I suspect this is true of all crowdfunding projects, and no-one ever warns you about it. Or maybe they do, and you think, “well, now that I know what to expect, I will be able to guard against it.” But it happens anyway.
I’m talking about the fallout from whatever expectations you might have when you first start your Inkshares campaign.
See, part of the preparation is counting up your chickens before they’ve hatched. Yes, despite the warnings of of our elders, we do have to at least consider the number of eggs in our baskets before we begin. Experienced crowdfunders have told me that the vast majority of backers will be personal friends, family, and acquaintances–people you’ve met, people you can talk to face-to-face. So you’ve got to start by counting up all your connections, to get a general idea of whether the thing is feasible.
The problem with this is you start to expect these connections to come through for you. Right away. It doesn’t matter if you’ve told yourself not to expect a 100% return, or even as much as a 50% return. It doesn’t matter if you’ve given yourself nearly a year–I gave myself 10 months–to get all the backing you need. At three weeks in, you’re looking at your Facebook friends feed, thinking: “Surely they must all know by now that I need their help; why have they not all dropped everything to rally to me? Do they, after all, not care about me?”
It’s an insidious thought, and it will poison everything.
First of all, not everyone gets the news immediately. Some of them may have missed it altogether. So no: they don’t all know by now.
And then, it’s important to remember that people will take their time once they’ve heard. Not everyone has everything together at the moment they hear your call; if you’re a very “together” person–and if you’re even halfway organised in this campaign, perhaps you’re more “together” than you think–it may seem inconceivable that anyone should need so much time to come up with $5 to put towards your literary conquest. Heck, it seems inconceivable to me too … but the world assures me that it’s not so unusual as you might think. And maybe some of them are trying to organise themselves into groups in order to beat the “non-U.S.” shipping charges. And then there are others who … well, they’ll get around to it eventually; don’t rush them; it’s not as though the campaign is ending tomorrow, right?
And sometimes, if you’re a really “together” person, or if you give off that vibe, people will say, “they’ll get what they want, no sweat; they don’t need my help.”
You must have faith–believe in your connections–but you must also persist in your petitioning.
If you’re of a religious turn of mind, you might be tempted to moralise about this…. Well, I am, and it’s Sunday, so I will end with this Biblical excerpt: Luke 18:2-8.
2 He said, “In a certain city there was a judge who neither feared God nor had respect for people. 3 In that city there was a widow who kept coming to him and saying, ‘Grant me justice against my opponent.’ 4 For a while he refused; but later he said to himself, ‘Though I have no fear of God and no respect for anyone, 5 yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will grant her justice, so that she may not wear me out by continually coming.’” 6 And the Lord said, “Listen to what the unjust judge says. 7 And will not God grant justice to his chosen ones who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long in helping them? 8 I tell you, he will quickly grant justice to them. And yet, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?”