Mark Twain & Crowdfunding

Mark-Twain-Nikola-Tesla-Laboratory-1894
Mark Twain in Niko­la Tesla’s Lab­o­ra­to­ry, 1894

I’ve just writ­ten a guest post for The Head & The Hand Press, con­sid­er­ing how Mark Twain’s inno­va­tions in pub­lish­ing could be seen as a pre­cur­sor to the grow­ing trend of crowd­fund­ing for books. Twain/Clemens thought out­side the box not only in his writ­ing, but in the busi­ness of books. You can read the post here.

Twain’s pas­sion for inno­va­tion and inven­tion led him to admire the work of Niko­la Tes­la. Here’s a pic­ture of him in Tesla’s New York lab­o­ra­to­ry, hold­ing what looks like one of Tesla’s wire­less light bulbs. You can just make out Tes­la on the left.

And speak­ing of crowd­fund­ing, the pre­order cam­paign for The Head & The Hand’s Aster­oid Belt Almanac is in its final week. Order a book, sup­port a great inde­pen­dent press, and get a beau­ti­ful anthol­o­gy of new writ­ing and art, all at once!

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The Asteroid Belt Almanac

ImageWhat if Poor Richard’s Almanac were reimag­ined for today? The Aster­oid Belt Almanac, com­ing soon from The Head and the Hand Press in Philadel­phia, is all about using this homey lit­er­ary form to help us imag­ine the futures we’re mov­ing toward. The old Farmer’s Almanac offered sto­ries and inter­pre­ta­tions of the stars to help farm­ers with their plant­i­ng. The Aster­oid Belt Almanac is a place to con­sid­er the strange inter­sec­tions of cre­ativ­i­ty, sci­ence and tech­nol­o­gy that we’re expe­ri­enc­ing now.

It will include my essay, Grav­i­ty and the Cloud, an expan­sion on my blog post Grav­i­ty and the Noos­phere (both inspired by see­ing the movie Grav­i­ty), as well as the script for a graph­ic nov­el about trav­el to Mars, thoughts on music in the dig­i­tal age, star charts, and much more. The pub­lish­ers hope that it will “help to mea­sure the kind of atmos­pher­ic pres­sure felt between dar­ing hypothe­ses, between small steps and giant leaps.”

Pre­order the Aster­oid Belt Almanac! For $15, or more if you would like extra rewards, you’ll get a beau­ti­ful book, craft-print­ed on recy­cled paper. I love how with this project, The Head and the Hand Press is link­ing its com­mit­ment to fine arti­sanal print­ing with a new way of fund­ing, via Pub­slush, a site ded­i­cat­ed to crowd­fund­ing for books.

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