wyld_dandelyon: (Frazzled Moth Artist)

I'm pretty sure my friends will all have heard about the recent project Kickstarter should not have funded. If not, this guy wanted to publish a "seduction guide" based on "research and development done on Reddit". His words on Reddit, carefully erased prior to sending in his Kickstarter proposal, essentially advocated sexual assault. Kickstarter admits they were informed about this shortly prior to the end of the funding period, but they did not pull the project and they did not even hold the funds until they had time to determine if the project violated their terms of service.

Kickstarter's apology is here: http://www.kickstarter.com/blog/we-were-wrong

Kickstarter admits they were wrong and makes a large $25,000 donation to fight sexual abuse. However, people are still upset, and right now I am seeing more talk about what Kickstarter did wrong than about the creator of the project. Which brings me to this question:

Why does Kickstarter's actions in this matter matter so much to artists, writers and patrons of the arts?

One of the reasons Kickstarter has succeeded so well for so many artists is that they vet projects so people feel confident that they are supporting worthy art.

This was not worthy art. Kickstarter failed in its vetting process (I don't really blame them for that--nobody is perfect and these kinds of abusers are usually very good at hiding what they're up to). But--and this is a big but in terms of Kickstarter's credibility as a supporter of worthy art--Kickstarter sent the money before they took the time to investigate whether there had been a violation of their terms of service.

It's not about whether Joe Rape-Promoter can publish his book, it's about whether buyers of art will continue to trust Kickstarter enough to feel good about donating to Kickstarter projects. If you're thinking "I might be supporting rapists and teachers-of-rapists" when you see a Kickstarter page, even if the artist for this project is your grandmother, you will probably not feel good about sending her your money through Kickstarter.

What it comes down to is that Kickstarter's reputation matters.

Because Kickstarter has made it clear that they have standards for a Kickstarter project and they vet the projects prior to approving them, their reputation matters in a different way than a traditional publisher or book store's reputation. This unique reputation is inherently part of any Kickstarter project--because of this reputation, buyers could feel good about spending money there.  Essentialy, every time they sent money off through Kickstarter, they believed they were supporting good art and keeping worthy artists from starving in garrets. For once, buyers believed, their money wasn't supporting some greedy corporation, but was instead (except for handling fees) going directly to an artist with a dream worth supporting.

Is that a bit like saying Kickstarter gives people a nice daydream of doing good in the world? Absolutely. But it's really not so far from the truth. Artists get paid for their work, books get published, movies, clocks, jewelry and fine garments get made, and the world contains some wonderful things it wouldn't have otherwise. The supporters of these projects deserve to feel good about making some wonderful dreams come true.

Every artist who uses Kickstarter relies on that idealistic daydream, as does every buyer who sends their money off to someone they've never heard of, hoping to get a product in the mail or e-mail some months in the future. It's not just a daydream--Kickstarter has helped thousands of dreams become reality.

So, someone decided to use that dream for evil. Sadly, that's not really surprising. As we know from our best fiction--even our kids' comic books--one must always be vigilant in the fight against evil.

Kickstarter was our artist's superhero, if you think about it. No one wants to see Wonder Woman fail to catch the villain, and we especially don't want to see the villain hoodwink Superman and get away with the money. But in this case, so far, it looks like the villain is laughing all the way to the bank.

No wonder we're upset.  We want Kickstarter to hold that villain accountable!

Here's hoping Kickstarter can do that, or can at least set in place policies that will prevent any other villain from doing the same.  I want that nice daydream of a place where I can safely send money to artists, even ones I've never heard of before, and feel confident that I'm supporting good art and worthy artists--and I want that dream to once again be a part of my everyday reality.

wyld_dandelyon: (Default)
[livejournal.com profile] kelkyag , not the only one to tease me that I still haven’t finished the series of stories that started with Feather-Blessed, asked: “How many serials do you want to have running at the same time?”

My plan was to do one. Fireborn. And really, one serial while doing other writing for publication is enough.

But then I found #FridayFlash, which stretches me in a different way. And part of me is still amazed that I can write whole stories (or at least enough of a story to be satisfying) in less than 1000 words.

So, why am I now (apparently) writing another serial?

The thing is, when I sit down to write, something mysterious happens. The words I put down are (mostly) simply not there until I start. Then, on good days, they just flow, each one shaped by the rest. And by other things, most of which are completely outside my focus-of-the-moment.

Fog and Lembas,
for instance, was written in one sitting, as was Deep Dreams. Sure, I polished them a bit, afterward. But neither needed much. (I wish I could always do that. There’s other pieces I’ve spent a lot more time on, that aren’t as good.)

In both stories, I had no idea what I would be writing until I started. Consciously, anyway. I picked a name for a character and made the character do something, and kept going. Now, there’s all sorts of things I think about consciously as I go, once I have at least one character in a situation. But that starting point is mysterious to me, even though I can predictably start a story. Event though, frequently, I can’t predict what it will be about.

And 1000 words is so short! For me, anyway, this length emphasizes that there’s a multitude of stories to tell about any one character or setting.

But I was talking about the creative process, and writing serials. And a significant part of that is you. Your comments help me to know what’s working. And even better—sometimes they make me think. Long comments, comments like [livejournal.com profile] tigertoy made on the first of these feather stories, inform my thoughts about that story—and about subsequent stories too.

