Tag Archives: Kickstarter

What paying pro rates means to me (or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Kickstarter)

I realized after posting this that it probably didn’t make a whole lot of sense out of context. Considering the incredible success of our Crossed Genres Kickstarter, and how close we are to maybe-if-we’re-really-lucky reaching our goal of pro rates for CG Magazine, I figure it deserves a bit of explanation.

Since I started high school, I’ve wanted to be a writer. I entered college planning a Creative Writing major; some years later I went as far as to apply for graduate programs in Creative Writing. Kay and I are both 2-time NaNoWriMo winners, and I have a finished first draft of a novel sitting in a folder (along with several partial first drafts. I’ve even published a couple of stories, and I still write nonfiction (mostly for Wired’s GeekDad now).

Over the past few years, as Crossed Genres has grown and gotten more complex, my writing time has dwindled. Recently I’ve had almost no time at all for writing. I’ve told myself that I’d make time, but it’s difficult, and that’s depressed me.

***

As the Kickstarter’s passed 75% and then 80% and now sits at 85.5%, it’s seemed more and more possible that we might actually somehow make this crazy goal. It’s good in so many obvious ways: It was one of our big dreams back when we first founded CG Magazine; we get to help new authors get that huge, confidence-boosting first pro sale; we’ll draw more authors, publish even better work, gain greater recognition, etc. etc… It’s just good all around. Right?

Well there’s been a tiny fear at the back of my mind that the rise of the pro-rate CG Magazine means the death of my desire to be a writer. If I can’t find time to write now, how could I possibly find time when I’m managing a pro-rate magazine on top of the rest of CG?

***

Earlier this evening I was chatting online with Daniel José Older. We’re about to publish Daniel’s collection Salsa Nocturna in July.

At one point the conversation turned to how busy we both are – Daniel’s working on his MFA in Creative Writing, and I mentioned how it made me kind of jealous: “At this point I’m not sure when I’ll ever have the chance to write again!” I said it tongue-in-cheek, but knew as I said it that it was true.

But surprisingly, it didn’t bother me the way I expected it to. Because the thing that was preventing me from writing – the work I do as publisher and editor for CG – is a great thing.

And that’s when I realized why I was so unbelievably excited about the chance to pay pro rates. It’s because so many other people are excited that we might get the chance too. There are a LOT of people – those who’ve backed the Kickstarter, or helped spread the word, or supported us in other ways – who want us to do it. Every pledge and tweet and show of support is a vote of confidence in me and Kay and what we’re doing.

And that means that Kay and I have made the right decision to pursue this. It means that even if we don’t make the pro-rate goal, we’ve still accomplished and will accomplish incredible things, through shared respect and admiration with the people who support us.

I’ll write again – writers go on hiatus but they never stop. But right now, we’ve taken what started as a wisp of an idea (and no clue what we were doing) to the brink of what some would’ve called a pipe dream.

How can I be unhappy about what I’m not doing, when what I am doing is so special?

De-lurking from my own site

I haven’t posted here in over 5 months. Hey, I’ve been busy! Just ‘cuz I’ve been out of work… *cough*

No really I have been busy. So what’s drawn me out of hiding, you ask, you three who are actually reading this?

Well a couple of months ago Kay was laid off. As mentioned, I’ve been out of work since October. Thus, our finances got pretty messy. Kay got unemployment but of course that’s not even close to what she was earning, and our finances were damn tight even with that. So in the process of trimming the fat from our expenses, we came to the conclusion that there was just no way we could afford to keep paying the expenses for Crossed Genres.

We weren’t about to just ditch CG, though. We’ve been nurturing it for 3 1/2 years and it’s very important to us, and to a lot of other people. So we decided to go all-out, and run a Kickstarter project to fund Crossed Genres through 2013.

