Diane Duane's crowdfunded publishing experiment finally concludes


16 Responses to “Diane Duane's crowdfunded publishing experiment finally concludes”

  1. Anonymous says:

    If an app like that existed, shouldn’t it really be in /usr/sbin?

  2. Haakon IV says:

    /usr/bin/god: Command not found.

  3. Robert says:

    /usr/bin/god: Book not found :(

  4. Haakon IV says:

    I just found out that there is in fact an excerpt available here:


  5. BookBanter says:

    Kind of reminds me of Stephen King’s “The Plant,” his “before its time” effort with an early subscription-based ebook, where he would put up a new chapter each month, but when subscription numbers didn’t remain steady and dropped, the project was stopped.

    At least Duane has finished the book, while “The Planet” remains unfinished.

  6. Chris Spurgeon says:

    IJWTS /usr/bin/god is a great title!

  7. Anonymous says:

    Now all we need is “The Door Into Starlight”, the last in a set of book she started in the early 80s…

  8. Mike Harris says:

    My congratulations to Ms. Duane on completing the novel.

    I think the real cause of the project was, believe it or not, not so much the delays themselves as the lack of communication with her fan-investors. If anyone else were to follow in Ms. Duane’s footsteps and/or adopt the challenge-grant, put-something-in-the-kitty, subscription-model manner of funding a book, and should a similar derailment occur in that person’s project, above all, STAY IN TOUCH with your fans and BE CANDID.

    I can sympathize with the emotional need to seclude during tremendous trials (in fact, more than she’d know), such as what she describes in the linked-to blog entry — but even if they can be understood after the fact, such actions, during the period of time in which they’re unexplained, create significant problems.

    Silence on a subject forces the other party to fill in the blanks, and in this case, there wasn’t much that could be filled in that would’ve portrayed Ms. Duane in a positive light.

    If you stay in touch, your fan-investors are already pretty predisposed to like you and your stuff … it’s amazing how understanding people can be if they’re dealt with in a straightforwarded and honest way.

  9. TheMadLibrarian says:

    I was one of the original kick-in-a-contribution funders. I’ve enjoyed Ms. Duane’s writing in almost all its incarnations, and thought this crowdsourced support was a novel way to get a book going that otherwise wouldn’t have been published (from the pre-e-publishing days).

    After a couple of years following along on her website, she started to make fewer and fewer posts. Both her blog and Peter Morwood’s blog pretty much faded, and the youngwizards site mostly was kept active by fans. I agree with the other fan who said “If only they had kept the fans apprised of what was happening.” As it was, I have no idea what’s been happening in her professional (not to mention personal) life. A brief post every few weeks would have sufficed. Youngwizards was reluctantly moved from the list of sites I visit daily to my “not recently interesting” file. It should say something that I only found out that The Big Meow was finished from boingboing, and not from any of DD’s sites, or even as an e-mail automatic notice that the project was done. I hope she remembers to let me, and the probably dozens of other supporters, know about it. It’s a cautionary tale, both for writers and their fans.

  10. Anonymous says:

    pretty sure in most distros, god is in /sbin.

  11. Robotech_Master says:

    As I note here, it’s interesting that the original Street Performer Protocol idea involved the work actually having been completed before being crowd-funded (and even held in escrow by a third party, who could assure potential subscribers they weren’t buying a pig in a poke).

    The problem with this from the writer’s perspective is, of course, that it amounts to writing a novel “on spec”, which most professional writers hardly ever do—so by and large they adopt all parts of the proposal except the complete-and-in-escrow bit. For some writers (Sharon Lee and Steve Miller, for instance), this works better than others.

  12. Alexandra Erin says:

    I don’t think “schedule slippage” has to be a problem with micropatronage. As a successful crowdfunded author who deals with her own health issues–and through year, a kind of messed-up living situation–that delays and derails her attempts to keep a schedule, I really think Diane nailed it in her mea culpa post where she fingers a lack of communication as the real problem.

    In the three years that I’ve been living exclusively on crowdfunds, I believe there have been times I have come very close to losing my audience’s trust, patience, and support, and these have been the times when I haven’t been willing to communicate, when I’ve clammed up… often for fear that admitting I was having problems would be what drove them away.

    I’ve only recently really started communicating with my fans on the same level I did at the beginning, and I can already see a huge difference in the level of involvement that’s happening in the comments and in the level of financial support I’m receiving.

    (There are also psychological benefits to openness that makes it easier to recover from the mired-in feeling that comes with missed deadlines piling up. Chances are that Diane felt the weight of both the problems that caused the deadline failures and that of the misses themselves, and that can make everything so much worse. Sharing burdens with a sympathetic audience… and a writer’s fans are often such an audience… can be healing.)

  13. lalouque says:

    I was one of the contributors for this project. All I really wanted was an update on what was going on. I fully understand the life happens and gets in the way of what we really want to do sometimes. I’d given up on it ever getting completed. Glad to hear that some closure has happened with this.

  14. Kona Macphee says:

    I love the whole idea of crowdsourcing, but as you suggest, Cory, it introduces a whole new kind of pressure; suddenly you have an obligation not just to your agent/editor/publisher, but to a whole lot of nice people who’ve been generous enough to support you.

    I’m stupidly nervous about the pressures of up-front funding. (Fortunately, this isn’t something poets have to deal with very often; no six-figure advances for us!) I keep toying with the idea of applying for an Arts grant for my next book, but I hate the idea that the filthy lucre would turn the writing from a pleasure into a duty…. If only they’d give you the grant *after* you’d written the book!

  15. larabair says:

    Thx for posting this, Cory – I hadn’t heard about this final update! I was also an original subscriber, and I agree – the major issue was not that it took time, but that communication was sparse. That’s ok though. Here’s to hoping the final work is worth it… I’m pretty sure it will be. :)

  16. CharlieDodgson says:

    One read on this is that serialized novel projects like, say, Catherynne Valente’s “Girl who Circumnavigated Fairyland”, or most of what Dickens wrote, require a different skill set than novels-delivered-as-a-lump. There are certainly novelist tricks-of-the-trade that don’t necessarily transfer (like the mystery writer’s business of writing the first half, including all the suspects, and then going back and revising when you decide which one really did it)…

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