WHAT IT IS: "Yesterday Was Weird…" is an illustrated hardcover book about the complex and often devastating emotions experienced with the loss of a pet. The book is based upon blog post I wrote, told through the voice of Benny, on the day of his passing. The post, which went viral within 24 hours, has been read more than 100 million times and shared via major news outlets including the Today show, Good Housekeeping and many others. The last three months have been an astounding journey. From the outset, people asked me to write a book, and now, with your help, we will be able to do just that. We'll be able to continue to share Benny’s story with world and help everyone who has loved and lost a pet understand that beyond the grief, there is everlasting love and companionship.
The goal of this campaign is to create the First Edition of a beautiful, full-color, illustrated hardcover version of "Yesterday Was Weird..."
A BIT ABOUT BENNY: My Name is John, I'm a professional musician based in Austin, TX... but You Probably Know Me as "Benny's Person."
He was born on January 29th, 2007. I met him when he was 5 days old. He came home with me when he was 8 weeks old. We went through everything together - relationships came and went, we nearly lost the house to foreclosure, my father passed away, and Benny never lost his basic, boundless happiness.
He collapsed in the park in early November, 2015, and through extensive (and expensive) vet diagnosis, he was diagnosed with cardiomyopathy, and cancer. We were managing his heart condition, but the cancer wore down his kidneys. On January 28th, 2016, just one day shy of his ninth birthday, I had to give him the ultimate help, to deliver him from his bodily struggles, and put him to sleep. It crushed me. I couldn't imagine my life without him, but there I was. Alone.I sat down and started writing. "Yesterday was weird. I couldn't get myself out of bed..." It was all I could do to fight back the pain, and the rest of the story just flowed out. If you haven't read it yet, here it is: https://www.facebook.com/notes/benny-pointer/yesterday-was-weird/766375600160863
The next day, on what would have been his birthday, it had already been shared over 10,000 times. It reached 100,000 shares by the 5th day. In the first two weeks, it had been read by around 20 million people. Good Housekeeping shared it. Then Ashton Kutcher, George Takei, and Young Money. The Today Show wrote a piece about it. Fox news sent out a reporter (click here to watch).
Right from the outset, people started asking me to turn it into a book. Several artists have already sent ideas on how to illustrate it. Take a look:
We've got the story, we've got the printer lined up, and we've got illustrators interested. I even made a rubber cast of Benny's paw print to use as a stamp so he could "sign" some of the books for you. The last step is the funding. That's all it'll take to make this happen. We can pull this first printing out of the ether, and into the world! We can make a version of the story to have and to hold, and to share with friends when they need it most. Like any kickstarter, you can choose the best reward for you. Whether you just want to preorder your copies, have your name printed in the book, get a poster-sized version of the cover art, or even come to Austin and get a guided tour of some of Benny's favorite places, I've tried to offer enough options for you to find something that's the perfect fit for you.
I am so glad that his story resonates with so many people. I'm really amazed, and I truly hope it continues to connect us. I love it, and I'm sure Benny would, too.
Thanks again. I really appreciate your support, can't wait to hold one of these in my hand, and really look forward to sending yours, too! PROJECT DETAILS: The campaign will run from April 28th, 2016 through May 28th, 2016. During that time, I'll select the artist who will illustrate the story, and focus on creating the approximately 60 images I believe the story requires. We'll send the files to the printer in June, and should have the books back in July. I will ship them to you in August. The electronic versions of the book will be emailed as soon as the files are sent to print in June. The books will be hardcover, full-color storybooks that measure 8 1/5" wide by 11" high - basically the exact same size and quality as Shel Silverstein's, "The Giving Tree."
This budget will cover printing the first 1000 books, plus the kickstarter fees, plus other miscellaneous expenses, possibly including the hiring of help to pack and ship the rewards.
The early birds can get the hand-stamped copies, with Benny's pawprint in them, as well as my signature. If the artist who does the illustrations lives nearby, they will sign some of the books as well.
The shirts will be high quality cotton tees, with Benny's Super B image on the chest. He is everyone's inner superhero, and you should feel empowered to go out into the world and love fearlessly!
The posters will be high-quality prints with an approximate dimension of 12" by 17", an enlargement of the book's cover. The limited edition screen prints will be larger, up to 24" tall.
