06 Jul 2015

Adventures in (Novel) Crowdfunding Week Five

Crowdfunding-blog-5Current status

Money raised: $3,330 of $5,500

Number of supporters: 24

Nervous breakdowns: Z = Z² + C

Number of Rational Conversations with Red Sox Fans: 0

Days remaining: 11

Previous week’s stats here.

Trampling in the Land of Woe’s Pubslush page.

Let’s talk about the value of a single donation.

It’s pretty clear that a small-time (currently!) writer like me isn’t going to have a built-in audience for a new novel. This isn’t a complaint, but simply an understood reality. When I, personally, check out crowdfunding pages, I wisely put money only on people I either know OF or rely upon to deliver. No one in their sane mind, including me, would spam the refresh button on their browser in an effort to spawn a book into existence by a self-published, unknown author.

Well, except for Mum. Here is my mother:

Mum

Pictured above: badass

Mum was quick to get people donating to my Pubslush. She is an amazing advocate for my writing, and this novel in particular. According to her, I will one day be on Ellen. I’m not sure how Ellen became my mother’s gauge for an author’s success, but there it is.

This unswerving advocation is essential, and I am always grateful for Mum, but I noticed something wrong with me. I still felt like a failure in the fundraising. All of my initial Pubslush donors (the first 23) are people I know. All of them. Did this mean they were only supporting ME and not the novel? Were my marketing attempts unsuccessful? Had I only reached family and friends and NOT my target audience?

Make no mistake, I am delighted that we’ve reached $3,330. It’s humbling how generous the people I know actually are, and without exaggeration, it makes me misty-eyed. So why was I, at 23 donors and $3,320, still so bummed?

Then another donor came along…donor 24. STALKING TIME! I discovered the person didn’t know me but had gleaned some of my Facebook and Twitter shenanigans through someone who DID know me. The donor perhaps felt a combination of pity and hatred for money, but in the end, they threw ten bucks my way.

A new someone. Someone I didn’t personally know. Someone who had never been influenced by Mum! My reaction caused me to reflect on the value of each of my donors. If my Mum gave me a grand, I’d suffer my usual flush of puerile shame and take it anyway. But if a STRANGER gave me ten bucks based solely on a few sentences I spouted online and the presentation of my novel, then that was a major victory for me. Did that make me an ungrateful bastard of a son?

What’s more, the person messaged me! They were clearly bright (so I crossed off “mental case” as a reason they funded me), and they had an excellent bead on not only the publishing business but also crowdfunding in general. This donor had been burned many times by promises that crowdfunded authors and creators failed to deliver on. And yet they still dusted off a ten dollar bill and tossed it my way.

I can’t tell you how validating that was. Sorry, Mum.

While Ellen is still a ways off, and it is clear by now I may not reach my novel’s goal of $5,500 dollars within the next 11 days, I still find myself elated. Here’s why:

1.) Friend’s and family supported me FAR more than I expected (and deserve).

2.) Those without money or interest in backing me STILL spread the word. VITAL.

3.) I thought it was absurd to have an option to donate $1,000, but it was purchased!

4.) I got a new reader. Which could lead to two, if they like it. And that might lead to FOUR.

I’ll have one last blog post on the Pubslush campaign in about a week, and then we’ll be back to our regularly scheduled malarkey. But please know that this has been a fantastically positive experience despite my wembling and worry. I’ve learned a lot, raised enough to edit the book to proper standards, and I can even produce hardcovers. How cool is that?

And as for my 24th donor, I’m going to deliver the shit out of the promise of Trampling in the Land of Woe.

 

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