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Kickstart Temple Mount

As counsel to the Senate Intelligence Committee, Keith Raffel held a top secret clearance to watch over CIA activities. He also founded a Silicon Valley software company, taught writing to Harvard freshmen, ran for Congress, supported himself at the racetrack, and worked for a DNA sequencing company. These days he stays busy writing novels in Palo Alto, his hometown.

Litvote: You are crowd-publishing your next book. What’s that all about?

Keith: Readers can sign-up on Kickstarter to pre-order Temple Mount for as little as ten dollars. For a few dollars more, they can name characters or even take out their red pencils and help edit manuscript. The money raised will pay for getting the book ready for publication and for marketing the book after launch. Most of all I hope that those who join the team will feel they have a stake in the venture and will help spread the word about Temple Mount.

Litvote: You did okay as a traditionally published writer. Your first two books showed up on bestseller lists and one was even optioned for film. And yet you e-published your next two books yourself. You’ve been a top 10 bestseller there, too. Why change publishing models again?

Keith: A top 10 bestseller? Maybe for a few hours. Anyway, I’ve just left my day job to give full-time writing another go. Both traditional publishing and e-publishing have worked fine, but I want to try something new and different to expand my readership. As the saying goes, “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.”

Litvote: What’s Temple Mount about?

Keith: As it opens, Alex Kalman has left his Silicon Valley start-up and is sitting at home in an armchair bored and purposeless.

Litvote: Sounds familiar.

Keith: But we know what happened to me when I left my day job at a start-up. I began  writing thrillers. For Alex, the phone rings, and he learns a grandfather he never knew is dying. He rushes to the old man’s bedside and finds himself promising to find the Ark of the Covenant, missing for over 2,500 years.  In Israel Alex picks up a partner in his quest – archeologist Rivka Golan. Within days they are targeted by a sniper, chased through the streets of Jersualem by a bulldozer, interrogated by Israeli intelligence, and trapped in a tunnel under the world’s most sacred site – the Temple Mount.

Litvote: Isn’t the Ark of the Covenant in some government warehouse where the army left it at the end of “Raiders of the Lost Ark?

Keith: Don’t believe what you see on the screen. That was just a far-fetched movie, not a maybe-it-really-happened thriller!

Litvote: By going this way with Temple Mount, won’t you miss the work of a professional editor?

Keith: I don’t think so. I’ve done the best I can with Temple Mount, and I’m looking forward to turning the manuscript over to some pretty bright people who have signed up as editors on Kickstarter. I’m going to let them have at it. Instead of relying on one editor, we’re going to crowd-edit Temple Mount.

Litvote: Have others tried crowd-publishing? How have they fared?

Keith: Most of the crowd-publishing projects I’ve seen are for graphic novels or collections of photos. I know a fair number of mystery and thriller novelists, and they are watching what I’m up to pretty carefully. And I haven’t seen anyone else try crowd-editing as I am.

Litvote: Where should people go if they want to participate in crowd-publishing Temple Mount? And what about writers who just want to see an example of how crowd-publishing can be done?

Keith: I hope they will check out my page at Kickstarter http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1488262238/join-me-in-publishing-temple-mount-my-5th-novel.  I’d love to hear from any LitVote readers. They’re welcome to send along any questions or comments to keith@keithraffel.com.

Litvote: Thank you, Keith, and good luck!

Keith: Thanks and good luck to the many writers who read Litvote, too!

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