People are talking about Kickstarter a lot. Indie musician Marian Call, who organizes some of the most organized shows I’ve helped with, organized a very successful Kickstarter for her first-ever tour of Europe. And did the tour, and has released the live album that the Kickstarter promised. Oh…and blogged about it.
A lot of it comes down to making sure you will have supporters, and not expecting them to sent by central casting. Pre-Kickstarter, Marian had done other fundraisers, both quiet ones and auctions. She knew who would want to contribute and what they’d want. Marian also has 3 bullet points that are variations on “know your audience”, “respect them too” and “like your audience”. But she also points out the financial side:
[Once] you deduct 10% for Kickstarter/Amazon and then 15% for taxes, and then you really add up the cost of fulfillment, you might be earning only $2-3 at your reward level that seems to profitable. [On the NUMBER SMASH page of my public budget] I calculated what each reward level would cost me, and then I wondered how many people would go for higher-return vs. lower-return rewards. What would people buy the most of? If everyone went for necklaces & USB drives, could I still actually afford to do my trip? I worked through a couple different scenarios to get a good estimate of what rewards would cost me — and how much I would need to ask for to wind up with $7,000 to make it to Europe & back (the answer is about $11,000, so $4000 would go into fees & fulfillment).
Does anyone want you to make the thing you want to make? Are people clamoring for it? Because — this is an important distinction — there is art you make because other people want you to make it, and there is art you make because you must make it. [….Y]ou only want to crowdfund something people want and need and get super excited about. [If they don’t] I’m not saying don’t make it. I’m saying fund that thing in another way.
Not everything has an audience. Or has found their audience, at least. If you’re interested in Kickstarter, either as a funder or a fundraiser, you may find Marian’s writeup useful. (Also longish and conversational.)
On a more dour note, discussing rape in fiction in her brilliant essay titled “The Rape of James Bond”, Sophia McDougall asks writers to ask themselves:
“Would I ever write a story in which the male hero is raped as part of his origin story, or as the nadir he had to fight back from, or to inspire someone else to take revenge?”
And if you would, yes, I think perhaps you should go ahead and do it. If done very well, and respectfully, it could even help to destigmatise the experience of male survivors. It could help to diminish that sense that rape somehow defines female experience.
And if you would not, ask yourself why not. And if there’s any part of you that answers, that you wouldn’t find a male survivor of rape heroic, that it’s too humiliating to even think about – then, for everyone’s sakes, until you can honestly find a different answer within yourself, you need to not be writing about rape at all.
And here’s a video of a kitten playing with a Roomba. Happy Friday!