Okay, folks, so yesterday I tweeted a bit about the medical and financial plight of popelizbet
and then, once I had both a clearer picture of the scope of her problem and her permission, I kicked off an impromptu campaign to put together a chapbook with contributions from her friends and fellow writers that we could offer on a pay-what-thou-wilt plan, with proceeds benefiting her.
The details are still coming together, but there are more of them than there were yesterday.The Situation
Lizbeth has a near complete tear of a tendon in her shoulder, leaving her in intense pain and unable to use her dominant arm. Doctors say she needs surgery to repair it sooner rather than later if she's to regain the full range of use and motion. The insurance company says they will only cover physical therapy.
She already owes $700 for an imaging scan that did not meet her deductible [Note: A previous version of this post said her insurance declined it. This was my own misunderstanding.]. Thanks to the generosity of the internet over the course of yesterday and this morning, that is now 80% taken care of.
The surgery is going to be a much higher hurdle. The procedure alone is a couple thousand, but having it means paying not just the surgeon but the anesthesiologist and the facility. She has been told that all together, she is looking at an out of pocket cost in the neighborhood of $20,000, hence the abrupt shift yesterday from "please kick in" to "let's put on a show".
Because we're going to be using a pay-whatever model (and to encourage people to keep giving while we're putting stuff together), it is my intention to offer the finished chapbook to everyone who has sent Lizbet money before it goes on sale, too. You can pitch in here.The Chapbook
Inspired by Lizbet's characteristic outbursts of gratitude over those who have helped, I've dubbed the book Angels of the Meanwhile
. It will contain a mixture of poetry and prose. I have received a number of both submissions of finished work and what I'll call pledges of interest from those desiring to contribute something new. Among those who have offered their work for inclusion are Saira Ali, Rose Lemberg, Amal El-Mohtar, C.S.E. Cooney, S.J. Tucker, Bryan Thao Worra, and Satyros Phil Brucato. Cover art has been donated by Amanda Sharpe. Other individuals have offered to help with copy editing and such behind the scenes tasks. All donated content still belongs to its creator. We are not requesting any rights except the bare right to include it in the chapbook.
The line-up of the chapbook is not
set. If you have something to contribute (poetry, stories of any length, fantasy artwork), please send it or a query to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line "FOR POPELIZBET". Flash fiction/microfiction is fine. Reprints are fine. I cannot guarantee to take all comers, but there's definitely room for more love. I'm trying to get a tentative table of contents or at least a roster of contributors together as soon as possible, though, to use for preorders.
The chapbook will be an electronic publication bundled in PDF, epub, and mobi formats.The Logistics of this Whole Thing
Maaaaaaan, I don't even know. Before yesterday, I didn't dream I'd be trying something like this.
First thing is that this is a personal fundraiser. It's friends pitching in to help friends. It's a community coming together. There is no tax-exempt status involved here, no formal organization. I know that there are people who aren't in these kinds of communities who react to this kind of effort as if it's inherently a sucker's bet to get involved, but I think the people who have offered money, content, or aid have done so with the understanding that it's a gift of the heart.
If Lizbet is important to you, or if any of the kind souls who are lending their voices are important to you, or if you're just interested in paying whatever strikes you as a fair price for a mix of poetry and prose from some very talented people, this is for you. That's all.
In the interest of raising money quickly, I'm going to be both trying to get the chapbook put together with some modicum of speed, but also putting it up on offer as a pay-what-you-can preorder while it's still in production. I'm just not sure what the best platform for that is going to be, though I'm looking at a few potentials. In the interests of keeping things simple, I'm looking for a digital delivery solution that lets you upload files, then lets buyers name their price. For simplicity of accounting and transparency, the money will go directly into Lizbet's account.
I also don't have an answer for "what happens to the chapbook after the fundraiser is over?" My inspiration for this was Ravens in the Library
, a physical book that was produced as a fundraiser for S.J. Tucker when she had a medical emergency. The advantage that had was that they could produce a limited run, devote proceeds from that run towards one end, and then when the run was sold out, it was over.
I don't have the resources to produce a physical book, much less to make one of good quality on short notice. It also takes a lot more poetry to fill the physical pages of a bound book than it does to create an electronic chapbook, and a lot more drawing power to sell enough to offset the production costs.
The idea of getting enough attention and selling enough e-books to fully pay for the medical expenses and the post-surgery recovery-related expenses (she's going to be without an arm for a while) right now seems like an impossible pie-in-the-sky dream, but it's something we'll have to figure out how to handle. I will make sure all the contributors know what the deal is before anything is finalized.