Even if creators have work out with publishers, labels, or studios, the allure of self-releasing something is always there, if only for the novelty of trying something new. It can be a kind of grand experiement to see if you can do what you've always done...only entirely differently. That's what Kate Milford is doing with her newest novella, The Kairos Mechanism. Though she's already the author of the really exceptional The Boneshaker and has another book, The Broken Lands, coming out this fall, Milford is diving headfirst into the world of self-publishing, and it looks like it'll pay off.
Milford is tying the novella into the world of her full-length books, wisely drawing in the existing audience she already has. There will be three versions of the novella: a paperback, printed through the Espresso Book Machine; an eBook version through Google Play; and an illustrated, pay-what-you-want version through her own site. The last edition is, to me, the coolest, as ten teens are drawing a single image that will be included in the book. Not only is Milford furthering her own creative endeavors, she's allowing young people to build on their dreams as well. Even better, perhaps, is that she's paying them, so they're getting rewarded in more ways than one.
Pledging for this campaign can get you some really cool stuff. Most of them consist of various print/eBook combinations of The Kairos Mechanism and Milford's existing titles. You can also get some neat personal items like bookmarks and thank you notes. Then things get interesting, with what Milford describes as "a strange but fascinating bit of ephemera that will surprise and delight you," which, admit it, sounds pretty awesome. She'll even talk, in Skype or in person, the budding young authors at a school or library. The cherry on top, though, is helping choose what story gets written next, and having a character named after you.
The Kairos Mechanism will definitely be an interesting experiment to see how the world of traditional and self-publishing coexist. It seems likely that there can be a happy harmony between the two, helping spur on sales of each other. Only time will tell - the campaign ends, as of this writing, in just over a month - but regardless, it should be a fun ride.