The magic of the internets! I posted tentatively about starting a small short fiction project to connect with my readership and find a way to bridge the widening and worrying financial gap between novels--and now it is made manifest.
The Omikuji Project is live!
All the details are here--on the 1st of every month, beginning in April, you will receive either by email or snail mail a short story of not less than 2000 words, a small piece of visual art to accompany it, and any other thing I can duplicate sufficiently. The mailing will be printed on high-quality paper, autographed, and sealed with a red wax seal. On top of that, since the real omikuji are "sacred lotteries," one person from the subscriber list will be randomly selected to receive a gift each month. It'll always be something different, related to the story, so don't ask, they're surprises.
After gleaning everyone's preferences from the poll, I've set the prices at $10 for the mailing and $5 for the email (please specify if you cannot handle a PDF). Some people requested methods by which they could donate more if they wanted to--the best solution I've come up with is a tip jar. On the 1st, an excerpt of the story will go up on the website, with a tip jar underneath it. If you really enjoyed the story or just want to help out with mailing costs/care and feeding of the Cat costs, please feel free to click the button. If you want to upgrade to a mailing for a single story you particularly loved, just paypal me an extra $5 and your address and you'll get the whole package. There are discounted whole-year subscriptions available on the site.
Non-US folks: email me and tell me where you live and I'll let you know how much extra postage will be.
Do not forget to include your snail mail address when you subscribe, if you want the mailing! don't forget your username if you want access to the community!
There is also an LJ community:omikuji_project . (The new LJ rules do not seem to apply to new communities, this one is ad-free.) It is my very deepest and fondest hope that a small family can grow out of this, that all my wonderful readers can find each other, get to know each other, and connect through the stories and art. you can post prompts, requests, thoughts, discussion of the stories, announcements of who won the lottery, etc. I'm always open to suggestions as to how to improve the project. Do not feel that you need to restrict posts to Omikuji-related things, though. It is your community, through and through. Use it for whatever you like. In fact, if anyone is interested in moderating it who is not me, I'd be happy to add you as a maintainer. Let me know. As soon as I receive a subscription and an add request from a user, I'll add them to the community. For serious, I cannot add you until I get your subscription. Anyone can watch it, but only subscribers can post.
I really want this to be something special. Secret tales passed through the mail, through the ether. As I said, it's very hard to make ends meet as a full time writer, and I am doing my best to stretch and cover the costs of life on planet earth without compromising what I feel is important in the making of books--and that's no small feat. But I want this to be about more than that--I want to give you something real and unique, something hidden, below the radar, just between us. What do you say? You game?
Nitty-gritty things: In order to mail everything on time, I need all subscriptions for the April story in by March 28th. Subscriptions received after that will start with the May story. Any received after April 28th will start with June, etc. I'll keep this up as long as enough people are interested to make it viable--paper is expensive and I will not be publishing these stories elsewhere, so I will keep going as long as I'm not taking huge losses by holding back fiction from pro-paying markets. I don't have trunk stories, so these will all be new tales, and you won't be able to read them any other way.
The April story is called The Glass Gear, a steampunk Cinderella story.