We live in revolutionary times, my friends. And except for the melting ice caps and unfortunate proliferation of weapons and plastic, I like this brave new world. It allows us to be generous. It demands that we be generous. The more generous we are, the better, in fact. Because with generosity, everybody wins.

This was never so obvious to me than during my team’s recent Kickstarter campaign. The success of our Kickstarter can be measured in many ways. Most visibly, 277 backers pledged $41,491 to help bring our project to life. They are all being publicly thanked on our website homepage here as part of our basic reward: the Social Media Shout Out of Gratitude.

But to stop the thanks there would neglect the many contributions of the friends, colleagues, team members, and even a few strangers-turned-friends, who showed up in droves to support our campaign by sharing of themselves. Their in-kind support not only resulted in campaign pledges, it also saved us money, and kept us going through the campaign downs as well as the ups. It fueled our efforts with kindness and enthusiasm while helping us to grow our community in real and exciting ways.

Their participation linked our network to their networks, lent us credibility, and spurred our expansion, while simultaneously promoting their work and services in a wholly positive way. Such generosities not only made everyone feel good and involved, but worked as well to bolster everyone’s public profiles and strengthen the intangible connections that bind us in our increasingly globalized world.

I dedicate this week’s post to the bearers of these incredible gifts.

Below, I highlight the many contributions, some invisible to the public eye, that demonstrate the full breadth of the post-Kickstarter TTT&T community, which extends well beyond the Team and its 277 backers. Together, their efforts illustrate the best aspect of our post-digital revolutionary world:

The digital ecosystem promotes generosity.
It is a world in which sharing and collaboration
are good business for everybody.

Join me in thanking the following people for their generous support. I can only hope they found their participation a win-win. Indeed, I believe they did!

Caveat: There are likely others that should be included in this post, but whose contributions I am not yet aware of. If I've overlooked your involvement, please don't hesitate to let me know.

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Stone Giant Illustration copyright © 2014 by John Shelley. Used with permission by Charlesbridge Publishing, Inc. 85 Main Street, Watertown, MA 02472 (617) 926-0329 www.charlesbridge.com. All rights reserved.

Stone Giant Illustration copyright © 2014 by John Shelley. Used with permission by Charlesbridge Publishing, Inc. 85 Main Street, Watertown, MA 02472 (617) 926-0329 www.charlesbridge.com. All rights reserved.

Starting with the many creative contributions to our campaign:

John Shelley lent us the cover image from Stone Giant with permission from his publisher, Charlesbridge, so we could promote the campaign in advance of its official launch.

Roxie Munro created the hand-drawn map of Florence (see below) that will feature prominently in our future title suite, In the Footsteps of Giants. Though we commissioned this work, Roxie, a long-time supporter of the TTT&T concept, realized it at a fraction of the cost of a typical commission simply because she wants to see us succeed. She unveiled the painting at our live launch event, 19 May 2015 in NYC.

Candy Gourlay, while best known for her amazing YA novels, is also quite an accomplished photographer and video producer. She gave her time and talents to help create the campaign video, and documented our London live event as well. Michael Auer, Kelly Flanagan, and Larkin Oates were instrumental in helping me to refine the video script, giving their time and keen listening abilities most awesomely.

Beth Lower, Team TTT&T Art Director, refused payment for all graphic design contributed toward the campaign video and Kickstarter webpage. Frank Totaro coached me through the various financial angles of the campaign without charge. And Caitlin Hoffman kept the social media wheels cranking round the clock throughout the campaign process, as she has done for the team since Jan 2014. All three joined the rest of Team TTT&T in offering handsome campaign pledges, furtherer testament to their belief in the TTT&T concept and project.

So grateful!

Commissioned artwork for  In the Footsteps of Giants  by award-winning author/illustrator Roxie Munro.

Commissioned artwork for In the Footsteps of Giants by award-winning author/illustrator Roxie Munro.

As for our four live events:

Four lovely ladies, Julie Gribble of KidLit TV, Nancy Janin, Lucille Turner, and Michelle Lovric, opened their homes as party venues in New York, Paris, Nice, and London, respectively. They provided food and drink and invitation lists of colleagues and friends. Julie's NY event included the Kidlit TV production team, who recorded and live-streamed the event that is still online for all to see.

