Speechless

And you know that doesn't happen often.

As of this writing, the Kickstarter is at $1,195. My goal was $750, the bare minimum needed to get me from St. Louis to New York and back. We hit that goal in 28 hours, and since then we're well on the way to doubling it.

Wow.

I never heard of "stretch goals" before last night, which shows what a newb I am at this. I thought about an expanded print run for the novella, doing it myself instead of contracting the rights to a publisher as planned. I thought about a voice-only reading of some of my work if we pass $1,500.

But the point of this thing was to get me to places I can't usually go, meet the readers who want me to come to their city. Sure, it's good to sell books while I'm there... but how much better to meet people face to face, talk with them and get to know them? After all, they've been forking over their cash for my books for ten years now. I want to say thank you in person.

And so that seems the most appropriate stretch goal.

Several people have asked me about visiting their hometowns. New Orleans. California. New England. Seattle. These places are too far for my route to stretch and still finish in ten days. But that's why God invented airplanes.

Paying full price, including airfare, rental car and hotel, it would cost the following amount for me to visit these places:

• New Orleans, $625 by air, $550 by rental car (with an extra day in Memphis).
• Seattle, $725.
• Boston, $905 (ouch).
• California, San Francisco/Merced/Los Angeles $530. 

All this assumes I don't eat, of course. Well, I am trying to lose weight...

As you can see, it would be difficult to sell enough books in a weekend to cover these costs. That's why I've never done them. Costs can be reduced if I know someone in town willing to put me up, or if the city has sufficient public transportation that I don't have to rent a car and figure out Boston traffic. Yikes. California is a bargain because I have family all over that state, saving me a potential $470 car rental fee. Double yikes.

But if we get enough extra on the Kickstarter, they become possible. I call them bungee trips - I fly in, speak at a library or a bookstore, do a coffee chat and fly out. I wrap vacation days around a weekend and I get my butt out there. Hey, if I rack up enough frequent flyer miles, that's another trip.

You've already exceeded my wildest imaginings on this thing. I am so excited about this adventure, and you're the ones sending me into it. I'd love to come see even more of you in the months ahead, and of course chronicle my adventures with posts and photos along the way.

And it looks like I better make that novella a damn good one.

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