Feather-Blessed started similarly, with my commitment to write stories for #fridayflash, and no story written yet. No particular idea ready for writing in my conscious mind. So I made up a character, and gave her action—speaking to her friend, which then required another character. And suddenly, I had a backdrop, and characters, and a situation, things to work on using all the various storytelling skills that I’ve worked to acquire. And I wrote, and polished, and read it aloud, and posted it.

I didn’t plan a serial.

But then you commented, and asked questions, inspiring me with both your words and your pocketbooks. And I thank you for both.
wyld_dandelyon: (Default)
[livejournal.com profile] kelkyag , not the only one to tease me that I still haven’t finished the series of stories that started with Feather-Blessed, asked: “How many serials do you want to have running at the same time?”

My plan was to do one. Fireborn. And really, one serial while doing other writing for publication is enough.

But then I found #FridayFlash, which stretches me in a different way. And part of me is still amazed that I can write whole stories (or at least enough of a story to be satisfying) in less than 1000 words.

So, why am I now (apparently) writing another serial?

The thing is, when I sit down to write, something mysterious happens. The words I put down are (mostly) simply not there until I start. Then, on good days, they just flow, each one shaped by the rest. And by other things, most of which are completely outside my focus-of-the-moment.

Fog and Lembas,
for instance, was written in one sitting, as was Deep Dreams. Sure, I polished them a bit, afterward. But neither needed much. (I wish I could always do that. There’s other pieces I’ve spent a lot more time on, that aren’t as good.)

In both stories, I had no idea what I would be writing until I started. Consciously, anyway. I picked a name for a character and made the character do something, and kept going. Now, there’s all sorts of things I think about consciously as I go, once I have at least one character in a situation. But that starting point is mysterious to me, even though I can predictably start a story. Event though, frequently, I can’t predict what it will be about.

And 1000 words is so short! For me, anyway, this length emphasizes that there’s a multitude of stories to tell about any one character or setting.

But I was talking about the creative process, and writing serials. And a significant part of that is you. Your comments help me to know what’s working. And even better—sometimes they make me think. Long comments, comments like [livejournal.com profile] tigertoy made on the first of these feather stories, inform my thoughts about that story—and about subsequent stories too.

Feather-Blessed started similarly, with my commitment to write stories for #fridayflash, and no story written yet. No particular idea ready for writing in my conscious mind. So I made up a character, and gave her action—speaking to her friend, which then required another character. And suddenly, I had a backdrop, and characters, and a situation, things to work on using all the various storytelling skills that I’ve worked to acquire. And I wrote, and polished, and read it aloud, and posted it.

I didn’t plan a serial.

But then you commented, and asked questions, inspiring me with both your words and your pocketbooks. And I thank you for both.
wyld_dandelyon: (Default)
The Rose and Bay awards have been founded to honor people participating in crowdfunded projects. This year, the categories are to be Fiction, Art, Poetry, Other, and Donor. They are being managed by [livejournal.com profile] ysabetwordsmith  and [info]xjenavivex .  (They are each managing categories they didn't participate in in 2009.)

Anyone interested in any crowdfunded projects can nominate up to three projects per category.  That includes donators, artists, authors, and all readers/viewers.  So all of us are eligible to nominate our favorite crowdfunded projects or donors. 

The nominations are to be placed as comments in the appropriate post in the [livejournal.com profile] crowdfunding  community; I'm linking to the post for nominating crowdfunded fiction here.  Once there, you can check out the community to find the other posts, and other crowdfunded projects.

I'm really excited about this, and hoping it will lead to more people understanding what crowdfunding is.  I also hope it will help more people find crowdfunded projects that they can enjoy.

I expect the awards will evolve over time--for instance, I wonder if recorded music projects should have their own category.  I hope you will let us know (here, or on one of the posts in crowdfunding discussing the matter) what you as consumers of crowdfunded content would like to see in regards to these awards.

And I hope you'll consider making a few nominations!
wyld_dandelyon: (Default)
The Rose and Bay awards have been founded to honor people participating in crowdfunded projects. This year, the categories are to be Fiction, Art, Poetry, Other, and Donor. They are being managed by [livejournal.com profile] ysabetwordsmith  and [info]xjenavivex .  (They are each managing categories they didn't participate in in 2009.)

Anyone interested in any crowdfunded projects can nominate up to three projects per category.  That includes donators, artists, authors, and all readers/viewers.  So all of us are eligible to nominate our favorite crowdfunded projects or donors. 

The nominations are to be placed as comments in the appropriate post in the [livejournal.com profile] crowdfunding  community; I'm linking to the post for nominating crowdfunded fiction here.  Once there, you can check out the community to find the other posts, and other crowdfunded projects.

I'm really excited about this, and hoping it will lead to more people understanding what crowdfunding is.  I also hope it will help more people find crowdfunded projects that they can enjoy.

I expect the awards will evolve over time--for instance, I wonder if recorded music projects should have their own category.  I hope you will let us know (here, or on one of the posts in crowdfunding discussing the matter) what you as consumers of crowdfunded content would like to see in regards to these awards.

And I hope you'll consider making a few nominations!
wyld_dandelyon: (Default)
Today, [livejournal.com profile] miintikwa posted Crowdfunding is not a zero-sum game.  I encourage you to go read it, though I'll add some additional thoughts related to her two main points here, because what she said was right on the money, but for more reasons and in more ways than she lists.

