It’s a valid question – why am I asking for $10K to write this book? Here’s what I responded, on ES:
That’s a reasonable question. The book reward levels are priced to cover my printing costs via an on-demand service I’ve used frequently – Lulu.com, based on rough specs of 250 pages, hard and soft-cover, full color. On-demand printing is by far the most expensive printing option, especially if print quality is important, which, especially in a book like this, it is.
Also, this is a crap-ton of work, but unlike most of my other projects, it’s work which profoundly affects a lot of people who’ve devoted a lot of their life’s work to the subject. One example – I’ve been talking via email to Trevor Lees for the last two weeks – often 2 or 3 emails a day, simply to get the story of Cedric Lynch, the Lynch motor, and all that spun out of that, straight. If I do this, and make it public, it needs to be correct and fair, and that takes time and work. I figure, with the amount of research I’ve already done, it’s going to take me 6 months to write it, and another 6 months to do the book design and production. That costs money.
Contributors to this book will get paid, including photos used, even if the photographer is an amateur (like SplinterOz and _Tango, and other friends), because I’m not going to anyone asking for free use of their hard work.
So, basically, at the $10k level, there’s a bit of margin there to cover me if I run over in costs, and if not, to cover the 6 months of time I’m taking away from my other freelance work to compile and write this. I figure for the soft-cover version (backer level of $75), it will cost me about $60 to print the book, so I have a $15 margin to cover my butt and pay for coffee. (I’m a freelance writer, just so you know. I drink a lot of coffee.)
If I get to a volume where it makes sense to do short-run printing, which is still pricey, but cheaper than on-demand, then yes, I’ll do a minimum run, distribute to my backers, and then try to sell the remainder through other channels. Then I can have more coffee. Or, at that point, maybe beer.
If demand is high enough, I would consider shopping it to a major publisher with the demand as proof of concept, but that would have to show interest outside of just the EV community. Also, it’s important that you understand this book is intended to be something that anybody interested in technology, innovation and the development of ideas can find interesting. I think it’s important to reach beyond the EV community and try to tell the story in a way, well, my wife, for example, could read and find interesting. (The woman who just figured I was building a Fembot in the basement, and, when I showed her the R5e commented, “Oh, you got another bike? I like the color.” )
For a taste of what i mean, check out Bottled Lightning and The Powerhouse – two recent books that are fascinating reads, and are significant beyond the scope of their subject matter.
And a huge THANKS to everybody who’s backed the project so far!
Right now we’re at nearly 2/3s funding – almost $6600, and 11 days to go. Have you ordered your book yet? Go to Power in Flux: The History of Electric Motorcycles to do it now!