Michael Botur


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Wassup Northland - and New Zealand - and the world!

I'm Mike Botur and you'll know me as short story author, performance poet, opinion columnist and freelance journalist. You don't yet know me as a novelist - so let me pitch a young adult sci-fi dystopian thriller novel to you and we can raise the money to get it published and put it in your hands.


It's 2037. Humans worldwide are losing their jobs to artificial intelligence. People will do anything to survive, to keep their jobs, their homes, their mana, including a 17 year old girl next door named Eden, who agrees to spend a year inside a biodome experiment with 11 popular kids from her high school, plus Adam Turing, an embarrassing nerd loser geek.

Eden and her friends are each paid one million dollars cash up front to stay inside the biodome for a year. Who wouldn't say yes?

It start off thrillingly. Every day is a party with her mates. There's a delivery of junk food, there's no curfew, and Eden hopes to finally lose her virginity to somebody popular. The trouble is, inside the dome there are no supermarkets, no electricity, no food or drink when the snacks run out.

She has been paid a million bucks cold hard cash to go inside, but in Moneyland there is no bank for Eden to keep her million in cash safe from her enemies - or her friends. There is no panic button when the group descends into anarchy and Adam's crew of outcasts violently establishes a new pecking order - with cool kids like Eden at the bottom. When money can't protect her, Eden must protect herself - as well as the baby Adam put inside her.

Sounds pretty dope right? Kickarse heroine, malevolent nerds with too much power, killer AIs. Our youth can look outside their windows and picture Moneyland happening in Tiki or the OT or Dargaville - Christchurch - London - Wherever.
The novel is already written. Now I'm asking you to donate so we can pay to get it printed. For $3000, we can print a good few hundred of these bad boys and get them into schools, and into the hand of reviewers to get a proper publisher interested and in turn, get the book back into the hands of the 16-19 year olds it's aimed at.

With your fundraising help we can keep our rangatahi interested in reading a homegrown Hunger Games more gangsta than Game of Thrones - you can quote me on that.

God bless and thank you for any donations and support.
- Mike


  • Moneyland: new cover, new outlook


    Moneyland has a new cover!!!

    Steps to creating said new cover:

    May-July: think about current cover; feel guilty that I hyped such an average cover.

    August: worry about how to pay for new cover; waste five hours of my wife's time giving her Facebook instructions; make enquiries with local designers about how they might design the cover; waste everyone's time

    September 1: stumble upon a straightforward online cover design service simply by googling it. Bingo!

    September 3: Tell the world about the amazing new cover. 

    September 4: Wonder what I'm going to do with 50 unsold copies of Moneyland with the former cover...


    Moneyland: new cover, new outlook
  • Moneyland is live!


    Moneyland is now published. First Kindle, then paperback, then the world.

    The webpage I'll be using for most updates is:


    Everybody who supported the crowdfunding is thanked in the first pages of the book. 

    Love you all!


    Moneyland is live!
  • Oct 29 - What I've been up to in the past month


    Today I aurally devoured 'Three Cups of Deceit' by Jon Krakauer ( https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/11151351-three-cups-of-deceit ). It's an astonishing story about a really successful author, whose two books were huge-selling and enabled him to charge tens of thousands as a public speaker. Problem was Greg Mortenson was a fraud and pathological liar. 

    Now, I don't aspire to be Greg Mortenson, despite how many books the guy has sold. I do aspire to be Jon Krakauer and I've read the majority of Krakauer's works. You name it, I've probably read it. 

    Anyway, the horrifying story about Greg Mortenson taking donations and spending them on his own travel and leisure reminded me that people might like to know how the money they donated to the 'Moneyland' crowdfunding is being spent. Here's a breakdown of what I've done with the money since it was received at the start of October:

    1. Received $2740 or so after Boosted took $300 from the total amount raised

    2. Spent $150 on a cover designer whose mock-up draft designs were terrible so I had to pay him and find a better designer

    3. Went to Mrs Sarah Botur, designer who studied at Whitecliffe College of Arts & Design and studied photography and illustration. For $700 Sarah is giving me lots of cover mock-ups, original photographs, and there's kind of no time limit. So she's not bleeding me dry. Should have finalised cover design within the next two weeks - it's all contingent on having amazing photos of the 'Moneyland' characters Eden, Adam and co. 

