Kickstarter Update: July 2013

Last year we used Kickstarter to raise the necessary funds for two anthologies: FISH and Bibliotheca Fantastica. As a stretch goal, we funded the first year of a speculative fiction anthology series. As a single mom going through a divorce and a move but still committed to publishing amazing short fiction, Kickstarter was a lifesaver. My small staff and I, all of us volunteers, were thrilled to be able to stay in business, and set out to get our titles into production.

A month after the Kickstarter ended, someone no longer associated with Dagan Books removed the money from our account. While I went through the legal process, I wasn’t able to talk about the situation publicly, which left me in the position of having to pursue the missing funds, continue to push forward with our publishing schedule, and still create/mail all of the rewards you all deserved for your support. Though it took all year, Dagan Books stayed in business, and the titles we promised have now been published.

Though we ultimately settled the court case, it’s unlikely that we’ll ever see that money again. We have taken steps to protect Dagan Books from anything like this happening in the future–including filing for status as a Limited Liability Company (which is why our company name is now Dagan Books, LLC), and opening business accounts at a new bank, with very limited access.

As hard as it has been to get through this year, we never forgot our backers. We’ve been operating in debt this whole time, which means that any money which does come in goes straight back to paying bills. We’ve paid our FISH contributors now, FISH and Bibliotheca Fantastica are out, and our first novella, KV Taylor’s Inedible Sins, has been published–all out of my pocket. Still to go are paying the contributors for BF, printing and shipping the physical books to contributors, and the print rewards from our Kickstarter. No matter how long it takes, we will fulfill every one of the rewards we promised.

I am sorry that it’s taken this long to get where we are, with so much work left to do. I am also sorry that I couldn’t update you on this sooner; it was never my intention to make you feel as if we wouldn’t complete your rewards, but there was a lot I couldn’t say.

If you ordered ebooks from us, those have gone out as the books have been ready, and will continue to go out on time.

If you ordered print books or other print rewards from us, you can do one of two things:

1) You can let us know that you still want the print book(s), give us an updated mailing address, and be patient–we will get you your books as soon as possible. Or,

2) You can trade in that reward for an ebook bundle of the same value (which means getting more titles, since they don’t cost as much as print books do). We can offer epub, mobie, and PDF formats of any title, including subscriptions to our novella series.

Also, our updated publishing schedule no longer includes Wendy Wagner’s Dark Depths. Our push to focus on short fiction intersected perfectly with her desire to pull the book, since she felt it no longer reflected her current writing style and skill. Though I enjoyed Dark Depths, I agree that Wagner has only improved since she began writing it, and her current work is amazing. If you ordered a copy of that title and would like to trade it for any of our other current (or upcoming) titles, or a subscription to our novella series, please let me know.

The more backers switch to the digital rewards, the faster we can get caught up and back on track, so we appreciate anyone who wants to make that trade.

If you have read any of our titles, and want to review them–anywhere is fine (including your own website, Facebook, Amazon, Goodreads, etc)–please do. We’re very proud of the stories we’ve published and your good review might encourage others to try them as well. You can find links to buy all of our titles here: if you want to share it.

I also want to thank Don Pizarro and KV Taylor, for editing Dagan anthologies this year; Kelly C. Stiles and Andrew Kelly for volunteering as slush readers and, later, acquisitions editors; Galen Dara, who has always given us the most gorgeous art; all of our authors, who were understanding about delays; and our readers, who have loved the books we finally did produce.

Thank you for your support last year, and for your patience since then. If you want to update your information, change your reward, or ask any questions, please contact me at

— Carrie Cuinn, Publisher

(Cross-posted to Kickstarter)

Thank You, Kickstarter Backers

In all, 135 people purchased our books through our first Kickstarter campaign. Though a few wished to remain anonymous, most allowed us to create this public notice of their support. In alphabetical order, here are those backers:

