Aug 112013

Every writer knows, and occasionally loathes, deadlines. Groton”s Betsy Fitzgerald is staring at a big one. Rather than wait for the world to beat a path to bookstores, she decided to use to get her latest novel, Neelie”s Truth, into reader’s hands quickly.

Kickstarter is an online platform that helps creative types, from authors to filmmakers to inventors to software engineers find “crowd-sourced” funding for creative projects. People visit the Kickstarter web site, browse among the competing projects, and can sign on to back a project financially at any amount they are comfortable with, from $1 on up. There are about a thousand projects in Boston, and hundreds more across the state, but Fitzgerald’s is the only one from Groton.

Each project has a baseline goal set by the creator. There is a set deadline and the goal cannot be changed once the project launches. Once launched, the project clock keeps on ticking towards deadline. If the project doesn’t reach the goal, the creator doesn’t receive any funding.

“Who me worry?” she said with just a slightly nervous smile. “Actually, it”s nerve-wracking, because it”s all or nothing with Kickstarter.” Fitzgerald’s goal is $5,000. Her project closes at 6:30 a.m. on Tuesday, August 13th. The project will fund the final production tasks for her novel — copy editing, production work, and promotion. The manuscript has already won a prize in the Santa Fe Writer”s Project literary composition and the Laurinda Collins Whitney competition.

“I think you should write what you know, and what you want to know. I grew up in a small farming town a lot like Groton. The story in Neelie”s Truth is one that takes on some big questions like justice and revenge.” Neelie”s Truth is set in rural New England in the 1950s.

Her 2009 novel, October Run, was featured at a Groton Public Library reading after it launched and is available in several Groton stores, through online booksellers, and at Willow Books in Acton.

“Pledging through Kickstarter allows readers to pre-order Neelie”s Truth and to support local arts. More than 60 people are signed on as backers.” Just a few more backers and she”ll make goal, she said. And the backers will be the first people to get copies of her book, she promised.

Betsy Fitzgerald is Executive Editor of The Groton Line, is the Alzheimer”s Association MA/NH Chapter Vice President of Communications and Public Affairs, and is a former New York Times contributing writer.