Author Archives: Chris Callard

‘How Do I Feel About the End of My Kickstarter?’

So we’re almost there. Today’s the day we see whether Mr Coconut gets to sell himself in order to ensure we reach our Kickstarter target. But despite all the generous pledges we’ve had (including the bid from Roger Easter for Mr Coconut himself), it doesn’t look like Mr C has sold himself for a high enough price in order to reach the target. Maybe it’s because he’s priceless and was never meant to leave us anyway…

Here’s Mr Coconut examining which of Catherine’s new faces to put on to show just how he feels about that…

So here’s our one last push – if there’s anyone else (any few hundred other people) you think might like to pledge, now’s the time to tell them! Kickstarter link: http://kck.st/1kUApln

thank you all for putting up with us

Chris & Catherine

P.S. We’ve just added information to the FAQ about how to buy multiple copies of the book – we should have been clearer about that before. If you did want more than one copy you just make your pledge amount to the total of all the copies – but make sure you send us a message to let us know how many you want!

Extra special Kickstarter reward added – own the original Mr Coconut…

We did not want it to come to this. But Mr Coconut is not very happy with us. (Here’s him not looking very happy at our studio party last night.)

He says we promised that we would make his story into a book. And now, with only a week to go before the end of our Kickstarter campaign, Mr Coconut doesn’t think we’re going to reach our target. He’s accusing us of incompetence, and using some very un-child friendly language.

So Mr Coconut has told us that he wants to be put up himself as a reward, as the grandest of Kickstarter rewards. That he wants to be sold to the highest Kickstarter pledge – if that’s what it’s going to take to see his book made. He doesn’t seem to care that this might mean being posted off to the other side of the world.

We’ve reluctantly agreed. But we don’t know what we should ask as a pledge for the puppet Mr C, he’s a bit priceless to us. (Catherine doesn’t really want to let him go at all.)

So we thought we’d make it a kind of auction, that will work like this: for the next 5 days, up until 2pm GMT on Thursday 20 March, you can leave a message to say how much you would pledge for the original puppet Mr Coconut from the book (once he has finished all his modelling and acting duties), lovingly parcelled up and sent to you anywhere in the world. And if at 2pm on Thursday the highest bid will take us over our target, we will add an extra reward to the Kickstarter page, where the highest bidder will be able to pledge for Mr C.

You can leave a message to say how much you would pledge:

  • as a comment at the bottom of this post
  • 
as a comment on the Kickstarter page (only current backers can leave comments here)
  • as a comment on the same post about the auction on Mr C’s Facebook page

We will check all of these, and contact the highest bidder later on Thursday afternoon.

Of course if we don’t make our target in 7 days time then we’ll get to keep Mr Coconut (I think we’ll be secretly relieved). So the closer we are to our target, the more chance of winning Mr C himself… please share this around if you can!

thanks for everyone’s support

Chris & Catherine

P.S. for anyone who wants to pledge for the book but still be in with a chance of pledging for Mr Coconut himself, there’s two ways you can go about making multiple pledges:
1) Use a different email account to make a second pledge (though you will have go through the Kickstarter registration all over again to do this)
2) When you’ve made your first pledge, you’re then offered the chance to ‘Manage your pledge’ (big blue button on the right of your screen). Then you’ll need to change your total pledge amount to cover your bid for Mr Coconut himself and resubmit your total. Then PLEASE send us a message to let us know you’ve done this.

P.P.S. Thanks to Bobbie Kirby in the US for the suggestion of Mr Coconut as a reward!

Shopping for a new face…

So this morning, despite a relaxing couple of days with his new pipe, we find Mr Coconut has disappeared… and then we receive this photograph sent to us via a kind stranger, of Mr Coconut browsing our local fabric shop. Apparently, he said once we’d got him back to the studio, he became fed up with only having the single expression, and went shopping for a new face. ‘I want a moustache that can droop, and eyebrows that can show some kind of surprise,’ so he told us.

Unfortunately he came back with the wrong colour face material and now looks like he has jaundice…

Catherine is making him new faces over the weekend – you’ll be able to see them next week in the last few days of the Kickstarter.

Only 8 days of the Kickstarter left! Thank you to all the new backers in the last few days… and if you can, please do share Mr Coconut around!: http://kck.st/1kUApln

Smokin’

We’ve warned Mr Coconut about smoking but he just won’t listen. We’ve also tried to tell him that it’s a bit frowned upon nowadays for children’s books to contain characters who are smoking. But – as he told us in no uncertain terms – no pipe, no book. Apparently his pipe was the only thing that kept him sane all through those lonely days in his coconut. So Catherine has made him one.

[with apologies to Rene Magritte]

So there you have it. This book seems to be slowly slipping out of our control. If you’d like to see a children’s book published that features a character smoking a pipe, please share around this Kickstarter link (http://kck.st/1kUApln)…

Oh dear.

We were very disturbed to walk past our local fruit and veg shop yesterday, the very shop where we filmed the coconuts for the video, to find this poster in the window. (The lady in the red hat was in tears at the loss of the coconuts).

