Patronize Me … sort of

And the promised second article of the day. Don’t know what I’m talking about? Read below. But you can do that after you read this one, if you want. They’re not two-parters, so you won’t be lost.

As you probably know if you follow me, I have a Kickstarter running. One of the first things I did was post it onto Fark.com. If you know Fark, you might be asking yourself why in the world I would do that to myself. Obviously, I would be opening myself to snark at best. While, yes, some snark happened, a few productive things happened. At least one person may buy the book. And I’ll be on a podcast on Friday, September 20th. I’ll be putting up more details during the week.

See? Fark is awesome.

But I don’t want to talk about Fark, per se. I will a moment more. One of the snarkers asked a good question. Why can’t I just save up the $1000 I’m wanting for my cover and editing?

The answer? Patronage. I’ll explain after the cut.

Once upon a time, authors and other artists had patrons. The good ones did anyway. These patrons were usually wealthy and had lots of time and connections. Parties to introduce a favorite author, painter, or musician… these were about getting money or clients, not about making friends. These were the things that Patrons did for their artists.

We don’t really use the patron system anymore. We replaced it with record labels and publishing houses. Major differences exists too. You see, publishers and record companies are concerned about marketing. Patrons were concerned about what they liked. Frankly, I find the emotional “I like this” easier to fathom than “Is this marketable”. You see, the marketing question isn’t about the song or the book, not really.

When you are asking “Is this marketable” what you’re really asking is “Will this forward a formula that is making me money.” That formula may be the sexy blonde pop-star or a type of novel. I will not knock marketing. Companies have to make money, and to do that, they need to predict where money will come from, and for that, they need to create marketing formulas.

This is not, however, how patrons operate. Patrons see something, and lend their support to it. Hence the money, the rent patrons would pay, the parties to help their artist find clients and more money. Sometimes Patrons would see a return on investment, but I don’t imagine that happened all the time.

I see crowd-sourcing like Kickstarter as a modern Patron system. By supporting an artist’s Kickstarter project, you are being a patron. That support may be in donating money. It may be in sharing the link to others you think might donate. It might be, as I will be getting this Friday, hosting a podcast for an artist to help them raise awareness and funds.

That’s why I am doing Kickstarter again. It’s why I believe in crowd-sourcing.

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