By Holon New Media Staff, Brandon Cook
Holon author Matt Seidel launches Kickstarter campaign for novel “Saviors”
Just over three days ago, Holon Publishing began crowd funding to publish and distribute Bloomington author Matt Seidel’s psychological thriller, “Saviors.” The novel, Seidel’s eighth though his first published, explores themes of morality, taking as one of its protagonists a serial killer, Tobias, who views the murders that he commits as the execution of a divine justice.
The project’s goal of $1500 was met in a little less than two days.
Since then, “Saviors” has earned a total of $1860 and 124%, funds that could lead to a high-end mock trailer for the book, promotional events, and a graphic novel. While these additional projects may sound a bit ambitious for a book that only recently received the go-ahead, they and its enthusiastic Kickstarter response bear testament to the power and innovation of “Saviors’” character and narrative.
Rather than use Tobias as the figure of a mystery novel: the genre in which serial killers feel most at home, Seidel chooses to write a moral fiction that challenges the reader’s basic concepts of good and evil.
Complicating these notions further is the character of Emily, a young woman in the middle of a quarter-life crisis who is, for all intents and purposes, normal. It is during this time that she meets Tobias: “everything that she needs,” Seidel explains in his Kickstarter video.
At this moment, most other writers would keep Emily ignorant of Tobias’s dark habits, suspending the reader in dramatic irony. But Seidel is not most other writers. Emily remains with Tobias, her savior, though, as the author said with a cheeky wave of the hand, “this creates complications.” As if.
Though its premise echoes vaguely that of TV’s Dexter, Seidel’s narrative is not gore and flash-bang so much as it is a real exploration of Tobias’s tormented condition. Channeling his hero, Dostoyevsky, Seidel develops Emily and Tobias’s relationship alongside the concept of sin and the delusion of goodness, touching on philosophy and religion while still providing engaging narrative.
“Saviors,” the exciting debut for an up-and-coming talent, marks also Holon’s most ambitious approach to date in creating the writer’s community, that is, a community based around each individual writer, rather than the writers as a collective. With each additional goal of Seidel’s Kickstarter campaign ($2500, $3500, and $5000) leading to bigger and bigger promotions, Holon endeavors to both strengthen its relationship with the author and to build an even greater audience for his work.
Stay tuned to hear more exciting updates about Matt Seidel’s “Saviors!"
Click here to contribute to this Kickstarter and pre-order your copy of "Saviors":
by Jeremy Gotwals, Founder at Holon Publishing
So, what does it take to successfully publish a book? This is perhaps the most relevant question we could possible ask on our web site/blog/etc.
his was definitely the most relevant question yesterday, when I ran into my old friend Gagan Singh, who I had last seen exactly a year prior on the same day, after nearly two-years of having graduated from Indiana University Kelley School of Business with his MBA. Gagan now lives in San Francisco with his newly wed wife, where he works at PayPal.
"Suppose I wanted to translate various Sikh writings into english and publish them as a book, what would I need to do?" Gagan inquired.
llow me to preface by telling you a little about Gagan (Pronounced sort-of like 'Guh-gun" ... think 'HUG - in' but 'GUHG-in').
ot only is Gagan a tech-savvy, highly knowledge, Product Manager at PayPal, who graduated from IU with his MBA... he's also is a spiritual brother of mine who practices the art of meditation and the spiritual disciplines of Yoga. He was known, during his time at Indiana University, as the "Urban Turban Guy," because he could always be seen sporting his bright-yellow turban (particularly at the Starbucks that all of us frequented on Indiana Avenue).
agan is also a trail-blazing Social Media expert. One who I definitely look up to in his areas of tech and web expertise. Gagan and I originally met at that Coffee Shop on Indiana Avenue, during his time in Bloomington. Outside of that beautiful coffee-shop, we spontaneously connected over music. We both chanted Sanskrit Mantras together while he played the harmonium and I played guitar. memory I hold close. I was only 20 then, and striving to find the next-step in my professional as well as personal/spiritual career.
So when Gagan asked me yesterday, what he should do about publishing his book of Sikh literature, my most immediate response was "Well, I think that you should crowd-fund the costs of publication, you-know? Like, throw a Kickstarter or something."
e ruminated on the topic for a moment while his wonderful wife listened intently outside of the Sample Gates, in Bloomington.
The main reason I mentioned crowd-funding to Gagan as the most direct means of publishing his work has to do with his already thorough command of his audience through Social Media.
He asked "But beyond that, what does that actually take?"
k, so let's talk about that answer.
"Well printing is actually not that expensive," I said to Gagan. The unit cost of most basic, perfect-bound, paperback books is less than $4. hipping can make things hairy sometimes. Hugely epic 400+ page books can be expensive to print. Full-color books can also be expensive.
"If you have a concept for a brand and/or niche, an image, a look and feel of your title, then getting it out there is not that difficult." I continued to explain. "If 100 people 'pre-ordered' your book for $15 then you would have a enough funding for each of them o have a copy of your book, plus a little bit more left over, to invest in the book's production." I also forgot to mention to him that, then, the book would be published, and available for Print on Demand and could be purchased through Amazon or directly through whomever was handling the publishing - including himself.
Gagan also asked "What would make someone want to order, buy, or invest my book if they don't know how good I am as a translator, or how skilled of a writer I am?"
told him that thus far, I was assuming that his network already had faith in his knowledge and abilities as a Punjabi/English translator, as well as a Sikh practitioner.
oreover, he's already spent years cultivating friendships, acquaintances and an internet following that was already interested in what he has to say. Which is necessary for every author today. The bottom line, if you yourself are not taking your message, your words, your story, or your creative works, to your audience, then you can't expect to sell books.
