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This post is going to be a little on the long side, so I’m going to start up front with the short version: Hey, remember when I told you all that I quit my job and hinted vaguely at several “projects” I had in the works? Well, here’s the first big one: I’m writing a novel called The Enthusiast, and I need your help to make it happen. It’s about marketing and trains and capitalism and soap opera comic strips, and there will be a love triangle! You can read the rough cut of the first chapter to get a sense of it. And the way you can help make it happen — as well as make sure that you’re one of the first to get the book when it’s published — is to support my Kickstarter campaign.

If you’re unfamiliar with Kickstarter, it works like this: Someone who needs money to complete a project asks for sponsorship, and offers rewards in return. They set a minimum level of cash they’d need to make the project happen; if they don’t meet that goal, they get no money, and sponsors’ credit cards are never charged. If they meet or surpass the goal, they get the money and use it to bring the project to reality.

In my case, the project is the book, and the rewards you can get are, for the most part, copies of the book when it’s done. Depending on your level of support, you can get an e-book, a paperback, a hardcover book (only Kickstarter supporters will be able to get hardcover books), a signed hardcover book, or a bunch of books that I will fly to your home and hand-deliver and then read aloud to you and your friends. (Really!)

I’m self-publishing, because I feel like I have a strong personal relationship with you guys that doesn’t necessarily map onto how traditional publishers think about a first-time author; so, I’ll be using the money I’m raising to print the books, and to pay for editorial and design help. (I’ve already got an editor lined up: National Magazine Award winner Emily Gordon.) I’ll also be using the money to live on while I write the book: as the following video explains, there’s nothing that’ll kill a writer’s focus like the Internet, and since all my freelance gigs involve being on the Internet, the more sponsors I get, the longer I can turn the Internet off and write. (Don’t worry, I will never abandon my faithful Comics Curmudgeon readers; it’s the other, more boring stuff I’m talking about here.)

You may have noticed that it’s been an unusually long time — almost 10 months — since Uncle Lumpy last ran one of our occasional fundraisers here; that’s because I’ve been planning this for a while. So if you normally contribute to one of the semi-annual fundraisers, I would humbly request that you treat this Kickstarter as a pledge drive, and contribute to it what you normally would — and hey, this time you actually get some creative work out of me for it! You can contribute any amount of money that strikes your fancy, and in return you’ll receive any reward you want at or below the contribution level that you chose. (If for some reason you want to give me money but the thought of receiving a book from me disgusts you, you can opt to receive no reward as well.)

That’s about it! The Kickstarter will be open for contributions for three weeks, and believe me, I’ll be reminding you of it fairly regularly. And if I meet my goal early in the process, I have some ideas for stretch goals — ways I could make the book even better with extra funding. Stay tuned! And feel free to e-mail me at for more details or if you have questions on how Kickstarter works.