SWMC/HBCS Frequently Asked Questions

This version of the FAQ reflects questions for all stages of the process, from recruitment through fulfillment, and is posted for archival and transparency purposes.

What is Duck Prints Press?

Duck Prints Press LLC is a small, independent press based in New York State, USA. Claire Houck (aka Nina Waters, aka unforth) is the managing member. A. L. Heard, Alessa Riel, P. J. Claremore, Pallas Perilous, and Owl Outerbridge have also contributed meaningfully to the conceptualization, development, and planning of these anthologies. The lead editors for these anthologies are A.L. Heard, Claire Houck, and Owl Outerbridge. Our founding vision is to work collaboratively with fanfiction authors who wish to publish their original work. You can learn more about us here.

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What are these anthologies?

These Anthologies are the newest collaborative project from Duck Prints Press. Two paired projects, both with a Masquerade theme, will tell innovative tales of mlm and wlw in masquerade-inspired worlds, settings, events, etc. The mlm anthology is entitled He Bears the Cape of Stars. The wlw anthology is entitled She Wears the Midnight Crown.

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Who is writing for these anthologies?

Possibly, YOU! Are you a fanfiction author? Have you written at least 10,000 words across at least 3 completed fanfiction stories? Have you dreamed of publishing original work, and being paid for your writing? We’ll be accepting author applications between December 15th and December 31st, 2021, OR until we receive 150 applications total. Read more about the requirements and expectations here.

You can read the contributor list here!

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Do I have to be a fanfiction author to apply?

Yes. There are many small presses in the world working with authors of many different kinds. Many limit the pool of people who are eligible to apply. Ours limits eligibility to authors who have written fanfiction. If you’re not a fanfiction author, we’ll not consider your application. You may also have published original works, either traditionally or by self-publication, but we will only consider applicants who meet the stated minimum fanfiction-related requirements.

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What is the timeline for this project?

You can see the schedule here.

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Will everyone who applies to contribute be accepted? How will contributors be selected?

Not all applicants will be accepted. 

There are two ways we will select applicants.

For people who have never written for the Press before: New applicants will be asked to submit a work sample of up to 2,000 words. These samples will be assigned a random number and reviewed by our management team. Based on that review, we will select 20 authors—10 for the mlm anthology, 10 for the wlw anthology. If we have fewer qualified applicants than that, we will reopen applications until we have the necessary number. Authors will be contacted on January 31st, 2022 and informed whether they’ve been accepted for inclusion in the anthology or if we’ve chosen not to work with them at this time. Rejected authors are encouraged to apply for future Duck Prints Press projects.

For people who written for the Press before: Interested authors who have contributed to Add Magic to Taste, And Seek (Not) to Alter Me, and/or written stories for our Patreon backers will be asked to submit a story pitch. We have reserved 16 slots for returning authors—8 in the mlm anthology, 8 in wlw anthology. We will anonymize the story pitches of returning authors, rate them, and invite those with the highest ratings to contribute to the anthologies. If we have fewer than 16 interested and qualified applicants, an leftover slots will revert to new authors, and we will be able to invite more than 20 new authors to contribute.

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I was involved in a previous Duck Prints Press Project and would like to apply to one of these anthologies. What should I do?

You should check your e-mail and/or look at the announcements on Discord! We are reserving 8 spots in each anthology to returning authors—people who contributed to Add Magic to Taste, those who contributed to And Seek (Not) to Alter Me, or those who have written one of our Patron-exclusive stories. You do not need to reapply with a full writing sample. If you have written for us, there will be a separate survey you can submit; you will only be asked for a story pitch. The link to this survey will only be posted in our Discord and e-mailed to qualified authors. Everyone else needs to apply using the regular form—even people who have been invited to our Discord, but who haven’t opted to write for us yet. If you’re confused about which link you should be using, please let us know, we’ll help!

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Do I have to write for a specific fandom, ship, kink, trope, etc, to be eligible to apply to these anthologies?

