Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Kickstarter, Week Three: More Jobs

Nine days to go, and I'm at 85%. Thank you, everybody.  We just might make it.  If you haven't already pledged, you can help here.  Please?

Of the 89 backers (so far) of this project, 46 are first-timers on Kickstarter. I'm delighted to have brought so many newcomers. I hope you stick around and find more undertakings to support. I'm a newbie myself, but in the first month I've already made donations (mostly very small) to eight other kickstarts. The web site is dangerously addictive.

When Kickstarter suggested that I should include a premium reward, I decided to include one at the $99 level: a special limited edition to be called MORE JOBS which will include about a dozen additional adventures. I have about 300 stories to choose from—and more that I will write. Right now I'm trying to decide among:
  • A Superior Court judge who lives outside the law.  
  • Falling through the ceiling into a woman's shower—while she is showering.
  • A bandit who steals a fortune, lives in squalor, and is betrayed by a cat.
  • "The Mongrel" — a dog who could outwit a Nobel prizewinner.
  • The poet whose hand was (perhaps) eaten by a tiger.
  • A Stanford Hospital surgeon smoking marijuana while conducting a family meeting with his missionary wife and teenage son—all undressed in a hot tub—while I'm installing lights.
  • Working for a toxic couple—young woman, older man—shortly before the young woman is murdered.
  • An illegal immigrant from China who wins the heart of a town—but not quite everybody in town.
  • Selling shovels to miners in the second great California Gold Rush.
  • The libidinous woman—a client offering benefits—who happens to own a mortuary.
  • The policemen who hold me at gunpoint and slam me against my truck—for burglary.
  • The skinny-dipping Congressman and his skinny-dipping wife. 
  • The rabbi whose new, improved lighting reveals erotic figures in his furniture.
  • Desperately trying to maintain my demented, dying brother in his dilapidated house—and being investigated for Elder Abuse. 
Or I could include the tale of the incompetent blue jay who needs the help of a carpenter (me) to build his nest—or the time I was hosed by a less-than-satisfied client—or the sugar daddy who uses shopping as foreplay… So many jobs, so little time.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Kickstarter, Week Two: Birthday edition

Today is my 66th birthday.  I'm aiming for 99 years on this planet, so I've got a ways to go.

Today also marks two weeks of Kickstarter campaigning.  I've raised 63% of my goal, so there's a ways to go on that project, too.

I'm adding a new reward level.  What the heck, it might be fun.  For a pledge of $499 I will give a one hour reading to you and assembled guests at your house — or restaurant, bar, church, library, football arena…  I've been giving monthly readings, mostly at the bar of our local restaurant, for the last three years.  We call it Lit Night.  The beer and wine make for an appreciative, relaxed audience.  Let me bring the experience to you and your friends.  (You must be within a reasonable distance of La Honda — that is, the San Francisco Bay area or Santa Cruz or a boat on the Pacific Ocean within a half mile of shore.  There are limits to how far I can drive.  Or swim.)

Musicians give house concerts.  Why not writers?   A house reading.

Here's the audience at a recent Lit Night:

Click here for the link to my Kickstarter campaign.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Kickstarter, Week One: Blue Collar Writing

After one week, the 99 Jobs kickstart has reached 34% of the goal.  Thank you for pledging.  If you haven't, please do.  Every little pledge helps.  By pledging, you can pre-order a copy of the book -- and give me the advance funds to pay for the book production.

I'm tickled pink that the Kickstarter web site has highlighted 99 Jobs as a "Staff Pick," which gives it prominent placement on the display page (and means they personally like it.)

I'm getting wonderful emails from folks who've seen the 99 Jobs campaign and are attracted to the idea of "blue collar writing," a term several people have used.  I'd be proud to bear that name.  One colorful woman in Ohio whose father runs a tow truck company sent me a long email detailing the strange clients she's met, sometimes at the point of a 12 gauge shotgun.  I suggested she write a book.  She says she will.

I've got 3 weeks to raise the remaining $2611 -- or I get nothing.  Those are the Kickstarter rules: you make your fundraising goal, or else all the pledge money goes back to the donors.

I've received pledges from Shanghai, Great Britain, and the Netherlands.  Fans of blue collar writing from all over the planet...

Monday, August 5, 2013

And here we go!

It's up and running:
Please, friends, help me out: spread the word to your circle of friends and companions and co-workers and even to your worst enemies (I can use their donations, too). The Kickstarter web page is here.

The goal is to raise $3999 so that I can publish a paperback book called 99 Jobs.  Production costs (editor, designer, printer) will be $8000, so I'm asking for half that. The other half will come out of my retirement savings.  Heck, I never really expected to retire anyway.  If enough people pre-order the book through Kickstarter, I'll know it's worth the investment.

You can pre-order an e-book for a $5 donation or a paperback for $20.  For a little extra donation, there are extra rewards: your name on the Construction Crew list, handmade wooden bookmarks. For a $99 donation, you'll get a special limited edition of More Jobs, of which only 99 copies will be printed—ever.  Or for $999, I'll come to your home and repair your toilet—and deliver the book face-to-face wearing my tool belt.

99 Jobs will be 99 "tool belt stories" about living in the construction zone.  Repairing homes, I meet people—the zany and the sober, the poor and the insanely rich. You can meet them, too, from professional clowns to Nobel prize winners, from con men to software zillionaires.  I’d like to share my own story as well.

The jobs range from changing light bulbs to rebuilding entire houses, with stops along the way as plumber, electrician, and remover of romantic woodpeckers. I’ve been showered by sewage, smoked by exploding gas, impaled like a vampire by a wooden stake. Some clients flirt—or something beyond flirtation.  Once I tried to kill a man. I’ve been cheated. I’ve had embarrassingly intimate relations with tools. I like good hard work though I’ve done some bad work, too. Along the way I’ve built a family—my own—and seen how a construction crew is like another temporary family, happy or Tolstoyan, loving or dysfunctional.