We spent quite a while planning it, and getting many of our peeps involved and excited. A lot of them donated items or services that we could offer as rewards for pledging to the Kickstarter. We also made a video, or rather we filmed Baz saying the things for the video while wearing a series of funny hats:

Finally we got the all-clear from Kickstarter, and launched the fundraiser! People started talking and donations began to come in. It was off to a pretty good start.

Then, really on a whim, I sent this tweet to Neil Gaiman, not really expecting anything to come of it:

To my surprise and delight, a few minutes later Mr. Gaiman posted this tweet:

Okay, so he said “two good anthologies” when in fact the KS is funding four books. He retweeted, and not just a basic RT: he took the time to look at it, and liked what he saw enough to write a new tweet for it. That was damn nice of him; he knows that his RTs to his 1.7 million followers can cause massive traffic flow and even crash sites (the occurrence even has its own hashtag, #Neilwebfail) – IOW, can sometimes make the difference between success for a project like ours, or failure.

I can’t say for sure how many pledges came via Gaiman and how many didn’t – and I still maintain that the REAL success was due to Baz’s irresistible cuteness in the video – but the pace of pledges accelerated significantly. I went to pick up Baz from school at 2:30, and he stayed to play in the playground a while; while he did I obsessively checked my phone every 2-5 minutes, and every time I did there was at least one new pledge, sometimes 3 or 4. This went on for a good hour.

By 10:55 am the following morning, I was able to post this absurdly excited tweet:

Yup, 22 hours. We’d been expecting a good month of begging for pledges, and instead we did it in less than a day.

So… now what? Well, after all the cheering and thank-yous and insanity, we announced a stretch goal – that is, a second larger goal once the first one’s been met. If we reached $5500 total, we would resurrect CG Magazine, which we’d retired due to financial/time constraints in December. We never really expected we’d get to do the stretch goal, but considering how the first day had gone, we figured we had a shot at even reaching that goal!

As of writing this, the KS is at $5,128. That’s right – we’re only $372 away from the stretch goal.

And the Kickstarter still has 29 days to go.

There’s a good chance we could reach $5500 by tomorrow. We don’t even know what we’ll do then. We have some ideas but this is so far above our expectations that we have to figure out how to keep it going, how to make it really worth it for all the 129 (so far) wonderful people who’ve pledged. We have some ideas, but we have to work it out fast!

Anyway I just had to post about it here, because we’re so damn hyper and excited about it. It’s really a huge, huge relief. So since i’m here, what else is going on?

  • Baz has started playing t-ball! He’s been to 2 Saturday sessions and has enjoyed it immensely. After the first one he insisted we go out and get him his first glove. I had a strap on my old glove that I’d taken from an earlier glove, and tied to each new glove as I’d gotten it – I took it off and tied it to Baz’s first glove. Got a bit teary, I’m not ashamed to admit.

    Here’s a video of his first-ever at-bat. It is HILARIOUS:

  • The captions on the Baz vid above were because I was reviewing a smartphone accessory – I’m writing for Wired’s GeekDad now. Kay has been writing for GeekMom for over a year, and now I’m the other half. I guess.
  • Baz’s birthday is the 31st; we’re having his party the weekend after, on Saturday the 2nd. It will be EPIC. That is all for now. But there shall be pictures.

I’m sure there’s more – I could talk about the other projects CG is working on, or the ongoing personal financial WTFery, but frankly the Kickstarter is still eating my brain. So maybe another post soon! Wouldn’t that be somethin’!

Don’t plan the plan if you can’t follow through

First: Vote! If you’re in the U.S., go out and cast your vote. Every single one matters – especially yours!

The past month has been insanely busy, though there have been odd moments of calm. The last few days of October (the 27th through the 30th), most of my time was spent reading submissions (more on what submissions below), because I actually couldn’t do anything with other projects – they were either done, or I was waiting for some info or something. I had a few mild panic attacks during those few days when I realized I’d done nothing but read for a while and thought “OMGIshouldbedoing… oh no. Wait.”

