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Jumpstart, I mean Kickstart, your dreams. June 16, 2013

Posted by ourfriendben in wit and wisdom.
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Yowie kazowie. Silence Dogood here. What if you could imagine something you’d love to do, and then get a bunch of total strangers to pay for you to do it?

Maybe this sounds like something from science fiction, from “The Twilight Zone.” But no, it’s today’s reality, thanks to something called “crowdfunding.” It used to be that anonymous nominators would have to put you up for a Nobel Prize, a Pulitzer, or a MacArthur Fellowship (the so-called “Genius Award”). Now, you can do it yourself.

Maybe you won’t get the money, but at least you can ask for it. Search on Google for “crowdfunding” or “Kickstarter,” crowdfunding’s biggest site. Then check out what it takes to ask for what you want, which is to say, for funding to realize your dreams.

Apparently, the drill goes like this: First, you choose a crowdfunding site. Then, you create a website and a Facebook page to support your idea, be it a car that runs on air, a cosmetic that makes you look eternally 17, or a movie featuring your favorite comic-book character. You make a clever video to draw donors in. You set a date to meet your financial goal, be it $500 or $500,000. And then you hope for the best.

As I understand it, if people donate enough for you to meet your goal by the date you’ve set, you get your funding (minus the take from the site). If you fall short of the goal, nobody pays and you get nothing, but you also lose nothing.

I’m writing about this because I just got a copy of one of the magazines I read, VegNews, and it featured a restaurant that has been able to start through a campaign on Kickstarter. Which reminded me that one of my dear friends had just started a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds so she could finish and publish her dragon novel.

As a novelist myself, the idea of somebody asking for funds upfront to support novel-writing took my breath away. I would never have the nerve. To me, it would be like saying, hey, all you strangers! Give me money so I can do some serious navel-gazing!

But at the same time, I’m awed by her chutzpah (er, sp.?) and am waiting to see if people line up to support her fiction-writing. Maybe her “Dragonkin” series is the next “Game of Thrones.” Maybe it’s garbage. I haven’t read it, so I can’t say. But I sure honor her for trying, and suggest that you try, too. Maybe you’ll win, and maybe you’ll realize your dreams. Or maybe you’ll lose. But what have you really lost?

Please always bear in mind the slogan of the silly but wonderful film parody “Galaxy Quest”: “Never give up, never surrender!” As Emily Dickinson said, “Hope is the thing with feathers.” Don’t give up if it doesn’t take flight the first time.

‘Til next time,

Silence

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