Thursday, September 29, 2016

Kickstart This! P is for President!

Last year I interviewed Charles Dowd, creator, writer & artist of Lilith Dark, Kidthulhu, and Penny Powers, about his Kickstarter project launching The A to Z Guide to Jobs for Girls board book. (Which is totally awesome, by the way!) So when I saw he was doing a new very special project P is for President Coloring and Activity Book, I literally ran to my desk to send him a note about it! Unbelievably, he's agreed to answer a few more questions about this new project.

SRPS: First of all, let's do a little catching up. What have you been doing since we chatted last year? You launched The A to Z Guide to Jobs for Girls last year. How did that go?

CD: It was amazing! I was nervously biting my nails throughout the whole campaign, but it all came together at the end and overfunded. The campaign raised enough to print a run of board books and a softcover version. The book also raised enough for my wife Crystal and me to start our own small press, Riveting Press. Our goal is to eventually begin helping others who are writing girl-positive children's books get their books into print and onto bookstore shelves. We're not quite there yet but the wheels are in motion.

SRPS: I know I love my copy and it gets lots of fun comments from folks during game night who find it on the coffee table. What has the reception been for you?

CD: Overwhelmingly positive! I just got back from the Baltimore Comic-Con last weekend and the response was incredible. The A to Z Guide to Jobs for Girls was by far my best seller, and has been moving steadily on Amazon as well. At the show last weekend people kept thanking me for making it, which is a great feeling.

SRPS: You're back on Kickstarter again, so you must have found it to be a positive experience. What was the most interesting thing you learned last time around?

CD: I learned that there are a lot of people out there who want girl-positive material that isn't all about princesses. I'm not necessarily anti-pink, but I think there should be a balance, and judging by the feedback I've received a lot of people seem to agree. Boys can choose to be scientists, construction workers, politicians, truck drivers, or any number of other things, but girls get to be princesses. That's just not fair!

SRPS: I love the idea of a coloring and activity book -- so much more interactive! What inspired this latest project?

CD: Well I love the idea of the board book for the wee ones so they can learn from the very beginning that girls can be anything they want to be when they grow up, but older girls may not want a "baby" book. So I decided to make a coloring and activity book for those kids. The book reinforces the ideals of the original, and the activities like word searches, mazes, and scrambles help promote literacy and cognitive skills for kids in the elementary school age range. Also coloring is just fun!

SRPS: Coloring IS fun! You just keep having excellent ideas! Where do they all come from? What roles do your kids play in your creativity?

CD: Thank you! To be perfectly honest I never really comprehended these issues until our daughter was born. I started to notice the difference in the way things were marketed towards her as opposed to our son. I was completely unaware of male privilege or whatever the proper term is. I really just wanted to share cool stuff with my daughter, but there was nothing but princesses and pink stuff! The toy store was the worst. Things that shouldn't be gendered like Legos were in the "boy" section, and all that did was reinforce to her and others that she should only play with baby dolls, and I think that's ludicrous! Like, why aren't there any dinosaurs in this pink aisle? Where are the chemistry sets? It's a real issue.

SRPS: It sounds like you're busy being an amazing artist and dad. How do you keep yourself organized?

CD: Oof. I'm not the one to offer organizational advice. I tend to use the "pile" system. I'm not always sure what's in any particular pile, but I do know which piles matter! When it comes to my work, I just try to keep a close eye on what's due and when. I pride myself on hitting deadlines, one way or another! Admittedly, it's tough to juggle multiple projects, family and client stuff. It helps that I have the most supportive partner in the world in my wife. Without her support I don't think I would ever get anything done.

SRPS: This activity book will be limited to only one edition. What is that?

CD: In the spirit of the original book's theme, I wanted to create something to commemorate the historic 2016 election. It's the first time a woman has been nominated as a major party candidate, and it's important! With that said, I felt that a collectible, limited edition would serve as the best way to mark the occasion. A one time item for a one time real-world event. I also wanted to offer something special for long time supporters.

SRPS: Right now you're really close to your initial goal. Congratulations! Any ideas for a stretch goal?

CD: I have a couple ideas for stretch goals, but I'm not one to put the cart before the horse. My focus at the moment is on funding the project. Once that's accomplished, I'll reveal some fun stuff for sure!

If you haven't already backed this project, you really need to get on it! Personally, I'm going for one of those fabulous tote bags!

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