I decided to crowdfund my collection of poems with Inkshares, rather than self-publish or work with an independent press. I’ve had a lot of questions as to why I chose this model.
The answer is simple: skills.
I am not a graphic artist, a publicist, a marketing specialist, I do not have extensive networks in the business, nor am I qualified to lay out a manuscript for print with a professional eye, etc.
I write and translate for a living, I copy-edit and know how to make a text the best it can be, but it’s not the same as packaging a cultural product such as a book.
I put my faith in specialists, much in the same way we delegate specialized tasks to doctors, lawyers, notaries… I decided to bank on Inkshares because they are on the rise, they are dedicated, and they were recommended by someone I trust. They can connect me with top-tier editors, distribute via Amazon/Ingram, and market me in a catalogue that includes Daniel Wallace (Big Fish). It has been a pleasure, and a learning experience, working with them so far.
Crowdfunding is to sell a product before it exists, to sell an idea. That’s an ambitious leap of faith with a book.
I was for a long time vocally against the commodification of literature. I liked to think in eternal ideals of text as pure art, the market as a soulless framework I could somehow side-step once I had been “discovered” by an agent. As if I stood completely apart from all the aspiring writers out there. But I realized something important: I am not special. No one is going to sell my writing for me. Even if I did find a big-name publisher, I would have to brand myself, brand my work, and package it like everything else we see on the shelves. What I want, more than anything, is to connect with readers and in a world of commodities, I am just one among thousands. I believe in my writing, and while I am my own worst critic, I must also be my biggest fan, vain as that may sound.
The book project I have in mind isn’t only about text, it’s about illustration and how the two can resonate together, it’s about making an objet d’art, a vector for my signature brand of reading experience. Working closely with professionals, collaborating with them, will allow me to achieve this goal better than I could on my own. I’m not waiting to be discovered anymore. So I took a leap of faith.
If you want to know more about the process, I’d be happy to talk about it.
TL;DR: Crowdfunding with a company who are solely dedicated to publishing quality books will make this final product better than I could make it on my own.