Manuscript Monday: Crowdfunding And A New Project

One thing we love about the writing community is, well, the community.  90% of authors we come across are extremely helpful and supportive of their fellow authors, indie publishing houses (even if we don’t cater to their writing style, per say), and their fans.

We love the true camaraderie and friendships that are built everyday and almost every time we log in to any platform of social media.

Over  a year ago, when Pen Name Publishing was just a faint thought, we found an amazing platform called PubSlush.  PubSlush is the Kickstarter for the literary world.  It gives all authors and fans of writing to support projects and see them through to publishing.  In that year, it has since expanded to now include publisher exclusive pages where we can build a community of crowd funding to support small projects, large projects, any literary style project, and thus, expand our potential and ensure that projects we might support but are iffy about their mainstream potential start of strong.

When you sit back and look at the platform, what it creates is something amazing for all indie writers and boutique/independent publishers.

We plan to take advantage of this for quite a bit of future projects, in particular, charity projects.  We love philanthropy and when people use their writing to do good.  As a matter of fact, one of our largest reasons for starting was to use our author’s words to impact social stigmas and norms and to help raise voices that challenge society.

We have just started our first Pubslush campaign and it is one that we are very passionate about.

Back in 2011, our Editor in Chief started on a journey known as The Common Thread Collective.  After working in various aspects of fashion for ten years, she found that many aspects of fashion were very cruel but knew deep down that with the right chance, fashion could be uplifting and create positive social change.  She set of for India and then later to Uganda where the first program plant was placed into a small village at the end of the black top, in the hillside northwest of Kampala.

After living in the village with little electricity, no running water, and getting to know the program participants on a personal level, she came up with the idea to create a cookbook to help raise awareness to the program and help raise additional funds to keep the lunch and sanitation programs running.

A full day cookout with a trunk full of local food was scheduled.  Cooking in a remote Ugandan village consists of  using terra-cotta pots, charcoal, and brick stoves with wood burning fire.  It also takes hours to make a single dish.  With 30 women, 10 pots, 2 fires, and an extra last-minute attempt at making a fire pit, the dinner was completed in 7.5 hours and fed 75 people.  Photographs were taken, food was eaten, and all were happy.  Well, almost all.  On the flight back home to the United States for the holidays, Dionne found that most of her photos had gotten lost due to a corrupted file and a dying MacBook.

She salvaged what she could and using an online company that allowed for self-publishing, created the first cookbook in February of this year.

We decided that we were going to pick up the cookbook and put it into our catalogue, giving 80% of royalties back to the organization, and giving the book a wider reach in its global distribution.  The only problem is that many of the photographs still inside the book are truly not proper resolution and the photography needs to be reshot in a manner that will appeal to people wanting to buy a cookbook.

Through this PubSlush campaign, we aim to raise a minimum of $2500 to help with costs in Uganda to rephotograph the recipes, the cooking process, and the finished product.  We also want to gift those who cook with us bags of rice, sugar, and oil.  85% of our production costs in completing the book are donated, and team members going to Uganda will pay for their own transport and visas to country.  How we plan to use the money is explained in the PubSlush campaign, but it’s basically for in country expenses like car rental, petrol, food, charcoal, clean water, rental in a guest house (cheaper than a hotel and much cooler with people from all over the world), and security during the trip.

The Common Thread Collective is a system of job skill training and community centers that offer free courses in fashion design, patternmaking, sewing and tailoring, embroidery, business, and more.  Many of the women were forced out of school in the third grade and almost all have ties to prostitution.  The village The CTC works in was decimated during The War of the Bush, victims of tribal and political genocide, and has had a tough time recovering.  Still, the spirits are high, the will and want to learn is strong, and the women amazing.  The skills they learn are extremely in demand in developing countries, especially countries with no in-border manufacturing that rely on foreign donations and second hand clothing.

Not only do the ladies learn these skills, they also learn business through financial coaches, sit in health and sanitation/hygiene classes, sexual health and reproduction classes, have access to a hot lunch at the center, clean water, and health care.  Many of the women came to the program not being able to hold a pencil, not knowing how to use scissors, etc, and are now experts at embroidery  and are creating beautiful projects that surprise us every time we see them.

The program is ran on ground by Ugandan women and the foreign involvement is very limited as the goal is not to change their culture or ideals of what is an abundant life, but rather, provide economic and income opportunities that improve their life within their culture and familiarity.

The Cookbook will feature 50 recipes from the village ranging from vegetable dishes to meat and fish stews to desserts and chai’s.  The best part is the royalties from the book go back to the program to help support the lunch program, clean water, and continue with the sanitation and hygiene courses.

Our overall expense to complete the cookbook would be around $12,000.  We are so fortunate to have most of the needed work to make the book a reality donated already, and are reaching out to our friends and reading family to help us raise at least $2500 in the next 45 days to help with the in country costs, food costs, security expense, and in country transportation.  We are also donating 5% of contributions to the PubSlush literacy campaign for children – your donation supports two great causes at once!

Will you join with us to make this project a reality and bring it back to audiences in the quality it deserves?  Every little bit helps.  If 250 people throw us 10 bones, we’ll make our goal!  We think this can be done.

Even if you can’t donate yourself, you can share our mission through this blog post, the PubSlushcampaign page, follow The Common Thread Collective on Twitter – @comthrdcoll, etc.  Every share counts as well!

One more time, here is the link for the Pubslush Campaign:

Cheers friends and thank you for being on this journey with us.


The Pen Name Publishing Crew


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