That post got me thinking.  There's so many ways that this is true--if you don't know game theory, the phrase "zero sum" means that the game has a winner and a loser, and the winner is ahead by the same number of points (dollars, goals, whatever) that the loser lost.  [livejournal.com profile] miintikwa is responding to people who were afraid she would lose patrons (and therefore money) if someone else in their circle of friends also did a one-card-draw.  One of the things she says is that the more people understand and accept crowdfunding, the more patrons there will be.  I think this is true.

The analogy to busking is very good here.  People who support musicians by tossing coins into the hat don't restrict their appreciation to only one busker.  And their actions make others more comfortable with showing their appreciation.  It's why musicians "salt" the hat or case--no patron has to think they are the first, or has to worry if they are guessing wrong about why the hat is there.  It removes some of the fear of doing something embarassing.

But the zero-sum language is apt for more reasons than that.  When you support a writer or artist here online, it isn't only about the money.  You have a bit less money and the artist has a bit more, true.  But also, you have the enjoyment of this work of art, and the expectation of more enjoyment in the future.  The artist gets feedback about which art her audience wants more of.   There's that personal connection--if you form a personal connection in a bookstore, it's with the store clerk or owner, not the writer or artist.  The owner of a small store will think of you when ordering books--but here, you can tell the writer directly what you would like to see more of.  That doesn't guarantee they will write it, of course, but as the repeated resurrection of Sherlock Holmes demonstrated, money can be a powerful motivator.

And that brings me to [livejournal.com profile] miintikwa 's other main point, and I'll quote:  "My skills are valuable, but I want to make them available to everyone."  What a wonderful, accurate, and succinct statement.  (Of course, that means I want to elaborate on it.)

In two parts.

"My skills are valuable..."

Everyone has skills that are valuable.  Everyone also needs to eat, stay warm in the winter, and so on.  Are my skills at composing business letters, organizing and filing and summarizing confusing piles of paper, ferreting out the points pertinent to the problem at hand, and obtaining more piles of paper to add to the file--is that really more valuable than my skills at storytelling and art?  If we go by a pure money standard, I'd have to say yes.  That has paid the bills for years, and probably will do so again in the future.

But my spirit rebels against that assessment!

In my heart, I feel my skills at art, at photography, at storytelling, at singing and playing instruments--my creative pursuits--are far more valuable, are more meaningful and important and vital not only to me, but to my society.

"...I want to make them available to everyone"


I want to find all the people whose lives I can make better, who I can gift with a smile, or a laugh, or that sensawonder feeling, or the relaxation and joy that comes from experiencing something beautiful and transcendant, or an insight that helps them solve a problem or transform their lives for the better.  I want to find them whether they hace a million dollars or barely two pennies to rub together. 

There's a place for concert halls, for sold-out performances, for book contracts--and don't get me wrong, I'll be very happy to get a book contract.  But there's also a place for busking, for performing where everyone can hear.

The hat is there because I do need money (everyone does).  But it is also there as an affirmation that I know my time and my skills are valuable. 

Also, even if no one uses the hat, it reminds me that I'm not just goofing off here, I'm working.  I'm working to make the world a little better, to cheer people, to give them a bit of rest from their woes or some bit of insight, in some small way to make their lives more beautiful and joyful.  Whether I get any monetary pay or not--I'm working.



If I can give you so much as a smile, then your day and mine are both improved.  And there's nothing zero-sum about that!

I'll add her post-script here too: [info]crowdfunding and [info]freestuffday are available communities to support if you want to be more active in these areas!
 


wyld_dandelyon: (Default)
Today, [livejournal.com profile] miintikwa posted Crowdfunding is not a zero-sum game.  I encourage you to go read it, though I'll add some additional thoughts related to her two main points here, because what she said was right on the money, but for more reasons and in more ways than she lists.

That post got me thinking.  There's so many ways that this is true--if you don't know game theory, the phrase "zero sum" means that the game has a winner and a loser, and the winner is ahead by the same number of points (dollars, goals, whatever) that the loser lost.  [livejournal.com profile] miintikwa is responding to people who were afraid she would lose patrons (and therefore money) if someone else in their circle of friends also did a one-card-draw.  One of the things she says is that the more people understand and accept crowdfunding, the more patrons there will be.  I think this is true.

The analogy to busking is very good here.  People who support musicians by tossing coins into the hat don't restrict their appreciation to only one busker.  And their actions make others more comfortable with showing their appreciation.  It's why musicians "salt" the hat or case--no patron has to think they are the first, or has to worry if they are guessing wrong about why the hat is there.  It removes some of the fear of doing something embarassing.

But the zero-sum language is apt for more reasons than that.  When you support a writer or artist here online, it isn't only about the money.  You have a bit less money and the artist has a bit more, true.  But also, you have the enjoyment of this work of art, and the expectation of more enjoyment in the future.  The artist gets feedback about which art her audience wants more of.   There's that personal connection--if you form a personal connection in a bookstore, it's with the store clerk or owner, not the writer or artist.  The owner of a small store will think of you when ordering books--but here, you can tell the writer directly what you would like to see more of.  That doesn't guarantee they will write it, of course, but as the repeated resurrection of Sherlock Holmes demonstrated, money can be a powerful motivator.

And that brings me to [livejournal.com profile] miintikwa 's other main point, and I'll quote:  "My skills are valuable, but I want to make them available to everyone."  What a wonderful, accurate, and succinct statement.  (Of course, that means I want to elaborate on it.)

In two parts.

