There is a lot of misinformation about Alaska that Alaskans hear from tourists and see in movies and TV. Some people think the money is different. Some people think everyone lives in an igloo. Some people think that there’s gold lying on the beaches waiting to be picked up. And some people ask where they can see the penguins in Alaska. There are no penguins in Alaska.
When I left Alaska in 2012 and traveled through the Lower 48, I got asked a lot of questions about my time in Alaska. Does it really stay light for 24 hours a day in summer? How cold does it get really? What do you do for fun in the winter? What’s the best part of living in Alaska? Why did you leave? Did you see any penguins while you were there? I would answer each of the questions as well as I could. For the last question, I would point out that Polar Bears would eat the penguins and that there are no penguins in Alaska.
That trip gave me an idea for a book: “There Are No Penguins in Alaska.” The idea would remain just that until 2018 when I published my first book, “My Life in the Projects: A kid’s-eye view of HUD housing in the 1980s.” Once I realized I could publish books, I also realized I could publish my penguin book. The problem was I let my art skills degrade for a long time and was no longer up to the task of drawing what I needed to make “There Are No Penguins in Alaska.”
Well, my art skills haven’t improved much over the last year, but fortunately, I was able to find a couple of artists to do the work. Antonisa Scot and Oscar Feliz of Transcend Studio put together “There Are No Penguins in Alaska” and now it’s ready to be published. In fact, you can preorder it on Kindle and as a hard copy coloring book at penguinate.com. However, there is a catch.
In order to publish “There Are No Penguins in Alaska” as a coloring book at a reasonable price ($2 per book my cost to retail at $4), I need to order 750 or more copies. That’s $1500 for anyone playing along. I could get fewer copies, but the price goes up pretty drastically, capping out at $5 a copy for 50 copies. That’s only (Haha! Only!) $250 but then I would have to charge $10 per book to make any money. Who’s going to buy a coloring book for $10? Maybe you, since you’re reading this, but not most people. Most people won’t even spend that on a regular kid’s book or any eBook.
Other writers or artists, at this point, would probably launch a Kickstarter, or maybe they would’ve launched it sooner. I, on the other hand, realize that I will publish this book in one form or another, and a Kickstarter would take away from my opportunity to write more books before I start touring the inland states in June where I will sell my books at Lilac City Comicon in Spokane, City Cakes and Cafe in Salt Lake City, Ogden UnCon in Ogden and Amazing Las Vegas Comic Con in Las Vegas, as well as any other bookstores, coffee shops or venues on the way that will have me.
In lieu of running a Kickstarter, which would definitely kill one or both of the books I plan on finishing before June, I am offering a presale. The price for the preorder is set at $8 in case I have to settle for the higher printing costs and to account for shipping and handling, which is more expensive than people would believe. If I can get 80 preorders of the hard copy and/or the Kindle version of the book, I will find the other money I need to print the rest of them. Even if only two people preorder, I am still going to print them, just not in the massive quantity of 750 or for the cheaper price.
This is a challenge. I haven’t sold 80 of any single book, so this preorder, if it works, would make “There Are No Penguins in Alaska” my most popular book. If you’ve read this far, thank you for your interest and support. Please share this page to your social media network, tag me and add “#penguinate.”