It seems we have to keep a very close eye on Mr Coconut from now on. We just hope any police involvement does not slow down his availability for photographs for the book…

Catherine is trying to pacify him by making him a pipe… more details soon…

(If you’d to pledge to the Kickstarter for the publication of Mr C’s book, see here: http://kck.st/1kUApln)

Starting to make the book…

So many thanks to everyone who has already pledged towards the publication of the book on Mr Coconut’s Kickstarter… and just to let you know that we’re not sitting back and twiddling our thumbs whilst the Kickstarter continues, but getting down to making the actual book.

So first off we’ve made a storyboard of the whole book, to work out what we’re going to see on each page, and so which props Catherine needs to make. Here’s the pages we have done this week:

We don’t want to give too much away, or actually let you read the story yet… but we will be posting updates of some of the props as Catherine makes them… as well as letting you see what Mr Coconut himself has been doing now that he’s made his video…

And if you still want to pledge on the Kickstarter to make sure you get your copy of the book you can do so here

Mr Coconut Kickstarter campaign is launched!

So after months of making a video and trying out pages for the book, Catherine and I have finally launched the Kickstarter campaign for the book… We’d be very happy if you’d like to support it, or even just share the link around with anyone you think might enjoy the book…

here’s the video we made for Kickstarter to promote the book:

Kickstarter page

First sample page of the book…

So now that we’ve just about finished the Kickstarter video, and have moved on to making a sample page for the book, so that we can give potential readers an idea of what it will look like… Catherine spent the past couple of weeks making all the props, then we spent a day in the studio photographing it all…

photographing sample page

… and this is what the page looks like when we put it all together:

sample page

We’re not too happy with the window… Catherine is going to make some curtains in time for the actual Kickstarter launch… for which we now have a date:

Thursday 20 February

That’s when you can see Mr C starring in his own short film…

A problem with hair loss…

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMr Coconut is in need of help. Help with his bald spot. Catherine took him to the local fabric shop this morning to get him some extra hair, for when he’s photographed from behind. And it turns out they don’t do that type of fabric any more…

Does anyone know a shop that sells something like it? It’s a dark brown tassley trim, used for upholstery and other such fabric making (see photos)… any useful tips as to where to locate it greatly appreciated! complimentary pair of Mr Coconut pants to anyone who finds some…

‘Every artist is a Kickstarter’

Mr Coconut has been a bit quiet of late. Actually he hasn’t been that quiet – since we’ve been making the book with him we can hardly stop him from talking. But we’ve been a bit quiet with updates. That’s because I broke the website. Quite badly.

But I think it’s all fixed now (if a bit slow). And even though there haven’t been any updates, we have been getting on with making sample pages of the book, and finishing the video for Kickstarter. We’re hoping the Kickstarter page should be all ready to launch by the end of January (so long as I don’t break the website again).

But whilst we’re finishing it off, I thought I’d write a bit about why I like the idea of Kickstarter so much, and why this Mr Coconut project has been so much more fulfilling than other book projects that I’ve tried to get off the ground before. Mainly it’s because there has been no let up in enjoyment, in the pleasure of creating this thing, since the story was actually written. I’ve written other stories before, for both children and adults, and once they are finished, once I have felt like they are ready to be shown to other people, that’s where the fun ends. Then it’s on to sending them off to other people, to publishers, to agents – even sending them to enjoyable local literary nights where you might do a reading involves a lot of printing, and posting, but above all, waiting. Often waiting for nothing, sometimes just for that good old rejection letter.

So deciding to publish a book via Kickstarter is about seeing the project through yourself, until you have the finished artefact in your hand, rather than waiting for someone else, someone who has no real care for the work you’ve done, to make it for you. The process of working out how to make a book has been rewarding in itself – not to mention the fun of learning how to make a video for Kickstarter. Because it has been constantly enjoyable, I sometimes feel I don’t now even really care if we make the pledge total on Kickstarter that we need to publish the book (if not we’ll just make the book anyway and print as many or few copies as we might sell to people).

I was greatly inspired by a recent book, F**k the Radio, We’ve Got Apple Juice, in which the author Miranda Ward details the life of the band Little Fish, and how they went from supporting stadium rock bands in the US to leaving their label to make the music they wanted on their own. She talks of the idea of ‘sustainable creativity’ – that so long as you have the time and money to continue doing the work you love to do, that’s about all that matters. You live cheaply so you fulfilled by the work you love. She says that ‘every artist is a Kickstarter’ – meaning Kickstarter is the natural way for any artist to put their work out in the world, just so they have control of the whole process, just so they can continue to do the work they want to do. Never mind if it’s just for a few hours a week, with a shitty job to support it. If you have the work as your focus that’s a meaningful life.

And part of doing everything yourself is to pass on information to other people who might want to do the same. I’ve learnt much from other people’s blogs (particularly Austin Kleon and Christopher Shevlin on self-publishing), and want to do the same if it can be helpful to others. Hence writing protracted essays such as this…

If you’re doing everything yourself there is of course the matter of how you get people to know about your project, that balance between self-promotion and keeping the process enjoyable.. And marketing, promoting yourself is rarely enjoyable (the word makes my flesh crawl). (I’m not always sure that I know myself when I’m self-promoting on when I’m writing a blog post, like this one, because I want to write it.) Because the first people you tell are you friends, and whilst I want my friends to know what I’m doing, I certainly don’t want to badger them to buy what I’ve done. I’ll probably witter on about this more in a later post…

So just a few more weeks of finishing up the sample page of the book and the video. Then you can see them…