"My skills are valuable..."

Everyone has skills that are valuable.  Everyone also needs to eat, stay warm in the winter, and so on.  Are my skills at composing business letters, organizing and filing and summarizing confusing piles of paper, ferreting out the points pertinent to the problem at hand, and obtaining more piles of paper to add to the file--is that really more valuable than my skills at storytelling and art?  If we go by a pure money standard, I'd have to say yes.  That has paid the bills for years, and probably will do so again in the future.

But my spirit rebels against that assessment!

In my heart, I feel my skills at art, at photography, at storytelling, at singing and playing instruments--my creative pursuits--are far more valuable, are more meaningful and important and vital not only to me, but to my society.

"...I want to make them available to everyone"


I want to find all the people whose lives I can make better, who I can gift with a smile, or a laugh, or that sensawonder feeling, or the relaxation and joy that comes from experiencing something beautiful and transcendant, or an insight that helps them solve a problem or transform their lives for the better.  I want to find them whether they hace a million dollars or barely two pennies to rub together. 

There's a place for concert halls, for sold-out performances, for book contracts--and don't get me wrong, I'll be very happy to get a book contract.  But there's also a place for busking, for performing where everyone can hear.

The hat is there because I do need money (everyone does).  But it is also there as an affirmation that I know my time and my skills are valuable. 

Also, even if no one uses the hat, it reminds me that I'm not just goofing off here, I'm working.  I'm working to make the world a little better, to cheer people, to give them a bit of rest from their woes or some bit of insight, in some small way to make their lives more beautiful and joyful.  Whether I get any monetary pay or not--I'm working.



If I can give you so much as a smile, then your day and mine are both improved.  And there's nothing zero-sum about that!

I'll add her post-script here too: [info]crowdfunding and [info]freestuffday are available communities to support if you want to be more active in these areas!
 


wyld_dandelyon: (Default)
Though she doesn't use that word...

One of the things that Twitter is good for is recommended reading--finding blog posts by people you don't know, people whose blogs you don't want to read every day, but THIS POST you want to read.

I was amazed at how similarly this traditionally successful musician views crowdfunding to how I view it, though she didn't use the word Busking.  But she talked about her experiences as a "statue" with a tip jar, of having people thank her for the music, and give her money--and conversely, drive by shouting "get a job" and even throwing poo at her!  (Thankfully I never got that last bit while busking!  Maybe people have more respect for the muscial instruments than the artists--the people--doing the performing?)

I'll share a couple of quotes (in blue below), but the whole blog post is worth reading whether you like or hate her music. Even if you never heard of her.

listen.

artists need to make money to eat and to continue to make art.

artists used to rely on middlemen to collect their money on their behalf, thereby rendering themselves innocent of cash-handling in the public eye.

artists will now be coming straight to you (yes YOU, you who want their music, their films, their books) for their paychecks.


and

it’s also not a matter of whether an artist is starving or cruising on a yacht.

i would hate to see my fans turn on me once i actually have money in the bank with a “well, i would support you if you were starving, but now that you’re eating, no way.”


Writing (which includes rewrites, proofreading, research, and so on, and then if you're self-publishing, all the editing, formatting, and even html stuff) and music (which includes lots of practice as well as writing new material and the whole process of recording) and art (which includes rough drafts too, as well as needing expensive supplies, many of which are toxic or can ruin your clothes, rugs, and woodwork, and which requires scanners and other post-creative stuff too)...gosh, that sentence is too long!  Let's try again.

Writing, music, and art seem glamorous, but they are all a lot of work, a lot of time spent ignoring the good shows on TV, a lot of time spent pretending there are no good video games, a lot of practice and honing of skills, for what is often far less than minimum wage, if you compare the hours spent and the cash outlay with the cash inflow.

Yes, you get praise from your fans.  But you also get criticism.  You may, like Ms. Palmer, be repeatedly told to "get a ****ing job".  You will probably be told you're a talentless hack.  If you get publisher/music deal/art gallery, they get a substantial cut of the money fans pay for the product.  And so do any other middlemen involved in the process, the bookstores, the operators of the venues where you sing, ticketmaster, and so on. 

The artist whose work you love typically gets far less than half of the money you pay--unless you give it directly to the artist.

Think about that.

And remember that artists have to eat, and pay rent, and heat their homes, just like you. 

Do you want your favorite artists spending time on some day job, or do you want them making more art?

When it comes down to the bottom line, it's each artist's fans who make that decision. 


Just sayin' ... you got the power.
 
wyld_dandelyon: (Default)
Though she doesn't use that word...

One of the things that Twitter is good for is recommended reading--finding blog posts by people you don't know, people whose blogs you don't want to read every day, but THIS POST you want to read.

I was amazed at how similarly this traditionally successful musician views crowdfunding to how I view it, though she didn't use the word Busking.  But she talked about her experiences as a "statue" with a tip jar, of having people thank her for the music, and give her money--and conversely, drive by shouting "get a job" and even throwing poo at her!  (Thankfully I never got that last bit while busking!  Maybe people have more respect for the muscial instruments than the artists--the people--doing the performing?)

I'll share a couple of quotes (in blue below), but the whole blog post is worth reading whether you like or hate her music. Even if you never heard of her.

listen.

artists need to make money to eat and to continue to make art.

artists used to rely on middlemen to collect their money on their behalf, thereby rendering themselves innocent of cash-handling in the public eye.

artists will now be coming straight to you (yes YOU, you who want their music, their films, their books) for their paychecks.


and

it’s also not a matter of whether an artist is starving or cruising on a yacht.

i would hate to see my fans turn on me once i actually have money in the bank with a “well, i would support you if you were starving, but now that you’re eating, no way.”


