Volume IV

Deadline: January 31, 2014

Funded by Sponsors: $3,175
Goal: $8,000

< See all sponsorship goals

We are committed to paying every contributor, regardless of her or his publication history. This means first-time-published writers get paid just like established professionals. Unfortunately, all payments currently come from the pockets of our editor-in-chief and his family, so we are only able to offer semi-pro payments of 1¢ per word (with a minimum of $20 per work).

That simply won’t do!

Our goal was to raise $8,000 by January 31st, 2014 in order to pay pro rates to all Volume IV contributors—even if we originally accepted their work at 1¢ per word. We did not meet this goal, but still raised enough to pay contributors at least 2¢ or $40, whichever was more—in many cases, this was double our original offer.

Brian Lewis answers your questions:

Why should I care if writers get paid?

When we pay pro rates it doesn’t just help writers eat, it also helps them qualify for membership in associations and organizations which require at least one pro sale. It also means we can attract better and better content, which benefits readers, too. And once we’ve set the precedent of paying pro rates for Volume IV, it will be that much easier to pay increasing pro rates for all future volumes. So, for both readers and writers: Be a Sponsor. Be a Hero.

What happens if you don’t make it to $8,000?

If we don’t make it to $8,000 but we’re within $1,000 or so, we’ll still pay pro rates; it just means I will personally kick in more. And, of course, we’ll still be fulfilling all the donor gifts, such as print and eBook copies & subscriptions, sponsored content, and signed artwork, no matter what amount we make it to. Be a Sponsor. Be a Hero.

If we only make it halfway to our goal—or less—our sponsors will have ensured publication of Volume IV in January 2014, but we will not be able to pay the higher rates.

What if you make it past $8,000?

If we make it past $8,000, we’ll create a commemorative and collectible hardcover edition of each of our four initial volumes. Then we’ll apply the overage to the next volume, to contest prizes, and to other operating costs. The order we apply things in is listed on the Support page under “As Needed.” Be a Sponsor. Be a Hero.

Do orders of Volume IV count toward the goal?

Yes! The more copies of Spark: A Creative Anthology, Volume IV we sell, the closer we’ll be to our goal. If you’d rather directly purchase the book than make a donation, we’re still happy to count the amount toward the total.

$8,000 seems like a lot. Are you keeping the money for yourself?

It costs about $4,000 up front to produce and market each volume of Spark—in large part because we use a local printer for the high-quality trade paperback copies of each volume. (A print-on-demand version is also available for overseas orders, but we ship the locally-printed copies whenever possible.)

That doesn’t include content: Volume III is about 55,000 words, and Volume IV has nearly twice that; at 5¢ or more per word, that means a minimum of $5,000 to pay the pro rates we’re after. And then there’s the high-quality artwork (both cover art and interior illustrations) from talented people excited about the project. Update: The final word count for Volume IV was over 134,000! And every story was my favorite.

I don’t get anything for my time; Spark is my pet project and I do it because I love it. I don’t expect to make money from it soon (or perhaps ever), but it would be nice to break even financially so that all I’m investing is my time and passion—bolstered by the time and passion of more than 30 volunteers who’ve been helping me pull this off. Be a Sponsor. Be a Hero.

What do I get for supporting Spark?

The good feeling of being a hero isn’t enough?

That’s okay. It doesn’t have to be. We want to reward you for your generosity. When you select your donation amount, you’ll be able to select from a number of great thank-you gifts: from eBook and print subscriptions, to signed prints of the amazing artwork used for our covers, to sponsored content, and more.

Plus, Spark is published and administered by the Empire & Great Jones Creative Arts Foundation, a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation, so your donation is tax-deductible in most jurisdictions!

What is ‘sponsored content’?

Do you have a product or service that would be interesting or useful to readers? Have you recently published a novel you’re proud of and want to promote? Would you like to put your marriage proposal in every print and eBook copy of Spark? That’s sponsored content.

For example, Scribophile donates the Lifetime Premium Membership prizes to the Spark contests, and that’s a pretty valuable sponsorship, so we include a full page of Scribophile-sponsored content in each print and eBook volume of Spark.

Sponsored content becomes available as a thank-you gift at half a page for donating $500 or more, or a full page for donating $1,000 or more. Be a Sponsor. Be a Hero.

This all sounds like a Kickstarter campaign. Why aren’t you using Kickstarter?

Kickstarter is an amazing platform that has led to the funding of many great and creative art projects. However, we decided to run our own campaign for a few reasons.

  • Kickstarter gives one donation payment option: Amazon Payments. That’s very limiting for donors as well as project owners. Fundraising through the Spark store itself means we can accept a whole variety of donation methods: credit cards, PayPal, checks, and even cash if you stop by in person.
  • Kickstarter takes 5% of raised funds and Amazon takes 3% to 5%, meaning as much as 10% of the donations are applied to fees. Through the Spark fundraising page, transaction fees are less than 4%, even when using PayPal—meaning more of your donated funds are applied to our writer-focused goals.
  • A Kickstarter project must meet or exceed its goal, or it is not funded at all. If we set a goal of $8,000 through Kickstarter and raise $7,990, we get none of it—because we didn’t meet our goal. When you support us through our fundraising page, you know that your donation will be used to support the project, no matter what final amount we hit.
  • A Kickstarter project is a one-time campaign with fixed end dates. When it ends, it ends, and you’re either successful or you start over. The Spark fundraising page allows us the flexibility to extend our deadlines if we’re close to our goals or to have an ongoing campaign with updated goals (e.g. which volume or scholarship we’re targeting).

I don’t like the supporter rewards you’re offering, or I think you should offer ______ as a thank-you gift.

If you have an idea for a better or more appropriate thank-you gift, I’d love to hear it! If I can make it happen, I absolutely will. Contact me directly at brian@sparkanthology.org and we’ll see what we can work out.

You talk a lot, and you still didn’t answer my question

Please, ask it below! I like talking about Spark, and I’m happy to answer your questions. This project is exciting to me, and I want you to be excited, too.

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