ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
[personal profile] haikujaguar has written a couple of posts on artistic business, "The Serpent's Whisper" and "I Am an Indie Midlister (and That's Okay)." These look at some ups and downs of alternative publishing and personal goals.
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
Here's an article about music and crowdfunding.  There's a very difficult balance between creativity and survival.  Too much idealism and you starve.  Too much commercialism and you produce dreck.  So too are there two poles of audience interaction: too low a price tag and the artist can't afford to keep working, too high a price tag and the audience either can't afford to buy or won't because they feel it's a ripoff.

Culture is an exchange.  In order to continue, a society must meet the survival and social needs of its citizens.  They need ways of supporting themselves, interacting, and expressing ideas.  What people value tends to continue.  What they do not value will be hidden or lost.  So if you don't support art, then you wind up with very little art, of poorer quality.  If you don't make sure people have enough to live on, then not only do they suffer, but they can't afford to buy stuff and your economy tanks.  Not everything has to be a cash exchange, that's a relatively recent phenomenon historically speaking.  But there must be an exchange of value and people must get their needs met.

This is a time of great challenge and great potential.  A lot of people are getting into creative work because that's all they CAN do -- they aren't permitted a day job by the people who control the businesses.  They still need to survive, so they scrabble for what they can do that DOESN'T require someone else's permission to have a job.  That's often art, music, writing, things that are less controlled than businesses you need an expensive license even to attempt.   There are business models now that help connect creators directly to the audience in ways that cut out middlemen and route more money to the people making stuff.  But the audience can be a stingy bastard sometimes.  That's especially true if people don't have enough to live on, or if they've had their pockets picked so much they FEEL like that don't have enough even after they've managed to scrape up more.  The pervasive sense of threat, that failure and starvation are just a day's bad luck and a few weeks of unemployment away, erodes the cohesion of society as a whole.

What can you do?  Think mindfully about what it costs you to make things and how much your talent is worth.  Think mindfully about how much other people's work is worth to you, and whether you can afford that.  If money is tight, which it often is when a few people are hogging so damn much of it, then look for alternatives.  You might not have cash to pay for what you want, but you may have something the other person wants that you could trade.  Money is only valuable when there's enough to get the job done.  If there isn't, it's useless as a medium of exchange.  But you always have your skills.  You have resources.  Other people have different ones.  So trade.

And value each other's hard work, because somebody has to, and it's painfully clear that the people at the top of the heap care fuckall about you, art, or the sustainability of society.

ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
This is a gorgeous piece of activist animation, complete with Haida language and culture, reminding people to protect the waters so that our descendants can live.
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
... have this problem where they can only sell stories that white people like.

Fuck that noise.  I like my literature with diversity.  I grew up reading books that got me kicked out of class.  We need small press and crowdfunding and other alternative options so that writers can write in their own voice and culture without being stifled.  Tell ALL the stories!
ysabetwordsmith: (gift)
The Winterfaire spreads out as far as the eye can see. Some booths show streamers of red and green, while others sport blue and silver. All of them offer treasure after shining treasure. Music fills the air with lyrics of Christmas, Hannukah, Kwanzaa, Solstice, and Yule. From the Wordsmith's Forge comes the bright chiming of words being hammered into literature. Delicious scents of hot chocolate, spiced cider, peppermint, baking cookies, and gingerbread tantalize the appetite. Smiling, laughing shoppers amble from booth to booth with lists in hand. Vendors grin back, calling out, "Come try, come buy...!"

I know a lot of artists, writers, musicians, crafters, and other talented folks who make some of their living from their creative endeavors. I don't always have the money to support them as much as I'd like, but what I can do is set up a virtual faire where vendors can offer their wares to an audience that likes crafts, literature, and small businesses. For those of you doing your holiday shopping, here's an opportunity to buy something made with love, something unusual or unique, in a way that helps make it possible for creative people to go on creating wonders. And there will be no traffic jams, stampedes, or gunfights at the Winterfaire! Enjoy the seasonal offerings on Dreamwidth or on LiveJournal.



Read more... )
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
One protest against the disgraceful situation in Ferguson is calling for a boycott.  Instead of shopping at mainstream stores this holiday season, consider these independent black-owned businesses
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Using scrap paper and a recycling bin

You could then demo every other privilege represented among the students -- sex, race, etc. -- by having them move their seats.  You could further demonstrate the importance of maneuverability represented by allowing students to move forward to take a better shot -- that you aren't necessarily stuck where you start.
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
This crowdfunding project focused on clothes for people with Down syndrome, who often have different body proportions from average.
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
Here's a cool article about the Amish adoption of technology. They all follow one basic rule: if a new thing is more trouble than it's worth, they won't use it.  Different Amish communities draw that line in different places.  

