Since the formation of the ‘indie’ artist, they have had to rely on a variety of funding adventures to get their art out to the masses – borrowing from family, friends, pawning items, Ebay, selling them on CraigsList – whatever it took to get the capital to fund their next project.
Some time ago, some ingenious person thought it would be a really great idea if they put together a website that would allow artists and other entrepreneurs the ability to tap into crowd funding – a way for people who really believed in their work, their product, and/or their business plan to invest money into helping them fund the project.
For the most part, it really is a great system. It has allowed artists of all types – musicians, painters, budding film makers and directors just to name a few – to scrape together the capital needed to finish their projects and get it out to those who not only helped fund the project, but to those who may ultimately become a fan.
Basically, crowd funding works just like finding investors for a company – you write up your sales pitch and put it out there for the world. People who want to invest in the project/business venture in exchange for a copy of the finished product do so happily. For the most part, people have used it to fund musical albums, to create prototypes, to help with business start-up capital, to create paintings, to fund films – the list goes on and on.
For some reason, though, people of the author community seem to think that this crowd funding option should not be available to writers and authors. I can’t even begin to tell you how many times I see authors bashing other authors for doing crowd funding to help offset the costs of editors, formatters, cover artists, or even with funding a book signing tour. I don’t quite understand WHY everyone seems to think it is okay when bands get together to crowd fund their next album, but these same people will break out the lynch mob if an author dares to do a crowd funding campaign to help with the costs of producing a book. Are we not artists too? Do we not have the same rights as any other artist to fund our projects however we see fit? Exactly what gives you the right to tell others what they can and cannot do in order to fund their projects? Are you jealous you didn’t think of it first?
Yes, I understand you have the leeches of society who are basically using crowd funding as a way to be lazy and expect everyone else to pay their way. No, I am NOT going to pay your bills because you want to sit on your ass and write full-time. Hell, I’d like to do that too, but I have bills to pay and it’s not anyone else’s place to pay those bills but mine. But, I don’t see anything wrong with doing a crowd funding campaign to help pay for all the many professionals that are needed in order to get a book ready for publication. To me, it’s no different from bands crowd funding their next album or indie film makers funding their next film. No, I don’t think they should just ask for money without offering anything in return. That’s just charity. That’s being lazy and expecting someone else to pay your way. But actual crowd funding investment? Why do authors hate this so much?
Well, here’s a little secret. I use crowd funding, and if you don’t like it, you can go get effed. And if you are one of those who think you just have to point out how wrong you think it is for an author to offer someone a copy of their upcoming release in exchange for them investing in said project ahead of time through crowd funding, I’m pretty sure I’m going to refer you back to the above italicized sentence.
If you don’t want to use crowd funding, then by all means, don’t. But don’t get pissed off because the rest of us are utilizing all the avenues at our disposal to get our projects out to our readers. If my readers want to pay me in advance for a book I’m still working on, that’s their business. No one is forcing you to use crowd funding, but don’t knock others for using the same business model which has proven to work time and time again just because you don’t like it. I don’t see any of you telling JK Rowling she should be ashamed for living off the government for years while she wrote Harry Potter. So if you wouldn’t tell her to put her projects and dreams on hold “until she saved up and could afford it,” then please don’t say that shit to indie authors either.