Posted on February 4, 2014 - by MG
What an amazing whirlwind is the GF1 ride…
It began in summer of 2013, when Jamie Anderson first suggested that we take his dad, Gerry Anderson’s final project – GEMINI FORCE ONE to Kickstarter. By that point I’d been working on the project for about ten months, from just before Gerry’s death in Dec 2012, and intermittently through the year.
Via my agent, Robert Kirby, we’d had some feedback from publishers. They loved the idea, but couldn’t see where to position it. Was it a book for an adult trade publisher, who could get the book next to the Doctor Who and Star Trek books in the shops? Was it a book for teenagers, or young children, 6-9?
Through it all, we stood firm by Gerry’s original vision. Family entertainment, with key adult characters and a young lead, Ben Carrington who followed in the footsteps of his heroic mother. (A character that Gerry envisaged as a grown-up Lara Croft with a teenage son!)
We had absolute faith in the love that people all over the world felt for Gerry Anderson, and felt sure that there’d be enough support from them to allow us to get the first book into print.
So we took the project to Kickstarter. After a frenetic month of preparation, commissioning art, planning and recording promotional videos, running spreadsheets of costs and rewards while we communicated between London, Cornwall and Oxfordshire, Jamie and I put together the campaign. Mainly Jamie!
And for only the third time in my life, my hopes and expectations were completely exceeded! News stories about the Kickstarter campaign appeared in major newspapers, sci-fi magazines and podcasts. Insane!
A super-high profile donor came in with a huge donation, slightly pseudonymous, but we soon found out the real identity.
We hit our target with more than a week to go…then things stalled…we bit our nails to the quick, watching every day…we added a bunch of new rewards, including lots of Joshua Files clobber, and then as the end date loomed into view, the donations began to roll in.
By then, every reward level had gone – except one. No-one had stumped for the dedication. I was, I’ll admit, secretly a bit relieved because in my mind, I had already reserved the dedication for someone – who else but Gerry Anderson?!
October 5th arrived and we stopped collecting donations at £33,463, over 30% above out original target! I’d already started writing beyond the three first chapters, and ace designer Andrew Probert had already started work on design of the key installation of GEMINI FORCE ONE – the base itself.
We were on target.
Meanwhile, however, our efforts to bring worldwide attention to GF1 had not gone unnoticed. A few London publishers started making inquiries. So, we brought Robert Kirby back onto the task of selling the global rights to publish GF1. He was soon taking meetings, phone calls, sending partial manuscripts around, until finally, he found the right match.
Orion Publishing Group called the three of us in for a meeting. I’d never been to a meeting quite like it – the MD of Orion General led the meeting, and introduced us to the key marketing professionals from both Gollancz (Orion’s genre imprint) and Orion Children’s Books, as well as Amber Caraveo, the Editorial Director of Orion Children’s Books who’d first seen the potential in GF1.
We were bowled over by Orion’s cross-imprint vision for how they would bring Gerry Anderson’s GEMINI FORCE ONE into the world. We knew we’d found the right partner in this publishing venture.
When Jamie and Orion announced the deal last week, we were thrilled to see so much media coverage. Starburst! SFX! Scifi Bulletin! There was a real feeling that people want to see this happen, want to see Gerry’s name out there again, his imaginary worlds as the setting for 21st century adventure.
And I get to write the stories. HOW COOL IS THAT?