Guest Post: J.S. Lewis

The Larks are excited to welcome J.S. Lewis to The Nest today. He's here to discuss his most recent project.

Photo by Joanne Mandel

How Book Blogs Saved a Life 

When Faith Hochhalter told me that she had stage IV breast cancer and that she hadn’t been to the doctor because she couldn’t afford it, I got angry. People shouldn’t die because they can’t afford care. Not in a country as rich and technology advanced as the United States. 

 At the time Faith was the children’s book buyer at Changing Hands Bookstore. She’s also one of those people who can bring a smile to your face just by thinking about her. I couldn’t imagine a world without her, so I went to work. 

I sent emails to some author friends and followed them up with calls. After all, Faith had helped launch a lot of our careers and I knew if we put our heads together we could do something dynamic. And that’s exactly what happened. 

 Authors like Stephenie Meyer, Shannon Hale, Laini Taylor, Frank Beddor and Brandon Mull jumped on board right away. So did our publishers, who donated hundreds of books. We had volunteers that did everything from design posters and tickets to build a website from scratch. 

 We needed a way to get the word out but we didn’t have an advertising budget, and that’s where the amazing bloggers came in. Blogs like Twilight Moms and Twilight Lexicon got the word out and it worked! Twilight fans from around the world filled the auditorium and donated generously. 

 We raised over $150,000 to help fight breast cancer and that wouldn’t have happened without the bloggers and the wonderful people who read those blogs. They helped save Faith’s life. But I also know there are thousands of other women who need our help.

An Anthology to Support Breast Cancer Research and Children’s Literacy 

When I decided to self-publish the next book in the Grey Griffins series, I wanted to find a way to tie a charitable component into the promotion. So I asked some of author friends if they wanted to help and the result is going to be a second book—a Grey Griffins anthology where 100% of the profits will be donated to the National Breast Cancer Foundation ( and Kids Need to Read ( 

 Check out the authors involved: 
• Brandon Mull | NY Times Bestselling Author, Fablehaven 
 • Aprilynne Pike | NY Times Bestselling Author, Wings 
 • Frank Beddor | NY Times Bestselling Author, Looking Glass Wars 
 • Michael Spradlin | NY Times Bestselling Author, Youngest Templar 
 • Dean Lorey | Co-Executive Producer, Arrested Development 
• Shannon Messenger | Let the Sky Fall, Keeper of the Lost Cities 
 • Tom Leveen | Party, manicpixiedreamgirl, Sick 
 • Joseph Nassise | International Bestselling Author, Templar Chronicles 
 • Matt Forbeck | Leverage: The Con Job based on the TNT television series 
• Janette Rallison | My Fair Godmother, Slayers

Why I’m Self-Publishing Both Books 

I’ve been lucky enough to publish nine books through Scholastic, Little Brown, and Thomas Nelson and I plan on working with them again, but the industry is going through a state of hyper change that’s brought uncertainty. But it’s also given writers the opportunity to take control of our careers and I plan on doing just that. 

 Self-publishing the anthology will also let us donate even more money to those amazing charities. We’ll make 70% of the cover price instead of the typical 17.5%, that we would get if it went through a traditional publisher.

The One Drawback with Self-Publishing 

Each short story in the anthology will be professionally edited. It will also have its own professional cover painted by Scott Altmann, which means that the final product will look every bit as good as what the major publishing houses produce. But the one drawback with publishing your own book is managing the upfront costs.

Crowdsourcing with Kickstarter 

Running a Kickstarter campaign gives readers the chance to pre-order the book. In turn I’ll invest the money into making an amazing product. And I know what it means to have a tight budget, so I made sure the pledge levels started at $1. 

 There are some fun rewards like custom Grey Griffins short stories, collectible character trading cards and sketches from the cover artist. For the writers out there, we’re offering the chance for a query letter review, a partial manuscript review, and even a Skype brainstorm session where I’ll help you come up with ideas for your story. 

 You can help fund the Kickstarter campaign here

You Can Even Get Your Story Published in the Grey Griffins Anthology 

I have a passion for helping new writers break into the industry, and I thought the best way to do that with this project was to give someone a chance to get a short story published in the anthology. Your story will end up in the same book with all those New York Times bestselling authors. If it sounds like something you’re interested in, you can find the submission guidelines here:

Thank you 

Thanks for taking the time to read this and for your consideration to back the Kickstarter campaign. I’m going to need your help to make this project a reality, and I know that together we can do something incredible!


Jon Samuel Lewis is an American writer best known for the acclaimed Grey Griffins series published by Scholastic’s Orchard Books. After selling nearly a million copies in the original trilogy, Lewis and his writing partner, Derek Benz teamed with Little Brown to publish the Grey Griffins Clockwork Chronicles. He is also the author of CHAOS Novels, a young adult urban science fiction series published by Thomas Nelson and has written for DC Comics. Lewis is also a marketing executive and content strategist who works with Fortune 500 companies on their digital marketing strategies.