Writing (which includes rewrites, proofreading, research, and so on, and then if you're self-publishing, all the editing, formatting, and even html stuff) and music (which includes lots of practice as well as writing new material and the whole process of recording) and art (which includes rough drafts too, as well as needing expensive supplies, many of which are toxic or can ruin your clothes, rugs, and woodwork, and which requires scanners and other post-creative stuff too)...gosh, that sentence is too long!  Let's try again.

Writing, music, and art seem glamorous, but they are all a lot of work, a lot of time spent ignoring the good shows on TV, a lot of time spent pretending there are no good video games, a lot of practice and honing of skills, for what is often far less than minimum wage, if you compare the hours spent and the cash outlay with the cash inflow.

Yes, you get praise from your fans.  But you also get criticism.  You may, like Ms. Palmer, be repeatedly told to "get a ****ing job".  You will probably be told you're a talentless hack.  If you get publisher/music deal/art gallery, they get a substantial cut of the money fans pay for the product.  And so do any other middlemen involved in the process, the bookstores, the operators of the venues where you sing, ticketmaster, and so on. 

The artist whose work you love typically gets far less than half of the money you pay--unless you give it directly to the artist.

Think about that.

And remember that artists have to eat, and pay rent, and heat their homes, just like you. 

Do you want your favorite artists spending time on some day job, or do you want them making more art?

When it comes down to the bottom line, it's each artist's fans who make that decision. 


Just sayin' ... you got the power.
 
wyld_dandelyon: (Default)
One of the secrets of busking, if you want to earn your dinner or pay some bills, is to find a good corner. Somewhere that the merchants won’t chase you away, where you and your audience won’t block traffic, and where people who like your special style of music will hear you. If you sing French folk songs, it probably won’t be effective to stand outside the local Mercado, or the local Rap club, for instance.

Cyberland is a little different. No, a lot different. Every corner is, theoretically, equally distant from every other corner. That's good, right?

Well, not really.

First, all corners are just one click away, from any site that has your url--but how many sites do?  And are they sites where people are looking for what you do hang out?  Just because all sites are equidistant, doesn't mean it’s easy to find the corners you’re interested in, from wherever you are.

So, it’s not as simple as picking a spot, opening the guitar case, and performing. You can’t count on someone’s shopping list or evening commute taking them past your corner.

So you go out and put your name and url places.  Then you try to figure out what's working. 

This is problematic too, for though I know there's tools out there, I don't know enough about them to use them efficiently.  I haven’t figured out how to use tools like visit counters—and don’t know if LJ is friendly to them. ( It’s not particularly friendly to PayPal buttons, which have to be pasted in with the screen in HTML mode, and even then usually don’t work the first time I test them, so I have to edit the entry and paste the code in again.) So, unless people leave a comment, I don’t know they’re here, and unless they tell me, I don’t know how they got here. So that makes it difficult to track what works and what doesn’t.  I did tell LJ I do want to know who looks at my journal, but if that feature is running yet, I haven't found it. I also don’t know what, if anything, it would tell me about non-LJ visitors.

That said, so far, Twitter, with the assistance of e-fiction book club, have allowed at least one new reader to find me, and places like Author’s Den and Blogspot have not yet produced results I can see, though that may not be a fair comparison, as I joined Twitter earlier.

So, my quest to figure out how to make my corner of the net a good corner for Cyber-busking is ongoing. You could help me a bit—you can answer this question:

When you’re bored and wanting to find something to read on the net, how do you go about looking?

And, of course, if you are more net-savvy than me, feel free to show off your knowledge as much as you want! 
 
wyld_dandelyon: (Default)
One of the secrets of busking, if you want to earn your dinner or pay some bills, is to find a good corner. Somewhere that the merchants won’t chase you away, where you and your audience won’t block traffic, and where people who like your special style of music will hear you. If you sing French folk songs, it probably won’t be effective to stand outside the local Mercado, or the local Rap club, for instance.

Cyberland is a little different. No, a lot different. Every corner is, theoretically, equally distant from every other corner. That's good, right?

Well, not really.

First, all corners are just one click away, from any site that has your url--but how many sites do?  And are they sites where people are looking for what you do hang out?  Just because all sites are equidistant, doesn't mean it’s easy to find the corners you’re interested in, from wherever you are.

So, it’s not as simple as picking a spot, opening the guitar case, and performing. You can’t count on someone’s shopping list or evening commute taking them past your corner.

So you go out and put your name and url places.  Then you try to figure out what's working. 

This is problematic too, for though I know there's tools out there, I don't know enough about them to use them efficiently.  I haven’t figured out how to use tools like visit counters—and don’t know if LJ is friendly to them. ( It’s not particularly friendly to PayPal buttons, which have to be pasted in with the screen in HTML mode, and even then usually don’t work the first time I test them, so I have to edit the entry and paste the code in again.) So, unless people leave a comment, I don’t know they’re here, and unless they tell me, I don’t know how they got here. So that makes it difficult to track what works and what doesn’t.  I did tell LJ I do want to know who looks at my journal, but if that feature is running yet, I haven't found it. I also don’t know what, if anything, it would tell me about non-LJ visitors.

