September 2nd, 2011

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The Inelasticity of Demand

This article talks about fans and demand and economics.

Thinking about it ... I want my writing to be elastic the way a good bow is elastic.  Firm, springy, powerful, useful.  I don't want to create addicts; that is the way of the parasite.  I want to create allies, symbiotes, the way flowers begat bees.  Bow and arrow are useless without each other.  Neither bee nor flower can exist alone.  I want people to buy my work because they enjoy it and believe in it, or because it supports a mutually admired cause -- not because people feel driven  to it. 

Elasticity is important to me because I want my work to be accessible to everyone.  I want it to flex with my readers.  That means when you're broke and frustrated, and you've only got $1 to spend, you can still buy a couple lines of poetry with it.  Conversely, if you're flush, you can buy merry bundles of poetry and fiction and whatever else is on offer at the time.  That's not a random example; people do this with me.  I have some fans who are always on the low end and a few who are consistently on the high end; but in between are a bunch of people who fluctuate considerably based on their shifting budgets.  I think that's a good thing.

It matters a lot what kind of metaphors you use, what kind of business practices you choose.  This is true anywhere, but especially in crowdfunding.  It's about the kind of relationship you want to create with your fans.  I want mine to be positive and reciprocal.  I look at this one article, and it has a particular perspective.  I'm actually doing  most of the things it recommends.  My work can be very, very sticky indeed.  I like that people want to see more of it.  But it's flexible; it stretches with you.

The mainstream doesn't reward this approach.  It tends to be a dog-eat-dog world.  There are things I'm just not willing to do for money, and that cuts me out of a lot of society.

Heh ... but I don't see them  making very many miracles.  I on the other hand have made quite respectable money on poetry in a culture that largely ignores it.  Impossible, yet it is so.  Bee and flower.  Bow and arrow.  The target wants to be filled.
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Reprints and Derivative Works from the Poetry Fishbowl

morrigans_eve asked me today if it would be okay for her to practice calligraphy using poems from Path of the Paladins, and post the results.  I said yes.

So, this seems like a good time to revisit some parameters for the Poetry Fishbowl.  Sponsors of a specific poem get nonexclusive reprint rights for it.  Series sponsors get the same for the series they sponsor.  That means you can reprint your sponsored poem on your blog or other website if you wish.  It's one of the cool reasons to be a crowdfunding supporter.

Derivative works are a separate issue.  This includes stuff like the aforementioned calligraphy, or illustrations, etc. based on something I've written.  The rule here is to ask permission first -- but I almost always say yes.  (If you're a sponsor, as morrigans_eve is for Path of the Paladins, that does boost your chances.)  Anyone can ask about anything.  I think it's cool when people are sufficiently inspired by my work that they want to play with it on their own.  Consequently I've got a handful of links for artwork, fanfic, and other related tidbits listed under some of the series.  *chuckle*  I've even had one of my poems recorded by a Belgian band who found "Surface Tension" on the web.  There's just no telling what will pop up next.

If you want to sell  something based on my writing, that's possible, but we'd need to work out the profit split ahead of time.  I've done that a few times for various things.  I usually weight the split based on who does most of the work.  Say if you wanted to publish a book, it would lean towards me for the writing; but something art-related would more likely lean toward the artist with a modest cut for my inspiration.  If you're interested, talk to me -- money tends to get my attention.

Anyhow, I'm looking forward to seeing the calligraphy, and I'll link it when it appears.  This will probably take a while; calligraphy and illumination are slow, exacting crafts that require a lot of practice and attention to detail.  But I've had friends in the SCA so I know just how impressive the final results can be.
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Crowdfunding Updates

These are some recent crowdfunding goodies ...

See the September Dance Challenge by mikalay.  She'll be taking 10 songs this time.

meeksp is trying out two new perks.  For sponsors: the sketch that brings in the most tips per month will get further refinement.  For promoters: if three new commenters mention that you sent them, you may request an icon or equivalent work on a sketch.  The August story sketches and icons are also linked from that post.

angela_n_hunt says that The Incidental Tarot is fully funded.  Woohoo!  Extra beyond that will allow for a higher print run and more promotion.