A. M. Douville
Adam Israel
Alan Smale
Alan Yee
Alex Shvartsman
Alicia Cole
Allen Salyer
Anatoly Belilovsky
Andrew Kelly
Andrew Penn Romine
Barbora Lyčková
Bear Weiter
Brad Dancer
Brian White
C.C. Finlay
Chadwick Ginther
Christopher ‘Vulpine’ Kalley
Christopher “Halaku” Buser
Christopher Long
Crossed Genres Publications
Damien Patrick Williams
Damien Walters Grintalis
Darrin Fesperman
David Eggerschwiler
David Garrett
Denise Gorse
Django O Gato
Djibril al-Ayad
Donna Hutt Stapfer Bell
Dustin Fickle
E. Kristin Anderson
Elizabeth Bourne
Emilie Nouveau
Eric Schneider
Evaristo Ramos, Jr.
Flitter Kitten
Fran Wilde
Galen Dara
George S. Walker
Gillian Bradford
Graham Storrs
Gwen Perkins
H. Peter & April L’Orange
Helen Michaud
Ian McHugh
Ian Mond
Jamie Lackey
Jean & Rushon
Jeff Matthews
Jeffrey Scott Petersen
Jennifer Day
Jenny Graver
Jett Pontier
Jim Angell
Jimmy George
John Springer
Jon & Dava
Jon Carroll Thomas
Julie Kangas
Kaila Yee
Kanane L. Jones
Karin Montemayor
Kelly C. Stiles
Kelly V. Rothstein
Kristin Chan
Kristy Buzbee
Lady Sacbutt
Leon Higley
Lilly Ibelo
Loki Carbis
Lucas K. Law
M. Egmond
Magda Knight
Margaret St. John
Matt Marovich
Matthew Carpenter
Mekenzie Larsen
Mel Obedoza
Michael Caldwell
Michael Cummings
Michael Griffin
Michael Haynes
Michael Wasserman
Michelle Goldsmith
Mike Allen
Mike Janson
Nathan Olmstead
Paul Hachmann
Paul Weimer
R.S. Hunter
Randy Cole
Ray Vukcevich
Rebecca Rahne
Richard Baron
Richard Leaver
Roger Bohn
Roo Wetzel
Rose Fox
Rrain Prior
Ryan Durney Illustration / Unknown Tome
Saira Ali
Samantha Brock
Sarah Page
Scott Gable
Shay Darrach
Simo Muinonen
Stephanie Nicole Noell
Steve Lickman
Tracie McBride
Tristan J Tarwater
Vashti Ross
Wednesday Lee Friday
William Groenendijk
William Renehan, Editorial Director, Dark Hall Press
Yaron Davidson
Yarrow Paisley

To everyone who appears here, and the ones who don’t, and everyone else who helped us to spread the word, thank you.

– Carrie Cuinn, Publisher

Post-Kickstarter Update and Cthulhurotica News

Thank you to all of you who contributed to our Kickstarter and ordered (or preordered) our books and art. We’re going to start rolling out the rewards that are ready (art, plus book orders of Cthulhurotica and IN SITU), but before that those who contributed will receive a “backer survey” in their email asking how they’d like your name to be spelled on our official THANK YOU page on our website. It will also ask how they’d like to get their rewards, and in some cases, which item they chose.

Please fill that out and return it as soon as possible.

If you’re wondering why this update took a few days to assemble …

The day after our Kickstarter ended, the ladies of Vaginal Fantasy (a book club hosted by Geek and Sundry) chose Cthulhurotica as their official book pick for September. This means that Felicia Day, Veronica Belmon t, Bonnie Burton and Kiala Kazebee will be reading our book this month, and discussing it with their viewers and fans on September 25 at 8pm Pacific time via a live chat.

The announcement was a surprise to us, and we’ve spent the last few days handling orders, answering emails, and being giddy.

If you’d like to know more, or get in on the Goodreads forum discussions, please see our blog post about it here:

We’ll be in touch soon!

Carrie Cuinn, Publisher

Kickstarter: Successful!

As of this morning, our Kickstarter campaign was successfully completed. They’ll hold on to the funds for two weeks, and then it takes another week for us to get the money, but in the meantime we’ll be working on projects.

Before any of that happens, though:

THANK YOU. Without your support this would not have been possible. We appreciate you, so much.

– Carrie Cuinn, Publisher

Kickstarter Update: Final Stretch Goal and a (different) Special Reward

We did it! We raised enough to produce a series of four novellas in 2013. Thank you, so much, for all of your support.