All of the books will be hardcover, full-color throughout, illustrated storybooks. My wording was ambiguous in some of the rewards. There is basically only one book, the only difference being whether it's signed or not.
Regarding signing: Any book above the "Pay It Forward Preorder" which is labeled as hand-stamped with Benny's pawprint, will also be signed by his person upon request. I can see the value of each way - Only the pawprint of the "narrator" or both the narrator and the author signing it. It's up to you.
When the Campaign ends, I will reach out to get your shipping information and your preference as to whether I sign, Benny stamps, or both, if applicable.
Latest Updates from Our Project:
Ladies and gentlmen... we have a printout!
4 days ago
– Thu, Jun 22, 2017 at 10:29:39 PM
We still have to make a couple of tiny tweaks (adding ISBN number, UPC code, and one or two other details), but... feast your eyes!
When they gave me the first page as a test, my heart skipped a beat. If I had a tail, it would be wagging. I tried to record some video, but I just couldn't hold myself together. The show tonight will be real test of my abilities to channel feelings into music. Everything is as fresh as January 29th, 2016. It's equal parts beauty and heartbreak.
Thank you so much for your faith and support through this whole process.
Benny, we all love you buddy. ❤️
Another step closer!
17 days ago
– Sat, Jun 10, 2017 at 06:23:29 PM
On Thursday I got the second revision of the layout. Here's where we are:
I created a punch list which should be the last one! It's just little things like "move this comma," "compress this sentence," and "let's add a blank page there..." In other words, we're really down to the minutiae.
We been in touch with a few printers for paper selection and new price quotes.
We will be meeting on the 23rd to (cross your fingers)... finalize everything!
that means... you may get your electronic copies as soon as that day!
I get nervous saying that because there have been so many little surprises. That's why I've always tried to lay things out as steps rather than dates, but at the very least, I will send you the iteration we have then, even if there's one or two small tweaks left!
Related: I took a hiatus from performing my solo concerts back in September so I could focus my energy on this. Although I wanted my "return" concert to be at the potluck/performance/packing party when we get the materials back from the printer, I got an offer to perform at Riverbend Centre in Austin on June 22nd, and I just couldn't refuse it.
We should know at that meeting on the 23rd what the actual printing timeline will look like and I will let you know as soon as I do. That means we can start planning the final steps: packing party and shipping!
This has been a huge learning process for me and has been humbling, to say the least. I have supported other projects that took a long time and I know it can be frustrating, especially when the creator's communication is not completely open. I really appreciate your support and patience, and I hope that you have felt like I'm doing my best not just to produce the book, but to keep you posted with honesty and transparency.
I am always here to answer questions if you have them.
Thank you so much.
One year ago today...
about 2 months ago
– Fri, Apr 28, 2017 at 10:56:51 PM
One year ago today, we launched the Kickstarter to make Yesterday Was Weird into a book. It's amazing how the time has flown and if you watch the video again, you'll see exactly how little I knew about publishing.
It's taken much longer than I projected, but I've learned a lot along the way and have done my best to keep you posted and share the little victories as they happened.
Latest victory: the team at well done DESIGN (http://well-donedesign.com) has finished their first layout! We'll meet on Monday to polish some of the details - where to put line breaks in the text, whether we need any additional artwork, and what the timeline looks like for finally bringing this whole project out of the ether and into your hands!
I'm very happy with how this edition is turning out, but one thing I've decided is that it will be the only time I print it this way. I will look for a publisher to help from here on.
That's a bridge we'll cross later, but the takeaway is this: your version is going to be unique!
If you know anyone who would still like to order one, they can do it here until we're ready to print:
Thanks again for your patience and support along the way. It has been a healing process for me and I hope it continues to help others for a long time to come.
And the font will be...
3 months ago
– Tue, Apr 11, 2017 at 12:36:28 AM
It got 198 votes, while option 2 got 106. I feel like the choice is clear enough we can make the call, push that domino, and watch the rest just fall into place! We will make sure the font is clear, the color combinations aren't challenging for the eyes, and the story shines through.
Please share the link with any friends who still might like to order a copy. We're getting soooooo close to the finish line!
Thank you all so much for weighing in, for your continued support, and for helping to make this happen.