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ysabetwordsmith in crowdfunding

Crowdfunding for Readers: The Power of Patronage (Part 2)

Here is the second half of the article that I wrote for ErgoFiction  last year.

My activities in cyberfunded creativity spread very widely.  I'm interested in promoting the whole crowdfunding concept as a new business model.  So I'm both a patron and a creator.  I've also egged a number of friends into trying a crowdfunded project, sometimes with spectacular results.  I like crowdfunding because of the high interaction between creator and audience -- but also because it encourages crosstalk among audience members.

My Experiences as a Patron

I've contributed varying amounts to artists and writers, and even to a movie.  My partner and I are in the credits of Sita Sings the Blues.  Some other projects I have donated to include "The Aphorisms of Kherishdar," "Tod's Free Icon Days," and a painting for Haiti relief.  It gives me a great sense of satisfaction to shape what gets published, to support what I cherish. 

When I can't afford to donate, I promote.  I'm on Web Fiction Guide as Ysabetwordsmith; I also post a lot of links on my LiveJournal, "The Wordsmith's Forge."  There are people using me as a newsfeed for what to read, because they like what I recommend.  Patronage is my way of adding my voice to others, whether I do it with money or with words.

I'm always watching for links and recommendations to good weblit, especially crowdfunded projects.  crowdfunding and the Dreamwidth community Crowdfunding are good places to watch for these.  I also have friends who post about what they've discovered or read recently.  If you build up a good network of folks who like cyberfunded creativity, once one of you points out a hot new project, it tends to echo through some or all of the others (depending how close your tastes are).  To the creators, this is very valuable word-of-mouth promotion.  For readers, it's a fun way to share cool weblit with friends.

Another thing I do is to examine crowdfunding models and techniques.  I look at the projects themselves, but I also read posts where the author talks about how a project works and what it should accomplish.  When I do this, I can identify what creators want.  Then I compare it to what I can deliver as a patron.

My Experiences as a Creator

As a creator, I love my patrons.  They give me inspiration, guidance, and feedback.  They have taken me to places I would probably never have discovered on my own.  They give me opportunities to stretch my talents in new and interesting directions.

Working with patrons allows me to tap into a whole new level of synchronicity and creativity, as when several folks give me prompts that land in the same setting but not the same story.  That has happened once or twice in Torn World and repeatedly in my Poetry Fishbowls.  My patrons pick storylines to continue and favorite characters or settings to feature.  When multiple people get attached to the same material, it grows accordingly.  I find that this helps me figure out which things will have wider appeal, beyond my immediate audience.

I also like the way that a dedicated patron or two can inspire a matched set of material on an obscure topic.  For example, I have a batch of Minoan poems because one patron was really into Minoan history.  I'm currently running a series of poems about an origami mage.  (See the Serial Poetry page for these.)  I've got recurring characters in Torn World who developed out of audience prompts.  Those are big impacts.  When there's not much Minoan poetry in the world, several new ones make a difference.  Consider some of your favorite topics as a reader -- are any of them rare enough that you could make a meaningful contribution to the total by prompting more people to feature them?

In terms of donations, my results have varied.  I've sold or bartered several pieces of fiction and poetry over on Torn World.  I post photographs on "The Wordsmith's Forge" and people can tip me for extra photos.  By far the most successful project so far has been the monthly Poetry Fishbowl, also in "The Wordsmith's Forge."  It's interesting to discover what people like and which kind of crowdfunding model they respond to the best.

Donations also make up a vital part of my household income, so I really  appreciate every penny.  A couple bucks from someone I know is broke will mean a lot to me.  There are regulars who buy things again and again.  I even have some k-fans who spend $100+ a year with me.  You bet I pay attention to what my patrons like!

But it's more than that.  I get to know my patrons and make friends with them.  They believe in what I do.  They share joy in my success.  And you know what?  Those particular bits are in my definition of family.  We've got room for more.  Do you?

   *   *   *

"A Guide to Crowdfunding Success"

"How to Crowdfund Your Product Release"

"How to Practice Cyberfunded Creativity"

"How to Begin a Cyberfunded Creativity Project"

"Thriving web fiction scene promotes interaction among readers and authors"



>>But it's more than that. I get to know my patrons and make friends with them. They believe in what I do. They share joy in my success.<<

I'll be very honest; this is perhaps the key reason why I support you and a handful of other creators over the many others available in Live Journal and elsewhere. :)

Thank you!

It really helps to know what works.

For me, either enthusiastic interaction or a brilliant project can hook me ... but both together will usually beat either alone. Almost all the projects that I'm really attached to are by people I interact with frequently. I think the only project where I donate without a high degree of personal interaction is Icon Day by djinni and even there, his icons are all over my F-list and I'm active in most Icon Day sessions. I got into kajones_writing because of the cool story concepts, and a friendship is developing out of that. If someone I know starts a project, I'll pimp the first round just because it's by a friend, and then see how it develops and whether I want to keep following it closely.