    4. Paid myself about $400 to create 'Moneyland' as epub and mobi files, having to work on Scrivener software. It's taken many hours but I'm making progress. What's going to happen is I will spread the novel far more than print could ever do if I invest in time spent learning how to command ebooks. Shout out to @SteffGreen and @JLPawley, young Kiwi authors, for showing the way. 

    5. Also I've pledged a few hundred bucks to readers helping me polish the manuscript. It's looking great. 

    6. I can't wait to get the first Moneylands in print next month - but I have to have a perfect cover first. 

    Oct 29 - What I've been up to in the past month
  • Sept 26 update - 100 per cent target hit - but you can still help cover extra costs


    I couldn't be more grateful to the amazing friends - and total strangers- who have helped achieve the 'Moneyland' crowdfunding dream. 

    Thank you deeply. 

    If you're reading these updates and wondering if it's worth putting in money still, I can tell you that Boosted takes a ten percent admin fee, so really if we raise $3300, that would leave me with $3000 to spend on the book, instead of $2700. Just saying. 

    Here's a story on the Spinoff, and just for the record: I didn't like Dominic's book 'Iceland.' Sorry. The plot was weak. I liked the milieu of it though, for sure, and huge respect for the creative and publicity process around the book. Oh, and the book had nothing to do with Iceland. 


    If I get enough donations, I'll shortly wrap up a crowdfunding campaign to self-publish a kickass young adult novel. Here's the story of my crowdfunding rollercoaster from impostor syndrome to impresario…
    Moneyland is a YA dystopian sci-fi novel about having the food supply interrupted and having to live off the land in suburbia. The first youngsters to have read the manuscript were impressed. The book is thrilling and it has messages about sustainability and food scarcity. Still, in early 2017, Moneyland sat unread or rejected in the slush piles of publishers around the world. 
    From January to July I despaired over publishers' rejections. Then I started thinking about Hinemoana Baker's Boosted campaign, and Dominic Hoey's, and James Mahoney's. I applied to run my own campaign. Boosted rang me up to talk it over. I interpreted the phone call as dare, like "Mike, do you REALLY believe in yourself?"
    I supposed so. Maybe? Sorta. I took a deep breath, and a Lorazepam, and on August 15 we rolled out a 45 day campaign to raise $3000 to print some demos of the book and create a buzz around it.
    Boosted suggested Dominic 'Tourettes' Hoey be my mentor for Moneyland. It was a great match - I've looked up to Dom for ten years. Moneyland launched… then crashed immediately. Two weeks into the project, I took a holiday on remote Great Barrier Island and switched off my cellphone for seven days. Before I left, I sent a Mailchimp letter to 70 people. It took hours to compose that letter. I'd shaken the tree 70 times - surely some donations were going to fall out?
    A week later, I switched my phone on, convinced a tumult of donation emails would be waiting for me.
    There was not a single new donation.
    I was 33 percent of the way into the campaign and I'd raised just 5 percent of what I needed. I got stress migraines. I kept waking up at 3am. I went to work exhausted. I looked for a way out. I asked if I could lessen the amount I was seeking to raise. The answer was no. The whole thing was going to fail. I'd failed myself. Legendary NZ author Alan Duff responded AFTER I'd sent out my Mailchimp letter with four words of wisdom: "Resend with smaller font."
    Cheers for that, Duffy. Really helpful.
    I begged a friend in public relations to help me find a corporate sponsor. A local millionaire with an interest in sustainability said he had nothing to spare. I pitied myself for a couple of days, got over it then resolved to do everything Matua Dom advised. He shared his own experience crowdfunding to get Iceland written. Dom told me 70 wasn't enough people to ask. "In general 3-6 percent of people give so you need to really pull out all the stops," he said.
    Thanks, Tourettes, I thought. You could've told me that at the start, then I could have stayed in my shell, resenting the writing world.
    I parked my self-pity and went back to Dom's advice. You have to approach people 2 or 3 times and keep creating fresh content and news to keep going back to them with, he told me, so I spent four hours messaging people on Facebook I hadn't spoken to in years, asking for their email addresses, buttering them up before the cringe-inducing spammy email demand for money.
    I swallowed my pride. I did interviews in paper and radio. I stayed up late designing shitty handouts. I spoke to poetry crowds who didn't care. I performed at Whangarei Library to a crowd of five. 40 percent of people in the library audience were my children; 20 percent were my wife. I did a second mailout. My best friends each put in a hundred bucks. The despair dried up. On a Thursday (Payday? Dole day?) the heavens aligned and my phone kept beeping with fresh donation messages as I drove home. I pulled over and emailed each donor my heartfelt thanks immediately. A petrol station owner from Maungatapere slipped me a hundy and wrote, "I can't wait to see it published."
    Boosted is all about self-confidence. Identify exactly why your project is good for your artistic community, then go for it. Believe that the people you love will be there for you. Then apply at Boosted.org.nz… and trust in Tourettes.
    Confident though Mike is, his Boosted campaign could still use your help and donations before September 30. If it doesn't hit its target amount, all money is returned to donors.


