So, I missed the thing where Stacy Jay ran a Kickstarter for a new book and said in her summary for said Kickstarter that some of that money was going to go for living expenses for a couple months while she wrote the book. In other words, it was going to function as an advance.
And evidently quite a lot of people got upset because Kickstarter is supposed to fund production costs, not living expenses and there was this big Twitter brouhaha, which I missed, fortunately, because life is too short. But the upshot was, Jay was startled and upset at being shouted at, and withdrew the Kickstarter and apologized.
And then Chuck Wendig and Laura Lam wrote a post about this, which is what I saw first and how I found out about all this.
As is frequently the case, I agree with Chuck. (And Laura.) I wish Jay hadn’t withdrawn the Kickstarter; I’d drop over there and kick in. Good God in Heaven, what, now we have special arbiters of Kickstarter Correctness to tell us what we can and can’t try to fund? Evidently someone out there — more than one someone — is offended because someone somewhere has a different idea than they do of what crowdfunding can properly be used for? Even though nobody is actually being forced to fund anything?
What exactly is up with that?
Laura’s take-home message:
Kickstarter is optional. If a Kickstarter is your jam, you pay the level you choose. As long as you receive the product on time as promised, the obligation has been fulfilled. If I’m paying $10 instead of $5 and that $5 difference is going to go to letting the artist whose work I admire be able to create a better book sooner, and I know that and don’t care, then what, exactly, is the problem here?
As usual, Chuck goes on a bit, but here’s his fundamental take home message:
…honestly, I don’t see the problem. Not contributing money toward the Kickstarter is the cleanest, simplest way to let her do her thing while simultaneously not supporting her. Just as you likely do day in and day out with 99.9% of the media that crosses in front of you.
What Laura and Chuck said is too obvious for words, except evidently not, since a good many people on Twitter don’t seem to have figured out that people can legitimately disagree about this stuff.
Also, the overall take-home message of all this is plainly: Don’t explain what exactly you’re going to use Kickstarter money for, and there’s no problem. You think that’s what that Twitter outburst was meant to provoke? Because I think that’s exactly what’s going to happen.
Me, I’m all for letting people run their own crowdsourcing campaigns however they want, and letting people decide what they do and don’t want to fund. We’re all adults, yes? No one needs special advisors to tell them whether they think it’s okay to fund an author’s time in order to get a book they want to read.
Update: I’m glad to say that *my* Twitter feed is filled with people making supportive comments about Jay’s situation and decrying the outrage mob. Good.