Also at the NY event, KidLit luminaries, Betsy Bird, Rocco Staino, and Frank Migliorelli, spoke most eloquently on behalf of "giving kids great literary content in any format."

The NY party was so well attended that we needed lots of extra hands to help us pull it off. My daughter Lily swooped in to ensure we had a cadre of greeters, servers, bartenders, etc., from among her wonderful Brown University cohort. Lily, Leah, Chiara, Robbie, Alex, Pieter, and Lauren... You Rock!

My dearest friends, Carey Shea and Calvin Parker, put us up -- me, Jim, Lily, and some of her pals -- in their incredible Harlem brownstone. It was the most awesome four-day slumber party, ever!

In Paris, Rachel and Geoff Skingsley, who’ve given so much to the project over the years, housed a smaller version of the extended team, which they plied, alternately, with Champagne, Nespresso, and love. On hand to help work the party once again was Lily and her BFF, Sam, as well as Team TTT&T Community Manager Extra-ordinaire, Caitlin.

My appreciation knows no bounds!

On campaign rewards from community members and supporters:

Chef Vincenzo Ferrera, TTT&T Florence sponsor and owner of Osteria del Porcellino, is now busy assembling a recipe book of authentic Tuscan dishes for our exclusive use. Travel photographer Bo Zaunders has provided images for our "Keep Florence in View" package: A 12-month calendar of spectacular Florence photos.

Team members Emma D. Dryden, Dan Blank, Deb Shapiro, Marcie Colleen, and Erzsi Deàk offered their talents and services as rewards and stretch goal extras. You can witness the extent of their largess here.

Team TTT&T friends, Bridget Marzo and Jeanne de Sainte Marie, both top-notch picture book illustrators, offered private portfolio reviews. While Julie Hedlund, award-winning picture book author and early TTT&T evangelist, contributed five gold memberships in her 12 x 12 Picture Book Writing Challenge, as well as a full hour manuscript evaluation for one fortunate author.


Many others stepped forward to contribute rewards, Orel Protopopescu, Mira Reisberg and the good folks at the Paperback Exchange Bookstore in Florence, among others. But we were bound by lack of time and Kickstarter restrictions and simply could not include every potential gift.

We value your intention and thank you from the bottom of our hearts!

What the kindness of others has meant for our campaign:

Together, the generosity of Team TTT&T members and friends brought in $3,350 in pledges. Enzo’s and Bo’s offerings raised an additional $3,750. Roxie’s and John’s masterpieces, which they both provided to the campaign as rewards, contributed an additional $11,050 to the campaign coffers.

They also attracted the attention of many new supporters:

During the campaign we saw a 37% increase in subscribers to the TTT&T newsletter mailing list, a 12% jump in Facebook followers, while our Twitter following expanded by almost 30%. This is due, too, to the participation of many bloggers, who included us in their editorial calendars during the campaign, thus putting us in the view of their subscribers at a critical time:

You can find links to all their posts on our Kickstarter blog here.

Final Thanks:

We would be nowhere with this project if Mary Hoffman, our launch author, had not agreed to write In the Footsteps of Giants without an advance. She was behind the Kickstarter effort 100% and pitched in to help Michelle Lovric host the London live event.

The generosity roll call would not be complete without a nod to Margot Atwell, Publishing Community Manager at Kickstarter. Her generosity of advice was overwhelming, before, during, and even now after the campaign.

But my most profound thanks go to the one person who has stood, steadfast, behind me from the moment I was struck with the idea, back in February 2006, that has brought me to this place today: James Hertling, my better half, my soulmate, my love, my partner, my best friend. Dude, what did I ever do to deserve you? Oh, and let's not forget Gryffindog who showers me with love and forces me to stop and take a trip away from my chair on a regular basis everyday. They both keep me young!

Thank You, One and All. I am humbled and blown-away by your generosity!
And can only hope to be of similar service to you one day.

And now, my friends, I would like to announce that just as academics take a one year sabbatical break every seventh year, and just as many religious take a one day break every seventh day, I will now take a one month break to restore my health after a grueling and exhausting seven-month campaign. If you don't hear from me in August, you know why. But I promise to be back in form come September, a new, rested, rejuvenated me, ready to take on the project...and the world!

Until then, Happy Summer! XO Sarah