    Sept 26 update - 100 per cent target hit - but you can still help cover extra costs
  • Sept 16 - Why I"m asking for three grand and what it'll cost to print


    This image is from the quote of a local Whangarei printery. They are a wonderful printery, but it's a high cost, high value, high quality deal. So the cheapest I could print bookies for would be $8 a piece, getting 300 printed. Just food for thought. Createspace is wayyy cheaper. Just sayin,...



    Sept 16 - Why I"m asking for three grand and what it'll cost to print
  • Sept 15 - So many people to thank this week


    Midway through this whole crowdfunding thang, so important events happened to me.

    1) I decided to become 100% confident in myself, instead of the 50% confidence I had at the start of the campaign

    2) I decided I could be happy putting the news about Moneyland out there, even if nobody helped

    3) I went ahead and backed myself (I think I picked up the phrased "Backing yourself / Backing ourselves" when I was watching the All Blacks interviewed after overcoming Argentina)

    I backed myself like this:

    - Composed a decent second group mailout after HOURS of collecting email addresses

    - Put in a tonne of money from my already-stretched credit card to get the campaign to the symbolic level of 50%

    - Put out media releases about achieving 50%, even when I was feeling sheepish about putting out those media releases

    - Took every opportunity to talk proudly about the project at work, home, schools etc

    - I gave really effusive, heartfelt thanks to every donor.

    - I began the bare bones of a mailing list for young people reading the book

    Those donors to thank, who have given everything from $5 to $200, are: Ashleigh al-Aziz, Gemma Keene, Kelly Stratford, Roman Zaytsev, Donna Blaber, Chevaun Nel, Nicola Day, Ryan Gibson, Tre Poutama, Hannah Lee, Jesse Gray, Anthony Killeen, Vivian Thonger, lil baby Lincoln Botur, Sally and Chris Botur. 

    Sept 15 - So many people to thank this week
  • Sept 11 - A chuffed 'Moneyland' reader says SUPPORT THIS BOOK


    Reader Zach Wendt-Smith of Whangarei enjoyed 'Moneyland' and reckons you should support it. His report, and I swear I didn't pay him to write this:

