On Authors Kickstarting & General Online Angst

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Author Stacey Jay, whose books I have never read and who I’ve never met before cancelled her Kickstarter and wrote a blog post about it. A really well written blog post, in my opinion, that, according to her, angered the writer/blogger/reader community. In a nutshell, a lot of people didn’t like that she “included money to pay basic living expenses (mortgage, groceries, gas) for the three months it would take to write the book”.

It really did ruffle some feathers. It’s been talked at length about on Twitter. The words “online bullying” have come up. Again.

My two cents:

I like what Chuck Wendig said in his posting yesterday – “Where does that money go? Once it reaches the intended recipients, I mean. I’m going to take a wild guess here and say it goes toward paying their bills. Meaning, I’m helping to fund their lives, if in a small way.”

That’s really quite true when you think about it. Crowd funding doesn’t require a financial audit done by accountants so really, I think that unless Kickstarter requires KPMG to start looking into the financials of every pitched project, some of the money people kick in will go toward paying the bills. Who knows, maybe even the lion’s share.

You see, for authors who haven’t made it yet, $$$ = freedom to write. Say it with me now.

Every author I know wants to be successful but were you to ask them what success looks like, it’s basically, “to make enough to pay my bills.”

Dear God, can I relate to that.

At the time of this writing it is 5:00 AM Central Standard Time where I live. I’ve been up since 3:00 AM writing a novel. I’ve been doing that now since 2007 because I can’t afford to quit my day job. A day job I need to pay the bills. And, agree or disagree, it does have an impact on the quality of my writing. (Yes, yes … I know … it’s not your fault that I have to work full time and write and yes, I know that I’m a lot better off than a hell of a lot of authors.)

Still,  I know that I could be a better writer if I simply had more time to write, but I don’t. I have a mortgage and bills, just like other people. And I’m not physically starving in the sense that I’m living on Ichiban noodles – my day job allows my to buy sirloin. But I know I could write better if I were able to make enough money off the five books I have written and managed to get published. (And the sixth, which I self-published).

I think all the kerfuffle over this issue has less to do with people wanting to express a point of view that their money shouldn’t have to pay for the writer’s living expenses and more to do – way more to do – with the troubling nature by which we communicate via social media these days, the need for everybody to *be heard*. I suspect, though I have no proof, but I suspect that were one to put all the people who kicked up a stink about this in a situation where they were face to face with the author, behavior would be far different. That’s the thing about communicating online – people rarely conduct themselves with one another the way they would were they face to face with someone they disagreed with.

I support the author very much in this case. I don’t think I would have launched a campaign identical to hers, but I certainly know what she’s going through. And I’m really sick to @#$% death of online angst where readers/bloggers are at loggerheads with authors. Dear sweet baby Jesus, but we’re all supposed to be on the same team aren’t we? Authors write because they love to tell stories. Readers read because they love to read stories. Bloggers blog because they love to talk about the stories they’ve read and the authors who wrote them.

So why are we having these online dramas?

I have no idea.

I just wish it would stop but, human nature being the fickle thing that it is, I suspect it won’t. There really is no force on earth quite like social media outrage is there?

I feel bad that Stacey Jay is going through this. I feel worse that this is even being talked about at all.

(Full disclosure – I’m on Patreon – I haven’t received a penny for my proposed project.)

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3 thoughts on “On Authors Kickstarting & General Online Angst

  1. I agree so much Sean – social media can bring out the worse in people, and some just love a drama. Sadly though, people get hurt by it.

    I sometimes complain that as a book forum owner, I’m not seen as a ‘blogger’ and am left out of a lot of things. However, there are times when I’m really pleased about that. My wish has always been to bring authors and readers together – I’d hate to get wrapped up in the drama and fights!

    On the subject of kickstarters, if someone starts one, it will either be supported, or it won’t be. For those who don’t wish to support it, why get involved?

  2. And you hit the nail on the head. If you disagree with the whole living expenses thing, then don’t support the project with your $$ – why express your outrage to the Internets?

    I’m going to come out and say it – a lot of this has to do with being mature about things.

  3. Well said! There’s this thought that artists (including writers) must create solely for the sake of creation. That’s a wonderful thought, sure, but it’s unrealistic. Even writers need to eat. They need clothes and places to live, too. To think otherwise is to be delusional.

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