A little experiment: Sharing the love at Patreon

So, here’s an interesting thing – I have a favour to ask. Would you be willing to be part of an experiment with me?

Back in September, I shared how I was moving most, if not all, my spontaneous creative work to Patreon. It’s why I’ve been so quiet here since.

A small number of people followed me over there, and I’ve been posting fairly regularly – new songs, impromptu jams, an unfinished novel, prompted poetry – you know, that sort of thing…

I’d like to get more people there but I came across something really, really ANNOYING about Patreon’s functionality.

Put simply, it’s REALLY difficult to find artists on Patreon, unless they’re already successful.

The flip-side of this is that it’s nearly impossible for an artist to find patrons on Patreon! Basically, you have to build audience elsewhere, and get them to Patreon to pay you.

[Patreon then reaps the reward of your hard work through their fee]

Sigh… Such is the way of things in the arts on the internet.

Still, it got me thinking – and the idea for my little experiment began to form.

Here it is in a nutshell:

For every 5 patrons I have at Patreon, I will ask the community to tell me 3 undiscovered artists who I can, in turn, sponsor on Patreon.

Basically, each one of my patrons will actually be sponsoring 1.6 artists just by sponsoring me at Patreon

[8 artists sponsored by 5 Patrons]

Though, of course, in reality it’s me sponsoring the extra 3.

[and yes, passing on 60% of my sponsorship]

My self-interest is simply to be able to afford to keep making music, writing books, and offering them to the world – but to be able to do that while also helping others do the same is just amazing.

So, here’s my question: Are you willing to be part of my experiment?

If so, all you need to do is sponsor me at Patreon – here are the per-month levels:

  • $1 – No reward – just for those who want to help me do what I do
  • $1 – Music Fan – you receive a physical and digital copy of any new CD I release
  • $2 – Avid Reader – you will receive a hard- or e-copy of any new novel I release
  • $10 – SUPERFAN! – you will receive physical and digital copies of any new CD or Novel I release, and private invitation to special events online and face-to-face

And, of course, you can choose to pay more than those subscription levels, but the amounts above are the minimum to get going.

So what say you? Are you willing to help me help you help my sisters and brothers in art?

Sponsor me at Patreon

Some things for you to ignore

Because right now, in all honesty, I’m tired of self-promotion and trying to persuade you to read/listen/enjoy anything I’ve put into the world.

So go ahead, please ignore…

Novels
Records
Poetry
Live Music
iOS Apps

Yes, but you have to have a pigeon-hole…

I’ve been called many things

[some of them nice, some not so much]

but the term I keep hearing is renaissance man which, according to dictionary.com means:

noun
1. a cultured man of the Renaissance who was knowledgeable, educated, or proficient in a wide range of fields.

2. (sometimes lowercase) a present-day man who has acquired profound knowledge or proficiency in more than one field.

Seeing as how I can’t claim Leonardo Da Vinci or Michelangelo among my contemporaries, I guess I must be number 2

[hehehehe… he said number 2…]

I don’t know that my knowledge or proficiency in any field is profound

[that’d be up to others to judge]

I generally think of myself as still being like I was when I was young: just plain  interested in everything that catches my interest. Which is generally good enough for me, and gets me to this body of artistic and professional work that I love so much.

Then I hear something like I heard last night.

Apparently, I was almost passed over for a solo show because

I need someone acoustic, he just does electric

Wait… What?!!

Did this not happen?

Or this?

It bugged me. It really did. Then I realized, I have the exact same reaction when people say they’re looking for a band but didn’t consider me. Even though this happens:

And this:

I can’t blame people – it can be tough for me to keep track of all the things I get up to.

And, of course, we live in a passive ‘push’ world, where everyone who wants to share anything has to compete against information overload. In this push world, I can build my audience here, and over at Facebook and only reach less than 10% of that audience per post.

And, unlike the world the internet talking heads rhapsodize, very few people share things onward

[those that do are a rare, and generous, gift]

So I have to repeat myself.

Again.

And again.

And again.

As someone who gets really twitchy about too much self-promotion, it’s exhausting to keep folk aware of what’s going on; constantly running the self-perceived risk of boring people with repetition.

