The People’s Republic of Helena – A Kickstarter Manifesto

I met Jim Squires (real name: Jim Squires) a few years ago at a comic book store on Queen Street in Toronto. I was searching for one of the last issues I was missing from Warren Ellis’ Authority — I was going through my “Hey, let’s try bookbinding” phase, and I was trying to get the complete series. I caught Jim looking down my top and gave him a sly smile, which caused him to turn an adorable shade of cherry red. In his defence, I was wearing a shirt with the provocative caption THESE BOOBS ARE MADE FOR WATCHING printed on it (no, seriously — I had it custom made), so I didn’t hold it against him. He only wishes I had. This was back before Mrs. Jim was in the picture of course, and I swear, nothing happened between us (you really don’t want to get on Mrs. Jim’s bad side, darlings).

We got to talking and realized we knew some of the same people, and suddenly, I had an adjoining ring on my admittedly less than Olympian social circle. (Sorry, darlings, just trying to be topical.) We kept in touch, running into each other from time to time, both of us leading busy lives — me working on a career in self-pity and aimless wandering, while he somehow worked his way up to a job as the editor of a successful gaming website. Or gamer website. A website dedicated to people who play and develop video games.

Honestly, darlings, he’s tried to explain it to me, but my knowledge of gaming begins and ends with writing in extra zeroes on the $1 bills in Monopoly, ’cause who cares if you pay $5 or $6 dollars rent on Baltic? Or maybe that’s just the Canadian in me — there’s a reason we got rid of the penny, you know.

The fact of the matter is, he reviews and promotes things for a living. And like me, when he loves something, he’s passionate about it. Which brings me to the actual topic of this post.

Jim is passionate about my writing, and he has decided that I’m not a big enough dreamer; that my writing deserves a bigger audience than I’m able to reach with my pathetic marketing and sales skills. So he’s launched a Kickstarter campaign, not to try to make me a zillion dollars (we’re nowhere near there yet, darlings) but to kickstart my writing career by trying to raise the funds necessary to do proper promotion. That means review copies, advertising, hitting the pavement, kissing hands and shaking babies — that sort of thing.

Now, one thing you should know — that’s how I feel about this. I am terribly grateful to Jim for wanting to get behind me like this. I simply don’t have the time, energy, or know-how to be both writer and publisher. And I’m not looking to set up a cottage industry. It’s not my intention to set up shop and sell my books from home. No, my goal is to get my writing into the hands of those with deeper pockets than I, who are willing to publish my work in the traditional way before all of the bookstores close forever.

So this isn’t me turning into Salespitch Helena. I really hate selling. When I was younger, I had the vile misfortune to work in a call centre, selling everything from tickets to the circus to long distance plans to pantyhose of the month. Yes, you may have received a call from me. “Hi, this is Helena calling on behalf of Bell Canada. Is Mr….. oh, shit, really? (sigh) Is Mr. Penis available?”

If that was you, I’m terribly sorry I didn’t pronounce it Pay-Nee like you screamed at me, but honestly, darling, no matter how you say it, your last name is gravely unfortunate.

I never did stoop to “Hi, (moan) this is Helena (sigh)… what are you wearing, big boy?” But I did cross ethical lines I hope to never cross again.

Which is to say that I’m not trying to sell you anything. I’m asking for your help. If you were already thinking of buying my book, whether in e-book format or softcover, then nothing is really going to change. In fact, some of you have asked me about getting autographed copies, or pre-ordering — well, this should answer those questions. This Kickstarter campaign is the only viable method I have of making it possible for me to ship out personalized copies. This is an exclusive way to get something special — and I’ve got some surprises in store as well. I’m asking you to be a part of something exciting with me, so that if I’m successful, you can take pride in it as well.

I’m asking you to take a look at what Jim has to say (and try not to get choked up like I did) and do what you were already planning to do. If that is nothing, then all I can say is thanks for listening. But, buying my book is not all you can do — just pass this on. Spread the word, and maybe it gets into the right hands — hands that can grab a hold of me and put my book in the spotlight, where I honestly think it deserves to be.

Thank you for choosing Helena Hann-Basquiat for your favourite dilettante, darlings.  I’m just going to put you on hold now and grab my supervisor for verification. This call may be recorded for quality purposes.



43 responses to “The People’s Republic of Helena – A Kickstarter Manifesto

  1. Reblogged this on DCTdesigns Creative Canvas and commented:
    I’ve reblogged yet again. This time in support of a fellow artist, writer I adore. I am passionate about the art of creation and as creatives I think we need to support one another. Like I’ve said many times I’m a creativity junkie, the founding member of AAAA- Alliance of Artists Addicted to Alliteration. It’s a working title. Anyway I digress.

