Last year, Rutgers blogger Dave White briefly asked about Kickstarter. And you responded with your thoughts.
But, at the same time, doesn't it seem like you may not trust your work to sell otherwise? You're basically begging for an advance, and then doling out the material. You're trying to even the odds. Which is okay, I guess.Now, it seems as if writers
In the traditional method, a publisher supported the effort of getting the book out, by paying the author an advance against future royalties. The publisher would then pay for the printing and distribution and advertising and so forth. We've had many posts about how that's changed in terms of what publishers pay for. This isn't that.
What Kickstarter and Indiegogo and, well, the web itself, allow writers to do is interact directly with millions of fans.
I recently read a post in which an award-winning author asked for donations so that he could continue to pay for his life of sending the kids off to daycare while he spent his day writing. His fans funded this request. Good for him.Good for his fans. It's lovely to have that kind of support.
I am not in any way judging what other people do. I'm not saying this is right or that is wrong. If you can get someone to pay you $10 to fart the National Anthem, then stock up on your broccoli. Whatever. If you're farting art, all the better.
I'm all for unconventional methods of writing. My current project is being written entirely in blue ink. Not black.
BookRiot recently posted some bookish projects worth Kickstarting. Check them out and see what you think.
And here's a post about how ridiculous Kickstarter is, looking at people who want you to donate so that they can make signs for homeless people. There's the nastiness of using the homeless as your fodder for comedy, but the point holds.
This dude got $500,000 to fund a book he'd already written.
This anthology doubled its funding goal.
I'm just wondering, as authors, whether we're doing this right. If you have a project that requires big upfront costs -- overseas travel, scientific equipment, prototypes -- that's one type. It's a project.
There's another type in which the Hollywood millionaires want you to fund the movies they want to make. I guess that's another type. See: Veronica Mars.
Then there is most of us. Not the hiring of an artist for a graphic novel. Not the trip to Ashendenvilleburg to research a murder from 1837.
I'm looking at the author sitting at her kitchen table, writing along each day instead of going to work at Auto Zone. Are you fine with sending that person a check for $50 so that you can get an early look at the PDF? I mean, that's kinda how Harper Lee wrote MOCKINGBIRD, right? Isn't that the story? Someone granted her a year's worth of money so she didn't have to dayjob it?
I get that cover art for a self-pubbed book is expensive. Or should be.
I get that proofreading and editing cost bucks, and that your book doesn't have the traditional path that takes care of that.
Using Kickstarter as a pre-order machine does have a certain appeal for self-published/DIY/Indie authors, I think. I can see getting the $10 from everyone upfront, then using that to buy good cover art and professional editing and all. I get that.
But the donating in lieu of dayjob seems different.
And, of course, what's the harm? If I want to send $20 to Arturo Bandini or Kilgore Trout, what harm is there? I'm giving them money so they can write. What business is it of yours?
If you have a writing project you need funds for, tell me about it. Need money to cover the printing of some cool hardback you have planned? Dude, sign me up. You need to pay artists ahead of time to illustrate a great noir story you want to tell? Yes, ma'am, that's a project I can dig.
Funding a specific project that needs upfront money? That seems like the sort of thing Kickstarter was set up for.
When an author says he/she needs funding to attend conference and pay for kids' clothing and daycare and a high-speed internet connection, I figure we might already have a way to take care of that. An advance. A royalty check. God forbid, a dayjob.
It's clear the writer enjoys the idea of being a writer.
When authors ask for money to cover "life's expenses" so they can write full-time, it seems they're asking for me to fund a lifestyle.
And that lifestyle isn't a project I'm interested in funding.