I have a GoFundMe Campaign going for my next novel.
Yes, you read that right.
What’s more is that I don’t feel bad about doing it.
You read that right too.
Why did I do it?
I did it because I am trying my damndest to be as successful as I can be as an author, in whatever way that success will end up being. To me, success as an author doesn’t necessarily equate to being a world famous author and having every book I write turned into a film of questionable quality. It means being able to financially support myself and my family. It means that people genuinely enjoy reading my stories. Success also means something different to me than it did a few years back.
A little over three years ago I self-published my first novel, a love story called Running Northwest (in case you weren’t aware of it). A few editions and bad marketing choices later I learned a lot before I got that novel perfected (in my eyes). I learned a lot about what not to do these last few years as I worked on my craft and life. I learned a lot about myself as well. I have no problem slogging along and earning my place in this business. I am not asking for a shortcut or an easy button. Would I really want that anyways?
With my 2nd novel All the Roads Home (The Oregon Series: Book 1) now safely with my editor, I am already at work writing book 2 of the series and ten chapters in. I do not want to make the same mistakes I did before. I want to do as much correctly as I possibly can this time around, so I can hold my head high and be proud as opposed to frantically trying to pick up the pieces of what went wrong and hiding my embarrassment. Like any new or relatively new author, I want my sophomore novel and first series to go better than my freshman attempt. That being said I am very proud of the novel that Running Northwest has become and believe people will eventually see that as well.
Recently, I have read a few blog posts and Facebook comments by other Indie authors admonishing other Indies who have done the same thing as I am now with my GoFundMe or who have attempted it. Some authors, in their campaigns, ask for money to live on while they are writing and these authors seem to be largely preyed upon by some who think they are on a pedestal in the indie writing world. Sadly, I’ve seen a few of these campaigns ended quickly because of the ignorant and hateful comments towards them by the self-imposed gatekeepers in this area of the writing world. Those who think they make up the standards and rules of what is acceptable and not. In some ways, they have supplanted the bullies they fought so hard against in the infancy of self-publishing. Whether they will ever admit it or not doesn’t matter they are what they are. People like that just fuel my artistic fire and rage.
I can’t judge and will not judge those who run GoFundMe’s or Kick Starters for their writing and creative projects, I am in their same shoes for mostly the same reasons. We are all merely trying to prove ourselves to the world, our communities, our friends, family, peers, the business and even ourselves that we are actually competent at this and that our business and products (our novels) are worthy of notice and support.
Merely writing good books and stories as most in the writing business advise doesn’t always equate to a lot of sales, reviews and best sellers list rankings despite the fact that writing good books is important and the goal of any author. There are an awful lot of great self-published novels and indie authors out there that no one has ever heard of. They float in the ocean of literary anonymity because of a lack of finances, time and know-how to promote them and not because of a lack of talent and quality.
I’m not asking for donations to pay my households bills, to support my family and put food on the table. Stacey and I are doing an okay job of that on our own even though money is very tight and we are both in school while being parents. For me, being an author is different now than it was 3 ½ years back when I published Running Northwest or even 6 years ago when I started writing it. I did not have a family then, I wasn’t with Stacey, and our son Jax was not even something I expected to happen, but I am thankful every day that they did. Things are different now; my life is different even though my goals are the same.
After I found out I was going to be a dad I promised myself that my family would not have to suffer for the sake of me pursuing my dreams and goals as a novelist. That Stacey and Jax would never feel second best behind my writing. If I come up with an extra $200.00 a month from working my normal job that money is going toward our bills, to keep gas in our cars, to buy Jax something special, to take Stacey out on a rare date night (because she deserves it and as parents that doesn’t happen a lot), or just to get us caught up. That extra money doesn’t come around often. I cannot and will not use that money toward writing expenses at the expense of my family even when I very much wish I could. Even now, there are days where I don’t feel like I am doing enough for them, where I can feel the constant but silently judging eyes from others around us on my back which adds to the pressure and expectations I put on myself. I want my career as a novelist and as a writer to support itself and then eventually my family will be able to reap the rewards from my hard work and dedication when it grows. It is for this precise reason why I started my GoFundMe campaign and don’t feel bad about it.
I am asking for donations to pay my editor who cut me a great deal and also my cover designer/graphic artist/website creator who gives me tons of leeway. They both support and understand my goals and financial situation. Without them, I’d still be putting out poorly edited books with crappy do it yourself covers that look like a joke because I am NOT good at that stuff. I’d like to be able to get a whole year of Grammarly Premium because its an amazing product for writers but $140.00 at once is more than I can afford. I am asking for donations to help pay for even a little bit of marketing because let’s face it free book marketing on the internet just doesn’t work. The flat-lining sales and Amazon ranking of Running Northwest prove that much, no matter how many good reviews and stars it has.
With even a little bit of good, paid for marketing and reliable book tours, I can get myself and All the Roads Home out there in front of more people than I could ever do on my own. I could do it in the best possible way, but I don’t have the money for that kind of promotion out of my own pocket. Writing and my books are MY business that came with the package when Stacey and I first started dating but finding success with that goal is on my back alone. I created the GoFundMe campaign because I need help, even a little help, from others who believe or are willing to take a chance with a guy who writes love stories and is pursuing his dreams. Sometimes businesses need a little start-up capital and mine is no different.
Ultimately when successful or even a little successful I would like to pay it forward with other up and coming authors who share this same dream. I want to be able to show them the same faith and support which hopefully others will show and give me with this next novel of mine. If my $50, $100 or $500.00 that I might eventually be able to donate will lead to another author having a potential best seller or other writing success then I can sit back and be as elated for them as others might be for me. We all start at the same spot and in the same way; with a dream.
Somewhere out there in the world there is another author just like me sitting in their garage or at their kitchen table at 3 am when everyone else is asleep. They are staring at a screen, drinking too much coffee and doing the best they can.
So, this is my message in a bottle, my hopes and dreams which I am sharing with the world in the hopes that a few people out there will notice and care. If you got this far and read to the end I just want to say thanks for sticking with me and at least hearing me out.