Wednesday, August 17, 2011

I've Felt Better In My Life, or "Donations Please"

There are a lot of reasons why I wouldn't want to be in the House of Representatives. Sharing a bathroom with Paul Broun or Louie Gohmert ranks pretty high on that list -- because you know those guys don't know how to/choose-not-to-remember-how-to use a bathroom. Being expected to care about what Politico thinks would definitely be on that list. But having to call people all the time in order to solicit campaign donations -- for shameful television commercials that everyone hates, for dishonest mailers, for politician-grade hairstyling -- is the thing I'd dread the most. No one likes asking other people for money, I guess, but it has always, always been one of my least favorite things. Shaking down editors over small freelance checks is basically as bleak and demeaning a thing as I've had to do for work (well, almost), and I do it all the freaking time. It's the worst. So: why would I be asking you, or anyone else, for $25 as part of a (freaking) Kickstarter campaign?

Good question. The short answer is that it's because I'm going to be starting a literary-ish sports website with a bunch of really talented people, and because the business folk we talked to suggested that we'd need to have some serious-ish money to get through the first year, before things get self-sustaining. A little over two days into the fundraising process, we've raised more than 25 percent of what we need -- which is a lot of money, both in terms of what's raised and what's left to raise -- and the experience has been... well, awe-ing in terms of the amount of goodwill and generosity and graciousness. But also harrowing in that we're basically asking the internet for money in exchange for trinkets and digressive prose TK. It's weirder than anything I've done in this game, and I wrote like five articles for a trade magazine called Dermatology Business Management.

The great Tim Marchman, who is working on the project, sums up the thinking and anxiety behind this task very well at his own blog, and most of the other questions surrounding the endeavor are answered pretty well inna posse-cut stylee in this Q&A on the project at The Village Voice. And that is what I am working on, at least in part. Or what I'm working on in addition to all the other things I'm working on, which are the usual things. The good news is that if we can get this done, and get the site up and popping, it will be great. The bad news is that I'll probably be sort of a wreck over this for a little while. But yeah, then: if you have donated, thanks very much. If you haven't, you could always choose to do so. And if you were curious why I seemed on-edge and weird and clammier than usual: here you go.

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