I’ve been going through that this week with the release of Writers Flow – Music For Writing. The umpteenth post in the umpteenth direction and I feel like someone’s out there just grinding their teeth

Sheesh! Can’t Tuckwood just give it a rest with all his self-promotion?!!

But the truth is, I can’t, because I haven’t even mentioned:

  • Escalation
  • Family Rules
  • Karaoke Criminals
  • Do Sparrows Eat Butterflies?
  • Garbled Glittering Glamours
  • Grope
  • Writers Unblocked
  • We Are Story
  • mySetlist
  • myOrgDev
  • View Beyond LLC

and a shit-load of other stuff. If I don’t mention them, no-one else will. If I’m not in your face, telling you about my stuff NO ONE ELSE IS.

Exhausting.

Sometimes I wonder what it must be like to do one thing, to sit in one pigeon-hole – wouldn’t it be easier to just have to sell yourself as

the best [fill in the blank] in the world

then I really think about what that would feel like, the constraints, the constriction. I’ll take my exhaustion over that sensation any day.

Though, this morning, I wish there was some easy way to point out all the pigeon-holes I sit in at once.

I wish there was a Zagat’s guide for Vince.

I really do.

Love-peace-trust

Vince Sig 131x89

Time to catch up

If you’ve ever wanted to catch-up on my novels and CDs, now is the best time to do so!

For the next two weeks, the combo pack (4 novels/2 CDs) will be priced at just $50 – buying the items individually would cost in the region of $130!

This offer is only available at my Bandcamp merchandise page.

Love-peace-trust,

Vince Sig 131x89

It’s been five years…

Well, it seems that Christmas Eve is here again – the tree is up, prezzies underneath, food ready for the cooking – and I’m looking forward to time spent in love with my beautiful ladies.

Today is special for me in another way, though. Five years ago today was my last day worked at Pfizer, my last day employed by anyone other than myself, my last day of that corporate shape I inhabited for nearly 20 years

[though it would take a further 10 months of detox to complete that particular journey]

and it’s got me kind of reflective on who, what, where, when, how and why…

These five years have passed very quickly – a reflection, I think, of my will to live my portfolio life. I’d always pictured myself as a plate spinner, all those plates on top of their poles, and me dancing from one to the next, giving it a little spin to keep the momentum up; to make sure nothing crashed to the ground.

That’s pretty much how life works now, and I know it would drive some people crazy trying to keep so many things going; for me, it’s my natural state. I get bored otherwise

[and there are few things worse than finding me in a slump]

Five years…

I’ve got stuff done for sure, and know I’ll get more stuff done in the years to come. But when I think of the last five years, it’s less about work and more about who I’ve become

[and continue to become]

  • A son thankful to still have his parents around, and for the solid ground that his sister and brother provide
  • A father mesmerized by his daughters’ journey through life
  • A husband who continues to be amazed by the beauty and soul of his wife
  • A martial artist living his black-belt principles in all he does
  • A musician who still finds the wonder in wire and wood, melody and harmonics
  • A lover in the widest sense of the word, blessed by everyone he knows and cares for

And my corporate shape? To him, I say “thank you”. For getting me here. For protecting me enough that I didn’t get subsumed. For never forgetting that I had a choice, that I always knew I was making a compromise.  Though he’s five years in the rear-view mirror, I can still see him

[and feel him every once in a while, mostly when working with clients who look and sound so similar]

I don’t fear him any more, nor judge him to harshly. I don’t resent stolen time, nor wish I could go back and try again. He is who I was then, not who I am now, nor who I will be five years from now.

And that’s why life is so cool.

Love-peace-trust

Vince Sig 131x89

Thursday Insight – Wait, what country am I writing from?

A day late today – yesterday was the 4th, so I was helping friends celebrate the birth of their country. There were a few of us Brits there, so not too many jibes about the revolutionary war

[they soon tire of trying when I say, with a hearty smile, that America was but a tiny fraction of the Empire that my home nation has lost]

So, a day late, I thought I’d share some insight into what it means to write from here, about there, or from there about here…

As a Brit living and working in the USA, I run into many, many instances of

two countries separated by a common language – George Bernard Shaw

Generally, I don’t get tagged with accusations of losing my English accent

[though some do ask if I’m Australian]

but my family always get a laugh from the amount of translation I do without thinking about it: mobiles are cellphones, car parks are parking garages, petrol is gas, etc. This isn’t so odd to me as I’m constantly having to alter my language pattern to suit where I live. I’m always translating!

