Kickstarting an exciting feminist steampunk bicycle-racing novel

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There is a “corset” & a “bicycle” involved? That’s a recipe for greatness!


How cruel that Kickstarter has only been around from 2009 and it is only since then that writers have truly been able to produce their art. Just think if Kickstarter existed when Orwell was washing dishes, Mary Elliott was a journalist, James Joyce was teaching or Doctrow was working for the EFF then they would have been able to write some great works. Oh well, we can’t mourn for this alternative universe of great texts impossible to produce prior to 2009.

Edit: Goodness, that reads as fairly snarky when I re-read it. Maybe just bitter I’m missing out on all that sweet Kickstarter cash.


So glad that we’re past the bad old days when presses actually had to publish a book before you could buy it.

Isn’t that essentially a vanity press? Or, more correctly, a press that is taking absolutely no risk on a book because they’re only printing guaranteed sales?

Ok, to be fair, I’m all for a rich ecosystem of publishing models, so I guess I shouldn’t be critical.

I also don’t get the need for this model. There’s a reasonable argument to Kickstart cash intensive projects like launching a product or making a movie. Why should someone buy an unwritten novel? Merely to give the author the time to write it?



Depends on the author and the method of publishing. Maybe the author doesn’t have the time available to write it, maybe she can’t afford to self-publish the item because publishing anything without help can be ridiculously expensive unless it’s a two-page foldover, etc.

To use your phrase, I’d say there’s a reasonable argument to Kickstart any project if people are willing to donate the cash. And why buy an unwritten novel? Well, to read it once written. It’s essentially a crowdfunded advance, as opposed to the advance coming from a publisher.


Hi all, I am here to provide lengthy answers to your nerdiest publishing questions. (Corsets I know much less about, but spoiler alert: according to the Velocipede Races’ main character, they suck to bike in.)

There are some good questions here about our publishing model. Microcosm (of which Elly Blue Publishing, which I produce feminist bicycle books through, is an imprint) is a mid-list, independent, traditional-format publisher. That means we are independently owned, we choose what we publish based on our mission of reader-focused self-empowerment, we use a US book manufacturer to produce thousands of copies at a time of gorgeous books that look and feel great. We pretty much do what Penguin/Random House does but at a much tinier scale.

We use Kickstarter to fund a small percentage of our projects, and all of the ones on my EBP imprint. There are three reasons for this: 1) to pay for printing costs through pre-sales because unlike many of our mid-list colleagues we are not independently wealthy and up-front costs could sink us on a bad month, 2) it’s a great structure to test (and, a bit, to create!) the market for the book, and 3) because when I started publishing on my own in 2010 I could not afford the $300 to print my first zine, so I used Kickstarter to fund it, and since then readers have pretty much demanded that I keep doing it. In this case, there’s a 4): we have never done a novel before, much less a young adult novel, so the risks are simply higher since we need to break into a whole new shelf. Kickstarting helps us take that risk without tearing out our hair or maxing out our credit card.

Oh yeah, and The Velocipede Races has already been written and edited. It’s a great story and I think you’ll like it. Fortunately, it looks like this project will be funded…I sure hope so because it would be a huge setback on a number of levels if it weren’t.

There you go, more than you even thought you wanted to know! If you can’t get enough of this stuff and would like a similar treatise on ebook pricing, check out the FAQ on the project page.


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