Demi-Famous, Semi-Successful

Kickstarter.  You know the drill by now.  I’d put a direct link up but I can’t seem to figure that out lately, so here’s something you can copy and paste into your browser.

While anything is possible, I’m beginning to doubt this thing will get funded, which is a shame, but not completely unexpected.  As I mentioned in my previous post, I’m not exactly Stephen King or Janet Evanovich.  If those folks (or folks like them) started a Kickstarter, it’d be funded within the hour and the internet would be abuzz.

I’m not bitter.  Really, I’m not.

All right, gang.  All kidding aside, the Kickstarter project is still up.  Maybe it’ll get funded.  Maybe not.  But this was my first effort, so I’m not giving up on the idea of using crowdsourcing to increase my productivity.  I’m certainly not bothered if the current project fails.  Just a bit disappointed, but hey, I’m a professional novelologist.  Disappointment is part of the job.

Before anyone takes this too seriously, let me state for the record that I am not bothered by the possibility of failure on my first Kickstarter project.  The great thing about Kickstarter is that I really didn’t have to invest much in the project at this stage (which, for all I know, might even be a reason for its possible failure).

This is the paradox of our modern era.  Everyone wants the easy score.  Always have.  The notion that I could write a series of novels, build an audience, and somehow coast my to fame and fortune is a tempting one, but it is highly unlikely.  We love the stories of people who stumble into success, but so often, when we scratch beyond the surface, we discover that those “accidental” successes are the result of years of hard work and a generous amount of dumb luck.

The problem is time.  There’s just never enough of it.  If all my job involved was writing stories, I’d have time to spare.  I’d sit down, write a few pages a day, play video games until my wife came home, and then go for a swim in my money bin.  But my job, I realize more and more, is about promotion and excitement and getting people to notice my stuff among a foaming, churning sea of creative people, all eager to stand out in a crowd.

The battle isn’t about getting your stuff to the public.  It’s getting the public to care about your stuff.

Sorry to sound like a broken record on this point, but it is a point worth repeating.  If you’re an aspiring writer (or a creative person of any type), your biggest fight isn’t in mastering your art.  It’s in convincing enough people out there that your art is worth their time (though mastering your art does help with that I’d like to believe).  I’d give you some advice on that, but I still haven’t figured it out.

Even this blog isn’t a great tool for that because most visitors are probably already fans who (hopefully) don’t need a lot of convincing to buy my stuff.  And if you’re one of those people, I love you.  Really, you have no idea how important you are, and how your continued support keeps me going.  But how shall I put this delicately?

I need more than you.  I need a lot more.

Although, obviously, I’m very, very lucky to have you, and wouldn’t trade you away for anything.  When I become a household name and live on my mansion on the dark side of the moon (the only place the paparazzi won’t hound me for changing the face of modern fantasy fiction), I’ll be sure to include your DNA on my escape rocket so that you can be cloned when that asteroid inevitably hits the Earth.

But in order for that to happen, I have to continue to grow my audience.  Like the blob, I must consume or die.  Except I guess the blob didn’t need to consume.  It just liked to, and maybe that was the blob’s biggest strength.  It was made to devour.  It had no life, no desires other than that

Me, I’ve got video games to play and board games to master, cartoons to draw.  Oh, yeah, and books to write.  Can’t forget about that, can ?

Yet the luxury of writing and writing alone isn’t something I (or many writer) have.  So I take time out of my busy day to write blog posts I’m not sure people read (though I do appreciate all you fine folks who have taken the time recently to show me that you DO read these things), and I ponder how I can reach the biggest audience without it interfering with the actual job of writing books.

Life is a frustrating experience now and then, but you’ve got better things to do than read about the trials and tribulations of the demi-famous and semi-successful.

Next time, I’ll be answering this question:

If you had free reign to write a current comic book superhero 5 issue arc as you wanted to, would you & which character would it be?

So that’s something to look forward to, right?

Meanwhile, I have to get back to work.  Those books don’t write themselves you know.

Keelah Se’lai

Fighting the good fight, Writing the good write,




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  1. Hendrik
    Posted February 28, 2013 at 2:42 am | Permalink

    Hi Lee, the biggest problem with your Kickstarter campaign is that you block out the rest of the world, me thinks.

    I obviously don’t know about your sales stats for European countries but with how you write your books you are targeting an audience that likes books by Terry Pratchet or Christopher Moore. If I browse through Amazon Germany and select any Discworld novel and browse through what people have bought as well, I can find your book Divine Misfortune on page 6 of 13 pages of recommendations.

    The power is Kickstarter is not that it makes your work known but to get you in contact with people who like your work. People who like to support what they like – especially if it is the little known author that might be struggling to make a living. Kickstarter is the place where Underdogs can shine.

    Just think about it: If you just get a couple of hundred people from the UK, Germany, Canada, to pledge to your project, you might already be funded. They will pay more to get their items shipped overseas if it’s reasonable. The only thing you have to account for is to find the time (and a decently sized transport vehicle) to package and ship the rewards. Because being autonomous does come with a price.

    If you add international reward tiers I will be the first in line to pledge.

    A good tip might be to look at other successful literature projects to get a feeling for appealing reward tiers and pledge amounts. Me, personally, would even give as much as 50 bucks for a single signed book. And I would gratefully add another 15 bucks for shipping. But that could just be me.

  2. Posted February 28, 2013 at 7:45 am | Permalink

    i hope the project flies. i’ve been sharing the kickstarter link on face book

  3. Doug Johnson
    Posted March 1, 2013 at 8:30 am | Permalink

    Cartoons to draw? I didn’t know you drew cartoons. Have you considered graphic novels at all? Or even collaborating with an artist on a graphic novel(s)? Your stories would lend themselves well to the format and, while I am old-school (or just old) and like regular type book novels, there is a reasonable market with the whipper snappers for that flashy graphic stuff.
    Neil Gaiman did OK with that and hasn’t diminished his cred as a novelologist. Not comparing…just saying.

  4. Justin Jessel
    Posted March 6, 2013 at 1:01 pm | Permalink

    I’m sorry I just saw this now! Not enough time to truly help, but I’ll do my damnedest!

    I figure I should give you an ego stroke, since I am here. You are fantastic! And your books make me smile and incredibly happy whenever I get the chance to get another for my collection (I’m missing 2, but that will be fixed). I wish more writers were like you, and even better, more of your novels were adapted to new mediums to get more people to read your work. With the slew of terrible movies out there, why can we not have an Automatic Detective flick, or Gil’s All Fright Diner (starring Brad Garrett and Owen Wilson as Duke and Earl, if I can selfishly go ahead and cast).

    Word of mouth is my only means of helping other than the measly 8 or so dollars I spend on each of your books which you’ll get whatever you can from it (I don’t know the particulars of how much you receive from each individual book sale, but I assume it is not the full amount). But word of mouth is what I’ll do until you are a household name.

    Quality over everything else. Make Mine Martinez. Excelsior!

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