Canadian author bypasses traditional publishers, sets crowdfunding records with magical spy thriller THE NORTH VALLEY GRIMOIRE
TORONTO, CANADA: Blake Northcott’s magical spy thriller, THE NORTH VALLEY GRIMOIRE, generated $100,000 in pre-sales five months before its January 12 release date – and she did it without a publisher.
The Canadian author and comic book writer spent a year shopping her book to agencies and eventually received offers, but they demanded extensive changes – a concession she wasn't willing to make. "Publishers are trend chasers," says Northcott. "They want familiarity and well-worn formulas because it's a safe bet, and from a business perspective, that's understandable. But I wanted to go outside the box."
Kickstarter – the world's largest funding platform for creative projects – was home to Northcott’s previous ARENA MODE trilogy, and she returned for her fourth novel. The North Valley Grimoire became Kickstarter’s most-funded original fiction book of 2018.
The book holds another distinction: it’s the most successful Canadian fiction project ever on the platform.
Pre-selling her book on Kickstarter, Indiegogo.com, and through her website, Northcott's book was a financial success long before it was available on Amazon, but she says money wasn't her motivation. "This was about creative control. I had a clear vision, and I didn’t want to compromise."
The North Valley Grimoire’s crowdfunding-exclusive print run included a bookmark, stickers, digital extras, and a variant cover on the back – a nod to her comic book roots. "I wanted the book to be an entire experience. The market is so competitive, and there are endless books to choose from, so my goal was to stand out."
Taking a cue from the Folio Society books in the UK, Northcott commissioned an artist to include ten illustrations throughout the book as well, making it a hybrid in more ways than one.
"I have a way of making things more complicated than they need to be," Northcott added, "but I think my readers like that I’m a little obsessive. I crossed an adult spy thriller with a young adult paranormal story, and then I crossed a novel with a comic book … and then I added a second cover. I think it was a bit overwhelming for publishers and agents, but that's fine. At the end of the day I write books for readers, not executives in boardrooms."
Northcott says "never say never" when it comes to traditional publishing, but she’s more than happy with her creative freedom, and selling directly to readers.
"I think we'll start seeing a lot of authors with legacy publishing contracts jump ship and test the waters with self-publishing. Writers are discovering they don’t need a Big 5 publisher to reach a global audience."
The North Valley Grimoire is available on
, mass market paperback, and on Audible audiobooks.
ABOUT BLAKE NORTHCOTT: Blake Northcott is a Canadian author and comic book writer.
In 2018 Northcott's magical spy thriller The North Valley Grimoire was the most-funded and most-backed original fiction novel on Kickstarter; in the first week of pre-orders, it was funding at the pace of a New York Times bestseller.
In addition to writing novels, Northcott has written MICHAEL TURNER'S ALL NEW FATHOM and EXECUTIVE ASSISTANT IRIS for Aspen Comics, as well as VAMPIRELLA for Dynamite Comics.
She was also an editorial writer for Millarworld, where her columns appeared in a number of comics; Millarworld is the company responsible for KICK-ASS, WANTED, THE MAGIC ORDER, AND KINGSMAN: THE SECRET SERVICE.
Her columns have appeared in Comic Book Resources (CBR), Geeks of Doom, CBS Man Cave Daily, and Verily Magazine.