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stryck in crowdfunding

Tip incentives for writers?

Thanks to being nominated for the Rose and Bay award, I have gotten more organized with my poetry. I have a new tag, "poetry kitchen", for my poetry-on-demand posts and the poems that come from them. From now on, those will be known as "Poetry Kitchen: Feast of Poetry" or "Poetry Kitchen: Sonnet Side Up" or "Poetry Kitchen: General Tso's Haiku".

Hmm... Warrior haiku might be therapeutic, actually.

Anyway, I plan to do another Poetry Kitchen post as soon as I decide if I want to attempt another Feast or do something more narrow. Also, since I am able to accept tips now, I am pondering tip incentives. I might offer a second poem to tippers if tips reach a certain level, or maybe I could say that if they reach a certain level, I will sit down and write a long poem (ode or ballad or saga), and then offer topics for people to vote on.

Any thoughts from the brain trust out there? What kind of tip incentives work for writers?

(xposted to my own journal)


I'm still working on what-works-for-tip-incentives; when I donate money, it's for one of three reasons:
1) a piece really speaks to me
2) a cause really speaks to me (sick kitty, for example)
3) the call for $ is so clever I can't help but donate

Donations to my webserial seem to be completely random; people read a bunch and then go "oh, yeah, I should give you some money for this, shouldn't I?"

Aah... 4) Djinni, I think, has a good grasp on the tip incentives; I'm just not sure how to translate them to writing. I know that I'm more willing to promote his Free Icon Days on the off chance I'll get a 3rd icon if enough people donate.
Yeah, Djinni's got good ones, but they're a bit easier for art, I think. Art has more stages of "done" to go through, and people also seem to appreciate an extra drawing. I'm not sure that another poem would get the same "ooh!" feeling, and a sonnet just isn't done until it has 14 lines.
*nods* Yeah, "I'll do this 8-line rhyming thing, but if I get $50, I'll do a WHOLE sonnet" doesn't work that well.

This - http://aldersprig.dreamwidth.org/8161.html - was what I did for my first livewriting marathon.

One thing a friend suggested was having, for the next one, two axis of incentives, where X# of people participating" had its own rewards (like Ysabet posting more free poems w/ a new prompter/donator). Not sure what I'll do for that, yet, though.


It depends on the length of the poem. Sonnets are short; not much you can do with incentives unless you're writing a series of them.

Longer poems, now, that's different. I had very marginal luck with epics at first, because few people could afford to sponsor a big expensive poem. But then someone asked if they could share the cost, which led to cosponsoring, which led to posting poems a verse at a time as they were sponsored, which led to the epics becoming a LOT more popular.

Also, people enjoy ongoing projects. Something that is really catching on now is serial poetry. I made a page that lists the poems in series, and it's really helping:
People know they can ask for more about these characters.

Both of the epics from my March fishbowl are in microfunding now, each with a good handful of sponsors excited by the unfolding action:

"The Truth in the Tower" (a Fiorenza poem)

"Paper, Scissors, Stone" (a Monster House poem)

People seem to enjoy watching for the new verses to be revealed. So if you write long poems, this approach is well worth considering.
I think that "ooh!" feeling would be possible with poetry if I had a preview of what was being written. Maybe a "if there are tips, another poem will be posted about an argument between a male and female witch about which is the most witchy, and here's a preview!"
I was musing over some of the replies, like this one, and thought, "you know, I have a short story I've never been able to justify the time to finish.." Maybe that's the sort of thing that would work as a writing incentive. "If I get $50 in tips, then I will finish this short story about humans living in the dragon samurai world."


I think that has potential.


I think one reason that people boost the signal for my Poetry Fishbowl is hoping they'll attract a new participant, which gets a second freebie poem posted.

Re: Thoughts

Ayup! Or I'm hoping that someone else will donate more than I can, so that either a) I can point at the poems you wrote off my prompts, or b) I can read more poems that weren't off my prompts.
I like the "if tips reach ____, I'll do a longer poem and have a poll for the topic" -- this feels like Djinni's latest big incentive of a certain number of pages of webcomic, and having people vote on the topic.

You could try running a poll of your audience to see if a second poem would be appreciated by tippers.

Depending on your other skills and time (I know time is an issue--you've got a baby!), putting all tippers into a drawing to win their poem printed on nice paper with a collage or hand-drawn illustration, or caligraphed on nice paper, suitable for costs are an issue, you could offer a scan as the tip incentive, and the original for at least enough to cover postage, packaging to get it there safely, and your gas & time to get it mailed.


Another djinni perk I like is that donors automatically get their icons colored. That one is very important to me, because I often ask for character portraits in the icons. So if I can, I'll scrape up $1-2 for a donation.

Re: Yes...

Getting icons colored vs black and white is precisely the sort of reward it's hard to find an equivalent for with poetry.

