“Well, I’m back,” he said.
So Samwise pronounces the last words in The Lord of the Rings, my favorite book. I think of it because my own book’s journey to reach its first readers is ending and a new beginning is being shaped. Today our Kickstarter will be over, we’ll be “back” from that, but we’ll never be the same. And things are really just starting.
This has been an incredible adventure for us, complete with highs, lows, anxiety, tension, strain, and astonishing heroics. Sam Gamgee has always been one of my favorite heroes, if not my very favorite hero, of all time. And you, dear backer, have been heroic to me.
I see faces, faces of people who have given generously to back our project. Over and over. People piled into our house and sat around talking, celebrating an exciting event in our life. People drove up from Charlotte, skyped in from Charlotte! People posted on Facebook, Twitter, sent emails, and told their friends. Our friends and backers have given us a gift we’ve longed for.
I have wanted to be an author for a long time. It was, in fact, my earliest childhood dream. It’s one I recovered as a man in the wake of an illness I didn’t think I was going to survive. I’ve worked at it ever since.
And the dream is way beyond my own personal fulfillment. It’s tied to an ever-deepening love and respect for the readers I hoped I would find, or would somehow find me.
A week ago, or so, I got a wonderful boost. I’d sent my friend Randall Goodgame an Advanced Reader Copy of The Green Ember. His son swiped it off his desk and started in. Pretty soon I got this video via text from Randy. He surprised his son as he was finishing it.
Made my decade! This is want I want so badly, to delight kids! The book really was written for my kids, and they love it and that makes my heart swell. But it was such a thrill to hear from a child who was outside of that process, to hear those words of affirmation and encouragement from a kid I don’t really know. (See below for Randy’s full post at Slugs & Bugs.)
And this whole adventure has been encouraging. As I write this, we’ve just gone over 500 backers and are very nearly to $20,000 of pre-sales. That is nuts. We have now sold well over a thousand copies of The Green Ember before we even have them printed. Yes, that’s terrifying, but also awesome. I’m astonished and humbled at the confidence you’ve placed in us, at all the love and support you have aimed our way. We feel it. We feel it and are profoundly grateful.
I thought I’d take a brief tour through some of the highlights as we approach the end. This is a wee bit self-indulgent, so feel free to skip it. The bolded parts are links.
19 hours and our goal is met.
We are flabbergasted. Elated. Over the moon!
Our newest contributor Ming started a fun contest for kids! #RabbitsWithSwords
The next week I’m driving to Nashville for Hutchmoot, where I get to read from TGE to a roomful of amazing people, do a talk with Zach Franzen, spend time with my brother, Josiah, and hug a million necks. I heard from so many people such encouraging words, and I had to deal with my own withering self-doubt. My friend (and SW contributor) Helena Sorensen set me straight. (Also, pictured left you see me on my Apologetic Posh Tour 2014.)
Then I tried to imitate J.R.R.T. and give eleventy reasons for something.
Gina wrote a moving post giving a tiny glimpse into what this journey has been like for our family. She’s beautiful. I love her. Without her, this is completely impossible.
Now things are starting to wind…down? Not yet! people keep on getting on board and even as I type we’ve gone over $20,000 in pledges. Crazy! And my friend Randy posted the video I mentioned to his blog in a super nice post promoting The Green Ember.
OK, that leads us up to today, the last few hours. At 8pm EST, this Kickstarter will be over!
It’s been such a blast.
These are only a few of the highlights. There have been such incredible displays of support, and amazing kindness shown to us. I wish I could mention it all.
The team at Story Warren has been incredible. This is such a wonderful team! From sharing the load in management, to driving up here to support in person, notes of encouragement, hours and hours of volunteer editing and input on TGE, and for constantly helping support the project in various ways. Thank you, SW saddlepals. I love you guys. Andrew and I are so grateful for what you’ve done.
And thank you all so much for sharing this journey with us. We’re so excited for what it means for Story Warren and we hope and believe it means you’re getting a tale your family will love.
It was made, with love, for you.