Dancing for Coins: Kickstarters and the Art of Asking

Amanda Palmer recently released her Ted speech titled The Art of Asking.  Think of it as a call to arms for those attempting to crowd-source art projects.

I’m totally jealous that she gets to sleep with Neil Gaiman.  Imagine what dreams he shares with his bedmate.  I’m weird and like napping with friends.

I’ve had my own limited experience with crowd-sourcing.  I did a post a chapter when I received X amount of donations from Dylan and the Dream Pirates in 2007.  It did actually paid out.

I’ve been working on the Kickstarter for The Future Embodied.  I hate the idea of bothering people with ads.  It feels like begging, just as Amanda mentioned.

Long ago, I was a married way-too-young father of a newborn baby girl and I had to work as a hot tub salesman to pay the rent.  I hated that experience of trying to sell customers on something they didn’t want or need and being so desperate for every sale.

I promised myself that I’d never have to do that again.  Since then, almost twenty years, I’ve solely made my living with words.  Writers have to sell themselves, but there is a distance.  If an editor doesn’t want to buy your story, then you move along.  If you are done documenting the latest Software Developer Kit, then you move to the next project.

Pushing The Future Embodied has brought back those old feelings.  Failure feels like being the last kid to play dodgeball.  I manage to quell them because success involves me paying other writers better.

Is this the future of publishing?  Hell, if I know.  I don’t think there is a single road to success and none of them are ever easy.


3 thoughts on “Dancing for Coins: Kickstarters and the Art of Asking

  1. You can look at it as you trying to make people give you money or see it as you giving other people the opportunity to help you. People want to help other people. They want to help their friends and they want to help strangers. I know how hard it is. You feel like you are asking for money with nothing to give back. But you are giving back. Aside from the actual rewards in the Kickstarter you are giving people the opportunity to give, which makes us feel awesome. They say it is a blessing to give and I truly believe that. The hard part is accepting the gift.

    Don’t give in to those feelings. You are worth people giving you money. And remember, they aren’t giving it to you for free. There are benefits physical and emotional that you give back. You only have $700 ish dollars to go. Don’t give up. Take the last 5 days and open yourself up to the masses. Stand on that milk crate and ask for the money.

    If you are looking for a crazy idea, find a really weird reward that you can do and video tape if the project funds. In the video she let people paint her. I’m not suggesting that but maybe read a classic public domain book online or let your wife and friends throw whipped cream pies in your face if it succeeds and you will film it as a bonus reward for all your backers. If you tell people you will do a crazy person stunt on youtube you may get new backers and get old backers to increase their bid. Don’t forget to ask people to increase their bid.

  2. Another idea you might do if Kickstarter allows it this late is to make a video today where you personally ask for backers. Tell a little about your writing philosophy and why the book is awesome. Having text is one thing. Having the voice of the man behind it is far more impactful.

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