Today was my last day teaching at Martin. It was also the last day of the pledge drive for SHORT STORY OF THE MONTH CLUB--and officially my first day as a full-time freelancer. I'm happy to say that the Kickstarter project was successfully funded. It also means I made $5,545 (minus Kickstarter fees, minus Amazon fees, minus taxes, minus expenses for printing and shipping the books) on my first day as a full-timer. Not bad, right? I want to thank all 120 of you who pledged. You literally gave 110%. I also want to thank everyone who spread the word about it. Over this busy month of fundraising, the project accumulated 236 "likes" on Facebook. That's a lot of buzz! And I want to thank everyone who didn't pledge who patiently waited through all the Kickstarter-related postings on Twitter and Facebook... thank you for remaining my friend, even if I came across as a huckster.

Yes, it's about the money. And no, it's not about the money. It's possible for both statements to be true.

Yes, the money will absolutely help me and my family as I transition to this new full-time endeavor. I'm fortunate. I have some things going for me. I have experience and a few contacts. I've read plenty of books on freelancing, and I have friends who are freelancers, ready to share their wisdom. (April, skip the next two sentences.) But I still have no clue how this is supposed to work. I'm confident I'll figure it out, and this project bought me some time to get it together. (Hi April!) I know how to write stories, how to put one word in front of another. So, that I can do. And you've allowed me to do that without worrying I should devote my time elsewhere. Thank you.

No, it's not about the money. Even if this Kickstarter project failed, I would still be on the freelance path. April and I made our decision last summer, and we've been working towards this goal for a long time. This Kickstarter project is about a creative outlet. It's about doing something I love and getting it to you, for your enjoyment. Why not give it away for free? I truly believe (even in this new digital marketplace) that putting a price on something adds value. If you commit to a subscription and if it's well presented, I think you'll get more out of it. I've given stuff away for free before, and it's scary to see how people disregard it. These stories will be worth your time, and they are worth my effort. I want to be a better writer, and what better way than this? You should be mad if I deliver something that's no good. And I should work in fear of your disapproval. On the other hand, there's no greater feeling than connecting with a reader. I love the risk/reward aspect of creative pursuits. You take a chance, and it's exciting. Once again, thank you.

What's next?

If you pledged to Kickstarter, you will get the first short story on June 5th. You'll receive an email with a link to download the pdf version and/or epub version. (Make sure you add my email address to your contacts list, so the email doesn't get tagged as spam. That would stink.) Please don't share the links. You'll spoil the fun, and I'll have to find another way to deliver the goods. The story is titled "If You Could Be." In its current state, it's 3,163 words long.

What if you weren't able to subscribe before the fundraiser ended? On my website, check the right margin. I have a PayPal button to purchase a digital subscription ($10 for 10 months). However, I won't do any pre-orders for softcover and hardcover books on my site right now. My friends and family who pledged via Kickstarter get first dibs at the lowest price, plus any other rewards offered. I might also offer individual stories for sale at $2. It's always cheaper to subscribe.

That's the plan. Let me know if you have any opinions on the matter. Since you're part of the club, you certainly have a say.

April and I are working hard on all facets of this project: the story, the art, the design, and even how to best deliver everything. I hope you enjoy your subscription. It should be a good year.