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ghost
09-03-2013, 07:34 AM
http://www.saladinahmed.com/wordpress/cap-in-hand-the-darker-side-of-the-writing-life/

I think what bothers me the most is that he's done this twice.

Being a full time author is not easy. But instead of getting a job like most people do, he begs for money from his fans to pay his bills.

This last beg was to raise money to attend World Con.

Liosse de Velishaf
09-03-2013, 08:32 AM
http://www.saladinahmed.com/wordpress/cap-in-hand-the-darker-side-of-the-writing-life/

I think what bothers me the most is that he's done this twice.

Being a full time author is not easy. But instead of getting a job like most people do, he begs for money from his fans to pay his bills.

This last beg was to raise money to attend World Con.


Well, on the one hand, I am not big on authors begging for money. On the other, everyone's financial situation is unique. He makes clear what the costs he's trying to meet are, and that he will not be keeping money above those costs. He makes a good point about being nominated for a Hugo, too.


As far as getting a job, I don't know his circumstances, so I can't really say anything about that.


If people really wanna donate money to him, then that's their personal decision.

thothguard51
09-03-2013, 09:30 AM
Yes, if anyone wants to donate money to a cause, that is their decision, and if they can afford it, then good for them.

But as a reader, I really am not interested in supporting my favorite authors financially, except to buy their work.

I mean, I would love to go to World Con too, but I can't afford the cost. Perhaps I should beg from my favorite authors so I can go to the various con's too...

juniper
09-03-2013, 11:38 AM
Hmm, a few days ago I thought, "If everyone in America would just donate $1 to me then I'd have all the money I could ever, ever need! If only 10% would donate that would be awesome too! Even 1% would be wonderful!"

$1 wouldn't hurt anyone, would it? I'll give you my PayPal account ... Now to set up the website. :banana:

I don't think I'd just donate to a person I didn't know, but I dunno, if I really really wanted to read another book by an author, and he needed some $$$ upfront ... maybe?

I wonder how much he raised?

Ken
09-03-2013, 02:17 PM
... bothers me some as well.
Writers shouldst not solicit readers.

Torgo
09-03-2013, 02:34 PM
Isn't helping people with convention travel etc kind of a thing in SF fandom?

EDIT: Also, medical bills and things? Have seen quite a few SF/F authors run in to medical difficulties recently and asked fandom for help.

Barbara R.
09-03-2013, 03:53 PM
http://www.saladinahmed.com/wordpress/cap-in-hand-the-darker-side-of-the-writing-life/

I think what bothers me the most is that he's done this twice.

Being a full time author is not easy. But instead of getting a job like most people do, he begs for money from his fans to pay his bills.

This last beg was to raise money to attend World Con.

That's just awful. Writers have always needed day jobs, except those blessed with a private income or rich spouse. I guess his is begging.

dpaterso
09-03-2013, 04:05 PM
Maybe the guy gives something back to his fans, like writing. Everybody's got the choice of donating or not donating. Problem, how? Shrug, just sharing a thought.

PS - Ken, your sigline, humor?

-Derek

swvaughn
09-03-2013, 04:53 PM
Yeah, I don't think I could bring myself to do this sort of thing. Goes against my principles. I can't ask people to give me money, no strings attached and no intention of ever paying it back, on the basis of "because they're nice and will do it."

I'd say more, but I've promised myself not to get into discussions of personal politics online. :)

NeuroFizz
09-03-2013, 05:12 PM
My initial reaction to this was disgust, but I've never had overwhelming medical bills. I can understand that people will donate if they feel moved, and maybe this person has provided sufficient entertainment, with the promise of more to come, to generate the giving. However, I would work three jobs flipping burgers before I'd beg for money from readers. In particular, I find doing it for a second time, and for the reasons stated, is a very bad personal precedent to set. As I understand it, his wife works to support the household, and he wants money so he doesn't have to watch their twins (money is requested for daycare for the kids). I can (almost) see asking for money to go to the convention, but if he is nominated for an award, don't the convention organizers have any scholarship money for nominees to attend? Hardship cases can be made directly to them. I'd mine that vein rather than turn to readers. And a second beg makes me think, what's next? What if his car breaks down? And he will have to put the kids through college. He has made a decision to be a full-time writer, which is a house-bound activity. It is not the job of the readers to support that decision by providing day care for his children.

