Val Cameron’s one of those people that I consider one of my mentors. We’ve never met in person, but I’ve listened to countless hours of his voice and watched equally countless hours of his video instruction. He seems to have been pretty successful in 3D art, or at least has me fooled. Heh.
He blogged something today that got me thinking about why I created Glacier Peak (and keep plugging away at it), and more so why some of the people that I’ve tried to inspire to make a career of their passion fail to thrive. I have observed that those who fail are more interested in getting validation than they are in business, which may be why Val’s comment struck a chord with me.
Successful entrepreneurs don’t focus on getting paid for their time.
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I was reading his blog post and nodding along when I got to that line and thought, “That would be nice.” Which is when every entrepreneurial mentor I’ve ever head started rolling around on the floor and laughing in my head. I had to laugh along with them. That’s not why I do this.
Full disclosure: I have a full-time day job, and I kind of like it. Most of the indie authors and game creators that I know do, too. I’m cool with that. I get paid there for my time. What I do for Glacier Peak I do for for three reasons:
- I love doing it. I was doing it for free before I was doing it for money. I still do a LOT of it for free running open games at different conventions and game stores every week. I love helping other people enjoy the tabletop hobby.
- I enjoy making assets that have a long tail and will continue to make a little money down the road. It’s more than a hobby for me. It’s an investment.
- Every once in a while, somebody actually buys something that I created and published. Steve was customer #417 of Modernity (Fate Edition) today. That felt pretty good. Thanks, Steve!
I’ve been thinking about this and kicking it around with peeps I know and trust, so I just went and re-read Amazon’s page describing how kindlescout works. I’ll pass. It’s all the work that I would do anyway to promote a novel. TWICE. Once to get people to vote for it and (if Amazon puts it under contract) then AGAIN to get OTHER people to buy it to earn out the advance . . . because the people who voted for it get a free copy anyway. Unless Amazon is going to feature their own in a way that guarantees more sales (I wouldn’t believe a guarantee anyway), I think I’ll be happier the indie way, even if it takes me longer to get $1,500.
I understand why they’re demanding unpublished work and I know they’re trying to cherry pick pieces of the Kickstarter “viral social” model (without the upfront cash commitment of the crowd), but Amazon (and the author community) would be better served by opening up nominations of authors with already published work and finding a way to put those under contract instead. Or offer already published authors an advance on future work.
Kickstarter and Patreon work because people vote with real dollars, not imaginary “free” (as in beer) votes that Amazon gives them (like UserVoice). I think Amazon missed that (very important) little part.
Amazon thinks they know better than the dinosaur publishers, let them prove it by developing their own stable of exclusive talent. I don’t expect that the kindlescout net will pull in the kind of authors that they’re looking for. I hope for everyone’s sake that I’m just a pessimistic curmudgeon and wrong. I’ll be happy to jump on the kindlescout bandwagon when I see at least one massive bestseller pop out of their pipeline.
Just my $0.02US (unadjusted for inflation).
It’s a melodramatic read (PROFANITY WARNING), but this is an interesting write up of how a successful (read: hard work) grassroots (read: indie) marketing campaign might work. (I picked this up off of Scalzi’s twitter feed of all places.)
My takeaway? Dial down all the internal drama and self-sabotage, believe in the dream, but don’t quit your day job, yet.
Secondarily, stop thinking small. If you think your “world” is the UK (or the USA), then you’ll miss out on all the prospective sales globally. You can’t pick your fans, and you can’t always predict where they’ll come from! The world is flat again, so take advantage of the lack of horizons as much as you can.
Or maybe that’s just me giving myself advice. Heh.