"Everything will rhyme?" But there is very good poetry that doesn't.

"Everything will be in a formal form?" But again, there is very good free verse out there.

Re: Yes...

If you happen to have an audience that prefers rhyming or formal poetry, that might very well work. You have to figure out what your audience values.

The examples may be over-specifying, though. Try thinking in terms of "If X threshold is reached, the project will shift into a new mode that most or all of the audience will consider to be cooler than the previous mode." Frex, you might post more poems, or all poems, or give readers the right to reprint poems if you don't already, etc.
Just wanted to throw in one explanation for random intervals between donations other than absentmindedness: I'd rather donate one relatively big chunk every couple of months than small amounts with each installment of a series because of Paypal fees. At least 30 cents off a payment makes a difference if we're talking about things like repeated $2 tips.
*nods* In my case, the "oh, I should give you some money" was a nearly direct quote.

But yeah, big chunks are nicer in terms of paypal fees.
I'd agree that djinni has some good ideas.

Knowing what my donation represents to someone is neat for me, as a donor. "I bought half a pizza for someone whose work I like" is neat. I know donations to haikujaguar go to coffee, art supplies, or cool things for her daughter. That makes a donation personal.

Group goals are cool. Being able to say "We're $10 from an ebook" during the Drakeathon that aldersprig ran was cool, and it made me promote more, because I wanted an ebook. Same thing with extra icons from djinni.

Individual people generally can't donate every time. I only started donating in 2010, and it tends to be either for projects that I just love, creators who I really admire, or for a good cause (Spots the Space Marine donations partially go to charity, and the story is amazing). I tend to follow a project for a while before I donate. Being able to buy a specific poem, as with ysabetwordsmith's Fishbowl, is a nice incentive - I bought one poem I liked and had the extra incentive to buy it because other people were asking for fairy door poems.

I don't have any projects up myself, but I hope this helps.

Edited to fix Ysabet's name.

Edited at 2011-03-06 09:57 pm (UTC)
It really helps to hear from others who make donations. This is for you guys, so I like to know if everybody thinks roughly the same way I do, or if they have other things they'd like.


>>Thanks to being nominated for the Rose and Bay award, I have gotten more organized with my poetry.<<

Yay! This is good to hear.

>>From now on, those will be known as "Poetry Kitchen: Feast of Poetry" or "Poetry Kitchen: Sonnet Side Up" or "Poetry Kitchen: General Tso's Haiku".<<

*laugh* I love your titles.

>> I might offer a second poem to tippers if tips reach a certain level, or maybe I could say that if they reach a certain level, I will sit down and write a long poem (ode or ballad or saga), and then offer topics for people to vote on.<<

Those are good ideas.

You can see the perks I use for my Poetry Fishbowl on the landing page:
Frex, if there's at least one new prompter or donor, I post a second freebie poem. Donors also get access to the donor perk-posts that I write, which are mini-essays on poetry and other topics.

Re: Thoughts

It occurred to me that General Tso was Chinese. Is there a Chinese poetic form which has made the transition to other languages?


Here is a general guide to Chinese poetry:

This entry discusses some challenges of going from Chinese to English in form poetry, and possible solutions:

Here is an example of English quatrains based on Chinese poetic principles:

Not a lot has been done with Chinese poetic forms in English, but some is there if you dig around.

Casting off ideas most randomly

I'm not familiar with poetry writing when it comes to tips and incentives; but as a novel and long fiction writer, I know how useful some sort of incentive can be. Especially when attempting to galvanize a smaller group of readers into displaying their presence if not actually helping me make enough to buy the next cover. ^^

Pretty things: As people have mentioned before, having some sort of sub-goal or "if tip-jar fills up this far" can go a long way to allowing visitors to see how their contributions work towards a common goal. The idea of bonus writing and bonus stories can develop this hugely; for those braver writers it might even be dedicating the poem/segment to person/persons who helped get it released.

Heck, in the case of a series of poems if there's three stanzas and three people got the tip jar to the bonus stage, could just tag each stanza with a name.

Preview content: With some web setups registered users can be given special permissions for a period of time. And a lot of writers prepare their segments in a buffer ahead of time. People do like getting to be ahead of the curve when it comes to drama -- so if people get to see it a day or two before actual release because they tossed $1 in the tip jar this month. That feels like a suitable reward to many.

Lottery or vote-with-tip: In the case of stories with compelling and strong characters, giving people a lottery technique so that they can submit the name of a character they'd like to see a canonical side story written about and then using that to choose one (or more) to guide bonus stories might be another suitable reward.

...still thinking myself.

I'm somewhat poor on the actual eliciting funding myself and instead keep an old fashioned model of selling books and shwag; my promotion skills are yet somewhat dulled. ^^