Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Reading, Writing, and Publishing ~

CrowdFunding for Authors


CrowdFunding = “…to help bring creative projects to life.”, according to the famous WebSite, KickStarter.

Crowdfunding for Authors

Image Courtesy of Griszka Niewiadomski ~ http://www.freeimages.com/photographer/datarec-38654

Here’s a link to info on 9 other crowdfunding sites

Enter Bethany Carlson—“CFA, loves bringing films, books, and other art to life with the power of crowdfunding! Her passion is making yours possible at The Artist’s Partner. Bethany has a B.S. in Applied and Computational Mathematical Sciences with an Emphasis in Economics, with Honors, from the University of Washington, and she is a CFA charter-holder. She is a former NASA researcher and teaches math and physics at Renaissance School.”

She has a book on crowdfunding for authors coming out in October

Jane Friedman gave her space to post an excerpt from the book—Crowdfunding Usually Doesn’t Work for Writers—But It Can.

Here come the excerpts:

“Crowdfunding centralizes and organizes your fan base…”

“Crowdfunding is book marketing boot camp and publication day training…”

“Crowdfunding is not easy money.”

“Crowdfunding is not fast money.”

“Crowdfunding is not free money.”

“Writers fail at crowdfunding more frequently than other creatives….because it requires four skills that most writers do not regularly practice….Brevity….Visual design….Collaboration….Self-promotion…”

“The challenges are real—but they are not insurmountable. Over thirty thousand authors have collectively raised over $100 million for their books.”

On the same day Jane let Bethany post the excerpt, they had an interview—Q&A about Crowdfunding for Authors with Bethany Joy Carlson.

Important first excerpt:

“…Bethany Joy Carlson, owner of  The Artist’s Partner…has helped crowdfund over $110,000 for creative projects, including over $70,000 for books.”

Now, to break with certain “traditions” surrounding how to excerpt, I’ll list only the questions Jane asked Bethany:

*I worry that some authors who are interested in crowdfunding don’t have the proper resources or network in place to run a successful campaign. While I don’t want to be discouraging at the start of this interview (!), are there situations where you advise authors to wait before they start a campaign—to ensure they have some essential components in place?”

* “For an author undertaking their first crowdfunding effort, about how many hours of prep time would you budget, and then how many hours per day during a typical campaign?”

* “You’ve helped your clients successfully raise more than $100,000, and you’ve got the process down to a near science. Your excellent posts on how to run a successful crowdfunding campaign elaborate on the number crunching you do beforehand. How much do you think it’s a numbers game?”

* “Okay, moving away from the numbers: I know there’s an art to this as well. What are elements you observe, on the qualitative side, that the author has to bring to the table to help ensure a campaign succeeds?”

* “What tools or resources do you find indispensable for managing a crowdfunding campaign?”

Now, breaking with my own break with excerpt-tradition, here are the bullet points for that last question:

“A good email host.”

“Lots and lots of great pictures of the author’s face—and other faces.”

“Basic image-editing software.”

Each of those do have an additional explanation

So, just from the excerpts (though, if interested, you really need to go read both full articles…) are you up for the challenge?

What if mastering the skills of crowdfunding made the difference between selling lots of books or not selling very many books at all?
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Short and Sweet Advice for Writers – Think of Drafts as Rehearsals


Today’s re-blog has advice that could help folks who’ve thought that “maybe” they “might” “someday” write “something” actually sit down and begin :-)

Live to Write - Write to Live

stage rehearsalWriting a first draft can be scary. Even though we’ve all been told that first drafts are supposed to be shitty, it’s tough to shake off the pressure of feeling like you have to get it right the first time.

But, what if you thought of your initial drafts as rehearsals?

I heard this brilliant piece of advice recently (I think it was a side comment from one of the co-hosts of the excellent Writing Excuses podcast), and it put draft writing in a whole new light for me.  Thinking of each draft as a successively more polished performance not only takes the pressure off that first draft (Who would expect a drama company to be perfect at their first rehearsal?), it also helps illustrate why having multiple drafts of a story is not a bad thing.

The initial rehearsals for any kind of performance are a hot mess…

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#Libraries & #Learning: a #Survey


Surveys can be extremely misleading—those having skewed methods to produce biased results.

The survey featured today seems, to me, to have been conducted correctly—here’s their methodology page

And here’s a statement from the organization behind the survey:

Pew Research Center is a nonpartisan fact tank that informs the public about the issues, attitudes and trends shaping America and the world. We conduct public opinion polling, demographic research, content analysis and other data-driven social science research. We do not take policy positions.”

