Crowdfunding is the new trend in publishing. It enables an author to raise the funds for publication and develop an audience. It also enables readers to backs the books they want to see published, helping to shape the publishing industry.
Unbound is one of many publishers who run via a crowdfunding model, and they’ve had great success. Kate Mosse, Katy Brand, Terry Jones and Raymond Briggs have all had books published via Unbound.
At the moment there are 110 books in the process of being funded. I thought I would post the synopses of a handful of my favourites (many of which I have pledged for myself) in the hopes that someone out there will find their ideal book and help it out.
Sci-fi and Fantasy
Daedalus Mole wants to make the best of a bad situation. The plan: fly his unwanted passenger, Erin, to her destination, squeeze her for every last penny, then immediately find refuge in the nearest pub. Unfortunately, when the galaxy is on the verge of economic collapse and your passenger has a bounty the size of a planet on her head, there’s only so much another drink can do to help.
Daedalus soon finds himself playing babysitter to someone stronger, angrier and far more dangerous than he is. On top of that: the booze is running out, his ship’s AI won’t stop trying to kill him, and he’s having to pretend very hard that he hasn’t started hearing voices in his head. Erin is under the eye of forces which seek to use her. Daedalus’s mistakes have changed him in ways he does not yet understand.
In search of Erin’s past, and in flight from his own, Daedalus will soon learn what happens when you let wounds fester unchecked.
The Second Death of Daedalus Mole is a character-driven novel which tells the story of two damaged, guilt-ridden misfits struggling to find closure in a galaxy on the cusp of war, whilst becoming slowly entangled in the struggles of greater forces. In one sense it’s a traditional star-hopping journey with an unlikely crew of miscreants, but in another it’s an exploration of scars, self-destruction, healing and loneliness, as well as the flawed ways in which we view those closest to us.
It’s also a novel about bar fights and space battles, so there’s something for everyone, really.
Imagine being thirteen years old and getting into a car that’s going to drive you to a building where you’ll be locked up with nine other children. You don’t know what they’ve done, they don’t know what you’ve done. They all seem messed up and scary. All of them have secrets, but none of their secrets are as huge as the one you’re hiding from them.
When will you get out? How will you get out? What is it going to be like? You don’t know.
All you know is, the next time you wake up, your bedroom door will be locked. Every time you wake up.
Ten children locked up, working out how to cope, how to survive, who to trust and who to avoid.
One of the children has a book of spells, and all of the spells work. They come with a serious price though, because the children aren’t the only ones locked up in there, and the other prisoner is much much older, more dangerous, more broken and more desperate than any of them.
This is a story of a struggle to fit in and a struggle to get out. A story packed with secrets and lies, where a touch on your back could be a flirtatious invitation or it could be a home-made shank, a cry in the night can be homesickness or something far far worse.
Magic, theft, fights over pecking order, crushes with a twist and daring jail-breaks. Finding out what makes these children tick, and whether ten broken watches can manage to synchronise together when it really matters.
Imagine “Five Children and It”, if the Five Children were juvenile delinquents, and the ‘It’ was more like Steven King’s version. A Young Adult novel, but assuming you ever lived through teenaged years suitable for adults too.
Anna, an art curator, leaves the psychiatric wing of a hospital and finds herself in an English village, sharing a rented cottage with her partner. Seeking refuge from the aftermath of past infidelities she reconstructs the world around her through the brushstrokes and histories of her favourite artworks. A chance discovery in the cottage’s attic leads Anna on a journey back to the late nineteenth century and the complicated relationships of two young women studying at Oxford University. As Anna’s investigations blend with the students’ story, and the threads of her life intertwine with those of a century earlier, she finds a way to run from the pain of her losses, both old and new. But the past is not all it seems and Anna’s escape routes are taken from her, one by one, until she must face the truths of her present.
Domini Mortum is a supernatural murder mystery novel set in late Victorian London.
