• S.E. Burr

Time to Celebrate

This week I started writing a blog post about that strange feeling many of us have that we are undervalued by others and at the same time that we don't contribute much of value to our world. I'll save those thoughts for another time or just let them go, because today, when I've just experienced a writing success that meant the world to me, I feel an overwhelming urge to set my recent introspective mopiness aside and celebrate.




Yay! Yay! Yay!

I wrote a previous blog post called Why Did Our Kickstarter Campaign Succeed? I wrote that post after the campaign was fully funded. We had raised the money to turn my story "The Everything Puzzle" into a children's picture book, which my young friend, Shad, would illustrate. I wrote that basically at the beginning of the project, long before we'd actually created the book and sent it out to our backers in time for Christmas, as promised.

I can't tell you how emotionally intense, how high the highs and how low the lows, the experience of creating this book has been. I had never done this sort of collaboration before with another creator; if it failed, I wasn't the only one who was going to be disappointed. The fact that my partner, Shad, is so much younger than me and that his autism has caused many people to overlook his wonderful talent, made it so important to me for this be a positive experience for him and for his hard work illustrating to pay off with a professional, impressive, beautiful book to add to his portfolio and with some money, as well.

Our Kickstarter campaign was actually funded quite quickly, but every day when we didn't get a lot of pledges, and every time I refreshed my phone and didn't see more money listed on our campaign page, I was consumed with the idea that the campaign would fail and that I would have let Shad down. So to help me deal with this anxiety, and to avoid wearing holes in my carpet with pacing, every day during that time, I walked to my wish bridge and wrote the new total we needed to earn. Perhaps it's not a good idea for me to tell you, the internet, about my wish bridge, both because of how strange it is for a grown woman to have a wish bridge and because I don't want there to be a run on it (who knows how many wishes a bridge has in it?) but, well, too late now. The way it works is that briefly and unintelligibly in rock-chalk (you know how you can basically pick up any rock and use it to write on another) I write my wishes under this bridge. Every time it rains my wishes are erased and sent, I don't know, somewhere, into the arroyo I suppose, but it sounds more awe-inspiring if I say the universe. They're sent into the universe.

I was so relieved when we were fully funded and then there were several months when my thoughts were not consumed by the project. The work was being undertaken by Shad, not me. Every once in a while he'd show me a new picture and I'd take a photo of it and post an update for our backers, but that was the extent of my involvement. During that time, I was in the car accident. Shad's dad told me that when he asked Shad if he had any ideas about something he could do to cheer me up while I was convalescing, Shad said that the best thing he could do for me was to finish the book, and that he was determined to do it. That touched my heart.

Toward the end of November, Shad finished the illustrations and then it was my job to format the book and publish it through CreateSpace. This task turned out to be far more difficult than I anticipated. I was unprepared both in software and know-how. I spent Thanksgiving week and then a couple more days after we got our first proof copy, pulling my hair out in frustration. The final file I submitted to CreateSpace, and that was thankfully accepted, was called "abouttocry9" i.e. the ninth "abouttocry" file. Believe me, I didn't start off using that file name.

But now we've done it! We've done it! Shad did such a great job with the pictures and it's a beautiful real book that exists in the world, and it is already in many of your homes. Thank you so much for supporting us! The feedback has been phenomenal and I feel so blessed. Shad is thrilled. Hooray!

(This one isn't about The Everything Puzzle but still makes me feel blessed.)

I'm thinking about doing another crowdfunding thing. I received this email from Patreon today referencing our Kickstarter campaign and found it a little uncanny given what I was thinking about at the time. (I think Patreon may literally have an algorithm that reads minds.) The way Patreon works is that people pledge as little as a dollar a month to support a writer's or artist's work, and in return they get perks, like exclusive short stories, or blog posts, or live chats, or they get to name characters, etc., etc. What do you think of that idea? If I got just $10 a month it'd be amazing because it'd pay for the cover for a novel each year and if I got $20 a month it'd pay for editing, too. Would any of you be interested in pledging if I set up a Patreon account?

Love to you all this holiday season.

<3 S.E. Burr

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