Friday, July 10, 2009

The Starjumper Experiment

I've decided to take the plunge and begin an experiment in writing and the gift economy. My strengths include sticking to a deadline, and doing for others while I put off doing for myself. My weak points include procrastination and fuzzy goals. It may be a spiritual strength to live in the present, but that's not so strong for setting goals. It may be a spiritual strength to lack megalomania, but as one writer told me, a little bit of that is needed in a writer. So, since I can't seem to impose deadlines on myself, I decided to seek pressure from others. Since I can focus intently and get the job done when I know others are counting on me, I decided to find my audience now, rather than after I've finished the never-ending novel.

Along for the ride is my thought for the future of creativity, that it could thrive from a basis of a gift economy. Many of us offer freely the products of our passion, and don't expect to make a living at it. With the ease of self-publishing, more people are writing, and with more people writing, they are getting better at it. For that matter, with the ease of digital photography, more people are taking more photos, so more people are getting better at it. It is going to be harder to stand out, harder to become a "star" as we once thought of them. It could be easier, however, to develop a loyal following.

Already, many published writers cannot make a living from the quality books they write and do get published. Many have day jobs. The same will be for photographers. Even if publishing persists, more and more, authors will be more likely to get deals if they already have a demonstrable following. Already, publishers don't send authors on tours...they expect the authors to do their own networking and tours. With the possibilities of stuff going viral on the net, let's take that and run with it.

Here's how this gift economy can work, is already working. Reward authors with comments. Spread the word to friends. Send emails about stuff you like. Write reviews. Spread the word in places like Facebook and Myspace. Especially important, link to authors you like. Help authors you like build an audience. There's so much you can do without spending a thing.

I would also like to encourage's where the little bit of megalomania comes place a paypal button on your site. Give readers a chance to show their love. When we share our passions freely, give them as a gift, shouldn't a gift have the chance to come back to us?

I don't expect to make money at this. The best part of what I hope for is that enough people like what I write enough to pester me to keep writing, to whine at me, "When's the next installment?" I hope people will send others my way, and link to my story. That's what this is all about, my novel that's been languishing for years, waiting for me to put it higher on the priority list.

Years ago (it's embarrassing how many years) I was inspired by the news that certain subatomic particles could respond to each other instantaneously from a distance. What possibilities that opened could be a root cause for telepathy, telekinesis, clairvoyance, all those exciting unproven possibilities that fascinated me as a child. I began to construct a society.

In this star-faring society, people travel the universe by connecting with particles through a connection between their minds and their machines. They persuade those particles to become them, thus they jump across space. These people pursue stories and legends, and enrich their genetic lines through encountering new peoples.

My story, Starjumper, is about a crew who pursues the first story of a young Storyteller and Mapper team, and what and who they encounter there. You can follow the story here, though I will post mentions of new installments here at Adventures in Multiplicity. I aim to post/write about 3,000 words a week. As they say in the Storyteller's Guild, "May my story be remembered."

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