04 Dec

Xenowealth: A Collection Kickstarter is halfway through. Some quick thoughts.

As of today we’re just over the halfway mark on my Kickstarter for Xenowealth: A Collection. I promised I’d burn some social capitol promoting this, but Thanksgiving break and holidays hit at the halfway point as well, so I’ve just been letting things go quiet.

When I built this Kickstarter out, I wanted to tweak some of the things I’d done in the past. For one, in the past I’d put the eBooks at too high a value. Lowering them to $10 seems to have boosted our numbers, and included some drive-by backers who aren’t already part of my core readership. So that worked.

I noticed from some other Kickstarters that a decent tranche of trade paperback backers existed. I’d shied away as that being ‘more logistics’ in the past. But I think I was wrong. It fills in a ~$30 backing level. There’s a logical $10 eBook, $30 trade and $50 hardcover set of steps.

I’m noticing my higher ones aren’t as popular though, so while I nailed the lower ones, I’m having trouble with those. But I can’t call it a failed test until the very end. We shall see.

The $30 trade level also offers a great transition into the post-Kickstarter selling. Get a trade paperback ready to sell via CreateSpace, because if you have the rights, you should do that anyway. It’s something I’ve been meaning to do for The Apocalypse Ocean, Mitigated Futures, and I haven’t. Putting in there will make me do it. While the limited hardcover will be limited, the trade allows me sell physical books.

People still really like those. I need to test those waters out more than I currently do.

I need to put out a call for artists soon. That’ll be fun to have some of the stories illustrated.

As far as progress so far, I’m happy. People asked why I set the goal so low at $1,000. As Mitigated Futures hit $3,280 (and a last minute backer came in the next day to push it to $4,280 and commission a custom story), I had a feeling we could get to $4,000 or so. I set up stretch goals all the way through $10,000, trying to make sure to keep the project interesting. And because, hey, a guy can dream, right?

That said, I wasn’t expecting the first day to go so well. To be at $5,220 here halfway through is amazing. Lots of Xenowealth fans out there.

I am questioning whether I should have set a $6,000 stretch goal with the third novella there, instead of putting it in with the $7,500 omnibus. Maybe that would have kept some excitement during the slower bits here in week 3.

But week 4 always picks back up.

I have no idea where this is going to end, but it’s been quite a ride so far.

Thanks all for the signal boosts and enthusiasm. Short story collections get the short shrift often enough in an author’s career. They’re a hard sell. It’s interesting to see that crowdfunding opens up a space here for me to do these in a way where everyone wins.

When I talked at O’Reilly Tools of Change about crowdfunding I mentioned that Kevin Kelly’s ‘1,000 true fans’ concept could be used to do interesting things even at smaller levels. 169 readers made Mitigated Futures a great project, 191 gave me the space to write The Apocalypse Ocean. 192 are on board for the Xenowealth collection. The next 13 days should be interesting!


26 Nov

New covers for the METAtropolis novellas, which will be available as eBooks for the first time early next year (but much sooner for Kickstarter backers)

The METAtropolis series is the multiple Audie-award winning and Hugo nominated series that I wrote three novellas for. I am turning these novellas into eBooks that will go on sale early next year.

A lot of people have loved the audio versions, but wanted to have text versions to read, and not everyone listens to audio. I asked Jenn Reese at Tiger Bright Studios if she would work on the covers, and she came up with these. I love them:

METAtropolis Stochasticity


METAtropolis Byways


METAtropolis Tensegrity

I’m including these three novellas, which are only available as audiobooks right now, as free eBooks in the stretch goals for my Kickstarter of Xenowealth: A Collection.

These books will be delivered some time in December to Kickstarter backers, after the finish of the whole Kickstarter (the novellas will launch individually for sale in January or February, for novella prices, so you don’t just get them for free, but get them a couple months earlier than anyone else).

21 Nov

Xenowealth Kickstarter update: tweaked stretch goals include free METAtropolis novellas (first time in text format for readers) & other updates

The Xenowealth Kickstarter is rocking it at 380% over it’s goal. 144 backers, and we’ve unlocked several stretch goals.

You’re all blowing me away.

One of my readers asked if I’ll include an essay about the origins of the Xenowealth and how I came to build it. I thought that was a great idea, and updated the Kickstarter and table of contents to include that I’d be doing such an essay.

But I’ll also open this up. I know some of my readers of this blog have read the books repeatedly in order to do in depth reviews and some scholarship on the books and stories, which means you might know more about the Xenowealth than I do. If you’re interested in writing an essay as well for the appendices, email me at tobias@tobiasbuckell.com. I can offer $50 for a short essay, and I’ll include that in the table of contents if we come to an agreement.

Okay, I’ll get to the point of the blog post, stretch goal updates! You’re all amazing me, so let’s up the fun a bit.

The METAtropolis series is the multiple Audie-award winning and Hugo nominated series that I wrote three novellas for. I’m including these three novellas, which are only available as audiobooks right now, as free eBooks in the stretch goals.

