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Nick Holmberg

Nick Holmberg

Des Moines, Iowa

Nick has lived, learned, taught, and traveled in major metropolitan areas on both sides of the Pacific. These experiences inform the unique perspectives from which he writes.

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About the author

It could be said that Nick's entire life has been lived to write this book.

While growing up in the Central Valley of California, he spent a fair bit of time in what is now known as the Silicon Valley; it was the first major American city that he was steeped in. Santa Clara Valley—and its nearby mountains and ocean—captured his imagination long before the advent of the internet era. The people’s history of the bygone agrarian and canning industries in the area intrigued him so much that he ended up moving there in 1995 for undergrad at SJSU—just north of Steinbeck Country. Nick read various world literatures with guidance from a wide variety of scholars, but studying Steinbeck—a master of empathy—under Susan Shillinglaw was key to his development as a student and a writer of fiction.

Though it was in San Jose that Nick explored and observed his first adult influences in literature, art, music, and diversity, it was a gap semester at the age of 20 that informed his writing in a way university could not. He traveled solo for the first time, surviving on about $2,000 in busser/waiter cash and meeting people from all over the world; writing in earnest over those two months; staying in hostels; and traveling by bus and train.

Before he moved to New York City in 2003 to pursue an M.A. in literature and creative writing, Nick wrote his first successful short story. It was part of his application to CCNY and was a short story that tested the bounds of his empathy. Someone whom he was close with at the time was attempting to figure out issues related to sexuality. He processed this by writing from a perspective that, in some ways, resembled this person's perspective. What he wrote for his CCNY application morphed into the early pages of The Emergent (formerly titled toil & sound).

If Nick's social consciousness was still in a somewhat nascent stage when he moved to New York City, living for a year in the Washington Heights neighborhood of Manhattan opened his eyes. It gave him a real sense (however limited) of being an outsider: he may have been the only white person in a half mile radius. This and other cultural experiences in NYC entwined fortuitously with his courses. And these factors dramatically affected creative choices he made in The Emergent. He studied in depth the work of the South American and Caribbean magic realists; beyond the early slave narratives, he dove deep into the African-American canon.

Nick moved to South Korea in 2006. Among other things, he was fortunate to find new experiences and people. His lifestyle also allowed him the solitude needed to write. He expanded his book idea over the course of four and a half years; he completed the first draft of his two novels. Since then, he has continued to read widely and write online about intercultural and social issues.

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Success! Toil & Sound has already sold 260 pre-orders , was pitched to 116 publishers , and is in discussions with publishers .

$9 digital Kat

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--invite to a launch party

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$19 Kat

60 readers

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$29 Kat & Alma (EARLY ADOPTER-LIMITED) Sold out

15 readers

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--two hard copies (at a discount) so you and your friend can read and discuss as you make your way through Kat's journey
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--invite to a launch party

2 copies + ebook included

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$59 Kat & Nick

4 readers

You and a couple chums sit around discussing books. This could be the beginning of a new book club. You'll get:

--three hard copies
--your name listed in the acknowledgements if you so choose
--half-hour virtual hangout with me
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3 copies + ebook included

$7 shipping

$89 Kat in Café Matisse

6 readers

You could be accused of being sentimental because you long for the day when your café and the people in it were as eclectic as the conversations you had with your friends. You'll get:

--four SIGNED hard copies
--sneak peek at Chapter 1 in its entirety
--prominent mention of your name in the acknowledgements if you so choose
--your choice:
one-hour virtual hangout with me
OR
2 hours at a coffee shop with me and three friends (travel and lodging would be extra)
--invite to a launch party

4 copies + ebook included

$7 shipping

$99 Kat & Nick book club

4 readers

You and your fellow bookworms are a tight group, and you take your literature seriously. You'll get:

--five SIGNED hard copies
--one-hour virtual or in-person book club meeting with me (travel and lodging would be extra)
--prominent mention of your name (or your book club's name) in the acknowledgements if you so choose
--invite to a launch party

5 copies + ebook included

$12 shipping

$119 Kat at 3rd & Santa Clara

2 readers

You are a person about town. Everyone knows you and you want to share this book with them. Help spread the word! You'll get:

--six SIGNED hard copies to share with friends
--sneak peek at Chapter 1 in its entirety
--prominent mention of your name in the acknowledgements if you so choose
--your choice:
an hour of WA or WI macrobeer and rail liquor at a dive/neighborhood bar of your choice with me (travel and lodging would be extra)
OR
a similar virtual sitdown with me
-- poster of the cover art
--invite to a launch party

6 copies + ebook included

$9 shipping

$175 Kat in San Jose book club (LIMITED)

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You want to expand your book club or give extra copies to other important people in your life who may not be in your book club. Help spread the word. You'll get:

--ten SIGNED hard copies
--90-minute virtual or in-person book club meeting with me (travel and lodging would be extra)
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-- poster of the cover art
--invite to a launch party
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$210 Kat in Caravan Lounge

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--ten SIGNED hard copies to share with friends
--sneak peek at Chapter 1 in its entirety
--prominent mention of your name in the acknowledgements if you so choose
--your choice:
--an hour and a half of WA or WI macrobrew and rail liquor in a dive/neighborhood bar of your choice with me and one of your friends (travel and lodging would be extra)
OR
--a similar virtual sitdown with me
-- poster of the cover art
--invite to a launch party
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10 copies + ebook included

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$449 Kat & The Long Valley

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--twenty SIGNED hard copies to share with friends
--sneak peek at Chapter 1 in its entirety
--prominent mention of your name in the acknowledgements if you so choose
--drinks and appetizers for you and a friend with me (travel and lodging would be extra)
-- poster of the cover art
--invite to a launch party
--FREE SHIPPING

20 copies + ebook included

Free shipping

$899 Kat at San Jose State University

1 reader

You could have paid a large portion of a semester's worth of full tuition in the mid-90s at SJSU. But here you are: an incredible patron (and librarian? or an agent?) with many friends who like to read and discuss literature. Help spread the word.

We will discuss additional details for your package, but your package will include:

--thirty SIGNED hard copies to share with friends
--sneak peek at Chapter 1 in its entirety
--prominent mention of your name in the acknowledgements if you so choose
-- poster of the cover art
--invite to a launch party
--FREE SHIPPING

30 copies + ebook included

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Update #7 - updates on re-writes and contracts July 6, 2018

Hello, all.

A fiction writer’s job is to walk a line between telling a good story and unsettling readers to the point that they look at the world in a way they hadn’t considered. This belief has led me to coddle this novel for nearly half my life. And I do not see myself failing in my aim. Waver, yes. Falter, more than once. But I write on. I edit. I slash. I rebuild. And I write on.

After several significant drafts over the life of the manuscript, you might think there would be fewer typos. Not true. The most recent re-writes are done and took about six weeks. The changes to the manuscript were seismic and necessary; the novel and its concept are more relevant to the world we now live in. But when seismic events occur, things can get a little messy. Thanks to constructive feedback from a Heather Jacquemin and Joe Coccaro, I know I need to go back through the manuscript and tend to the technical aspects like stray commas and nefarious extra spaces. At the same time, I know I must paint the main characters with a little more detail and ask tough questions about structure.

I’ve been in talks with a hybrid publisher (Koehler Books). The first thing that I must think of when deliberating on a publisher (hybrid or traditional) is whether the publishing house is the best fit for my project. If you look at Koehler’s website, it is well-done, professional, and easy to navigate (which is more than I can say for other publishers that have expressed interest in my manuscript). John Koehler himself has been far more candid than I could have expected, and patient with my annoying questions. Furthermore, the executive editor (Joe Coccaro) was kind enough to do a review of my book, a service that usually costs extra money. 

On the other hand, it doesn’t appear as though there is much beyond genre fiction in the Koehler catalog. For instance, while my book certainly falls under a coming-of-age subgenre that you see on the Koehler website, I envision it quite outside such clear definitions. Some of the books I have done in the past year were marketed under the category of Adult Fiction, though one could say they are definitely coming-of-age books. Examples of such books are Americanah, We Need New NamesThe Leavers, Long Division, and Salvage the Bones. So, in spite of the obvious publishing know-how of Koehler, I hesitate. I pause because I don’t see a category in the catalog that might be suitable for marketing my book (incidentally, this affects how the book cover may appear; compare my book cover for the campaign with the books mentioned above). I am, though, open to insights about this issue.

Another area that I hesitate is finances. The funds that you contributed were an obvious help in getting me to this stage in talks with a publisher: a strong fanbase willing to plunk down hard-earned cash for my pages looks very good. Additionally, your support is an immense inspiration; your belief in me and/or this project pushes me to make a good story even better. But if I go the route of hybrid publishing (called co-publishing on the Koehler website), the costs are much greater than the funds you helped me raise. And searching for a traditional deal could add a year or two onto what, in the publishing world, is typically a long production schedule. Also, it is time (after 17 years) for me to move on to the next project (the already-drafted sequel to Toil & Sound). Having said that, a hybrid deal will cover all the important aspects that I do not have an expertise in: marketing, distribution, cover & interior design, ISBN number, and line-editing/copy-editing/proofreading. To be clear, I am not asking you for more money. But as my patron, you should know that I am looking for additional sources of funding so as to make my choices a bit clearer. If the money doesn’t come through, I will find a way to fund the remainder myself. I’ll keep you posted.

Thanks so much for your patience. Please write me an email if you have any questions.