The King Must Fall!

It is my pleasure to share with you my interview with Adrian from Grimdark Magazine, who has a really exciting new project in the works that I think you’ll love.

I for one am really excited about it! Anyway, read on to learn more…

Hi Adrian,
It’s great to have you on the blog to discuss your dark anthology Kickstarter project, The King Must Fall.

Thanks for having me on, Alex. I am so pumped with the way this project is going.

Let’s talk about the theme – will a monarch actually fall in each short story, or is it more of a general guideline?

The authors were given the title as a guideline, so I’m hoping we’ll see everything from regicide to death in glorious battle to people thinking that the king must fall, but failing to take him down (this is grimdark, after all, and not everyone gets what they want!). In some instances I’m even hoping a queen or other leadership figure pops up.

We have an incredibly inventive group of people in our lineup, and I’m sure every story will take a unique angle on the theme.

Did you have this theme in mind from the offset or did you have any other ideas to choose between; what was it about The King Must Fall that you found particularly interesting?

To be honest, I was struggling for another idea. During 2018 and 2019, the day job just absolutely destroyed me and I was doing my best just to keep the quarterly issues coming out on time. Out of the blue, Bradley P. Beaulieu hit me up with the title and theme, and it just spoke to me. Stylistically it’s the same as Evil is a Matter of Perspective and if I think back through all of the fantasy I’ve enjoyed the most, a monarch being deposed tends to be one of the focal points I enjoy. There’s also plenty of wiggle room in there for the authors to work around, so here we are!

You already have some incredible authors lined up! (I’m especially eager to read Anna Smith Spark’s story) – How did you get such exciting names on board?

Me too! I love Anna’s fiction.

I built a pitch list, got my mocked up book cover from Shawn King and Felix Ortiz, wrote my pitch email, and went for it. I started out with my core authors–the ones, like Anna, who I know and trust and can feel secure in they’ll deliver an amazing story on time, on theme, and to word count–and then sent out a few hail mary passes to see if we’d get lucky (like signing a Martin or Sapkowski).

Once I had some responses in and a few names I could add to my pitch emails to the authors I didn’t know that well or hadn’t worked much with before but thought I was a reasonable chance of getting to join the project, I then just sent out pitches in small batches until I had the number I needed to go to market with the Kickstarter.

As I’m in Sydney and on the other side of the planet to most of these authors, I haven’t met the greater part of the author community in person or at con to build any sort of fan or business relationship in person. So, any time an author I admire decides to trust the GdM team and I to publish them, it’s huge.

So, I read about something I haven’t seen on a Kickstarter before; stretch goals. Can you tell readers what a stretch goal is and what sort of stretch goals you’re striving toward on the Kickstarter?

Stretch goals are awesome. I love them in Kickstarters. For the project, it’s a way to add more parts to the product–extra stories, artwork, and more (I’ve even seen alternate covers on other publisher’s projects, which is awesome). For backers, it’s a way to add more value to their pledges without putting in any more money–the aforementioned items, plus free ebooks from some of the contributing authors, for example.

One of the stretch goals I’m really excited about at the moment is getting Greg Patmore to produce an audio version of The King Must Fall to go out to all backers. As the audio format continues its explosive rise in popularity thanks to Audible, I think this is something fans would love to get their hands on. And as of this interview, I believe we’re only a few thousand AUD away from it.

Would you say setting up a Kickstarter for the book gives you a unique opportunity to create something fresh and new? I imagine a successful Kickstarter would help remove some of the barriers you might otherwise encounter when embarking on a project like this.

For small/micro publiers, Kickstarter is a game changer. This sort of higher-end project, with this calibre of contributors, artists, designers, and editors, rarely happens without the access to the level of financial capital Kickstarter provides. And, if most small publishers are being honest, having that capital is one of the largest barriers we face. We all dream big (what’s the point, otherwise?), but small publishing has never been the most lucrative endeavour ever.

As Kickstarter essentially works like a pre-order, it removes a great deal of the sales risk by having the customer help us financially put the product together from the outset. You know the market is there and that there is enough money in the pot to build the product, because it’s all there before you in black and white after the funding period closes. You just need to have not screwed up your financial target planning going into the project, allowed enough buffer to handle things that change or go wrong in the project, and be a decent enough project manager to bring it all together properly.

Nail all of that, and you’ll build something beautiful that can sit on yours and hundreds of other people’s shelves for years to come.

Thanks for taking part in the interview, Adrian it’s been great to talk to you. Finally, any future plans you can tell us about?

At this point, I have about six months of production laid out before me to deliver on. If we nail this project and I’m happy with how the whole thing went, then I’m off to brainstorm the next idea and indulge in this sleepless madness again next year!

In line with that, Michael R. Fletcher and Anna Smith-Spark have been working on another side project with GdM that is a little bit overdue (THANKS PANDEMIC) but well on the way. It’s a serial fiction release that’ll come out to our Patreon subscribers first to say thank you for all of the support they’ve shown us over the years, and then out to market likely as a single volume after the first season has run. I can’t wait for that to see the light of day.

Thanks for having me on the site, Alex!

Check out the Kickstarter for The King Must Fall HERE!

About Adrian

Adrian Collins runs Grimdark Magazine and loves anything to do with telling darker stories. Doesn’t matter the format, or when it was published or produced–just give him a grim story told in a dark world by a morally grey protagonist and this bloke’s in his happy place. Add in a barrel aged stout to sip on after a cheeky body surf under the Australian sun, and that’s his heaven.

Grimdark Magazine is run by people who love the grimdark direction that science fiction and fantasy seems to be taking. Things like the Horus Heresy and the First Law series are what get our hearts hammering with excitement. There is such a wealth of talent in the sub-genre and a genuine need for an ezine that deals specifically in the grittier nature of people in futuristic or fantasy settings that we felt compelled to get this ezine up and running.

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