I understand the stance that if people are willing to fork over money, more power to him, but I take issue with this second request. He has to accept the consequences of the decision to be a full-time writer, and farming his kids' out to his readers just rubs me wrong, particularly since he has a supporting spouse. Also, I'm have a twinge of an ethical issue in asking readers to support that child care. There are plenty of middle class families that require two incomes, and have to use day care for their children, but they aren't begging for handouts to pay for that daycare. They are earning the money to pay for it. I don't have the same ethics twinge with the conference thing, but again, I wonder what's next when the advance and royalties for his next book are less than desired or come in at a slow pace.

Also, and one thing I know nothing about--will his country's income taxation system have something to say about this if it keeps happening? Will he have to register as a non-profit or as a charity? I don't think he can keep pulling $7K from donations without some kind of formal registration or taxation consequences, can he? Won't he, at least, have to enter that $7K on his tax forms as income and pay taxes on it?

Alitriona
09-03-2013, 06:08 PM
Bit of flat out ugly truth here. I have mental health issues, I'm caring for a disabled adult child with no support services because funding can't be found. I lost my pension when I had to give up work and have run out of money. Finding time to write around his full time needs has been extremely difficult. I'm stressed to breaking(as are many parents in the same situation).

I find this tacky, offensive and quite upsetting that people are willing to hand over those amounts of money to pay send this guy to conferences. It's up to people where they donate their money, of course, but there are more deserving causes.

Marian Perera
09-03-2013, 06:09 PM
As I understand it, his wife works to support the household, and he wants money so he doesn't have to watch their twins (money is requested for daycare for the kids).

Yes, I could understand donations to pay for medical bills. Hell, when my mom was sick, people donated money to cover the cost of chemo.

But he wants people to help pay for childcare so he can write? Would he help pay my rent so I can stay home and write?


But, if people are dumb generous enough to keep giving, that's up to them.

Having a Save Karyn flashback now.

CrastersBabies
09-03-2013, 06:26 PM
Ehh, it doesn't really bother me. It doesn't seem to bother his fans. It's hard to make it in this business, even if you're somewhat established. Sounds like he had some down times.

I can't see myself doing it, but I guess I can't judge him on my own line in the sand (about something kind of minor).

I CAN see why it bothers people, though. One thing he might consider is having a huge meet-and-greet with his fans at the convention. Time and mindful attention ARE currency. Maybe he's already doing this. I didn't read everything on his blog post.

Polenth
09-03-2013, 06:26 PM
The tax issue is why I'm always wary of donations. Particular as writers do often offer writing in return. (I've seen a number of, "Donate this so I can go to the convention, and I'll release this novella free for everyone.") So the tax people could decide that's actually a paid service and want to know why the money didn't go through the tax system. And then they might start looking at the people who made the donations.

I prefer to donate by buying a book. If there's a book that nets the author more (like a self-published work where they'll get most of it and quickly) it helps if they make that clear. Then it's an obvious transaction and there aren't going to be any issues down the line.

Torgo
09-03-2013, 06:30 PM
Ehh, it doesn't really bother me. It doesn't seem to bother his fans. It's hard to make it in this business, even if you're somewhat established. Sounds like he had some down times.

I can't see myself doing it, but I guess I can't judge him on my own line in the sand (about something kind of minor).

I CAN see why it bothers people, though. One thing he might consider is having a huge meet-and-greet with his fans at the convention. Time and mindful attention ARE currency. Maybe he's already doing this. I didn't read everything on his blog post.

Chimes pretty much exactly with how I feel about it.

aimeestates
09-03-2013, 06:43 PM
It doesn't bother me that people are donating because we have the right to spend our cash how we choose, it bothers me he asked for the things he asked for. I think crowd-source funding is a great idea--but abusing it is B.S.

I'm not the grand creator of the "acceptable line," either, so my opinion is just that.

Edit: ALSO, the whole "cap in hand" angle bugs the crap out of me. If you're going to ask, just ask. The life story of misery and neediness goes beyond asking to the realm of begging. Asking infers the choice to say no--begging is manipulative and robs the giver a percentage of that choice through guilt.

Annoyed, annoyed, annoyed.

Jamesaritchie
09-03-2013, 06:55 PM
The tax issue is why I'm always wary of donations. Particular as writers do often offer writing in return. (I've seen a number of, "Donate this so I can go to the convention, and I'll release this novella free for everyone.") So the tax people could decide that's actually a paid service and want to know why the money didn't go through the tax system. And then they might start looking at the people who made the donations.

I prefer to donate by buying a book. If there's a book that nets the author more (like a self-published work where they'll get most of it and quickly) it helps if they make that clear. Then it's an obvious transaction and there aren't going to be any issues down the line.

Not in the U.S. You can donate all you want, and to anyone you want, as long as you aren't silly enough to claim it as a deduction.