Most projects are progressing nicely, though. The Kickstarter for A Festival of Skeletons ended with $538 (the goal was $300). One $38 pledge failed, but that’s still 167% of the goal, so not bad. I admit I was a bit disappointed by the number of preorders, but we worked hard to push them – there’s only so much we can do. We’ll see if we can create a nice release day (12/1). Crossed Genres Year Two is set, and yesterday we got in copies of it for review; I’m currently contacting reviewers about it. Yesterday we also got in 100 postcards of the cover of Festival, which look pretty nice! (Postcards were a reward for various levels of the Kickstarter.) We’ve never ordered postcards before so we didn’t know what to expect in terms of quality. But we’re pretty happy.

As you may have read about on the CG blog, there are some big changes coming to CG, the way it’s structured and such. Most of that is being spearheaded by Jaym & Natania, who are taking our encouragement to “Make CG your own” very seriously! 😉 But Kay and I have discussed all the changes with them ahead of time and we agree that it’s all good stuff. Some of it’s even things that we’ve considered in the past but never had time or impetus to implement.

It is REALLY weird that right now, I’m not frantically reading through CG submissions so that Kay and I can argue over decide which stories to choose. I’ve got plenty to work on, but this point of every month for the past two years has ALWAYS included tons of short story reading, usually in a rush to get through them all. It feels very strange, and I want to panic that itwon’tgetdoneARGH! except that I just talked to Natania a second ago and they’re totally on top of it.

Fortunately I have other short stories to read, for another project I’m working on! I’m not going to talk about it too much ATM, though I’ve mentioned it here before. But I will say: holy DAMN did I hit the jackpot. These were invitation-only submissions, and I invited people who I already know are talented writers. The result is probably the best overall quality from a pool of submissions that I’ve ever seen. Not to dis our previous submitters (a lot of the people I invited are people we’ve previously published, in fact), but with open submissions you get everything from great, can’t-put-it-down stories to stuff so bad you don’t get through the first page. And that’s every month. But when inviting people whose work you’re already familiar with, you don’t get those terrible dud stories. I’m about 3/4 of the way through my first reads, and I haven’t seen a real dud yet. Some appeal to me more than others, but that’s just because of my preferences. Overall the quality is truly exceptional. It’ll probably be harder than ever before to narrow down my selections. (Note: Editors do not consider this a bad problem to have.)

It’s November, which means: It’s NaNoWriMo time!!! I haven’t invested much in NaNo for a while – after Kay and I each won in 2006 & 2007, we didn’t finish in 2008 and didn’t even sign up in 2009 – we had other priorities, what with CG growing and Baz getting bigger and such. But this year, we’re sort of half-attempting it. We’re not putting a lot of pressure on ourselves, so odds are we won’t come close to the 50,000 word goal. But really, all we’re looking for is to feed off the collective motivations of all them NaNo-ers. Last night I wrote about 670 words in the 45 minutes before bed – not too bad, considering I didn’t even know what I was going to write on when I sat down to start! we’ll just see how that all goes. I will say that it felt really good to be writing! And what I wrote was very different from the sort of thing I usually write. That was interesting.

You know the best way to NOT get used to wearing contacts? Forget to wear them for days at a time. Last night as I was getting ready for bed I realized I’d forgotten for the 3rd day in a row. *headdesk* I set an alarm on my phone to remind me, so hopefully I’ll do better from now on.

The most interesting thing about my schedule now, looking into the near future, is that while it’s still quite full, it’s not so… deadline-y. There aren’t a lot of things that require my IMMEDIATE ATTENTION!!!1! Usually I spend the first half of each month working feverishly on the new CG issue. Now? Not my problem responsibility. Most things on my list now won’t be aversely affected if I bump them back a day or two. This will take some serious getting used to. Maybe I should add a 1-month project to give myself a close deadline…

Oh, yeah – Vote!

post title from “A Man’s Gotta Do” from Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog