Patreon, An Update

Salutations friends! I just finished my Patreon campaign, and you guessed it, now the real work begins.

I’ve contracted with two difference, very difference artists, for two stories I’m going to use to launch this effort. Digital proofs are being worked on as I type. Then there are the stories themselves.

Currently, I’m 99% done with my next sports-in-space novel. Up Slope is jam packed with action, science, cool technology great characters all packed into an exotic location somewhere in this solar system.

VEX is a gritty war drama set in the distant future. How much humanity can you sacrifice in the name of preserving humankind? Written as a serial this story will begin to see the light of day sooner than later.

Below, I’ve included some content from my campaign, but also there’s this. A video from Monica Byrne about why she chose to build her literary platform using Patreon.

Apparently, we have a great deal in common because she is speaking many of my opinions. At some point soon, I’ll be adding my own two cents to this mix in video format.

What do you write?

More thrill, more adventure, more compassion, more laughter — I am writing entertaining, compelling stories that could be called literary science fiction. Something Firefly meets The Stand. My influences are many, but I return to the works of Aldo Leopold, Jack London, Edward Abbey, Kim Stanley Robinson, and Paolo Bacigalupi when I need inspiration.

Patreon is going to work well for me because I love to write serialized stories. Currently, I have several stories broken into sequential installments, and I’m always developing more.

What do readers get?

All patrons get a story bundle, about one a month, as soon as they’re published. You’ll be able to choose your favorite e-reader format (Kindle, Nook, etc.). Each bundle will come with custom cover art from an array of independent artists who work with me to illustrate that month’s story. The $5+ patrons have access Patreon-only content that will include previews of works-in-progress, coupons for my online store, requests for beta-readers, special promotions, and early-access ordering for ebooks and hardcovers of my self-published fiction. At the $10+ patronage, you’ll also receive custom postcards, printed on 32pt LUXE stock along with everything previously mentioned. Make sure you check out all the rewards and patronage levels.

I’m still not convinced

Still not convinced? Let’s here your questions, fire away.

Q: This is a new economic model for artists? How do you figure?

A: Actually, I’d say it’s an old economic model that just needs the rust knocked off. Seriously, I delivered newspapers when I was a kid. Throughout history, the direct subscription model has paid for a hundred billion words. Pretty much everything from calligraphic Bibles copied by hand in dim monasteries to the chrome plated space opera serials of the 1950s made use of this exchange. The absence of this economic model from our society today has severely hampered the creation of new content.

Q: So this is an independent publishing operation, it will probably be crappy.

A: That’s an assumption, not a question. I enjoy writing short fiction. Big-press, small-press, my-press: a professional editor vets everything I write. These professionals are paid from the funds my patrons pay me. “What,” you say, “this is a business?” Yes, this is a business, I’m using the revenue I generate from my works to ensure that they’re all quality. That assumption has to die (a miserable, lonely death), there’s no reason to assume you’ll get less of a small business person.

Q: So what is your end game at Patreon?

A: My ultimate goal is to make my short fiction start working for me. Did you know that the industry standard $0.06 per word a 7,500-word short story will only net $450? Less taxes, editing costs, illustration, promotion, and other ancillary expenses, we’re lucky when we make a $200 per story (and I’ve made less). A single short story can quickly gobble up 80 hours. My goal is to make a living wage via Patreon. Given time, a lot of hard work and many new words, $2000 a month seems fair. But just as importantly, I’m hoping that the Patreon model will spread so that a lot more artists can afford to eat under a roof.

Now are you interested in making the words work? Click on the button below, let’s do this!

PatronButton

Chronicle World’s Legacy Fleet

LegacyFleet

Yeah, this is an announcement with a cover reveal. Coming in August from The Future Chronicles and the universe of Nick Endi Webb‘s bestselling trilogy Constitution, Warrior, and Victory.

CHRONICLE WORLDS: LEGACY FLEET


Chronicle Worlds: Legacy Fleet is Samuel Peralta, Nick Endi Webb, Therin Knite, Dave Monk Fraser Adams, Peter Cawdron, Patrice Fitzgerald, Kat Fieler, Jon Frater, Kev Heritage, Ralph Kern, Joseph Lewis, James McCormick (J.E. Mac), Felix R Savage, Will Swardstrom, Matthew Alan Thyer, Christopher Valin

A Challenge to Futurists

NeuralLaceI love futurists, the very idea that we can take a statistical model and from the information revealed divine what might occur in the future is a spectacular feat of magic. And, in saying just that, I should be clear, I’m not suggesting that there is a problem with this process. The models are as accurate as the data from which they’re derived.

But there is an art to modeling as there is a science. And I suppose that many futurists tend toward optimistic predictions. For instance, take this quote from Dr. Michio Kaku, professor of theoretical physics at the City University of New York and author of “The Future of the Mind.”

