance if you’d like to reserve one.
You can of course also give me money pretty much whenever (at conferences or online) to get a copy posted to you over the normal 8 week period (or in a single parcel if you absolutely insist).
There will be one “lot” posted out in June-July, another in September-October, and then… more mail-outs sometime after that 🙂
“Murder in the Mail: A Bloody Birthday” will be officially launched in August 2018, and will be available to buy until September 2019.
“Magic in the Mail: Feuding Fae” won’t be finished until 2019, although if you specifically want to order THAT story then just make it clear when you email me (and/or email MagicintheMailStories@gmail.com). Keeping in mind it MIGHT be cheaper than $40. I’ll probably have a price in a couple of months. I already have some REALLY COOL STUFF AND ART AND THINGS.
The simplest way to get the story is to email me at MurderintheMailStories@gmail.com with your ADDRESS, EMAIL (in case things go wrong), and PAYMENT DETAILS (eg “I just deposited the full payment into your account/PayPal, under the name “Bob Flibbertigibbet”).
Make sure to label your payments with something unique to you (your name and/or the name of the recipient). Labelling things “Murder in the Mail” will NOT be helpful.
Commonwealth Bank (Australia)
And here’s a spot the difference game. If you’re very familiar with the Odyssey list, you’ll be able to tell which author was recruited at the last minute from these two pictures.
Many many thanks go to Shauna O’Meara, the artist, for altering that pic more than once after it was finished. And to A Certain Writer for enthusiastically jumping on board when one of the other writers had to drop out.
Both will most definitely be involved in the next story!
(PS I don’t think anyone actually will solve this picture. There’s a LOT of stuff in it.)