The fact that the survey is about Americans and their libraries might be considered valuable by the majority of readers of this blog; but, minorities can be extremely important—so, I hope folks in countries other than the USA will share information in the comments

I’ll share some of the major findings and leave it to those needing more detailed information to visit this link —> Libraries and Learning:

“Library users think of themselves as lifelong learners”

“Library usage continues to evolve”

“The number of those visiting library buildings is trending down, while the number of library website users has leveled off”

“Those who use libraries and their digital materials are more likely to be parents of minors, women, under age 50, and better educated”

“Library users self-identify as lifelong learners and as people interested in new information”

“Library users are major technology adopters”

“Library users stand out as ‘personal learners’”

“Recent library users are more likely to cite benefits from personal learning than others”

“Those who use library websites are more likely to be professional learners in many contexts”

“Those who use libraries feel relatively satisfied with their performance in learning situations, particularly women, blacks, Hispanics, those in lower-income households and those ages 30 and older”

“Notable shares of Americans do not know that libraries offer learning-related programs and materials”

* To find more information about libraries, click on the word in the Top Tags widget, further down in the left side-bar (this post may be at the top of the archive {since I’ve tagged it with “libraries”})…
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If you don’t see a way to comment (or, “reply”) after this post, try up there at the top right…
Read Some Strange Fantasies
Grab A Free Novel…
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* Google Author Page
For Private Comments or Questions, Email: amzolt {at} gmail {dot} com

Serious Series Business by Micki Uppena


Today’s re-blog on series follows my last post about my favorite series :-)

Nerdy Book Club

I will never forget the first series that I fell in love with. The Boxcar Children, Trixie Belden, and Little House on the Prairie helped me develop deep love for character development. I loved the predictability, the family, and the comfort of knowing where the character’s journeys would lead.

As I entered middle school I began delving into darker characters and fell in love with the Flowers in the Attic series.  The uncomfortableness of the story lines and the struggle these characters faced helped me get through the adolescent angst.

Harry Potter happened to me as an adult!  The magic of wanting to finish the book so that you could get to the next.  I couldn’t get enough!  Harry Potter was binge reading at its finest.  Until it wasn’t.  As I was approaching book six I knew that I had to take book breaks. I had to slow…

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Ever Read a 4-Novel-Series 5 Times?


The year was 1976…

The young woman in the image was 34 and had her first novel published—Gate of Ivrel

She followed that, in 1978, with the second in the series, Well of Shiuan

The third book, Fires of Azeroth, was published in 1979

And that was the “complete” story of Morgaine and Vanye

—until 1988 when Exile’s Gate was published.

The author is C. J. Cherryh—born Carolyn Janice Cherry—multiple Hugo Award winner—produced over 60 books—even has an asteroid named after her (77185 Cherryh).

I just finished reading those books for the 5th time yesterday

I wouldn’t recommend them to everyone

First, because they don’t easily fall into the genre-rut (though plenty of people have tried to ram them into various categories…).

Yes, there are lords and swords, horses and bandits, undying love and treachery, alien technology and whisperings of witchcraft

Still, these books are, to me, not “Science Fiction” nor “Fantasy” nor “Science Fantasy” nor “Sword-and-sorcery meets hard sci-fi”.

The acclaimed author, Andre Norton, wrote an introduction for the first edition of the first book and said:

“Never since reading ‘The Lord of the Rings’ have I been so caught up in any tale as I have been in ‘Gate of Ivrel’.”

I also can’t cram Lord of the Rings into a genre.

I’m not sure when I first read them

Yet, each reading revealed more—each reading gave vast impetus to my own writing—each reading spurred me toward deep self-examination.

That last could be my second reason for not recommending them to everyone—so many folk are desperate to avoid self-examination

The third reason I don’t say everyone should read them is that the main characters reverse nearly every standard of “normal” relationships:

Morgaine, woman, leader of men, world-saver, often autocratic, feared by most, skilled in war.

Vanye, man, outcast warrior, claimed in servitude to Morgaine, in doubt about his courage, often alarmingly emotional, superstitious.

Cherryh in an interview:

“It was a set of characters I’d invented when I was, oh, about thirteen. So it was an old favorite of my untold stories…”

I do wish everyone who likes to read would read these books.

Perhaps more of us could work through the perilous patterns of relationship

Perhaps more of us could face our inner demons

Perhaps more of us could see hope where the world only shows decay and riot

Perhaps more of us could face each other with utter loyalty and trust

If I meet people who want to read something full of spirit but I know they abhor religion, I recommend these books

There is an amazing element of these stories that most articles shove in your face.

I’m going to let you discover it for yourself :-)

It’s being rumored there will be The Gates of Morgaine movies

Here are a few more quotes from the Andre Norton introduction:

“…there are indeed no supermen or superwomen—rather there are very human beings, torn by many doubts and fears, who are driven by a sense of duty to march ahead into a dark they are sure holds death. Ancient evils hang like noisome cobwebs, the stubbornness of unbelievers wrecks again and again their quest. Wounded, nearly at the edge of their strength, shamefully forsworn in the eyes of all they could once call kin, they continue to push on to the last test of all.”

“Few books have produced such characters as to draw a reader with them, completely out of this mundane world…one accepts it all without any longer remembering that this is a creation of an imagination. It might be actual history—from another plane.”

And, a final quote from Norton that I can actually feel like I wrote:

“Books flow in and out of our lives in an unending stream. Some we remember briefly, others bring us sitting upright, tense with suspense, our attention enthralled until the last word on the last page is digested. Then we step regretfully from the world that author has created, and we know that volume will be chosen to stand on already too tightly packed shelves to be read again and again.”

There is now a one-volume edition called, The Complete Morgaine (that last link is for the paperback and e-book on Amazon—go here for free world-wide delivery of the paperback)
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If you don’t see a way to comment (or, “reply”) after this post, try up there at the top right…
Read Some Strange Fantasies
Grab A Free Novel…
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
* Google Author Page
For Private Comments or Questions, Email: amzolt {at} gmail {dot} com

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