Baby’s First Kickstarter

The Pros and Cons of Internet Panhandling

So, I’m doing a Kickstarter for my debut novel Nefarious Twit …

… and I’m halfway through the campaign and I’ve reached a little more than half the funds I need to achieve my goal and I am quietly dying inside not knowing if I’m going to make it. It’s been absolutely marvelous. So what’s your book about, McMillen? Why thank you for asking, attractive reader.

Madness. Murder. Children’s literature. Nefarious Twit is about all those things.

It’s also about 300 pages long, contains 14 full-page illustrations, and took me about 6 years to finish.

Oh wait, here’s my Kickstarter video for it to explain more:

It is, and I only have until November 9th to raise the cash for it, so feel free to throw money at it and get yourself a copy now, thanks.

You may have noticed by now that this article appears to be a thinly veiled piece of propaganda created by the author to promote the Kickstarter for his debut novel. Well yeah, of course it is.

This book is my baby, what wouldn’t you do for your baby if it needed help?

Didn’t you listen to Benedict Cumberbatch’s Khan speech from Star Trek Into Mediocrity when he was like, “Yeah, to save our families (grown ass babies) we’d all do terrible things.”

Didn’t you see John Q with Denzel? You know, Denzel Washington, the best actor ever? He’s so darn cool, he’s so darn clever.

(The dude from Malcolm X and Mo’ Better Blues, also Remember the Titans. Did you forget abut the Titans?)

In John Q, Denzel takes an entire hospital hostage to get his kid the operation he needs. So yeah, I will straight up John Q 5 minutes of your internet reading time and get my baby Nefarious Twitwhat it needs to survive. But hey, at least this is fun propaganda.

But here’s the other reason why I’m writing this. One lesson I’ve learned again and again while launching this Kickstarter and whenever I set goals for myself in general is this:

Ultimately, you’re on your own. At least at first.

So, if you plan on doing any sort of creative endeavor, listen to what I’m about to spread on your bread.

You’re on your own? But isn’t the whole idea of Kickstarter that you’re reaching out into the cozy, nurturing arms of Mother Internet and asking her to help you nurse your precious, beautiful dreams into fragile existence?

Yeah, but to get the old broad to listen, you’re going to have to do a lot of work in order for your cries not to be drowned out by the countless similar pleas for attention that every other artist without a checkbook is flinging her way. And this is not the internet’s fault.

Some art from my book Nefarious Twit

We are all bombarded every day with so much information online that it’s a wonder we’re not all drooling George Romero extras. Though sometimes….

And just to clarify:

Absolutely, I have been lucky enough to get help for my book even before Kickstarter.

I have had friends read drafts of it, my good buddy Daniel Singleton made the logo for the book (and it turned out exactly how I wanted it, which never happens) another good friend Tom Majkut from the excellent band Look Sharp shot my Kickstarter video for me. I’ve also had other authors, editors, and agents who’ve taken the time to give me their opinions on my writing.

Plus, all the people who have already donated their hard-earned money to the Kickstarter and/or shared the project online, to all of them I sincerely say thank you so much.

Even if this kickstarter doesn’t make it, I thank you for trying on this thing with me, for supporting and believing in me.

But even with all that, nobody is going to believe in your dreams like you are.

How could they? This is your dream, not theirs.

I don’t care if it’s your girlfriend, boyfriend, best friend, husband, wife, life partner, brother, sister, mother, or father. Yes, they’re going to give a shit, but not any more than is reasonable. After all, these people have their own lives, and their own dreams to make real.

Support them and let them support you back.

Just don’t get too disappointed if their zeal for your one-person, alt-history, feminist reimagining of ThunderCats performed entirely in a language you made up does not exactly match your own. It doesn’t mean your idea sucks, it doesn’t mean your supporter sucks. It just means no one is going to love your baby like you are. That’s what makes it your baby.

So you’re on your own there. But you will get some help. Here’s why:

Remember back when I said we’re bombarded everyday online with so much information? I was wrong. The truth is that we actually subject ourselves to our daily deluge of information. Which is a good thing for DIY’s like us who want to get the word out about our projects.

Because it means that people online voluntarily open themselves up to new ideas.

New stuff, new people, new creativity. Sure, some people just want to watch Hulu and play Farmville, but you don’t want to reach those sociopaths anyway.

You want your project to get in the paws of likeminded seekers, that like you, are all about getting in on the ground floor of the cool new things that pop culture is doing.

Some call these folks early adopters, I just know that when it comes to creative pursuits and the kindhearted and forward-thinking people who take a chance on them, that these are the people I want to hang with.

These are the same people who got into punk when the first snarled “1,2,3,4!” erupted from Dee Dee Ramone.

They’re the same people who discovered modern poetry when they listened to Ginsberg’s Howl read aloud by its author for the first time at Six Gallery in San Francisco.

They’re the same people who saw Star Wars when it first opened and told their friends that they had to go see this movie.

Kickstarter isn’t some lemonade stand, it’s Virginia Woolf selling the first copies of Orlando out the back of a truck.

(An old timey truck, sure)

It’s Jack Kirby going door-to-door telling neighbors the good news that Galactus is coming and that Kirby can sell you a front row seat to his arrival.

It’s Kurt Cobain filming a video showing him playing his guitar and singing something about feeling stupid and contagious then telling you that he needs your help so he can record his band’s second record with a good producer like Butch Vig.

I’m not saying that all the various creative industries are dying out or even that they should be. I am saying though that things are changing and Kickstarter is becoming more and more of a viable option to help people reach a wider audience . And that the internet helps those that first help themselves.

Also I’m comparing myself to geniuses.

Thanks, bye.