Jamesaritchie
09-03-2013, 06:56 PM
What the heck? He's not forcing anyone to give him money. People have every right to give money to anyone or anything. It's no one else's business.

LOTLOF
09-03-2013, 07:57 PM
Is he an author or a charity?

You shouldn't expect your readers to take care of you. They are not your family, nor are they the government. They are your customers, plain and simple, and you should not expect money from them except when they want to purchase your product.

Childcare and travel? Really? That is your hardship? Sorry, I've known too many people struggling with genuine poverty to think much of someone begging just to go to a conference. Like too many others he confuses want with need.

Riley
09-03-2013, 08:35 PM
Eh, I find it a bit tasteless when authors/people in general ask for non-emergent donations, although if people want to donate, that's their business.

There's a big difference, to me, between asking for help for, say, medical emergencies and asking for help for things like travel to cons, childcare, etc.

And if you have so many financial problems that you need to ask donations for non-emergent situations, then perhaps a side job is in order? The economy's tough, but even a part time job makes a dent in expenses. Hell, even a few side jobs under the table is better than nothing.

G. Applejack
09-03-2013, 08:38 PM
Reminds me of a 'signal boost' I once got from a tumblr friend which featured a person who was begging for money for a custom refrigerator. Because *gasp* their cabinetry was an unusual size and a standard size fridge would leave a several inch gap and won't someone contribute just a couple dollars to their paypal account to help out?

I let them know exactly what I thought of that.

ellio
09-03-2013, 08:45 PM
Honestly, I don't really see this as a problem. I was raised with the mentality that if you don't ask you don't receive. It's not a mantra I personally live by... I positively hate asking other people for things, but I'm not actively bothered by those that do. Everybody's financial situation is different and if you're in the fortunate position that he has access to a group of people who are willing (because it isn't as though anybody is being forced to give him money at all) to donate to him.

I've often donated to crowd funds for people to do Nice Things that they wouldn't otherwise be able to do - attend cons/festivals and such. I get why it's off-putting to people, it is tacky, but I guess I just don't mind tack.

anniede
09-03-2013, 08:45 PM
I stopped reading his post around the time that he started talking about daycare.

As a single mom who has always had her kids home and around while I juggled freelance projects and fiction writing and home and whatever little side jobs I could pick up on the side to keep us fed and clothed and a roof over our head, I was doing a literal "facepalm" when I read that he HAD to have daycare and asking people to help him pay for it. Oy!

Anne

justbishop
09-03-2013, 08:49 PM
Wow. This is enraging.

I just got denied for food stamps and have no idea how I'm going to pay rent, utilities, very minimal childcare so that I can work my "normal" job, AND get to, you know...eat. And this guy is soliciting money from people so he can keep his kids in full time day care and travel to conventions? Give me a fucking break.

Buck the hell up. Many stay-at-home-parents figure out how to fit writing around taking care of their kids full time. And if you want the luxury of traveling to cons, get a job or sell more books.

Sheryl Nantus
09-03-2013, 08:55 PM
Insert irony here:

He's got a book with Ridan Publishing.

http://www.saladinahmed.com/wordpress/bibliography

My thoughts?

Tacky and extremely short-sighted. You can only ring the bell so many times before no one answers. What happens next year? He does the same dance again and hopes people keep ponying up cash?

Hey, I'd LOVE to go to the RT convention next year in New Orleans. But I can't afford it, not without stretching our finances to the limit.

So I'm probably not going.

'Nuff said.

AW Admin
09-03-2013, 09:02 PM
Can we please remove this from the particular and personal to the larger question?

The assertions regarding personality and motivation are not within our ability to know.

Thanks

Liosse de Velishaf
09-03-2013, 09:13 PM
I have absolutely no problem with the con thing. That happens a lot in the SFF fandom/community.

I don't like the whole daycare thing after further reading. You chose to have kids, you have a responsibility to provide for them.

amergina
09-03-2013, 09:49 PM
I think its fine for artists to set out a tip jar or otherwise ask for funding/patrons. I've seen other folks do this, both pro and not. In more formal ways (say with kickstarter).

A lot of people don't feel comfortable doing this. I wouldn't, but that's me and how I do things.

And I think it's fine if people that want to can contribute to artists in this way. Or not.

I don't think it's fine to rag on this particular author for doing so. RYFW, folks.

Katrina S. Forest
09-03-2013, 09:50 PM
My two cents: I don't know what it feels like to be invited to a con to speak or to be nominated for a Hugo. I hope I'd see the awesomeness in that and be happy whether I got to go or not. Of course, back when I couldn't get a single request for my work, I expected that a full request would send me over the moon and I totally wouldn't whine if agents took longer than I wanted to get back to me. I certainly wouldn't wail and complain if they said no, because hey, I got a full request, right? Yeah, guess who doesn't act as mature as she envisions herself. :)

I don't know what other circumstances are causing the author to describe all this as "a pretty grim half-year before me." It sounds like there's a lot going on outside his writing life and I sincerely hope things start looking up for him.