It gets really interesting when I write, however.

It was easy when I was in the UK. Do Sparrows Eat Butterflies? was based in Kent, where I was living at the time, and Karaoke Criminals, largely in London

[in fact, if you’ve got a signed copy of Karaoke Criminals, it’s highly likely to have “To be read in a London accent” as the inscription]

so I didn’t have to translate, I was writing as a Brit, for a Brit audience. Job done.

Things began to get complicated when we moved to the US, however. I’ve written before about how the spark for Family Rules came to me when we were living in Manhattan. Suddenly, I was writing in the US, for a US and British audience.

Call me neurotic, but I really did have to stop and consider whether I americanized

[americanised?]

my spelling. I’d spent years in the UK screaming at Microsoft Word for auto-correcting me to American English, but now I really was an English American, writing American English. I had to think about it. Hard.

In the end, I made a simple choice, a get out really – I based Kenny’s early life in the UK, with his family relocating to New York when he was six years old. This get out clause allowed me to mix and match my spellings and translations without getting lost in micro-detail

[something I’m not so good at, even at the best of times]

So, Kenny spoke English, but sometimes dropped into American. Easy enough.

The challenge in writing Escalation was even greater. Here was a story set in a small New England town. Luckily, I didn’t have to play too much with local dialect – and I’ve generally found that my dialogue works well in either accent; I definitely had to have the characters speaking American English, though – engage full translation mode!

I think, in the end, I let either American spelling or English spelling through into the final copy. So far, I’ve not had anyone complain

[a reviewer did pick up the spelling in Family Rules, and even put it down to Kenny’s confused upbringing]

and, most importantly, I hear more about the characters and story than I do the grammar and style – which is just how I want it.

Now I’m back into Rufus, another small-town story, and I’m choosing not to answer which spelling I’ll use.

I’m focusing on characters and story.

Which is just how I want it.

To American friends, happy independence day. To Brits over here, hope you enjoyed a day off. To Brits back home, don’t worry, Aluminium still has an i before the u.

Love-peace-trust

Vince Sig 131x89

Thursday Insight: When the pauses come…

Work on the new novel – RUFUS – has been on hold for

[what is beginning to feel like much more than]

a little while.

There are reasons, of course: work to be done to bring in money so that I may continue to indulge my muse, planning for a tour that never actually happened thanks to funding issues at venues, releasing and promoting Sparse. All of it well and good. It was a conscious act to pause work on Rufus, as opposed to a drift due to writer’s block.

And it was true to pattern.

With each of my novels, I have found myself nearing the end of the first act and reaching what feels like a natural pause. Specifically, the first act serves to:

  • introduce and ground the main characters
  • bring our protagonist face-to-face with his central dilemma
  • whet the reader’s appetite for the journey to come

It’s also the point where the mountain ahead becomes truly visible, like base-camp for Everest

Oh, my word, there’s a SHIT-load of mountain to get up!

My first act pauses have got progressively shorter:

although it has to be said that Rufus has bucked the trend – it’s been more like 4 months.

But, as ever, the story has been fomenting in the back of my mind, a drumbeat beneath other more immediate activity. I’ve been churning over the missing piece in my story. In this case, it’s not character, event or action, but instead a conceptual gap in the challenge set by my antagonists – we’re in the metaphysical, pan-dimensional world here and I was at real risk of having passive villains, the kiss of death to any page-turner.

Not only that, but I was at risk of them being omnipotent – and I always have a beef with any fiction that makes a villain so incredibly powerful that it takes a deus ex machina for the hero to succeed.

[side-note: I’m really enjoying the Song of Ice and Fire books because the bad guys are human, the good guys are human, and the Others – well, not so much]

But this week, the conceptual lego block I needed burped up from my sub-conscious – I think I know how to position my bad guys so that they’re fallible, and in the process gain a deeper transformation for Rufus. I’m ready to dive into act two, with Rufus now ready to head into learning of his antagonists’ weaknesses as well as their strengths. He’s got a long way to travel and much to learn; these are hard roads for our journeyman song-smith.

I’ll report on progress as I’m going, but don’t expect any spoilers or a glimpse behind this particular creative curtain.

Onward into story!

Vince