    If we can’t be passionate and raise one another up then what do we have? So please check out Helena’s kickstarter program and support her in any way you can. I plan to.

  2. Ah! Toronto, eh? <—-My Canadian is showing. My hometown. Born and raised. And yes, getting through with our fidgety and fudgety mayor. That just about seals it, my friend. I will be venturing off to your off venture (sorry – it's one of those day) and sally forth up the digital counter to put in my sheckles. Frankly, I haven't seen a whole lot of the blog, but from what I have seen so far and of your style, I'm all in. Help a fellow Canuck and all type of thing.

    Next time you're in the hood, look for the guy riding his bike on the Danforth in the middle of the latest snow storm. That's me.

    Gonna to T Ho's and gets me a double double with a maple glazed in yer honour (Cdn spelling).

    Wonderful news!

  3. Reblogged this on 1WriteWay and commented:
    I’m very pleased to reblog this post from Helena Hann-Basquiat, indeed my favorite dilettante, someone who grows dearer to me with each passing day. Give her Kickstarter program a look and then give her Kickstarter program some support!

  4. Reblogged this on Freya Writes… and commented:
    I was lucky enough to be asked to take part in the grand reveal of our favourite dilettante’s new book cover design – so I am showing my commitment to her cause and reblogging the next part of her venture into the world of publishing. Good luck, Helena – I’ll be purchasing! 🙂

  5. Reblogged this on Color me in Cyanide and Cherry and commented:
    Wether you missed the cover reveal, or fell in love with it, here is a chance to join Helena’s wonderful journey and be a part of the creation of her book.
    Follow the link to a yet another awesome story, yet another dream thread and be the part of fireworks when it comes true, because it never ends when it’s about Helena and maybe, this will be jsut what you need to kickstart your own inspiration!

  6. Did you really get rid of the penny?

    I was a telemarketer too, will our similarities never end?

    Going on Kickstarter for sure. You’re too good to be true.

  7. Pingback: The People’s Republic of Helena – A Kickstarter Manifesto | 1WriteWay·

  8. I think the goal here is great, by the way. You should absolutely be aiming to get into indie book shops and such. You should organise a little book launch in one of your local cafes or libraries too.

  9. Reblogged this on Tip of My Tongue and commented:

    I just backed this on Kickstarter – Helena is an AMAZING writer, and I really really really want a softcover copy of her book. If you like good music, zombies, heartbreak, and/or the idea of the sassiest aunt/niece duo imaginable, you should back this project. Even a dollar will help! (And it’s in Canadian dollars… how exotic!)

  10. Pingback: Living Musically – Yesterdays Edition | The D/A Dialogues·

    • That’s just what J.K. Rowling told me last week, darling — seems you’re not the only one late to the party.
      Oh, sorry… I’m in dreamland again. I’m glad you’re here now, that’s what matters!

  11. Helena, I’m with you. I think your writing needs a wider audience. And I think you are making a blueprint here with what your doing for other writers to follow. So many of us don’t have any idea where to begin with a book (e or otherwise) And it’s scary too to think you’ll be putting yourself out there for public consumption and what if it falls on deaf eyes? I hope you’ll post the steps you are following someday! Btw, just read your author’s page! HA! Hilariously good!

  12. Reblogged this on Linda Vernon Humor and commented:
    Welcome Dear Readers! Today, I want to reblog this book publishing manifesto by Helena Hann-Basquiat who will soon be releasing a book of collected blog posts entitled Helena Hann-Basquiat’s Memiors of a Dilettante Volume One explaining just how she is taking steps to reach a wider audience for her writing. I think you’ll find it as interesting and entertaining and I did.

  13. Pingback: A Very Unwelcome Swamp | Being the Memoirs of Helena Hann-Basquiat, Dilettante.·

  14. Pingback: The People’s Republic of Helena – A Kickstarter Manifesto | The Literary Syndicate·

  15. Pingback: Banshee – Friday Fictioneers | Being the Memoirs of Helena Hann-Basquiat, Dilettante.·

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  17. Pingback: Blog Tour Interview: My Writing Process | Tales from the Motherland·

  18. Pingback: Crazy Helena’s 24 Hour March Madness Event (AKA – This Baby’s Coming Whether You Like it or Not!) | Being the Memoirs of Helena Hann-Basquiat, Dilettante.·

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