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September 2013
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Kicking Into Gear for Strength of Wild Horses

Yesterday I got an email with all the storyboards for Strength of Wild Horses. (The sequel to my picture book Hold on to Your Horses.) Once again Angela has created vibrant images which capture the story. They’re only sketches with words pasted on the top, but they let me really see how the completed book will look. I fired back a happy email to say they were delightful. The response let me know that once I approve these sketches, we’re only about two weeks (or less) away from me having completed artwork in my hands. Eeep. I mean Yay, because I am so excited for this book to be real, but it moves me from calmly waiting for art to be done into the part where I have to step up and make the project happen. In the next weeks I have to assemble a full Kickstarter campaign. I’ll have to run it. And I’ll get to ride the emotional roller coaster of watching it fund or fail.

This morning I sat down and carefully looked through the sketches with a critical eye. I approved almost all of them. There are a couple of pages where the words and pictures are not quite working together the way that they need to be. So Angela will give me new sketches for those. In the meantime, I’m beginning to take steps to run and promote the Kickstarter. I dusted off the preliminary page I created last spring. I need to do a lot more with it. Since the thought of shooting a video felt too scary (and I really ought to wait until I have some final art for it anyway) I went over to MailChimp and set up a mailing list. Now anyone who wants updates and press releases from me can go sign up. I promise not to be spammy, though I’ll definitely be sending email about the Kickstarter when it goes live. At some point later this week I’ll figure out how to put a link to the sign up in one of my blog sidebars. Probably to the right, where I list my twitter handles and social media groups. There is also the Hold on to Your Horses Facebook page, which will host many announcements for the coming Kickstarter and also currently has a sneak preview sketch.

It is always tricky to balance a promotional push without being annoying. I can feel like I’m shouting out to everyone, I can be a nuisance to some people, and there will still be people who come to me weeks later and say “How come I didn’t know about this?” I shall endeavor to do as much as I can to make sure that my social media announcements are in themselves somewhat interesting rather than just announcements and begging.

The most important thing for me to remember as I begin the scary process of putting my project out there for others to support (or not) is how much I love and believe in this book. Creating Strength of Wild Horses is not about making money or even about furthering my writing career. It is about getting to be part of something amazing. I get to provide a forum for others to appreciate Angela’s amazing art. I get to put another story into the hands of families and children who fell in love with Amy through Hold on to Your Horses. And perhaps most of all, I get to see Amy come alive again with a brand new adventure where she learns what wild idea horses are good for.

Angela feels a little reluctant to release sketches because she wants her art complete before it goes out in the world, but I have permission to show a few. This is only a concept sketch, but it makes me very happy because I see Amy again and I realize how much I missed her.

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