These books will be delivered some time in December, after the finish of the whole Kickstarter (the novellas will launch individually for sale in January or February, for novella prices, so you don’t just get them for free, but get them a couple months earlier than anyone else).

So let’s add this up.

If we hit the stretch goal of $7,500 the Kickstarter delivers all this:

1) Xenowealth: A Collection, featuring art and new story, and essay from me
2) A free eBook of my short story collection ‘Tides from the New Worlds.’
3) A free copy of eBook of the Xenowealth novel ‘The Apocalypse Ocean.’
4) a free copy of eBook of my short story collection ‘Mitigated Futures.’
5) free eBook of the novella Stochasti-city, from the award-winning METAtropolis series.
6) free eBook of the novella Byways, from the award-winning METAtropolis series.
7) free eBook of the novella Tensegrity, from the award-winning METAtropolis series.

That’s a ton of value for $10 if you just jump in at the minimum: 3 story collections, 3 novellas, and one novel.

20 Nov

Well, Xenowealth: A Collection had a heck of a first day on Kickstarter

I stayed up late the night before yesterday, and at 12:03 I launched the Kickstarter for Xenowealth: A Collection.

The last time I did this was in 2012. In 2011 I Kickstarted my Xenowealth novel ‘The Apocalypse Ocean,’ something that created a lot of buzz as it was still pretty rare more for a novelist at the time.

The last collection I did was Mitigated Futures, in early 2012. So I have those two campaigns to draw from and compare.

I launched at just past midnight to take advantage of evening West Coast backers. I wanted it up for morning Europeans as well in the wee hours (for me), as I have a larger UK readership now than in 2011/2012. Time zones; they’re a thing.

This launch really blew away previous opening day results, though. The Apocalypse Ocean had $2,074 in pre-orders at the end of day one. Mitigated Futures was $1,741. Xenowealth: A Collection, was at $3,354. So as far as launches go: shit, you all blew this one right out of the water!

A lot of people are pinging me that they hope we reach high enough to unlock a Xenowealth novella. Heck, sounds cool to me! What are the chances of that? I have no idea. This is a giant question mark moving forward. The average chart of a Kickstarter daily campaign chart looks something like this:


But this chart from Kicktraq shows Mitigated Futures:


If Xenowealth: A Collection follows the same pattern, there should be a stunning drop off starting today, with occasional single orders until the last day, where an additional 21% jump happens. That suggests we may get close to the Tobias S. Buckell Omnibus of short stories stretch goal for everyone, though the first day’s blow out is still more than the entire Mitigated Futures Kickstarter. So who knows if this has the juice to go that far?

One thing is, while I plugged the Kickstarter hard on day one, I can’t keep that up for 29 days. I’ve burned social capital, sure, but I don’t want to set my entire twitter feed on fire. So it will still until the last few days.

Some people are reaching out for interviews, and I’m happy to do anything like that for the project.

Another question asked is why I didn’t put a higher goal amount on the Kickstarter? That was mainly because this wasn’t a project I was trying to fund the actual writing of, but I was looking to turn into a physical book for fans of the Xenowealth. For single-author collections, I want to put the amount low, as we all know I’m doing the collection. The question is more: how many people want pre-orders, and in what format?

That’s what we are now finding out.

Either way, this is a fun way to tie-in to the relaunch of the Xenowealth books, and it’s a great way to get some physical copies out to fans so that they have all the Xenowealth material in their libraries.

No matter where we go from here, I think we all won.

19 Nov

My latest short story collection, Xenowealth: A Collection, now live on Kickstarter

Wow, the last time I did this was well over two years ago. My crowd funding fu might be a little rusty. But here we go:

I’m using Kickstarter to take pre-orders and crowdfund my latest short story collection, which will be coming out as an eBook, paperback, and hardcover. And this is going to be something special to me, because it’s the collection of all the Xenowealth stories.

The working title as I planned this out and waited for the rights to all arrive was ‘Pepper Unleashed.’ So if you like the character, you might enjoy this…

Here are the deets:

In early 2006 my novel Crystal Rain launched the first book in the Xenowealth series. It was followed up by Ragamuffin in 2007, which was a Nebula award nominee, and Sly Mongoose. I get a lot of mail about these books, and to satisfy reader requests, turned to crowdfunding to create The Apocalypse Ocean, the fourth book in the Xenowealth series.

The books will be relaunching this 2015. In January, Crystal Rain will come out in a trade paperback format from Tor Books, with other books to follow. To celebrate the relaunch, I set out to answer another popular fan request: combine all the short stories I’ve written in the Xenowealth worlds into a single collection.

If you’ve wanted all your Pepper stories bound into one volume: here’s your chance.

And there will even be some stories you may not have encountered…

There are different pledge levels, from $5 all the way on up, for things like eBooks and paperbacks and hardcovers. There should be something for everyone.

And there are stretch goals. Lots of them.

Go check out the Kickstarter here.

