Monday 4 February 2013

Graphic novels, kick-starters, and Jorg

There are a lot of books I want to read but haven't yet found the time for. One such is The Written by Ben Galley, interviewed on this very blog a while back. I will be honest and admit to knowing rather little about the book and having been drawn to it (forgive the pun) by the stunning cover artwork.

Anyhow, since my recent agitations regarding a Prince of Thorns graphic novel (results tomorrow) - it seemed 'on topic' to give the floor to Ben so he can tell us about his kick-starter aimed at financing a graphic novel for The Written.

To whet your appetite here's how the artist signed to the project envisaged Jorg:

(Ravens! Always the ravens.)

"Want to know more?" Over to Ben:


It sure is nerve-wracking, entrusting the future of your project to other people, especially when that future depends on those people giving you money. That’s exactly what I’ve done.

Little over 25 days ago, I launched a Kickstarter project to raise £5000. Why? Because I want to turn my fantasy novel – The Written, book 1 of the Emaneska Series, into a fully-fledged graphic novel. It isn’t just a “oh wouldn’t that be nice” sort of thing. It’s always been a dream of mine, to see my words as artwork, but it’s a dream I can’t achieve without a spot of financial help.

For those of you not familiar with the concept of crowd-sourcing, or in this case crowd-funding, it’s a curious beast. It brings together communities of like minds and shared goals, using many people to achieve something singular, be it funding a project like mine, graphic design, making a film, creating art, albums, books, or doing something as thoroughly epic as crowd-sourcing an entire choir via the internet. Yes, that’s happened. Crowd-sourcing is a symbiotic affair. Tasks and goals, all shared for mutual benefit.

Crowd-funding is the same idea, except people contribute their hard-earned cash instead of their skills or efforts. You’d hardly think it was a popular notion, in a financial climate like today’s, but lo and behold, it is! Platforms like Kickstarter, Indiegogo, and Flattr are doing very well for themselves. They’ve helped all sorts of creatives and dreamers turn their projects into realities. Projects like singing tesla coils.

As far as I’m concerned, crowd-funding is brilliant. I’m a big fan of anything crowd-related. The Written’s cover was crowd-sourced via community of designers. I even found Mike, the esteemed artist for my graphic novel, on, a community that helps people connect with professionals. It’s only fitting that I crowd-fund the novel itself.

But is crowd-funding really symbiotic? Why should you give up your cash to help somebody else? Surely that’s plain old charity, not crowd-funding. Well, I disagree. Crowd-funding is all about sharing a passion, not just cupping your hand and holding it out. It’s about sharing success. It’s about giving something back in exchange for financial support.

Kickstarter allows me to offer rewards in return for pledges, and I’ve made them mighty rewarding indeed. Aside from signed copies, eBooks, copies of the app (yup, we’ll be making an enhanced eBook app with the £5000 as well), merch, snazzy keyrings, and the usual stuff you might expect, I’m also offering the chance to be in the graphic novel itself. Make your pledge, send in a picture of yourself, and bam, you’ll be in the artwork. What a reward, when you consider my graphic novel will be released to a global audience. Now that’s what I call symbiotic. Crowd-funding makes you as much a part of the project as I am.

Power to the people. That should be the motto of crowd-sourcing, if there ever was one.

Kickstarter is all or nothing. If you don’t reach my target, all pledges are refunded, and the project fails. I’m currently at £4000, with only £1000 to go. If you’d like to help me reach my target by the 2nd of March, and make my graphic novel a reality, then have a look at the link below. There’s plenty of artwork to peruse, and more information about where the £5000 will be going. Or, if you don’t feel like pledging, please do help me spread the word. Any tweets, likes, shares, emails, and carrier pigeons are more than appreciated.

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