I actually use that rule myself, again with a different threshold.  I've had people call me Amish, meaning it as an insult, for not using things they think I should be using that I don't use because they're worthless or troublesome for me.  I say, "No, but that is where I got the idea."  It's a great rule.  It saves so many headaches.  I'm neophilic in many ways.  But I've seen society make a lot of stupid mistakes, and its safety precautions are abysmal.  This contributes to my caution about adopting new things myself.  I look for the drawbacks.

Most people don't.  Their default is to accept new technology.  They often don't consider the costs.
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
This poem is from the September 2, 2014 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired by Anthony Barrette, sponsored by Anthony & Shirley Barrette. It also fills the "We're all going to die!" square on my 9-1-14 card for the [community profile] genprompt_bingo fest.

WARNING: This poem talks about cancer; the original prompt was for cancer survivors. It's mostly in allegorical terms, but that's the main focus. If this is a squicky topic for you, skip it.

Read more... )
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
 [personal profile] dialecticdreamer has posted a fascinating essay about rights management, collaboration, and crowdfunding.  Try not to get completely lost in the Helidrax  example and do think about the creative rights situation.

But yeah, now I want me some Helidrax.
ysabetwordsmith: Damask smiling over their shoulder (polychrome)
This poem came out of the August 5, 2014 Poetry Fishbowl.  It was inspired by prompts from [livejournal.com profile] ng_moonmoth and [livejournal.com profile] my_partner_doug, plus discussions with Dreamwidth user Dialecticdreamer.  It also fills the "possessions" square in my 7-30-14 card for the Genprompt Bingo fest.  This poem has been sponsored by Anthony & Shirley Barrette.  It belongs to Granny Whammy thread of the series Polychrome Heroics.

Read more... )
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I was encouraged by this article about Land's End being receptive to customer feedback on gendered clothing

This gave me an idea for a different marketing scheme.  Organize clothes by theme: Science T-Shirts, Fairy Tale T-shirts, Play Clothes, Work Clothes, Nurturing Slogans, Adventurous Slogans, Heroic Figures, Everything Pink, Everything Blue, etc.  Then in each section, the dropdown menu would have options for masculine, feminine, and gender-neutral cuts.
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
 ... which is of course gone.  Life sucks, because nobody has time for life anymore.  It's all drudgery.  Often it doesn't even pay enough to live on.
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
Used to be, publishers understood that writing is a skill which takes time to develop.  Now they expect instant bestsellers.  You know who does that?  One-hit wonders.  Also the publishers don't want to keep expert editors around long enough to help new authors hone their skills.  And then the publishers cry and whine because they don't have a good set of talented writers.

Ah, fuck 'em.  I'll be over here coaching my favorite crowdfunding writers.  I just watched [personal profile] magistrate sit down and create more new, original, utterly awesome settings in one prompt session than I could find on a whole bookshelf in a store these days.  I've watched [personal profile] kajones_writing build up another huge bundle of settings, several of which have become favorites of mine such as Donor House, Pagans, Afterlife, and World Walkers: Quiar.  [personal profile] dialecticdreamer is a recent addition and already on my fave list.
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
 ... is business as usual.  But this essay takes a wonderful look at why publishers often suck and why people are less interested in buying their books these days.
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
Well, this is irritating.  Gittip is a platform that enables small weekly payments, explicitly aimed at helping people pay bills because bills are regular and thus benefit from regular income.  Trouble is, the folks behind the platform are unsupportive in ways that make it hostile to women and minorities.  *headdesk*
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
The Tesla company, a leading manufacturer of electric cars, has just ditched their patents in favor of placing that information into open source access.  The goal is to encourage more people to use the designs to create more and better zero-emission cars.  

Like copyright, patents began as a way of protecting intellectual property so that people could profit from their work and would thereby be encouraged to invent more things, thus benefitting everyone.  Currently patents have become a morass of legal mayhem that stifles innovation as much as copyright does.  The current trend toward open-source work shows how sharing instead of hoarding can also result in more goodies for everyone.  

The challenge we have here is making sure that our creators -- whatever their field -- have some reliable way of making a living so that they can make the goodies we all enjoy.  Crowdfunding is great for individual projects.  Some people have done really well at it.  I'm one of them; although it's not enough for a secure living, it's a stupendous success in light of poetry's marginal position in this society.  But crowdfunding doesn't tend to produce a steady  income stream.  Some other things that have been proposed include a Basic Income and a Reverse Income Tax, both of which would ensure that everyone has enough to meet basic needs.  We need to do something, because it's clear that corporations no longer want to employ people at a living wage, so we can't rely on them to keep the economy running anymore.  Somebody else needs to step in and make sure that citizens have a way to meet their needs, so that they can do things like invent stuff, write stuff, raise the next generation, and pay bills.

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