Here is the cover, by Jenn Reese of Tiger Bright Studios.

Buckell Xenowealth Flare

03 Oct

Help Fund John Joseph Adams’ Robot Army

John Joseph Adams is running a Kickstarter for an anthology of SF/F/improbably Kickstarter stories. It’s so deliciously meta I had trouble saying no, even though I’ve put a hold on saying yes to any new projects for a long, long time.

If you’re a regular Kickstarter backer, you’ve probably seen some unique Kickstarters in your time. But one thing all of those projects–boringly!–had in common was: They abided by the physical laws of the universe! If what you’ve always been looking for in a Kickstarter–and couldn’t find–was a project that allowed you to SUMMON DEMONS, DEFY GRAVITY, WIELD MAGIC, or VIOLATE CAUSALITY, then the anthology HELP FUND MY ROBOT ARMY!!! & Other Improbable Kickstarters may be just the thing you’ve been looking for.

The Kickstarter is already halfway funded, and I’m really, really looking forward to seeing what the amazing list of contributors do:

Monte Cook, creator of the Kickstarted roleplaying game Numenera.

David Malki!, creator of the Wondermark comic strip, co-editor of The Machine of Death anthology series, and co-creator of the Kickstarted party game Machine of Death: The Game of Creative Assassination.

Matt Forbeck, game designer and author of the “12 for 12” series of novels, which included Kickstarted projects Brave New World, Shotguns & Sorcery, Monster Academy, and Dangerous Games.

Michael J. Sullivan, bestselling author of the Riyria Revelations and Riyria Chronicles as well as the Hollow World Kickstarted novel.

Tobias S. Buckell, author of Crystal Rain and Arctic Rising, and Kickstarter projects Mitigated Futures and The Apocalypse Ocean.

Tim Pratt, Hugo Award-winning author of the Marla Mason urban fantasy series and Kickstarter projects Bride of Death, Grim Tides, Flytrap, and Antiquities and Tangibles.

Chuck Wendig, author of Double Dead, Blackbirds, Mockingbird, and Kickstarted novel Bait Dog.

Bradley P. Beaulieu, author of Kickstarter projects The Flames of Shadam Khoreh and Lest Our Passage Be Forgotten & Other Stories.

Derek Van Gorder, Writer/Director of Kickstarted short film C 299,792 Kilometers Per Second.

Mary Robinette Kowal, Hugo & Campbell Award-winning author of novels Shades of Milk and Honey, Glamour in Glass, and Without a Summer. Also a professional puppeteer, responsible for the Whatnot showcase Kickstarter.

Mur Lafferty, podcaster (Geek Fu Action Grip, Escape Pod, I Should Be Writing) and author of The Shambling Guide to New York City and the Kickstarter book project The Afterlife Series.

Veronica Belmont, co-host of Tekzilla and Sword & Laser, and the TV show Gizmodo: The Gadget Testers.

Seanan McGuire, bestselling author of the Rosemary & Rue and InCryptid urban fantasy series; as Mira Grant, author of the Newsflesh series and Parasite.
Daniel H. Wilson, bestselling author of Robopocalypse, Robogenesis, Amped, How to Survive a Robot Uprising, and others.

Scott Sigler, podcaster and bestselling author of Nocturnal, Ancestor, Infected, and Contagious.

And others, including: Genevieve Valentine, Jeremiah Tolbert, Jake Kerr, Vylar Kaftan, David D. Levine, and more!

07 Aug

Mothership: Tales from Afrofuturism & Beyond – 12 hours to go for a cool anthology I’m a part of

This is a dynamite project with a fantastic line up of authors. 12 hours to go, and the project is just shy of its goal!

“Author Bill Campbell (Koontown Killing Kaper, Sunshine Patriots), poet/journalist Edward Austin Hall (the forthcoming Chimera Island), and artist Professor John Jennings (Black Comix, Black Kirby Project) have assembled 40 extraordinarily talented writers who represent just a part of the changing face of speculative fiction.

Mothership: Tales from Afrofuturism is the dynamic, genre-expanding end result.”

(Via Mothership: Tales from Afrofuturism & Beyond–Support the Writer Campaign | Indiegogo.)

12 Mar

Interview with me about Kickstarter

Writer Emma Larkin, in prep for doing a Kickstarter of her own, interviewed me for her blog about Kickstarter and my own experiences:

I think a successful Kickstarter is a mixture of three factors: the cool factor (the intrinsic description of what the project is going to be), your audience factor (how many people ‘follow’ you, both as consumers of what you put out and your various online networks) and the can-this-person-deliver factor. You really need to have strength in two of those three, I think, to do well. Lacking two is a killer. I’ve seen single strength Kickstarters of all of the above fail, though occasionally a cool factor will overcome all. So for a first-time author, who normally doesn’t have a large audience (being a first timer) and hasn’t proven that they can deliver, they’re almost entirely banking on a single leg (is this cool?). That’s a large river to cross.