That said, so far, Twitter, with the assistance of e-fiction book club, have allowed at least one new reader to find me, and places like Author’s Den and Blogspot have not yet produced results I can see, though that may not be a fair comparison, as I joined Twitter earlier.

So, my quest to figure out how to make my corner of the net a good corner for Cyber-busking is ongoing. You could help me a bit—you can answer this question:

When you’re bored and wanting to find something to read on the net, how do you go about looking?

And, of course, if you are more net-savvy than me, feel free to show off your knowledge as much as you want! 
 
wyld_dandelyon: (Default)
If you were at DragonCon (lucky you!), or visiting relatives like me, and missed the chapter of Fireborn I posted Friday, here's a link:


http://wyld-dandelyon.livejournal.com/56518.html


And, just 'cause, a picture or two from my Aunt's yard.

And it's SO GOOD to be back using my own keyboard on a table that's not too high!

It was good to see family too, of course.


Oh, and for those interested, Elizabeth Bear talks a little about the donation-model of publishing, and calls it to busking in so many words, over in her journal.  She's [livejournal.com profile] matociquala on LJ.
wyld_dandelyon: (Default)
If you were at DragonCon (lucky you!), or visiting relatives like me, and missed the chapter of Fireborn I posted Friday, here's a link:


http://wyld-dandelyon.livejournal.com/56518.html


And, just 'cause, a picture or two from my Aunt's yard.

And it's SO GOOD to be back using my own keyboard on a table that's not too high!

It was good to see family too, of course.


Oh, and for those interested, Elizabeth Bear talks a little about the donation-model of publishing, and calls it to busking in so many words, over in her journal.  She's [livejournal.com profile] matociquala on LJ.
wyld_dandelyon: (Default)
Or, in the words of Pink Floyd - and Motley Crue - "Is Anybody Out There?"

Singing for your supper is a common theme in fantasy stories about bards; it might be cliché, but for anyone trying to make a living, or even to supplement one, on their creative endeavors, it is literally true. It’s not as simple to get cash from your paypal account to buy groceries as it is to sing and then sit down at the table and have the innkeeper bring your already-cooked food, but it’s the same principle.

But the cash is symbolic of more than just one’s daily bread. It is a tangible way that an audience lets someone know that their life’s work--the current performance, the carefully-crafted song, the story that they labored over, the hours spent on a painting or recording--was enjoyed. That your hard work, both in the moment and the years that led up to that moment, was appreciated.

One of the joys of live busking is that you get feedback. You see children’s eyes follow you as their parents walk by, you see people’s expressions change as they listen, and their feet tap in time to--you. You see the people who could have taken this train, or that one, but who lean against a wall or sit on a bench to listen to a few songs before continuing their day. Sometimes you even get applause. Other times you simply see that someone who arrived looking stressed and upset is smiling as they get on their train. (Of course, you also get people who think folk music is deadly boring, but hey, not even Mozart or Elvis could please everyone.)

And all of it, all of the positive feedback, subtle and overt, cash or applause or just a smile—all of the feedback feeds the artist’s soul.

Cyberland is different. You put out your work and then wait. It’s hard to tell if people are even reading your words. They could be smiling, even laughing out loud, or reading your story aloud to a friend or child, but unless they take a moment to leave a comment, the artist will never know it.

As readers, the feedback loop--there’s that feed word again! Once the artist posts their work, oh reader, the feedback loop is in your hands. In this economy, many people can’t afford cash. But other things feed the artist too. Your smiles, your laughs, your questions, your referrals to friends, all these things are welcome.

If you enjoy “free” fiction, or poetry, or music, or any artistic endeavor online, whether it’s my work or someone else’s, please take a moment, open that comment box, and let your fingers do the tapping. Even a single word lets the artist know they are not, in essence, singing on an empty El platform, with only the echo of their own voice to keep them company.
 
Copyright 2009 Deirdre M. Murphy

Busking in Cyberland is the continuing musings of the artist on her experiences with crowdfunding. 
 
You can find the other entries here.
 
wyld_dandelyon: (Default)
Or, in the words of Pink Floyd - and Motley Crue - "Is Anybody Out There?"

Singing for your supper is a common theme in fantasy stories about bards; it might be cliché, but for anyone trying to make a living, or even to supplement one, on their creative endeavors, it is literally true. It’s not as simple to get cash from your paypal account to buy groceries as it is to sing and then sit down at the table and have the innkeeper bring your already-cooked food, but it’s the same principle.

But the cash is symbolic of more than just one’s daily bread. It is a tangible way that an audience lets someone know that their life’s work--the current performance, the carefully-crafted song, the story that they labored over, the hours spent on a painting or recording--was enjoyed. That your hard work, both in the moment and the years that led up to that moment, was appreciated.

One of the joys of live busking is that you get feedback. You see children’s eyes follow you as their parents walk by, you see people’s expressions change as they listen, and their feet tap in time to--you. You see the people who could have taken this train, or that one, but who lean against a wall or sit on a bench to listen to a few songs before continuing their day. Sometimes you even get applause. Other times you simply see that someone who arrived looking stressed and upset is smiling as they get on their train. (Of course, you also get people who think folk music is deadly boring, but hey, not even Mozart or Elvis could please everyone.)

And all of it, all of the positive feedback, subtle and overt, cash or applause or just a smile—all of the feedback feeds the artist’s soul.

