Winter Pledge Drive
Harlan Ellison told the story of how once he, L Ron Hubbard, and a gaggle of other “Golden Age” writers were sitting around drinking and complaining (as writers do) about how impossible it was to survive on the going wage of a penny a word. As Harlan told it, Hubbard joked that the only way a writer could survive would be to start his own religion. The others laughed and spent the rest of their inebriation inventing ever more outlandish ideas with which this hypothetical scheme could squeeze blood from the stones of the gullible. Some time later, Ellison told us, they were all horrified when Hubbard actually went out and did it–complete with all the outlandish blood squeezing.
This would have been some time around 1950, so a penny in those times would be worth almost eleven cents today. Friends, I can tell you with authority that genre writers today do not make almost eleven cents a word. The pro rate today is six cents a word, and the pulp market no longer exists, so it’s no longer possible to do what Hubbard did at his peak and sell 25 pro-rate stores a year.
Fortunately, there’s a better way. Public Broadcasting gave us the solution to this problem a generation ago. Today we call it crowd-sourcing, but for over forty years, they’ve called it “community supported programming.”
I want to sell a novel. You guys want me to sell a novel. I know this, because several of you have written to say so. But life gets in the way. And website maintenance. And audio book post production. And print layout. And marketing. And searching for appearance locations that might make back gas money. And a thousand other things an established author might contract out, but I have to do myself to keep the IRS from deciding this whole writing career looks like a tax dodge (it isn’t).
So welcome to our winter pledge drive folks. I’m now on Patreon.
We don’t have a studio or a materializing TARDIS, and volunteers are not standing by for your call. However, if you’d like to chip in a little to support the cause, I’ll be just as grateful as that dude who dresses up like Kryton for Red Dwarf night on your local PBS station. More so really, because I can’t bring your BBC programs in return, or even weekly videos on Youtube–writing anything of meaning just doesn’t work that way. I am, however, trying to rejigger things so my time goes more into creative work, and to do that, I need to do less of everything else.
So please, check out my Patreon page. I have a number of pretty awesome thank-you gifts for new pledges, and made a pretty awesome intro video.
If Patreon isn’t for you, I’m also on where you can donate some writer fuel.
What do you think about this move? About crowdsourcing in general? Leave a note and let me know.