Communion Of Dreams

Paradigm shift.

Kuhn’s The Structure of Scientific Revolutions came out when I was only four years old, but the ideas it contained percolated through the culture I grew up with, having substantial impact on everything I read at a crucial point in my life. In many ways, the concept of paradigm shift was self-fulfilling, as it came to define and dominate a lot of the intellectual backdrop of my formative years. This in no small part will explain a *lot* of the ‘meaning’ of Communion of Dreams.

And, unsurprisingly, it still has a major influence on how I see the world. Which is why sometimes I am willing to try seemingly absurd things: not because I think that they will necessarily succeed, but because I am looking for an inflection point, a fulcrum, which will allow me to assess and perhaps change perspective.

One of those things has been playing with the idea of doing a Kickstarter in lieu of a conventional publishing deal, as I mentioned previously. Of course, I’m hardly the first writer to consider this, since it seems that Kickstarter-type crowdfunding of creative projects has started to take hold in our society.

Well, I just came across another one, something of a template by author Seth Godin. Here’s an excerpt from his blog about it yesterday:

My idea: Kickstart + bookstore + ebooks.

The publisher (my key to the bookstore) is only willing to go ahead with the rest of the plan if my Kickstarter works. No Kickstarter, no distribution, the stakes are high. (As you saw at the Domino Project, the ebook part is easy now, but the bookstore is still critical to reach the many readers who find and buy books in stores).

If the Kickstarter works, then all the funders will get to read the book before anyone else, plus there are bonuses and previews and special editions. A few weeks after the early funders (that would be you) get to read it, the book will be available to book buyers for purchase the traditional way (wherever fine books are sold in the US, including digital readers). Of course, the Kickstarter funders get a better price, get it first and get unique bonuses, plus the pleasure of being in early–and knowing that they made it happen. The only way this book becomes real is if my readers get behind it now.

This was outlining his project, basically starting it. For the experiment he set a goal of $40,000 on his Kickstarter, and had it running for four weeks to see if it was viable.

He met his goal in three hours. And it is currently funded at $194,873 – almost 500% of his goal.

Now, Godin is a published author and successful self-promoter. He has a real following. Most authors, myself included, have no where near his level of support going into such an effort.

But he has found his fulcrum. He has proven that this is possible, at least under some conditions.

Are there other fulcrums out there? Is it possible for other authors to succeed under different conditions?

Specifically, is it possible for me to do?

Your thoughts welcome.

Jim Downey

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