Kickstarter vs state funding grants

It has come to my attention that there are several parallels between Stacey Jay's Kickstarter campaign and something that angered me a few years ago.

 

An author (who shall remain nameless) wrote a book and got it published traditionally with a large publishing house. The book did not sell phenomenally well, but well enough for the publisher to request a sequel.

 

Meanwhile, the author applied for an arts grant provided by the state - that is to say, taxpayer dollars - to live on while she wrote said sequel. She received the grant, which meant she no longer had to work at a day job and could spend her time writing. Quite a nice cushy guaranteed income.

 

She wrote the sequel. She sold the sequel. She received an advance and royalties for the sequel.

 

She also had my tax money to live on while she wrote the sequel.

 

I don't think this should have happened. The problem with writing is that you never know who's going to buy it once it's done. I didn't get a say in my tax dollars going to support this author while she wrote her book.

 

Essentially I paid twice for it. Once for her to have a nice life while she wrote it, and again when I bought it.

 

And yes, there are instances where people are willing to pay up front before a book is even written - publishers do this all the time, taking books on 'proposal'. But authors have to earn out their advances before they get their royalties.

 

I once said there was an author I loved so much I didn't care what she wrote next, I was willing to pay up front for it (the whole TAKE MY MONEY thing). Well, that book's out now, and I have no interest in reading it. So that'd be a losing situation for me, too.

 

The same author also got another grant the next year. She's received two state grants, which were supposed to be for further sequels of the original series, but those books haven't been produced. Instead, last year a new stand-alone was written.

 

Two grants. One book produced.

 

Stacey Jay was asking for money in advance of producing something as well. On top of that, once the book was published she'd get royalties.

 

Lots of authors have day jobs as well as write. There used to be a time when it was only best-sellers who could afford to quit their day job.

 

But I've seen - especially around the indie community - this attitude that authors have a right to not work a day job while they pursue their 'dream'. This entitlement that authors' time is more precious than us plebs and they should get paid the same as us drones working a 9-5 job for sitting at a computer for a couple of hours a day and typing.

 

The idea that we need to buy their books because it's their dream to live off their royalties.

 

I'm sure Jay's a good author. I've wanted to read Princess of Thorns for a while.

 

But I can't find any good argument as to why I should pay for her cost of living and then buy the book on top of that. Or even pay for her cost of living at all. That's something she's meant to be covering with a) previous sales profit or b) a day job.

 

But at least with Stacey Jay, I had a choice of if I wanted to pay her up front. It's not my tax money going to support her while she writes a book she'll later take profit from.

Reblogged from Nemo @ The Moonlight Library