Apr 182011

Well, at least I wasn’t the only one to find out late about Mur Lafferty’s Kickstarter novel funding project.  The evening of the same day I posted about it, The Dead Robot’s Society interviewed “Mighty Mur” on their April 13th podcast (you can listen to it here).  The interview was an hour of frank discussion regarding the ins and outs of Mur’s writing career so far, and covered everything from the history behind her “Afterlife” series to her reasoning behind the Kickstarter project that was such a phenomenal success.

Her advice to those who would like to emulate that success?  Unless you’ve already garnered your listening audience, don’t count on being able to do the same.  It’s the old story of working for years to become “an overnight success”.  I’ve heard a few interviews wherein the writer is asked how it feels to be an overnight success and the obvious joke follows.

The bottom line here is that there is no magic bullet, no guaranteed get rich quick scheme, that will gain you fame and fortune with your writing.  You have to have talent.  You have to have tenacity.  And it helps to have a little luck.  Mur has the first two in spades, and seems to do a pretty good job of making her own luck.

Now, Mur’s project by no means makes her a giant financial success, and I don’t mean to imply that she has stated otherwise.  I have found her to be very down to earth and pragmatic in her interviews, and a delight to listen to as a story-teller and vocal talent.  She sounds like someone with whom I would like to sit down and share a drink, maybe swap a few anecdotes, and in all honesty, hope to glean some valuable “how-to” advice from.  And it doesn’t hurt that she and I seem to share a love for the martial arts, either.  :)

But my big take on all the hoopla around her Kickstarter project is this – with the publication industry changing so quickly and radically, today’s writer can no longer be ONLY a writer.  Today’s writer must be an entrepreneur as well, willing to take the time necessary to put together a simple business plan, and then take some chances to put it into place.  The technology is changing, the industry is changing, and it looks like there are more opportunities for the enterprising writer / businessman (or woman) to get their foot in the door than ever before.

Here’s hoping I can get my act together in time to take advantage.

Apr 132011

My “brother from another mother”, James Husum, sent me a link yesterday that prompted a “DOH!” moment, the likes of which I haven’t had in quite some time.  And believe me, I’ve had some real moments, let me tell you.  :)

Anyone who knows me, knows that I am a huge proponent of podcasting, especially for writers.  It provides a fantastic opportunity for people to get their name out to, and interact with a public that would otherwise be oblivious to the talent of some great writers.  Probably the best known example of this is Scott Sigler, who went from a talented no-name wannabe author to a New York Times bestselling author in a matter of a few years.  How’d he do it?  In a word – podcasting.  Scott put out a series of incredibly entertaining “podiobooks” for free and built up a following that was simply too large for the publishing houses to ignore.  Now, he’s finding the traditional publishing route to be too limiting, and has founded his own small press imprint, “Dark verlord Media” aimed at producing books for established online personalities.  Talk about giving back to your roots.

So what does this have to do with the link that Mr. Husum sent me?  Well, it seems that Mur Lafferty, another well-known author and podcaster, has found another way to break into writing.  You see, Mur didn’t have the same level of success that Scott did.  While her free podiobook “Heaven” series is still an amazingly popular download, she was unable to convince a publishing house to fund putting them into print.  None of them seemed to think that she could convert her numbers from “free download listener” to “paying book purchaser”.

So in what I consider to be a phenomenal example of “screw you”, Mur decided to take her project to Amazon’s Kickstarter site.  Kickstarter is a direct patronage site where people can post their ideas and request funding for same in exchange for various levels of compensation.  Sort of like a poor man’s version of “Shark Tank“.  Mur decided that she would request funding so she could at least publish the series as an e-book and a limited POD run.  This was evidently not designed to be a huge project, just something so she could afford some cover art, and a starting fund for the formatting and publishing of the e-book.  She wanted $2000.

The month-long Kickstarter project launched on March 12 and ran until April 12.  I suppose she thought a month would be enough time to scrape together enough support to garner her $2k goal.  Her posted comments showed that she launched at 8:51AM on March 12.  At 9:55AM her top-tier reward slot was purchased at $999.  At 10:15, the $2k goal was reached.  By midnight of the first day, she had gotten $5000.

Are you sitting down?  When the project closed on April 12, Mur Lafferty (aka “Mighty Mur”) had received $19,370.00 in funding for her project!  $19,370.00!!

Now this is an extreme case of an overly successful project, and is the exception rather than the norm.  But holy crap!!  $19,370.00!   8O

So of course the gears are turning.  I now have a new bullet point in “The Plan“.  After I get a good start at podcasting my novel (Half Past Midnight), I think I may look at setting it up as a Kickstart project.  After all, if I manage to gain a following through the podcast, then maybe I can get some patronage for funding it for publication via someplace like Telemachus Press.  I know this – if I don’t ask, I definitely won’t get it.