Not at all! As long as you meet the minimum requirements, are a fanwriter, and are prepared to write a new original story in line with the anthology theme, what fandoms/ships/etc. you’ve written for in the past are irrelevant to us. We’re not here to judge your taste or preferences, we just want to work with great writers.

You mentioned that selected authors will be partnered with another author—how will that work?

…good question! This is the first time we’re trying this, but our expectation is that we’ll partner contributors based on experience levels and on individual’s interest in having a partner—more experienced authors paired with less experienced ones, people who’ve worked with us before paired with people who haven’t worked with us before, and people who indicate they’re enthusiastic about having someone to support them will be paired with those enthusiastic about offering support. The two will assist each other through the process and will alpha- and beta-read for each other. By working together from story inception, the partners will be able to catch plot, pacing, or other story-related issues early, thereby minimizing the amount of work that will need to be done once stories are submitted to the editors. We strongly encourage authors to use Discord DMs for this process, though communicating through emails and/or through comments on documents would also be acceptable. Your stories should not be related—this is about helping catch story issues early on, not about literally collaborating to create stories! It’s mutual support rather than co-authoring. We’ll share more details on how this will work when we contact accepted authors.

Will authors be paid?

Yes. We are paying authors $0.01 USD per word, up to a total of $60 USD for a 6,000 word story. All authors will be required to sign a contract that outlines rights assignments, payment, copyright, and other legal issues. You can see a sample of that contract here.

Will story rights revert to the authors post-publication?

Absolutely. The contract outlines the following rights: Duck Prints Press will retain exclusive rights to the story in both print and e-book format for one year; print rights revert to the author after this period, and we retain only the right to continue to sell the e-book. Other rights, such as right of translation or right to record as an audio book, will remain with the author. If at some point in the future the Press wish to expand in those directions, we will contact authors, recruit those who are interested, and develop new contracts. We strongly encourage you to review the public/generic version of our author contract that we have posted here.

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Will contributors receive a copy of the anthology they contribute to?

Contributors will receive both anthologies for free in digital formats. We hope to add a stretch goal to help us afford to send the contributors physical copies as well; we’ll have more information on budgeting and stretch goals when it’s closer to the crowdfunding campaign launch.

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Who are the people behind this project?

Please see our biographies page for more information about the people behind this project.

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How will these anthologies be sold?

We sold print copies of the books through a Seed & Spark crowdfunding campaign that concluded on July 15th, 2022. An “extras” sale may be held once all copies have shipped, if we have any extras available; alternatively, extras may be retained as prizes/extras for future campaigns. These anthologies will also be available for purchase in ePub, Mobi, and PDF formats on the Duck Prints Press website for as long as the publisher is in operation. 

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Where will net profits from anthology sales go?

If there are any net profits from these anthologies, they will be re-invested in Duck Prints Press to help us grow the business and to fund future projects.

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What formats will the anthologies be available in?

These anthologies will be available as a Digest Size (5.5” x 8.5”) trade paperback, an ePub, a MOBI, and a PDF.

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What extras and merchandise will be/were sold as part of the concluded crowdfunding campaign?

  • She Wears the Midnight Crown e-book
  • He Bears the Cape of Stars e-book
  • She Wears the Midnight Crown digest-size trade paperback book (5.5 in x 8.5 in/14 cm x 21.5 cm) (Printed by Mixam)
  • He Bears the Cape of Stars digest-size trade paperback book (5.5 in x 8.5 in/14 cm x 21.5 cm) (Printed by Mixam)
  • an 8 in x 10 in (20.5 cm x 25.5 cm) art print of She Wears the Midnight Crown‘s cover art, by Friendly Pigeon. (Printed by PrintKeg)
  • an 8 in x 10 in (20.5 cm x 25.5 cm) art print of He Bears the Cape of Stars‘s cover art, by Friendly Pigeon. (Printed by PrintKeg)
  • Die-cut Dux sticker, wlw edition (3 in x 2.75 in/7.5 cm x 7 cm). Created by Alessa Riel. (Printed by Sticker Ninja)
  • Die-cut Dux sticker, mlm edition (3 in x 2.75 in/7.5 cm x 7 cm). Created by Alessa Riel. (Printed by Sticker Ninja)
  • a high-gloss, tasseled, two-sided 2 in x 7.25 in (5 cm x 18.5 cm) bookmark, wlw edition, with art by Pippin Peacock on the front and the signatures of our authors on the back. (Printed by UPrinting)
  • a high-gloss, tasseled, two-sided 2 in x 7.25 in (5 cm x 18.5 cm) bookmark, mlm edition, with art by Pippin Peacock on the front and the signatures of our authors on the back. (Printed by UPrinting)
  • two interlocking enamel pins, each approximately 2 in x 1 in (5 cm x 2.5 cm), with art by Miss Aceriee. (Cast by Alchemy)
  • a 4 in circular (10.25 cm) woven, iron-on patch (art and artist to be determined). (Woven by Alchemy)
  • red-strapped tote bag stamped with the Duck Prints Press logo created by Alessa Riel). (Customized by AnyPromo)
  • a custom candle, approximately 2 in (5 cm) tall and 2 in (5 cm) circular at the base, with the color and scent special-created for this collection by contributor Alec J. Marsh, owner of Speculative Wicktion.
  • charm bracelet, featuring seven charms (a book, a rainbow, a crown, a mask, a moon, a sun, and a star), hand-assembled by contributor and lead editor Nina Waters using decorative elements featured from multiple Etsy sellers.
  • a box of chocolates from Uncle Sam’s Candy.
  • a large rubber ducky (this one)
  • a 2 in (5 cm) globe bath bomb (one selected randomly from this collection, based on purchaser’s preference)
  • a lace rainbow mask (purchased from E-Bay)
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What purchase options will I have?

We’ll have 8 backer level options. Due to the way Seed & Spark structures campaigns, we will not be able to offer add-ons, and all shipping costs—domestic US or international—are included in the prices listed here. Prices are in USD.

  • Level 1: She Wears the Midnight Crown e-book OR He Bears the Cape of Stars e-book. Price: $10.
  • Level 2: She Wears the Midnight Crown e-book AND He Bears the Cape of Stars e-book. Price: $18.
  • Level 3: She Wears the Midnight Crown trade paperback book OR He Bears the Cape of Stars trade paperback book. Price: $30.
  • Level 4: She Wears the Midnight Crown trade paperback book AND He Bears the Cape of Stars trade paperback book. Price: $50.
  • Level 5: She Wears the Midnight Crown trade paperback book plus associated flat merchandise (bookmark, art print, sticker, pin) OR He Bears the Cape of Stars trade paperback book plus associated flat merchandise (bookmark, art print, sticker, pin). Price: $50.
  • Level 6: She Wears the Midnight Crown trade paperback book AND He Bears the Cape of Stars trade paperback book plus ALL flat merchandise (2 bookmarks, 2 art prints, 2 stickers, 2 pins). Price: $80.
  • Level 7: She Wears the Midnight Crown trade paperback book, He Bears the Cape of Stars trade paperback book, ALL flat merchandise (2 bookmarks, 2 art prints, 2 stickers, 2 pins), AND special merchandise (rainbow-strap tote bag, patch, candle). Price: $110.
  • Level 8: the Treat Yo’self Package—everything in Level 7, plus a hand-made charm bracelet, chocolate from Uncle Sam’s Chocolates, deluxe rubber ducky, bath bomb, and a lace rainbow mask. UNITED STATES DOMESTIC PURCHASES ONLY! Price: $150.
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What is the campaign’s funding goal? Are there any stretch goals?

Our funding goal is $12,500. This will produce all of the merchandise described above, pay our authors, cover shipping and processing fees, etc.

We do have stretch goals; primarily, they reflect our desire to pay our authors more than the 1 cent US per word minimum covered by our “base” budget.

  • $15,500: contributors get a raise! Authors will earn 2 cents US per word, to a maximum of $120 per story.
  • $17,500: we will commission two additional art pieces (artist to be determined) to contribute back cover art for each anthology. Backers at Level 4 or higher (levels that include the current art prints) will also receive one or both 8 in x 10 in art prints of these pieces, as appropriate (e.g., backers who purchase the wlw book + merch will only receive the wlw back cover print, etc.).
  • $20,500: contributors get a raise! Authors will earn 3 cents US per word, to a maximum of $180per story.
  • $23,500: contributors get a raise! Authors will earn 4 cents US per word, to a maximum of $240 per story.
  • $26,000: we will produce two additional pins featuring the wonderful artwork of Miss Aceriee. Backers at Level 4 or higher (levels that include the current enamel pins) will also receive one or both additional enamel pins, as appropriate (e.g., backers who purchase the wlw book + merch will only receive the additional wlw enamel pin, etc.)
  • $29,000: contributors get a raise! Authors will earn 5 cents US per word, to a maximum of $300 per story.
  • $32,000: contributors get a raise! Authors will earn 6 cents US per word, to a maximum of $360 per story.
  • $34,500: additional merchandise item to be determined (we’re considering postcards, key chains, a bonus sticker or two, etc.)
  • $37,500: contributors get a raise! Authors will earn 7 cents US per word, to a maximum of $420 per story.
  • $40,500: contributors get a raise! Authors will earn 8 cents US per word, to a maximum of $480 per story.
  • $43,000: additional merchandise item to be determined

Are there any add-ons being offered for this campaign? What are they?

Seed & Spark does not have the internal functionality to support selling add-ons during our campaign. However, we will offer backers the opportunities to buy some of the items we’ve previously had available as add-ons by purchasing them through our website with an exclusive backer-only discount code. We will be offering campaign-specific rates on our current catalog of e-books and shippable merchandise, and we’ll also have four of our rainbow Dux plushies hand-made by EmPower Fantasy Plush.

If you need a reminder, here are the deets on the Dux: a hand-made rainbow wing Dux plushie, soft and super huggable (but not meant as a child’s toy!), made by EmpowerFantasy Plush based on a pattern by cholyknight. The Dux plush is approximately 7 in (17.75 cm) tall and its adorable plush bottom is 5 in x 5 in (12.75 cm x 12.75 cm). Price: $35 plus shipping.

I’m interested in applying, but I want to know more about the possible tax and legal ramifications of being paid for these anthologies.

The tax and legal ramifications depend on where the author lives and what the laws are there. Note that we are neither tax professionals nor lawyers; this answer is not the equivalent of advice from a CPA or member of the bar. If you have concerns, we highly recommend that you contact a professional.

For authors in the US and/or authors who are US Citizens: Authors on this project are hired as Independent Contractors and are not employees. You can read more about the differences between independent contractors and employees, as defined by US federal law, here. As long as you earn under $600 US from Duck Prints Press within a year, neither you nor Duck Prints Press will need to report this earning to the IRS. If you earn more than that amount, we will file a 1099-Misc for you, and you’ll be required to report this income to the IRS. You can read more about the circumstances in which a 1099-Misc form is needed here—1099-Misc is the form applicable to independent contractors, and, as you can see on the IRS website, we will not meet the minimum threshold even if we hit our maximum funding goal. Further, the minimum for reporting your income to the US government is lower than the minimum for US to issue a 1099-Misc. We do not need to issue an 1099-Misc unless you earn more than $600, but you are expected to report income of $400 or greater.

For authors outside the US: From our end, we will not need to file a 1042-S or 1042-T unless you earn more than $600 US from us in a year (those are the applicable tax forms related to paying independent contractors who are neither US residents nor US citizens). If you live outside the US and are not a US citizen, we will only file this paperwork if you earn above the threshold, and you will have no tax obligation within the US regardless. However, other countries will have their own reporting requirements on income earned. The Press isn’t responsible for this reporting, as we don’t have operations in any country outside the US (we’d only have to pay taxes abroad if we had a physical presence there, such as an office or storefront). Provided you meet the definition of an independent contractor in your country (which you almost certainly will—we’ve checked over a dozen countries and they all have similar requirements) we recommend you research the earnings threshold in your country of residence. For example, in the US, the most an independent contractor can earn before they have to report their income to the government is US$400; in Canada, it’s CA$500. As failing to report your income could have legal consequences, it behooves you to please check. Many of the resources related to these topics aren’t available in English, so we’re not able to check for you!

Note that, regardless of which country you reside in, if you work for us as an independent contractor you will not qualify for the protections that apply to “workers.” For example, in the US that means that if you were injured as a result of working on these anthologies (…your desk collapses on you?) you wouldn’t qualify for Worker’s Compensation. It also means we don’t put money into Social Security on your behalf. You aren’t our employee, and we’re not your employer—you are an independent contractor, and we are the company contracting you, so you won’t qualify for many employee benefits or protections.

Because of local rules, we may not be able to hire people from some countries, but we will do our best to research and ensure that, from our end, all legal requirements are met. We hope not to have to turn anyone away based on their country of residence, but international law is extremely complicated…we’re doing our best!

We hope this helps clarify some basic questions regarding tax and legal issues related to this project. Feel free to contact us with questions, and if you have concerns, consult a professional.

Are there any issues related to international Intellectual Property rights that I should be aware of?

There are several international treaties and agreements in place that should protect both us and you. The most notable applicable ones are the Berne Convention and the Agreement of Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (or TRIPS). As long as your country has signed on to at least one of those agreements, we shouldn’t have any issues with the rights assignments outlined in the author contract. (List of countries that are part of the Berne Convention; list of countries that are part of the TRIPS Agreement). However, it wouldn’t hurt to familiarize yourself with the intellectual property laws in your home country to be sure that you’ve correctly protected your copyright and rights (for example, not every country automatically grants copyright to an author and you may need to register your copyright). We’re not lawyers and nothing we say here should be construed as legal advice—this is simply our understanding, based on the research we’ve done. If you have concerns about the rights assignments outlined in the author contract, you should consult a lawyer.

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I’ve created original characters who I’ve included in my fanfiction, or have written original works that I’ve shared that include my original characters—may I use those characters in my story for these anthologies?

No. We want all of these stories to be brand new, not based on any existing works that have been previously shared. If you’ve got a favorite original character (OC) you’ve designed but never disseminated, you are welcome to use those characters, but if the character has been featured in any existing work—either fanfiction or original fiction—please do not to use them for this project.

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These anthologies don’t sound like my cup of tea, but I’d potentially be interested in writing original stories inspired by different themes—will you be doing other anthologies in the future?

We absolutely will be! We’re currently aiming to publish 2 to 3 anthologies a year. Each will have a different theme. We’re a multi-genre publisher and open to all types of fiction (and to poetry and non-fiction!) so if this project isn’t your thing, it’s possible our next anthology will be! Our expectations for 2022 are that, in addition to these two anthologies, we will be doing one erotica anthology and a new anthology in our “Queer Fanworks Inspired By…” series. We encourage you to sign up for our mailing list if you’d like to get an e-mail when we’re next recruiting authors.

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What format should I use for the writing sample on the author application?

Our author application is a Google form and you’ll be asked to attach your file directly to the form (the form cannot accept a link). It’s set up to allow the following formats:

  • word documents (the Google upload form definitely works with .doc and .docx, and we think it will work for .rtf, .txt, and other common types of documents)
  • direct transfer from your Google drive—since the form is a Google form, it can link directly to your personal g-drive and you can add files from it.

Please let us know if you’ve got another format you’d like to use to submit, or if you have any trouble with adding your file, and we’ll try to troubleshoot the issue with you.

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I’m not 18 yet but I’d like to get involved. What are my options?

While we’re not able to work with individuals under 18 for multiple reasons, we absolutely want to encourage young writers. When you do turn 18, you’re immediately eligible, and we’d love to hear from you. We recommend you follow one (or more) of our social media accounts and/or sign up for our mailing list (you can find all our social media and our mailing list sign up on our Contacts Page). Also, we’d love for you to participate in some of our smaller events—for example, we host #drabbledaysaturday weekly on our Twitter. There’s no age restriction on that. Also, we often put out calls for writing questions and such on our Tumblr.  And keep writing! You’ll only improve in the meantime. We know how hard it is to wait, but don’t worry—when the time comes, we’ll still be here, and you’ll be ready.