“In the next 10 years, we will see the gradual transition from an Internet to a brain-net, in which thoughts, emotions, feelings, and memories might be transmitted instantly across the planet.

Scientists can now hook the brain to a computer and begin to decode some of our memories and thoughts. This might eventually revolutionize communication and even entertainment. The movies of the future will be able to convey emotions and feelings, not just images on a silver screen. (Teenagers will go crazy on social media, sending memories and sensations from their senior prom, their first date, etc.). Historians and writers will be able to record events not just digitally, but also emotionally as well.

Perhaps even tensions between people will diminish, as people begin to feel and experience the pain of others.”

Yep! All upside, no down. I would suggest that an investigation into the issue, coupled with a fair understanding of what is taking place within the domains of technology and medicine might repeatably yield the same optimistic conclusion. Soon we will map human consciousness and develop a machine-mind interface which will allow real time exchanges of all sorts of information formerly hidden in the human heart. The implications are simultaneously staggering and astounding.

But I’d like to challenge this model, perhaps just a little bit, because it only seems to consider what we’re technically capable of achieving.

Below is a segment of a recent John Oliver, Last Week Tonight piece (I’ve started the video at 6:06 because this is where a relevant conversation begins. The conversation Oliver exposes is relevant, but watch the whole thing.)

Climate change, social justice issues, violent crime, illegal immigration, even the threat of terrorism: none of the facts of these critical, arguably whole societal issues, matter to a significant cross-section of the population.

“The current view is that liberals have a whole set of statistics which theoretically may be right, but it’s not where human beings are.” — Newt Gingrich

The narrative/ideology regarding these questions (and much more) are the only considerations of consequences for some people. Now imagine a technology, say neural networks or the accurate mapping of human consciousness, which will not only expose the flaws in these competing narratives but erode the power base that upon which these ideologies are built.

My challenge to futurists is this: develop a societal component to your models. Look at the many narratives that are in play and which may affect the technologies you’re examining. Consider the possible downsides of these technologies as well as the marvelous potential.

Toxicity

The degree to which a substance (a toxin or poison) can harm a being varies, but it’s something we can study. Toxic behavior, especially on the male side of our society, is apparently growing like a algae bloom in an over-heated Florida lake. It’s everywhere and it’s perhaps the saddest component of our shared American cultural heritage.

Yesterday, a collection of bigots dog piled Leslie Jones (@Lesdoggg) after the recent opening of her movie. You can google the trash that was flung in her direction if you really want to, but I don’t recommend it. Here’s one more example of popular culture and technology colliding in a fantastic mess. And that’s how many are describing this instance, which makes me feel an additional level of sickness.

As the world adjusts to the post-Bowie era I believe it may be important for us to describe train wrecks like this with precision, to identify and even persecute those responsible. The public calumny that @Lesdoggg experienced didn’t just happen. Even if it wasn’t organized, or orchestrated, the result was the same.

Sure there’s no hate speech exception to the First Amendment, but that’s no reason it should be condoned. Twitter is a private platform, and even has policies in place to deal with this kind of activity.

  • Violent threats (direct or indirect): You may not make threats of violence or promote violence, including threatening or promoting terrorism.
  • Harassment: You may not incite or engage in the targeted abuse or harassment of others. Some of the factors that we may consider when evaluating abusive behavior include:
    • if a primary purpose of the reported account is to harass or send abusive messages to others;
    • if the reported behavior is one-sided or includes threats;
    • if the reported account is inciting others to harass another account; and
    • if the reported account is sending harassing messages to an account from multiple accounts.
  • Hateful conduct: You may not promote violence against or directly attack or threaten other people on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, religious affiliation, age, disability, or disease. We also do not allow accounts whose primary purpose is inciting harm towards others on the basis of these categories.

It is, on the whole, miserably bad at enforcement of its own rules. So, how does anyone find accountability, let alone justice, in this situation?

Legally, quite a bit of what was lobbed is not protected speech. SCOTUS has ruled time and again that “true threats, fighting words, incitement to imminent lawless action, criminal solicitation or defamation” are not deserving of First Amendment protections. Twitter should be working with local law enforcement to track these folks down. And before someone starts to mansplain that this is “impossible” let me just point you to The Geography of Hate. Yes, you’re looking at geotagged tweets in the US, add the dimension of phone owner and guess what, you’ll get addresses (IP and physical).

The future of law enforcement is in data analytics.

Second, shame. It’s a powerful motivator that isn’t used effectively in society. Imagine, what if your hate speech cost you your job, your friends, and even your close or intimate relationships. Imagine if your racist uncle Bob was relegated to the back deck every Thanksgiving dinner? Let’s not tolerate this sort of BS even for a second. Learn how to correctly identify and respond toxic behavior.

For my part, I’m sorry to have seen one more woman on Twitter treated like this. It’s sick and sad.