After my second novel was published, I was ready to take on a story I'd nurtured for a long time. In fact, I’d written an early version of this novel during graduate school. So years later, I picked it back up and found I’d changed too much as a writer to revise it. Instead, I took the same characters and began a new novel.
That effort took over five years. The result was Gaines Green. Unfortunately, my agent sent it out during the worldwide economic collapse. An editor at a major house wanted to buy the book but was fired. Another top editor wanted to buy the book, but the times were so tough, it never happened.
After this, I applied to NYU's MFA program. And that's where I am now. I can't say enough about the faculty and the students—my first year has exceeded any expectations I could have had the courage to imagine. The only problem is, it is expensive here. I need to get this novel back out, and to do so, I have to go after it with everything I have.
My buddy Charlie Mars had finished a successful Kickstarter project to enable him to write songs for a new CD and to get it recorded. We talked, and I checked Kickstarter out. I see Kickstarter as a new form of patronage. During the 18th Century—and this was painfully embodied by Samuel Johnson—Western culture began shifting from patronage to a middle-class market for books and paintings and other art forms. Yet now the model of a market that can sustain independent artists no longer coheres. A new form of patronage has emerged. While the older form relied on aristocrats and elites, the new form of patronage could be described as the democratization of patronage. Anyone interested in an artist can support that artist.
I wish I was a writer who was “in the club,” supported by an editor and publisher, but that’s not the case for now. I will get Gaines Green ready, no matter the circumstances. No one should expect anyone to fund artistic work. But I’ve long benefited from the incredible support of my family, and so many friends I could only be described as one of the luckiest people around. In that spirit, I thought trying Kickstarter worth a shot. I will be very grateful for any support, and the best way to show my gratitude is to promise this: I will give Gaines Green everything I’ve got.
- (30 days)