VVV Trilogy was the earliest story I created that is still running in printed form today. It has had the rockiest history from iteration to iteration probably because it has outlasted various life-changes in terms of my current ability to write and my understanding of the world around me.
Nonetheless, this trilogy’s journey begins in November of 2010 when the first draft of the book, Violins is written during my very first NaNoWriMo challenge. The first version of the story was turned into a book only for my pure pleasure and joy and because [company] was offering a few comp copies to winners of the challenge. I figured I would give it a shot and when I had it in my hands I was very obviously overwhelmed with the insane feeling of holding my very first novel as a real physical thing in my hands.
This, folks, is where my obsession with books grew from a ‘reader’s love’ to a full blown obsession with tactile medium and being able to hold something physical to the words I was typing away into my computer. I started with small zines which eventually led me to editing and completely overhauling the original Violins into a newer form that I could start selling at my very first conventions in 2013. The book was not exactly a starring success in sales. But a much younger version of myself was eager and thrilled and ready and willing to impart my story onto others. I gave most of these copies away to very lucky (maybe unlucky) artists I wholly admired. (For the record a few folks have kept them and will often tease me about it which I wholly deserve haha)!
While this version was printed and sold for a couple of years (until about 2015) I was on-and-ff working on two other stories I temporarily called Fiddles (currently Violas) and Cellos (currently Violoncellos). The former iteration pretty much stayed the same. Writing the main character (Oliver’s) backstory was something that was already pretty planned out from the get-go even for Violins to figure out the character’s, well, character! The biggest change for this story was the title from Fiddles to Violas and the main reasoning behind this change was to have the three titles match in terms of stringed instrument as well as alliteration.
The latter of these two stories was… difficult. I re-wrote Cellos in its entirety twice before I set the story aside for a future-me to deal with.
This brings us to the fact that not only was VVV Trilogy my first successful NaNoWriMo challenge but it was also my first crowdfunding campaign. Which is to say that this project from here on was a comedy of errors.
The first problem was that the campaign’s goal was set far too high. In hindsight I am sincerely glad that the initial goal did not fund as I would still be left with several boxes upon boxes of the project sitting in my parents’ home. For the sake of keeping this whole thing under control, here is an overview of the things that went completely wrong with this projects campaign and fulfillment process (in the hopes that you may learn to not do the same thing that I did…):
- The project originally launched in October but because I had considered printing about 500 copies of each book (rather than a much smarter 100-300 range for a first project) my goal was far too high and had to be relaunched, with a better quote and a new goal.
- I had no marketing, advertising, nothing prepared. Just me and my very very minuscule following in the hopes and fear this project would fund (it was VERY LUCKY that my parents wanted to help with this project financially because it would not have funded otherwise).
- I was paying for an editor I hadn’t really tried out before and while she was very very sweet, the editing was inconsistent…
- Only the Violins manuscript was completed by this time which meant that my project fulfillment kept being pushed back by the fact that writing two novels and illustrating all three may have been a bit overkill for the time I estimated.
- I had absolutely 0 knowledge of the program I was using to create the pre-press files for the project and VERY QUICKLY learned how to hammer out the basics… and then format three entire books.
- With the printer I chose for the project I had initially quote for UV spot gloss on black covers which was something they could do at the time I quoted them but in the span of my creating the books they were no longer working with UV spot gloss. I had to redesign all three covers.
- Finally, and this one smarted the most but I was very very fortunate to have had a part-time job with ample shifts to cover shipping costs, I completely neglected the costs of shipping in the initial calculations of the project. Luckily I had only 80 backers and it was well within my ability to do it.
After all of this, VVV Trilogy was successfully fulfilled by November 2017. A full year after the initial Kickstarter, a few months past my estimated shipping date. I was glad for my amazing backers on this project as they were very patient and showed a lot of support on the project updates.
While a lot of things went wrong for this particular story and this particular project, the final outcome, all things considered, is definitely an improvement on the original story.
Here’s what the books look like now!