Amanda Palmer’s great 2014 book The Art Of Asking is an autobiography of sorts, using its central theme as a lens through which to view scenes from her remarkable life.
As the title suggests, it’s about asking for help (not just financially), giving help, mutual trust and the varied splendour of human relationships. When I read it a month ago, devouring it in a couple of days (downright speedy for me), it gave me the final shove of encouragement I needed to set up that Patreon page I'd been thinking about.
Patreon is somewhat like Kickstarter, but without the all-or-nothing end goals which drive so many stressed creators to badger their Twitter followers for 30 days straight. Instead, Patreon simply allows people to make a recurring pledge for every new thing a creator makes – books, comics, 3D-printed giraffes, whatever it happens to be.
My main goal right now is to reach out and find new readers, in the run-up to the release of my 2016 novel The Last Days Of Jack Sparks (read extract here). That’s why I’m going to publish free short stories, one every two months, starting with Auto Rewind. But The Art Of Asking made me think, “Why not also let people give you something if they want to? Why not ask?”
We writers, and creatives in general, are often way too apologetic about our work. It's not like we should start ramming our creations all up in people's faces, God no... but would it kill us to be a little less apologetic? A little less, "Oh God, listen, I'm really sorry, but I've made up all this stuff and it's probably rubbish but maybe you might want to read it, but no worries if you'd rather just use my face to mop your floor instead"? We should value ourselves and our work more highly – yes, even when that value involves a £ or $ sign. Never be ashamed to ask. I would probably only ever feel shame if readers were somehow being forced to hand over cash, but I think we can all agree that's an unlikely scenario. And in terms of ‘trad’ and ‘indie’ publishing, I love the idea of having an amazingly energetic and powerful publisher like Orbit Books backing me, as well as being able to interact directly with readers via something like Patreon. God bless the interwebz.
So, my Patreon page now exists. A shiny-new online tip jar. James Moran donned his director hat (which I can sensationally reveal is a ceiling-scraping top hat with a leprechaun buckle, utterly ridiculous) for a day trip to Brighton and he directed my two-minute Patreon pledge video which you can watch below. I can honestly say that, even if no-one ever watches this thing, it will still have been worthwhile, because we had such a laugh filming it. Maybe there’ll be a blooper reel one day and you’ll see how hard I found it to keep a straight face.
The pledge video probably flies in the face of one of Amanda Palmer’s Rules Of Asking – be sincere and honest – because it’s more concerned with entertaining you and making you laugh. I also like the way that, as part of a campaign about short stories, it’s kind of a short story in itself. But hopefully the text on the Patreon page does the whole 'sincere' and 'honest' thing a lot better than the video. And so does this blogpost, I suppose.
So. The tip jar exists. Doesn't matter whether cash is flung into it now, next month, next year or never, but there's no shame in asking. I'm going to release free stuff anyway and I'm already having a great time writing it.
Here's the big ask: do you trust me to deliver scary, funny, gripping stories you'll enjoy? If so, consider pledging to me at Patreon, and in return for that trust I'll give you additional content and exclusive perks. If you're unfamiliar with my fiction writing, you can check out the previously-released stories Beast In The Basement (£1.99) or A Sincere Warning About The Entity In Your Home (99p).
The first new free book, Auto Rewind, a tale of Christmas, Doctor Who and nail-guns, will be available from December 7 – or a week early on November 30, if you back me at Patreon. If you’d like a reminder of the release and/or general updates, join my mailing list.
Good day to you!
The Art Of Asking by Amanda Palmer: UK | US
Amanda Palmer on Patreon
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