Establishing an Award
[EDIT 12/29/09: The Nebula officially accepts crowdfunded fiction. The Rhysling officially bans crowdfunded poems.]
What we need is an award of our own, focused on cyberfunded creativity. I'm willing to do what I can to make that happen. I need at least some help, though, to make it work optimally.
First, I propose that we start with four simple categories: Art, Fiction, Poetry, and Other Project. (Other includes any cyberfunded creativity that isn't art, fiction, or poetry -- or that spans more than one category.) Those are categories where I know projects are happening. I'm willing to handle Art, Fiction, and Other. I'm not willing to handle the Poetry category because that's the type of project I do. If anyone else wants to manage another category, let me know.
[EDIT 12/30/09: A fifth category has been added, Patron, for people who contribute toward the financial success of crowdfunded projects.]
[EDIT 12/31/09: The categories and their current handlers are listed below.]
Other Project: ysabetwordsmith
I propose the following time parameters:
Nomination period January 1-January 31, 2010.
Voting period February 1-February 28, 2010.
This allows time to promote the award across a wide range of venues, and repeat the announcements so that plenty of people have time to hear them. Everyone is encouraged to spread the word as far as possible whether you are a creator, a donor, or whatever.
I propose the following rules:
1) In order to be nominated, a project must be "cyberfunded creativity" aka "crowdfunding." That means it must be creative material marketed directly to an audience online, with money involved somehow. There are many variations of this business model; all are welcome; and if you're not sure a project qualifies, you may ask.
2) In order to be nominated, at least part of the project must be visible online without charge. If the project is normally visible only to paying subscribers or the like, and the creator wishes for it to be eligible, then s/he may offer temporary or partial access for voting purposes. (If the available material is partial and/or temporary, it needs to say that at the top of the screen, to avoid annoying visitors who might otherwise think they're about to see a complete piece.)
2.5) In order to be nominated, a patron must have contributed money to at least one cyberfunded project. This establishes the "crowdfunding" aspect and distinguishes patrons from audience members who are not putting money into this business model. However, financial contribution is not the only consideration for this category, so nominated patrons may be -- but are not required to be -- the most generous contributors to a project. Feedback, promotion, and other forms of enthusiasm may among the factors considered in nomination or voting. Note that many cyberfunded projects have an "honor wall" or some other form of acknowledgement for patrons, and some indicate which parts of a project were funded by whom, which helps show who might be eligible for this category and how great a patron they are.
3) This award will go by calendar years. So in order to be eligible for the first round, a project or patron must have been active on or between January 1, 2009 and December 31, 2009.
4) For this round, nominations will be made in comments on a nomination post in this community. A nomination consists of the project title, creator name, award category, a link to the project page, and a sentence or few summarizing the project and its crowdfunding approach. Example: "Awesome Content by A.J. Muse. http://awe.some.content.com Other. Awesome Content is a story about A.J. Muse's three ferrets, told in a combination of music and fiction, illustrated by photos; it is funded by a combination of donations and photo sales." (Future rounds may use a more flexible nomination system if such becomes available.)
4) You may nominate a maximum of three projects per category. You are not required to make that many nominations or to cover all the categories. You may not nominate your own project, nor yourself as a patron; that's tacky. You MAY nominate patrons for the Patron category who have contributed money to your project, or you may nominate patrons supporting someone else's project; but still only a total of three nominations for this category.
5) Nominations for each category will be collected by the person in charge of that category.
6) Voters are strongly encouraged to browse the nominees before making a final decision; that's what the links are for, and the purpose of this award is to promote the splendor of crowdfunded projects.
7) Voting will take place via LiveJournal polling in this community, open to all. You may cast one vote per category. (There may need to be more than one poll question per category, and runoffs, if the number of nominees is high.) You may not vote for your own project, nor yourself as a patron; that's tacky. (Future rounds may use a more flexible voting system if such becomes available.)
8) Winners will be announced after the polling is completed.
So far, there is no rendition of the award, just a concept for honoring creative talent and business ingenuity. It doesn't have a name; you can make suggestions if you wish. I rather like "Smoking Hat" ... a reference to the sassy remark, "Put that in your hat and smoke it!" (which derives from two others, "Put that in your PIPE and smoke it" and "Put that in your hat and WEAR it.").
[EDIT 12/30/09: Everyone seems to love "Rose and Bay" as a name for this award. Also, a request has been made for a tangible format. I could probably produce certificates. If you want custom art or a sculpted award, someone with more artistic talent will have to step up and provide such.]
Feedback is welcome.