Some thoughts on asking for support

  • Posted on: 2 March 2013
  • By: MeiLin
This was originally part of my latest Kickstarter update, but I wanted to post it here as well. It's the fifth anniversary of this site! Yay us!

Did you see Amanda Palmer's awesome TED talk? Go watch it and come back.

Done? OK. I have asked you guys to financially support my work since I started freely posting it in February, 2008. From that very first day you've stepped up (I'm looking at you, JN). I had been considering stopping the serialization of my main series, "An Intimate History of the Greater Kingdom," with book two since donations have virtually stopped. I figured, well, I guess ebook sales are how I'm going to get support from now on, so maybe I should get with the scarcity paradigm. (Everyone else is. Yay, austerity.)

Seeing that talk changed my mind.

There's a reason I release everything through Creative Commons (attribution/noncommercial/no derivative--for now) with no DRM. I can't stop pirates, and I believe that if you ask people to pay, they will.That faith has been rewarded, but it's flagged recently, even with two successful Kickstarter campaigns under my belt. Why? My ebooks sales are drastically down.

Think about that for a moment. I was considering curtailing access to my work because paid ebook sales are down.

That feels backwards now.

I am not someone who "just wants to be read." I want to be supported, too. But I have always known I don't have a right to be supported. I can only ask. You have no idea how much your support has meant to me.

But I am asking you for something. I'm asking for your support in getting the word out about my work.

The thing I like about serializing is that it acts as an online book club, where people can discuss the book as they read or re-read it together. When my work was strictly a webserial, dozens of comments appeared on story segments; people had deep discussions. I would love to get back to that, to the sense of community my website once had. It dried up once I switched to the ebook paradigm, even though I really had to make that change.

If you're new to my work--and I think a lot of you are this time around--check out the rest of what I've done. Almost all of it is on my site, freely available, and when I get the subscriptions out to you for the premium area, pretty much everything will be available to you. I'm asking you to discuss what you read, and tell people you think I'm worth both reading and supporting.

It's a new world for creatives. The old ways of paying for our work no longer apply, and neither do the old ways of reaching potential viewers, listeners and readers. Advertising doesn't work, blog tours don't work, discounts don't work. Word of mouth is all that matters.

What works is you adding my books to Goodreads, fairly reviewing them at ebook retailers like Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Kobo, and telling your friends about my work--yes, even giving a copy to a friend. If your friend likes it, ask him or her to send me a buck or two if so moved. These things matter as much as your (deeply appreciated) financial support, and I'm asking for them as well.

Thank you.


Amy's picture


Speaking for myself here... I don't blame you for wanting to be supported as a writer. Lord knows you are a great writer and I love your work. But I have to say.. wanting people to buy your books... and they are worth owning... I have both IHGK and SIS.. I read them often and come here to read the posted chapters.... My money is tight so supporting a writer who is posting chapters of a book that I have already bought from her is a bit hard for me.

And we all seemed to discuss things a lot more while we were beta reading things as you wrote them. Most of us have already talked over our thoughts and feelings on everything while we were reading your first drafts. Frankly... I miss those days of reading your chapters as you write them...

I Keep hoping that Scryers Gulch will resume or that you will once again start posting original works here. I'm loyal to you and return here all the time, and will keep coming back... & Yes.. The moment my finances at all allow it I would love to support you... I just wish I was still privilaged enough to read your beta work.... That Was An Awsome Time!!! Hells I even liked your Torchwood story, and I'm *not* a Dr Who fan.

MeiLin's picture

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I'm not asking you for money. When I say I'm not getting donations, I mean people reading the site for free--who haven't bought a book or anything else--are either not buying a book or throwing a buck in my hat.

Amy, you have been a longtime supporter, I am in no way complaining about you or anyone else, not even the people who don't throw in a buck. People do what they gotta do, and I'm not always in a position myself to practice what I preach, though I do the best I can and after Amanda's TED talk I'm working even harder at supporting creatives I love.

Please read the post again. What I am asking for here, and apparently I did a bad job of it, is "street team" support. Word of mouth, reviews at the ebook sites, and so on. Anyone can throw money at me if so moved, I am not going to turn that down. :). But what I need even more right now is word of mouth. It's free, and at the same time, priceless. I'm not passing the hat. I'm passing the word, and I need you to pass it along--you in the general sense, not you in particular, Amy.

I really worked hard to make this post not sound like either begging or complaining. Did I fail? I am in need, yes, and it's for the things money can't buy and only people like you can provide. I'm asking. Nothing more.

Gudy's picture


... this was a well thought-out post. As far as I am concerned you made it quite clear what exactly you were asking for. I am not sure how much more I, personally, can help you with this, not being much of a social butterfly, but I'll definitely try.

MeiLin's picture
Amy's picture


Affects my comprehension levels... a lot. Sad

I post about this site and your books all the time on FB, and LJ. & loan out my copies, and tell all my friends about how FAB a writer you are. I have always done my best by you.

MeiLin's picture

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And I appreciate it so, so much. Smile

okwari's picture

If I recall correctly, Caitlin R. Kiernan publishes a PDF of her writing (Sirenia Digest) - I think it includes works in progress. She charges a subscription fee, though I do not know what the fee is. Would you consider that as a possible avenue?

okwari's picture

Silly me, not clicky on links.

$10 per monthly issue.

MeiLin's picture

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But mostly what I need now is discoverability. Money is always good--really good--but I need to broaden my readership, and that's the thing I REALLY can't do without help.

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