This post, from Amanda Palmer, originally appeared on her blog on 9/29/09. Amanda Palmer is known primarily as a musician and cabaret artist, but what she has to say here is something authors need to hear, too.
i had two conversations within the last 24 hours which made me feel like blogging about this.
one was with jason webley, who i’ve been living with for the past week in the Middle of Nowhere.
i was writing a press release and in it disclosed how much money i made from the recent london webcast (about 10k).
i gave a copy of the text to jason to proofread over a cup of tea (that’s what rock stars do for each other nowadays instead of leaving lines of blow on the backs of bathroom toilets).
he suggested taking the money part out. he gently advised; he’s heard people gossiping about me and my shameless revelations about my webcast/twitter income etc.
right around the same time i got an email from beth, regarding the future of my webcasting.
she suggested we do something totally free and not ask people for any money.
she’s been picking up on heat from people that the ask-the-fans-for-money thing has gotten out of control.
artists need to make money to eat and to continue to make art.
artists used to rely on middlemen to collect their money on their behalf, thereby rendering themselves innocent of cash-handling in the public eye.
artists will now be coming straight to you (yes YOU, you who want their music, their films, their books) for their paychecks.
please welcome them. please help them. please do not make them feel badly about asking you directly for money.
dead serious: this is the way shit is going to work from now on and it will work best if we all embrace it and don’t fight it.
unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve surely noticed that artists ALL over the place are reaching out directly to their fans for money.
how you do it is a different matter.
maybe i should be more tasteful.
maybe i should not stop my concerts and auction off art.
i do not claim to have figured out the perfect system, not by a long shot.
BUT … i’d rather get the system right gradually and learn from the mistakes and break new ground (with the help of an incredibly responsive and positive fanbase) for other artists who i assume are going to cautiously follow in our footsteps. we are creating the protocol, people, right here and now.
i don’t care if we fuck up. i care THAT we’re doing it.
in fact, i ENJOY being the slightly crass, outspoken, crazy-(naked?)-chick-on-a-soapbox holding out a ukulele case of crumpled dollars asking for your money so that someone else a few steps behind me, perhaps some artist of shy and understated temperament, can feel better and maybe a little less nervous when they quietly step up and hold out their hat, fully clothed.
i am shameless, and fearless, when it comes to money and art.