It is the story of Samuel Weaver, an illustrator and correspondent for The Illustrated Police News, the biggest selling tabloid newspaper of the day.
Weaver is renowned for his work, using his employer’s influence and money to regularly enjoy unrestricted access to scenes of murder and crime. His sensationalist style of drawing and writing make him, in turn, both popular with the public, who love his bloodthirsty and violent stories, and hated by other members of the press and the police, who see him as a self serving monster.
Originally from York he moved to the capital because of his obsession with a series of child murders committed in Whitechapel six years earlier by a man named Sibelius Darke, a post-mortem portrait photographer. Weaver is writing his own account of Darke’s murders which he hopes to publish and find fame with.
As he investigates the life of Sibelius Darke, he finds himself meeting people who knew Darke; from the policemen that let him get away, to those who believe in his innocence and who claim that the murders were committed by a higher power.
Meanwhile another pattern of killings has begun in Paddington, and Weaver begins to suspect that these new deaths are somehow linked to the trail of terror left by Darke in the East End six years earlier. The journey will push Weaver to his limits and cause him to question everything that he believes and everyone that he trusts.
Domini Mortum is a dark, fast paced adventure which rattles through the cobbled streets of Victorian London and York, visits villages haunted by the terrible deeds of the past, and comes face to face with high society, where power and corruption have sunk to new depths.
Sarah McIntyre is found dead on a freezing December day in remote woodland outside a small town in rural northern Wisconsin, laid out in the snow to resemble a ritual murder. As the investigation into her death unfolds and details of her past emerge, the fragile foundations on which the lives of the town’s inhabitants rest begin to crumble. The secrets, the choices and the mistakes of those around Sarah are dragged from the shadows, until finally, the course of history for the unnamed town is changed forever.
Called Abernathy, after the chief of police and de facto leader of the town, the story is told through a series of interwoven narratives, from the perspective of the various characters linked, directly and indirectly, to Sarah’s death. Mixing flashback and present tense, the roots of her troubled past begin to come out, bringing the prejudices and failings of those around her along with them, until the identity of her killer is revealed.
Beginning with locals Paul Gallagher and Jimmy Murphy, who find the body first, each narrative represents another part of the puzzle, until all the pieces lock into place and the town itself becomes a ticking time bomb as suspicion and rumours begin to run rampant. Gradually, it becomes clear that nothing is what it appears in this sleepy farming town, and no one is without secrets. Affairs, violence, lies and long-repressed demons are all brought to the fore, as Abernathy and his officers investigate the case.
A suspect is finally named, but do the police have the right man? Without sufficient evidence, they’re forced to release him, pushing the story to its inevitable bloody conclusion and Abernathy to face his own fallibility. This is not a tale of redemption or justice. It is not a tale of good triumphing over evil. This is the tale of the unassailable mutability of life. This is the tale of how nothing and no one can stay the same. This is an ending.
BONUS – Horror
Penny is a survivor.
She’s had to be.
The world is different now. Unsafe. Humanity has been forced into hiding, locking themselves away from the dangers outside. The dangers lurking within the shadows.
Penny has spent her whole life locked away, safe within the walls of an old Manor House she shares with hundreds of others. Safe alongside her son. Her miracle.
But there are more monsters than the ones outside the house. Jealously watching Penny’s every move, Mary waits for her opportunity to strike. An opportunity she takes one autumn evening.
When Penny wakes that morning careening down the Death River, head throbbing on a leaking makeshift boat, she knows Mary is responsible. Mary, who has already ruined her life once before. Mary, who will not be rid of Penny that easily.
But in order to get revenge, Penny must first navigate the deadly forest she has spent her life hiding from. And Penny is not alone. Between the thick trees, inky eyes follow her as she moves. Their smiles growing.
The Log House is a character driven horror novel about revenge and survival. With a morally ambiguous main character, things lurking in the darkness and a story that spirals ever onwards towards the place it all began. The log house