We have, as of this moment, 69 hours left in our Kickstarter, and we want to use that time to fund more art. More interior art in our books, more money to our artists. If you haven’t ordered through our Kickstarter yet, and would like to support our art and artists, please do so now.

To celebrate the last days of our Kickstarter, our own Kelly Stiles (author and slush reader) has put together a beautiful hand-made journal….

Edited to add: That reward was claimed within 10 minutes. So here’s another one – how would you like to be written into a story by author and editor Carrie Cuinn? For an example of that, see her story “Mrs. Henderson’s Cemetery Dance” available to read free from Red Penny Papers.

For only $100 each, two lucky people will be forever immortalized in fiction. It could be you.

To get this unique reward, or to order any of our books and art, act fast. The clock is ticking down …

Pledge to our Kickstarter here

Why Novellas Matter

A novella is a long story, much longer than the 5000 to 8000 word short stories published in magazines across all genres. At the same time, it’s shorter than a novel, less than half the length (sometimes only a third). It’s an in-between story, not quite either of the two things readers are most used to reading. It’s been defined as being between 17,500 and 40,000 words*, which tells you about how long it might be, but not, really, what it is.

“The beauty of the novella is that is eludes definition. Which, when you think about it, is what makes art art rather than a product. Let’s embrace that.” – Michael Nye

Perhaps it’s not definable as a specific thing so much as a range that a certain kind of story falls into. But if we can’t nail down hard and fast rules about what a novella is, what’s the point of it?

The structure of a novella lends itself to exploration without dragging on too long. Taylor Antrim said that a novella is “fiction’s most open-ended and compellingly discursive form.” It opens the reader up to a new experience but ends before the feeling has faded away, leaving the reader in the moment, in the story.

The point is that a novella offers the best kind of reading experience. The point is that novellas are quick to read, full of impact, descriptive without being overwhelming, and exciting in their brevity. They are, simply, damn fun to read.

The novella is the perfect literary length. Bartleby the Scrivener. The Secret Sharer. The Turn of the Screw — all are novellas which retain the immediacy and vigor of the short story combined with the freedom and leisurely pace of a monologue without losing the gristle and bone and without losing the fat. – Harlan Ellison

Think of all of the chances you’ve had to start reading a new novel, but put it aside because you didn’t think you had the time … A novella can be read in a few hours, or spread out over your lunch breaks one week, or finished on your daily commute.

A novella is everything you need a piece of fiction to be.

John Brandon thought so highly of the novella as a story form that he suggested we all pretend they don’t exist, so publishers can’t find a way to make money from them, so they don’t become mainstream and boring. For the most part, that’s worked, as there are few publishers willing to put out a novella on its own, and even fewer of those handle speculative fiction. It’s this deficit that we want to correct.

“And look,” he said, “let’s keep the novella for ourselves, the adults. We deserve something, don’t we?

You do deserve to be able to read brilliant, strange, beautiful, and wicked stories. You deserve a quality market for speculative fiction novellas. We want to give them to you.

click on the image to pledge

Please pre-order books, art, and novella subscriptions from our Kickstarter today, and help us make a new home for novellas. We only have two weeks left.

* According to the SFWA

New Kickstarter Reward: Glossy 18″x24″ Posters of our cover art

The item that backers of our Kickstarter have requested more than any other are large, high-quality, posters of our cover art. To help us meet our stretch goal of funding a year of speculative fiction novellas, we’re pleased to announce a new reward level:

$40 – US Shipping: Glossy 18″x24″ poster of our cover art. Choose from Cthulhurotica, IN SITU, FISH, and Bibliotheca Fantastica. Will ship in a cardboard tube (rolled, not folded).

$50 – International Shipping: Glossy 18″x24″ poster of our cover art. Choose from Cthulhurotica, IN SITU, FISH, and Bibliotheca Fantastica. Will ship in a cardboard tube (rolled, not folded).

Cthulhurotica, by Oliver Wetter

IN SITU, by Oliver Wetter

FISH, by Galen Dara

Bibliotheca Fantastica, by Galen Dara

Order yours today! Please remember that we will do gift shipping, so you can make your pledge now and have your reward sent to a friend when they’re ready. Thank you for your support.