Today’s guest blog post is brought to you by Dan Grubb of Fantastic Books Publishing.
Making History: Elite’s Kickstarter Project
To accompany to release of the most anticipated computer game of 2014 Elite:Dangerous, the latest realisation of the seminal space trading game Elite first released in 1984 by Frontier Developments, Fantastic Books are releasing a set of officially sanctioned Elite fiction books.
Unlike fan fiction, officially-sanctioned books are closely aligned with the game universe, giving the authors a strict framework within which to set their creations. It’s also a two way street. As the books are officially sanctioned by Frontier Developments, they incorporate political, economic and piracy related storylines from the books into the game.
The first game was released with a novel by Robert Holdstock called ‘The Dark Wheel’ which gave new players insight into the moral and legal codes to which they might aspire.
It made history by being the first ever novel released alongside a computer game.
When the game is released in 2014 these books will be released alongside, making it the largest release of officially sanctioned fiction ever to accompany the release of a computer game.
The UK’s largest science fiction publisher, Gollancz, holds the rights to three official Elite books. So far Fantastic holds the rights to four. Not bad for a tiny independent publisher based in East Yorkshire!
But CEO Dan is an ambitious fellow and he doesn’t want to stop with merely playing David to Goliath Gollancz. Nor will making history suffice. He wants to release these books so that everyone can enjoy them at the same time. In a break from convention, Dan wants to release these books as ebooks, paperbacks, hardbacks AND audio books all at the same time. Of his reasons for doing this he says;
‘The blind and partially sighted community get a rough deal when it comes to new releases. They often have to wait months after a traditional book launch in order to be able to enjoy new publications in audio or braille format. We don’t think that’s fair so we are going to release these books as a multi format, simultaneous release.’
But it’s not only the blind and partially sighted community who will benefit from these audio books. Here’s what Dan had to say;
‘Ask anyone who has ever been stuck in traffic if they like audio books and their answer will be a resounding YES. There are many, many ways in which an audio book is often preferable to the traditional reading experience. Take somebody with chronic back pain who can’t hold a book or ereader for long periods, or a dyslexic student who just wants to relax and enjoy a book without all the paraphernalia often associated with the condition such as special lamps, filters and so on.’
However, Dan cannot achieve this on his own and he has no qualms about asking for help; ‘We cannot do this by ourselves. Audio books are notoriously expensive to produce and we want to use some really talented, well-known actors. For this we will need a lot of money and that’s why we’ve chosen to crowd fund this project using Kickstarter.’
The Fantastic Books Publishing Elite Fiction project went live on the 20th November and will run until the 1st January 2014. Dan is under no delusion that this is a very dangerous time to run a Kickstarter; ‘Given the proximity to Christmas, I realise this is a risky time to run a Kickstarter but because we want to make history and release these books alongside the game, we have to do it now. It takes time to organise actors, sound engineers, cover designers and studio time and if we try to do this after December then we will simply run out of time.’
The project is asking for £34,000 to fund the production of the four books including high quality paperback and hardback boxed sets and the recording of all four audio books using well known actors.
Unusually for this type of campaign, the Fantastic team are offering real rewards for only a £1 donation, namely a random story from one of the fifteen in the anthology Elite:Tales From The Frontier.
There are also pledge gifts that are exclusive to this Kickstarter campaign including special edition signed boxed sets, signed hard copy audio books and even an Elite Commander’s uniform.
Many people have already helped the Elite franchise using crowd funding platforms such as Indiegogo and Kickstarter and because the game would not exist without their help, the Fantastic team want to reward their previous efforts. To do this they are offering a special ‘Elite Veterans’ upgrade so that if folks who have helped before decide to help with this project, they will receive all four books in ebook format as well as their chosen pledge gift.
The Fantastic Team have assembled a group of talented Commanders here at their Facebook Event.
If you are interested in the project, please head over there and show your support by joining the event then heading over to the Kickstarter campaign page (there are also links at the top of the event page).
Dan appeared on BBC Radio to talk about the project on Phil White’s show on the 21st November at 3.40pm GMT.
Fantastic Books Publishing exists to help authors realise their dreams. Their philosophy is to change the face of publishing, one Fantastic Book at a time.
Find more about them on their website: www.fantasticbookspublishing.com, and their Kickstarter link is http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/fantasticbooks/official-elite-fiction-release-in-audio-and-print.
Thank you, Dan, and good luck.
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