    "MoneyLand. Where to start?
    After jumping at the opportunity to “beta-test” this book, I should admit that I was expecting an interesting, but slightly mediocre read from local author Michael Botur, but I can happily report back and proclaim that I was wrong. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this (albeit slightly muddy, unfinished, and definitely dirty) piece of art. If I’m honest, the start of the book was where I struggled most. It felt long, difficult to read, and I got frustrated at the choices that the main character seemed to make, and the way she behaved towards others. I was worried that the whole book was going to be a bit of a flop, but fortunately, that was not to be. I noticed that when Michael had finished introducing the characters and setting the scene, things really picked up from there. The storyline took a great turn, and action was introduced! I loved the way Michael portrayed all the characters. He wrote in such a way that I quickly felt as if I knew them all very well, and could relate to each one individually. When a character got into a bad situation, I felt for him/her. It frustrated me when one of the teenagers persecuted another, and I laughed, cried, and felt just as desperate alongside each of them.
    Another thing I was most impressed with was that the story progression also shone through. As this book was set over the course of a year, obviously you cannot write a whole year’s worth of action into one novel. I was expecting to feel as if I was losing track of the timing in the book, but was pleasantly surprised to find that I did not. Michael has done an excellent job of including timings at the start of each chapter, and making sure that the way the characters thought, felt, and deteriorated physically matched with the rest of the previous and future chapters.
    The conflict between characters was well thought out. The way they all interacted with each other was realistic, and what I would expect from privileged teenagers of that era, who were given everything they ever wanted. While I often didn’t agree with the main character’s choices, or her ideology, it wasn’t serious enough that it made me put the book down, and I enjoyed seeing her thought processes change over time, as she matured into a person that thought about the greater good, instead of solely on herself constantly.
    This book also hit home to me with the fact that money is not everything. Michael took a few serious topics involving economics and money, and then went and wrote them in a way where it felt relatable,
    Possibly the only thing that may not be everyone’s cup of tea, is the sexual matter included in this book. While I will not go into detail, I will say that it is not for anyone under the age of 16, and anyone under that age should avoid it.
    Conclusion: This book is a great read for anyone able to handle female sexuality, dark themes, and a good splattering of violence and death. Personally I thoroughly enjoyed it, and would recommend it to any teenager looking for a weekend read."



  • This week I was all the creative news in Northland, apparently


  • September 4 - Much gratitude to kind donors; hitting 10% mark; more sample writing





    I went to Great Barrier Island to clear my head and get away from social media. I was worried about the Boosted campaign while I was away. Then I was even more worried when I came back and I'd had no fresh donations in ten days! Luckily two wonderful wahine gave donations - so massive thanks to Fiona Sussman - published author of at least three books - and Hilary Smith - also published author of three books! I know Hilary very well from when we first met studying poetry at Otago uni in 2004 (we then went on to publish a poetry zine by the name of Blindswimmer). I know Fiona from Masters of Creative Writing at AUT University, first meeting in 2008. I love how these two ladies had been really dedicated to their writing but are still generous enough to pause and help out someone who isn't yet as successful as them. So again, I really appreciate your donations.


    Other updates: 

    - got a 100 word flash fiction piece accepted for publication in a Canterbury University Press flash fiction collection

    - more samples of Moneyland have been posted at https://nzshortstories.com/moneyland-chapters-7-9/ (the website with which I am seriously revolutionising the way we read NZ short fiction online)

    - I'm considering lowering the final fundraising target for 'Moneyland', because I feel those who have been so helpful in lending donations wouldn't want it to not make it up the hill. Perhaps if I lower the goal slightly then it'll be easier to reach and won't slip downhill? 

    - this week I'll be looking for sponsors to match donations

    September 4 - Much gratitude to kind donors; hitting 10% mark; more sample writing
  • Mailout and Michael out (for a week!)


    August 27

    Kia ora tatou, whanau,

    I'm having a holiday August 28 - September 4. While I won't be updating social media or Boosted during that time, you know I'll respond when I open your message in a week. 

    So, below is the direct mailout I've sent to family and friends. 


    It would be swell if anyone reading this could kindly click on through, have a read, and pause to think about the significance of the project and how much it means if you can help me. 

    My news:

    - I talked about the project at National Poetry Day in Whangarei

    - I'm on Radio New Zealand's Standing Room Only show today, interviewed by Lynn Freeman, and I've asked Lynn to add the hyperlink to the webpage so interested people can read about this project. 


    Why am I going on holiday during the middle of my Boosted campaign? Because without treating ourselves to good mental health, there can be terrible consequences, such as depression, and that's no help to anyone. 

    I've been tinkering with the first couple of chapters of the book and I'll make a few adjustments to the manuscript in the next couple of weeks. 

    Thanks again for your interest and readership, 
    Mike out. 