A lot of what I'm expressing here can also be found in Guy Kawasaki's book "Ape: How to Publish a Book", where he divulges the guts of what it means to truly take control of publishing your work today.
None of this necessarily accounts for editing, book-formatting, or graphic design. However, those are all human resources. Which is where an imprint or a physical publisher can come into play and be very useful. Otherwise, one can attempt those things themselves, or rope their friends into those tasks, but from experience - I would not recommend that. Unless you know what you're doing or your friends are professionals. Lest your book run the risk of winding up on one of those sites of lousy book covers.
Bringing all of these pieces together can take time and work. Furthermore, you want to make sure that you're releasing a finished product. Beyond good editing, branding is absolutely essential. o one will purchase a book that has a horrible cover. Besides this aspect of branding, retailers who could sell your book will ALWAYS want to know "Who published this book?" They will often turn you down if you tell them that it's self-published. Which is why this aspect of the publishing process should be handled artfully. Which is why we're not just a "self-publisher" at Holon. We're also partially playing the role of a traditional publisher, striving to create a brand that resonates with the same artistry and style that traditional publishers did in the 20th century. With new flavors and a new edge never seen before.
Let's say you want to "get-your-book-pubished," by someone else, by a third party, by a traditional publisher - who is paying for your book to be published.
First of all, the age of the literary agent is becoming obsolete. One no longer needs to be "shopped around" in this way to get ahead. Social media means that you can bring your book to the world directly. Moreover, traditional publishing fundamentally isn't what it used to be. It has its purpose, it has its place. You can acquire a deal, if that's your goal. However, control will not be yours. You might make 15% of royalties, if you're lucky. Ultimately, you, the author, will often know your audience better than your publisher - especially through Social Media. Which begs the question: why would you want a traditional publisher?
The biggest reason you probably shouldn't vie for a traditional publisher is simply that: you will be doing the same amount of work, either way. Only, one option leads to lesser control. If your burning desire is to get that call from your magical, far-away literary agent, in some New York or Seattle tower, who says... "Billy (or Sally), daw'ling! We have an offer from Random House! Fifteen-Thou' for your advance! They want us to fly to Manhattan right away!" I mean... it can happen. I also hear so many people who say "But, I want the rejection, so that one day, when I'm published, it will all be rewarding!" Which is also a fruitless attitude. Primarily because it doesn't involve any work in the "here and now." It implies that there's some far and distant realm of success that is detached from the work you're doing at this time, to actually get "there." Wherever "there" is.
The attitude should be "How can I share my work and ideas with the world?"
This is a beautiful attitude that will guide you towards success. This is the attitude that assists you in cultivating the best work possible, instead of searching for instant gratification. This is the attitude that will eliminate the distractions of fame and fortune, because publishing books is not about that.
If you get out there, if you keep up the pace, keep connecting with people, whatever your means - you will find great editors, great designers and people who will want to read your work. That is, if you are willing to put your ideas out there for them to try.
In reflection, I also want to tie it all together by mentioning my brief encounter with Gagan a-year-ago-yesterday. He walked into the coffee-shop by his lonesome. I hadn't seen him since 2010. I was just standing to get a refill of my coffee. We caught up on everything and I told him about Holon. What Gagan had to say was fundamentally one of the most important things that he could have possibly said at that time, which was something to the effect of:
"You can make a company about anything, but what you fundamentally want to share with people or market to the world are ideas. Ideas are what drive people. Ideas are what build great businesses."
This is also one of the most important facets of striving to be an author.
he sharing of ideas. Or experiences, as the case may be.
r perhaps just a really great story.
What does it take to successfully publish a book today?
atience, diligence, information. But also a willingness to leave your comfort zone and find the people that A) you want to work with and B) whom you want to read your work.
What's going on at Holon?
I'm happy to announce that we're releasing a spectrum of new titles right now, from historical-fiction novel Pride and Dignity by Rodolfo Walss, to Waldorf-inspired early childhood education book "A Child's Seasonal Treasury" by Smithsonian award-winning Author Betty Jones. We also have a daring satire by Virginia Author Peter Mason, "Heroes of the 21st Century", with many many more exciting titles to come in the spring. It has been my bountiful pleasure to work with these talented and dedicated people; as well it shall be our delight to share with you the many more titles we have to come, currently either in production or in the editing process.
But what else is Holon up to?
As we're beginning to unveil, Holon is much more than a publishing imprint, we're also a New Media company that specializes in Social Media. One of our latest and most exciting projects is our work on the social media campaign for the visit of His Holiness the Dalai Lama to Louisville, KY in May of 2013, which we will have much much to share about in the coming weeks. [See More: Dalai Lama, Louisville]
Social Media Marketing is the evolving trend in promoting your business or brand. We are just getting started at demonstrating what our business has been doing for over a year for other businesses - as well as artists - in developing their social media.
One of the things that I really love...
...about this aspect of our company is having the opportunity to actually work with our authors on managing their twitter accounts - assisting them in amassing followers organically, connecting with them directly.
We're just now showcasing our social media services formally on our site, with the first of what will be many infographics that illustrate our process from Social Media Management, Promotions, and also Content Creation. We hope to deliver to you the entirety of our unique business model with the same style and simplicity here.
The bottom line? Your brand needs followers that are not only fans of what you do, but that also support and sustain your brand as a community. That is what we aim to achieve at Holon - for each of the brands we work with.