Cyberland is different. You put out your work and then wait. It’s hard to tell if people are even reading your words. They could be smiling, even laughing out loud, or reading your story aloud to a friend or child, but unless they take a moment to leave a comment, the artist will never know it.

As readers, the feedback loop--there’s that feed word again! Once the artist posts their work, oh reader, the feedback loop is in your hands. In this economy, many people can’t afford cash. But other things feed the artist too. Your smiles, your laughs, your questions, your referrals to friends, all these things are welcome.

If you enjoy “free” fiction, or poetry, or music, or any artistic endeavor online, whether it’s my work or someone else’s, please take a moment, open that comment box, and let your fingers do the tapping. Even a single word lets the artist know they are not, in essence, singing on an empty El platform, with only the echo of their own voice to keep them company.
 
Copyright 2009 Deirdre M. Murphy

Busking in Cyberland is the continuing musings of the artist on her experiences with crowdfunding. 
 
You can find the other entries here.
 
wyld_dandelyon: (Default)
In the traditional publishing model, an editor and/or publisher act as a gatekeeper--letting some stories through the gate to the public, and not others.

In short, this means they decide if a story is good enough to publish.

But their decisions are based on more than that. They consider lots of other factors, for instance:

  • Is this story by a big name author, who will prompt bookstore sales even if the story is mediocre?
  • Have I already bought three werewolf stories this month?
  • Does this story fit the theme of the anthology or tone of the magazine?
  • Do I already have too many 8000 (or 800) word stories on backlog?
In other words, they reject perfectly good stories, stories you would love to read. Prizewinning stories get rejected too, often more than once, before going on to be published elsewhere, and win that award.

And, editors have never been perfect. Sometimes people throw published books across the room, wondering why any editor bothered with them.

In Cyberland, in contrast, you, Reader, are my publisher. You have the power to act as my gatekeeper. You have the power to tell people I’ve never met, when they’re sitting at their computers, bored, looking for something, that this is a good place to visit.

And if you do, I promise to try to make them welcome, and to tell the best story I can in that moment.

Oh, yeah, I should add a disclaimer: If you don't like my work, I recommend you don’t throw your computer across the room. I can offer no warranty, express or implied, as to the repairability of either computer or wall if they are thusly mistreated. Besides, you get an editor's privileges too--you can tell me what you think of my writing. And unlike the wall, I will listen. Also unlike the wall, I will likely comment back.

(Second disclaimer - the dumb computer crashed and I had to retype this. I'm not proofreading now, I wanted to be on the road already; any typos are gratis.)

 
wyld_dandelyon: (Default)
In the traditional publishing model, an editor and/or publisher act as a gatekeeper--letting some stories through the gate to the public, and not others.

In short, this means they decide if a story is good enough to publish.

But their decisions are based on more than that. They consider lots of other factors, for instance:

  • Is this story by a big name author, who will prompt bookstore sales even if the story is mediocre?
  • Have I already bought three werewolf stories this month?
  • Does this story fit the theme of the anthology or tone of the magazine?
  • Do I already have too many 8000 (or 800) word stories on backlog?
In other words, they reject perfectly good stories, stories you would love to read. Prizewinning stories get rejected too, often more than once, before going on to be published elsewhere, and win that award.

And, editors have never been perfect. Sometimes people throw published books across the room, wondering why any editor bothered with them.

In Cyberland, in contrast, you, Reader, are my publisher. You have the power to act as my gatekeeper. You have the power to tell people I’ve never met, when they’re sitting at their computers, bored, looking for something, that this is a good place to visit.

And if you do, I promise to try to make them welcome, and to tell the best story I can in that moment.

Oh, yeah, I should add a disclaimer: If you don't like my work, I recommend you don’t throw your computer across the room. I can offer no warranty, express or implied, as to the repairability of either computer or wall if they are thusly mistreated. Besides, you get an editor's privileges too--you can tell me what you think of my writing. And unlike the wall, I will listen. Also unlike the wall, I will likely comment back.

(Second disclaimer - the dumb computer crashed and I had to retype this. I'm not proofreading now, I wanted to be on the road already; any typos are gratis.)

 
wyld_dandelyon: (Deirdre in the Darkness)
For those who haven't been following me on LiveJournal, I am writing a story online, called Fireborn, and you're welcome to check it out: http://wyld-dandelyon.livejournal.com

I also have been posting about my gardening, with pictures, and most recently about busking.

Welcome!
wyld_dandelyon: (autoharp)
Since I've started putting my fiction online, I've been thinking about the nature of crowdfunding, and it has occurred to me that this isn't the first time I've put my creative work before strangers, in the hopes that some of them would choose to become patrons of my art and support my efforts.  So, here is the first part of what I expect will be an occasional series:

Busking in Cyberland, Part One:
A Personal Retrospective

It was the early 1990s, and I was going through a divorce, and trying very hard to be frugal. Still, getting out is important. I really needed to be doing something other than work and brooding on the life I’d been promised, and that wasn’t happening, wasn’t going to happen, and there was nothing I could do to salvage it.

Traveling on the El one day (actually, I was in one of the large stations, walking from the El to transfer to a bus) I heard something—live music. The bright tones of the hammered dulcimer were not coming from anyone’s radio. Don’t ask me how I knew it was live, all I can say is that from the shape of the sound, it was obvious. It transformed the space. Never mind the dozens of people rushing by, ignoring it, I had to go find it. And when I did, there was a musician, with a hammered dulcimer, just as I’d been sure there would be. And though I couldn’t stay around long to listen, it transformed my day.