More on topic, I did need financial aid when I attended Clarion West, so in essence, I have asked strangers for money to help further my writing career in the past. (Strangers who hadn't even read my work, but were trusting someone else's judgement that it was a good investment.)

As far as childcare goes, I can say as a stay-at-home mom, yeah, trying to write with kids around the house can be insane, even when you're used to it. Right now my writing time is: 5am (before the kids wake up), 1pm (nap time) and if there's a section I need to re-read, I make my computer read it aloud while I'm taking the baby for a walk. ^_^

I don't think having a kid (or kids) at home has ever stopped my writing. Just... slows it down a lot. I believe SCBWI work-in-progress grants do permit winners to spend the funds on childcare, for whatever that's worth.

Filigree
09-03-2013, 09:57 PM
I've donated to or given signal boosts to a couple of book-specific Kickstarter projects for authors I liked.

I don't have a problem with an author setting up a donation bucket to get to an important convention. That's between authors and fans. Although, like Sheryl, if I can't afford to go I won't go. I couldn't attend GayRomLit last year when it was one state away, and I sure couldn't go to GRL, RT, WorldCon, or DragonCon this year - even though I have valid professional reasons for wanting to do so. That would hold true even if a book of mine was up for a major award nomination. I'm annoyed at being poor, but I'm not terribly ashamed by it.

I know too many single-income authors with kids who are struggling financially, and still manage to write with their kids underfoot. That can actually be cheaper in the long run than paying for daycare (at least in the States.)

So while I've liked what I read of Ahmed's work, I certainly cannot afford to send him funds for daycare.

anniede
09-03-2013, 10:10 PM
I think its fine for artists to set out a tip jar or otherwise ask for funding/patrons.

Putting out a tip jar is one thing, but right out begging for it?

It would be like going to Starbucks and ordering a coffee and having the barristas start telling you all of their financial troubles and how they need your help to feed their kids and pay for their daycare as they make you coffee.

But of course, that's just me. Everyone has their own level of ethics.

Anne

MaryMumsy
09-03-2013, 10:27 PM
1) He obviously is OK with doing it.
2) His fans are obviously OK with donating.

Beyond that, it really isn't any of our business.

MM

Liosse de Velishaf
09-03-2013, 10:29 PM
Putting out a tip jar is one thing, but right out begging for it?

It would be like going to Starbucks and ordering a coffee and having the barristas start telling you all of their financial troubles and how they need your help to feed their kids and pay for their daycare as they make you coffee.

But of course, that's just me. Everyone has their own level of ethics.

Anne



Well, when you put out the tip jar at the start, it's kind of hard to do so online without making a post saying, "Hey, if you like my stuff donate!" or similar. I mean, I suppose you could make it a bit of a performance art, as authors have done in the past. But unlike buskers and street performers, I don't think you can really call it "tips", even if it's serving a similar purpose.


It may perhaps be that Ahmed does not have a family or friend support network to call on. For example, sending the kids to grandmas or something like that, which is pretty common where I live/have lived.


It's hard to criticize a practice like this without seeming to criticize Ahmed directly, since obviously he's doing the thing I feel is maybe not something I approve of. But when I say I don't agree that asking for money for daycare from your readers/fans is a reasonable sort of request for an author to make, I want to be clear that I don't think Ahmed is a bad person, or trying to manipulate people. He's very upfront in the post about the specifics of his budget, and that he returns excess funds, and that this is for short, set time period. And, of course, there may be other issues that we are unaware of, and can't really be aware of without conducting some sort of audit on his finances.

So maybe it would be better to phrase my issue as, in the culture that I come from, this is something not considered proper behavior, and people are expected to make adjustments to their lives when they can rather than ask for charity from strangers. It's certainly not something I think I would be comfortable doing. But again, if Ahmed wants to do it, and people want to donate to him, that's their business, and my personally disagreement is in no way a justification to drag his name through the mud or in some other way punish him for having different comfort zones/cultural philosophies than I do.

aimeestates
09-03-2013, 10:30 PM
Beyond that, it really isn't any of our business.

Disagree. Patronage of the arts goes back thousands of years, so it's very much our business to talk about it.

AW Admin
09-03-2013, 10:39 PM
OK

We're done here. I wasn't kidding about leaving the personal out of the discussion.