Will we ever learn?
The sad fact remains that every month, another self-publishing author is doing another stupid thing to make the rest of us look bad. I have said several times that I do not think that we, as authors, should be trying to crowd source any kind of funding. There are plenty of low cost, well put together businesses that are much closer to the “average” self-publishing author’s budget. I hear time and again about authors that spend hundreds, if not thousands, on editing services, formatting services, and book covers. They, more often than not, come out of the situation with a half-assed editing job and formatting that isn’t done properly. You should not be spending this kind of money! Especially if you have to support yourself, your family, and if you have to work in a “General Population” job. (General Population job is basically any job that takes you away from the comfort and solitude of your computer screen and your writing.) I know the argument could be made that you get what you pay for. That’s true. However, if you do your research, you will find affordable and reliable businesses out there that will do the job right and not cost you your first born child. There is nothing wrong with asking for help, but if you’re spending so much money that you need other people to pay for your stuff for you, or to essentially make certain that your bills are paid each month, then you need to reevaluate your situation. Do you not realize that if you tweaked your budget just a bit, you would save tons and money and not need to ask for help?
The reason for the long introductory paragraph is because I wanted you to know my feelings about that kind of thing at the beginning. If you disagree with my stance and see nothing wrong with authors crowd funding, that’s cool. That’s your opinion. This is mine.
I read a blog post yesterday by Jenny Trout [linked here]. The post was an interesting exposé of sorts about author Payne Hawthorne and her crowd funding campaign that was set up recently. There are a lot more authors that disagree with crowd funding than actually think it’s okay, and they voice their opinions. Enough authors spoke out against Hawthorne that it caused her to lose her shit. Literally. Hawthorne proceeded to go off on a tangent about how everyone speaking out against her is wrong and they’re all “cock juggling thunder cunts.” My favorite part of her rant is where she actually used her “looks” as an excuse to do what she’s doing. The woman actually typed out:
“Oh don’t hate me because I’m prettier than you.”
You want to be taken seriously and you stoop to a middle school level comeback? The thing that people are taking umbrage with is whether you should be crowd funding or not and your response is “I’m prettier than you so I can do what I want?” I’m stuck on this because… Well, honestly I’m blown away by the fact that that was an actual argument used by an adult.
The goal of the campaign is for Hawthorne to raise enough money to write full time and not have to worry about work a General Population job. (Because she is the only author in the world that wants that.) She has resorted to crowd funding because she does not feel that she is getting money as quickly as she feels that she deserves it. She said that she spends several thousands of dollars on her books, but only makes $100-$200 a month in sales. First rule of budgeting is that you do not outspend your income. If you’re only making $200 a month in your book sales, you should probably not spend more than $150 on your next book. Yes, that leaves you with an income of $50 a month, but here are two things to note about that: a) you’re still making a hell of a lot more than most authors make, and b) you are just going to have to work a General Population job. Because that is so terrible.
You know something, I am working full time, going to school full time, and trying to write in the mean time. Would I love to be able to quit my job, or not worry about college? Hell yeah, but that is just not the case. Hawthorne’s goal, as she stated, is to raise enough to support her idea of a year’s income at $12,000. Not a terrible amount considering the annual income for a family of two to be considered at poverty level is roughly $16k. She mentioned that she is getting assistance from her family but it “isn’t enough.” She is spending so much money on her books (and audio books, mind you, that she said cost her $3,500 a pop) that she has to get her readers to give her extra money. Assuming that she is spending $4,000 average per book (including the cover, editing, formatting, and audio book) (assuming that she only spends $500 on the editing, cover, and formatting), she will blow through that $12,000 in 3 months! So if her assistance from her family is not enough, she is not earning enough from her books, and she plans on quitting her job once she reaches her goal, then she is going to be living in the cardboard box she is so afraid of in no time at all!
In my eyes, she has completely insulted her loyal readers by essentially saying that they are not doing enough to help her realize her dream. She is still making more money in a month than most self-published authors make in a year. That’s pretty awesome to me. I still have people picking up my books and that makes me happy. I don’t care if they pick up a freebie or buy a full novel. The fact is that I didn’t get into writing to get rich, which Ms. Hawthorne apparently did. When you get into self-publishing to be the next Amanda Hocking, you’re taking a huge gamble. Amanda Hocking’s rise to fame is not typical. When you don’t immediately make the hundreds of thousands, or millions that Amanda does, you’re going to be disappointed. That does not give licenses to tell your readers that do buy from you “give me more money because you haven’t done enough already.”
Of course, the authors speaking out against her campaign are acting just as childishly. Bashing her campaign by trash talking her there, down rating her books, and lashing out on her Facebook does not do them or their ’cause’ any favors. Our community has a bad habit of trolling, attacking, and spiting anyone who goes out of what we feel to be the “norm.” As I said, I do not agree with the campaign or Ms. Hawthorne’s actions, but I also do not agree with people attacking her. She is entitled to her freedoms, just as we all are. Down rating her books into oblivion, while mostly effective, is ridiculous and unfair. If someone did that to you, you would be completely destroyed. Let her be. When she doesn’t reach her goal and snaps at her fan base again, she’ll be the cause of her own demise. Be the better people, guys. Just sit back and let her do what she feels she needs to do. Ultimately, how does her campaign hurt you?
I want to end this by saying thank you to every single one of you that follow this blog, follow me on Twitter, like my Facebook page, and of course, read my books. I put everything I have into making sure that you guys always know how important you are to me. Without you, I’d just be a crazy chick talking to the voices in her head. I sincerely love and appreciate you all. In case you haven’t heard it yet today, you are important, you are beautiful, you are talented, and you rock.