A week or so later, I thought, “I could do that.” Well, not the hammered dulcimer part; I’ve never owned one of those, though I’d like to. But I play the autoharp. And so, after work, I went down into the subway, opened the autoharp case, and did my thing.

Now, I’d been riding the El (which, in Chicago, is also at times a subway; the trains follow the tracks up and down) for years. I knew what it felt like, how people behaved toward me, and so on. It felt crowded and lonely, routine and risky all at once. You kept your eye or your arm on your purse, and kept it closed.

But when I was standing there with my autoharp, and the case in front of me (with some seed money in it, laying there right out in the open), it all changed. Sure, there were teenage boys who laughed at my folk music, but there were also teenage boys who, when I complimented the beautiful, waist-long hair of one of the group, stopped, turned around, and all emptied their pockets, one even giving me his lucky 50-cent piece, to wish me luck.

And the street people—their behavior changed too; not only did they stop and listen, and sometime throw me a precious dime or two, but they treated me differently. I felt welcomed, accepted—and safer than I have ever before or since in that setting. They were the first to retrieve the contents of my case if a careless commuter kicked it, and replace the cash safely inside, returning the coins to their position on top of the paper money to keep the wind of the trains from blowing my earnings away.

And after a while, even if you aren’t good at reading people, when playing songs you have thoroughly memorized you realize that busking is very much a social interaction, and that playing for different people, though they are equally strangers, is different. It amazed me that one person, smiling and nodding and intent on the music could create a rush of harmonious energy, so the music got better—and easier!—like a force of nature. There were woman who came up with a small donation, assuring me they were praying for my safety. And there were lurkers too—you could tell were listening only by their head nodding slightly, in time, behind the book or newspaper that shielded them from the crowd.  And I still wonder at the folks, usually in suits, who would stand off to the side or listen from behind a column, then toss in money when a train was pulling in, and they thought no one would notice. 

I didn’t get rich, busking, but I got a little bit less poor. And it transformed my world, made it bigger, and friendlier, and safer, in ways I didn’t expect and at a time when I really needed those things.
 
 
wyld_dandelyon: (autoharp)
Since I've started putting my fiction online, I've been thinking about the nature of crowdfunding, and it has occurred to me that this isn't the first time I've put my creative work before strangers, in the hopes that some of them would choose to become patrons of my art and support my efforts.  So, here is the first part of what I expect will be an occasional series:

Busking in Cyberland, Part One:
A Personal Retrospective

It was the early 1990s, and I was going through a divorce, and trying very hard to be frugal. Still, getting out is important. I really needed to be doing something other than work and brooding on the life I’d been promised, and that wasn’t happening, wasn’t going to happen, and there was nothing I could do to salvage it.

Traveling on the El one day (actually, I was in one of the large stations, walking from the El to transfer to a bus) I heard something—live music. The bright tones of the hammered dulcimer were not coming from anyone’s radio. Don’t ask me how I knew it was live, all I can say is that from the shape of the sound, it was obvious. It transformed the space. Never mind the dozens of people rushing by, ignoring it, I had to go find it. And when I did, there was a musician, with a hammered dulcimer, just as I’d been sure there would be. And though I couldn’t stay around long to listen, it transformed my day.

A week or so later, I thought, “I could do that.” Well, not the hammered dulcimer part; I’ve never owned one of those, though I’d like to. But I play the autoharp. And so, after work, I went down into the subway, opened the autoharp case, and did my thing.

Now, I’d been riding the El (which, in Chicago, is also at times a subway; the trains follow the tracks up and down) for years. I knew what it felt like, how people behaved toward me, and so on. It felt crowded and lonely, routine and risky all at once. You kept your eye or your arm on your purse, and kept it closed.

But when I was standing there with my autoharp, and the case in front of me (with some seed money in it, laying there right out in the open), it all changed. Sure, there were teenage boys who laughed at my folk music, but there were also teenage boys who, when I complimented the beautiful, waist-long hair of one of the group, stopped, turned around, and all emptied their pockets, one even giving me his lucky 50-cent piece, to wish me luck.

And the street people—their behavior changed too; not only did they stop and listen, and sometime throw me a precious dime or two, but they treated me differently. I felt welcomed, accepted—and safer than I have ever before or since in that setting. They were the first to retrieve the contents of my case if a careless commuter kicked it, and replace the cash safely inside, returning the coins to their position on top of the paper money to keep the wind of the trains from blowing my earnings away.

And after a while, even if you aren’t good at reading people, when playing songs you have thoroughly memorized you realize that busking is very much a social interaction, and that playing for different people, though they are equally strangers, is different. It amazed me that one person, smiling and nodding and intent on the music could create a rush of harmonious energy, so the music got better—and easier!—like a force of nature. There were woman who came up with a small donation, assuring me they were praying for my safety. And there were lurkers too—you could tell were listening only by their head nodding slightly, in time, behind the book or newspaper that shielded them from the crowd.  And I still wonder at the folks, usually in suits, who would stand off to the side or listen from behind a column, then toss in money when a train was pulling in, and they thought no one would notice. 

I didn’t get rich, busking, but I got a little bit less poor. And it transformed my world, made it bigger, and friendlier, and safer, in ways I didn’t expect and at a time when I really needed those things.
 
 

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