    Mailout and Michael out (for a week!)
  • August 22 Update - More sample chapters; more publicity; a couple donations


    Sup yo!

    This crowdfunding thing is never going to be easy, but it's certainly thrilling. I will likely have to chip in a fair amount of my own money towards the end, but that's cool. 


    I have been looking at adjusting some chapters. I'm going on holiday to Great Barrier Island next week and might make some adjustments, thanks to feedback from readers. 

    I have posted more sample chapters on www.NZShortStories.com . 

    A few more donations received, from wifey Sarah Botur, Dargaville writer J B Reynolds, and Whangarei rapper Tre Poutama. 


    Sample chapters:





    Aaaaand lots of media:



    Check out the Creative Northland image - seems I was all the news that week...




    August 22 Update - More sample chapters; more publicity; a couple donations
  • This week I was all the creative news in Northland, apparently


    This week I was all the creative news in Northland, apparently
  • Sample chapters x3







    Sample chapters x3
  • August 15: Spending Book Money Wisely


    August 15: Spending Book Money Wisely
    Sup y'all! So we have hit the Publish button and the project is now live. You can donate; think of each ten bucks as helping print one book, something like that (each book might cost ten bucks to print, ship and promote). I thought I would begin by sharing some thoughts about what I'm up to with other writing projects and where we are headed with 'Moneyland.'
    - I write, for money, for my day job. I’m a Contract Writer aka Content Writer or Communications Writer, which means the writing I get paid for is to help organisations spread messages via news stories; to help organisations advertise products, with writing for websites; and the other form of writing I do by day is writing entertaining, amusing or informative writing for magazines such as Property Plus or Savvy.
    - I also write, for free, to unwind after my day job. Most nights I’ll add some words to a short story or poem
    - The other form of writing I do is writing on websites such as WriteUpNorth.co.nz to promote and encourage the creative writing of my community in my adopted homeland of Northland.
    - I also relax by taking part in improv / theatresports. It’s all about being impulsive and letting whatever creative actions or words come to mind get loose.
    So, that’s some insight into how significant writing is in my world. And now a few words on what ‘Moneyland’ is up to as this campaign begins:
    1. Moneyland was first drafted in mid-2016
    2. Over summer, I got manuscript assessor and novelist Tina Shaw to help refine the manuscript, improve some parts, but out any bullshit and get it spic and span
    3. I’ll be straight up about why no one else has stepped up to publish ‘Moneyland’ – the only publication offers I’ve had are a) Greedy organisations asking me to pay $3000 to them to publish the book, and in return I would get next to nothing b) Organisations wanting only to publish as an ebook that no one will ever read, effectively wasting the entire book or c) Publishers saying they have received the manuscript, but not responding further after eight months.
    4. In June I realised because my short story collection ‘Lowlife’ has been so well received, I should gather some confidence and publish ‘Moneyland’ myself – so long as I get readers to tell me they are certain the book is great and people will love it.
    5. Over the past two weeks, I’ve been sharing the book with some friends who have been open and honest about what kind of an impression ‘Moneyland’ leaves. They’ve said they love it – meaning so long as we have the money, and I do one final sweep over the manuscript to perfect it, it’ll be published before the end of the year.
    How much does it all cost? Well, Moneyland is a 300 page book. US printery CreateSpace will print 300 of the books for around $NZ1700, or 400 for $NZ2000, or 500 for something like $NZ2300. Add shipping – which will likely be a good $500 – and that’s all the $3000 used up, with no money left over to distribute the books. I would have to get some credit with a distribution company to get Moneyland selling in bookstores, online book retailers, and sell class sets of books to schools (that’s the dream, anyway).
    There are few companies who specialise in pimping books. Lighthouse PR costs over $120 per hour to whip up a bit of publicity. But that’s okay. Donations are primarily for getting good quality books printed and wasting no money lining the pockets of people who aren’t involved in writing or reading the book.
    Thanks again for your support. You’re handsome / hot. I like your eyes. Did you do something with your hair? Please give me money.

    August 15: Spending Book Money Wisely