Making Money Mondays — Patron and Kickstarter

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The Patron and Kickstarter method of funding life and projects.

More and more we are seeing writers and others in arts and science go to the public for assistance for everything from funding a film, to producing an anthology, to creating a comic book, to producing a new battery to run cars, to making a watch, which surely must contain a genie who has magical flatulence to support the cost required by the startup money needed. Some projects are so successful that they fund hundreds to millions of dollars over the startup capital needed to produce the … whatever it is.

I’ve used this method myself, using Kickstarter to fund the Rogue Mage Role Playing Game. We were successful. We finished the project. It was grueling and I’ll never do it again because it was the “Project from Hell,” which I’ve written about here and won’t bore you with it again except to say it was cursed. I’m quite certain.

The sheer numbers of financially burdened people who are looking to use this “public funding method” for personal things is growing so fast that it is mind boggling. People are using it for everything from getting a surgical procedure for a beloved 15 year cat, to paying for funeral expenses for a loved one, to paying for tuition, to opening a food truck business, to fighting racism.  If you haven’t visited GoFundMe. com, do it now. It’s amazing. And what it says about our population explosion and the huge divide between the haves and the have-nots is beyond sad.

On the business end, writers who once supported themselves through full time traditional publishing / writing income are now going to the patron method to support their lifestyle. (And I’m talking about a bare-minimum, rock-bottom lifestyle, not champagne and bonbon lifestyle.)

Everything about the publishing industry has changed. Recently dozens of full-time writers have been dumped by their pubs because their numbers are not good enough, even though many of them hit lists, won awards, sold through advances, and made the publishing companies money. Are you wanting to be a writer? Pay attention. Money in the industry is scarce and growing scarcer. That doesn’t mean I’m telling you to give up your dream. Just that your dream is going to be a lot harder than you expect.

I do understand the cost-cutting criteria that causes companies to cut and slow and concentrate on specific writers. I get it. But I grieve for the loss of the midlist and first-time writer who will get no help from a New York press to get the word out there. Even though that help was minuscule. But just getting books on bookstore shelves was a way to keep writers making money …  selling books on shelves in bookstores that no longer exist. See? I get it. I just hate the way the world is changing to the detriment of the artist and the writer.

So how do I feel about crowdfunding for writers? I hate it. AND I’m all for it. Fence sitter, much?

Some writers are using the patron / crowd-funding method successfully. Others are crashing and burning.

I fear that soon there will be so many writers funding careers this way that the really good ones will, first, see a decrease in the professionalism of their own work and, second, be lost in the crush. Which is why I’m still supporting the small press. All the way. Just to have that edge.

Oh — and here’s my next book, out in August.BOTE-Cover

See? PR everywhere.

Faith

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