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If I’m not accepted, may I tweak my submission piece and use it again when you next recruit authors for an anthology?

Absolutely! There’s no requirement that subsequent applications include a different writing sample. Further, once we’ve sent out rejection and acceptance letters, all applicants are invited to request copies of the rubrics we used to rate fics. If you’d like yours, we encourage you to ask for it and use it to refine and improve your story for the future!

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Do writing samples have to be written in standard US English? What about stories in the anthologies?

Writing samples can be in any English dialect—US English, British, Australian, AAVE, etc. The same rule applies to stories in our anthologies—as long as your story uses a specific dialect consistently and accurately, we are happy to have stories in multiple dialects in the same anthology. 

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What do you consider the “standard” tropes related to masquerade? What sorts of tropes would you like to see people subverting in their story pitches?

We’ve gotten this question a few times already, so wanted to add it to our FAQ ASAP. There are a number of tropes that are widely associated with masquerades, masks, disguises, hidden identities, and related concepts. Here’s an incomplete list of the ones we’d prefer that people subvert rather than “lean into.”

  • Mistaken identity
  • Miscommunication
  • Historical settings/Regency/Venice
  • Mardis Gras/Carnivale/Other related holidays
  • Masked crusaders (such as superheroes, the Scarlet Pimpernel, etc.)
  • Masquerade as an allusion to a hidden world/hidden society (eg, Vampire: The Masquerade)
  • For more ideas of directions we’d prefer people not go, TV Tropes has pages on “Masquerade” in the societal sense and “Masquerade Ball” in the more literal sense, which cover the basics.

To be clear, we’re not saying DON’T DO THE THING. We love masques and masks and masquerades, that’s why we’re doing these anthologies! What we ARE saying is—these are the “standard” associations with masquerade. If you’re thinking about going this route, read up on the tropes and pitch us a story that deliberately subverts the trope(s) you’re incorporating. Readers will expect stories that include a masquerade to go a certain way. Don’t go that way. Go a different way. And we don’t mean, like, M. Night Shyamalan “What a Twist!”—not something totally random that seems to come out of nowhere!—build a cool world or setting or plot that doesn’t do quite what we’d expect. And of course – make it queer!!!

We hope this helps!

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Does the writing sample have to relate to our story pitch and/or the anthology theme and/or which anthology we’re applying to?

The answer across the board is no. Writing samples are completely independent of your story pitch and this anthology. You may, if you want, submit a related sample, and we do encourage people to try to match “tone” to the kind of story they pitch to us, but there are no requirements in this regard. You can put in a writing sample featuring mlm or gen or whatnot and apply for the wlw anthology. You can submit a writing sample that’s pure fluff and pitch heavy angst. You can submit the clearest communication in the least secret society ever and pitch us miscommunication hidden society mystery. A good story is a good story; more than anything, we want to see what you consider to be your best work that you think will demonstrate that you deserve to write a story for our anthologies.

Do you work with Kickstarter? What is your current position on their decision to move to a block chain?

Yes, we have worked with Kickstarter – our first two projects were launched with them. And, in planning, we did plan this project as a Kickstarter campaign. They announced their decision to move to a block chain/cryptocurrency-esque model less than a week before we announced recruitment, and so we couldn’t change course quite that fast, but. We highly disapprove of this move on their part and we do not support it. Our next campaign with Kickstarter is launching too soon for us to change, and Kickstarter is still only in the planning stage for this change – we’re hoping they’ll change their minds – but if they do continue to implement this change, then no, we will not work with them going forward, and we will not launch the campaign for these books with them. Given how recent this change was, we haven’t yet done the necessary research to decide which platform we’ll use instead, but Indiegogo is our most likely choice.

tl:dr: we are virulently opposed to this switch and we will never work with Kickstarter again after our imminent campaign if they continue in this direction.

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