Fifteen Minutes

By Erinna Mettler

Celebrity culture is rife but the best stories belong to ordinary people.

Thursday, 24 March 2016


Hi everyone and thanks for supporting my project. I am blogging every Thursday about this process. There have been 3 posts already on my website and this is the 4th.


My Unbound Diary Part 4 - Crowdfunding Confidence

I'm now on week four of my crowdfunding project and I have had a bit of a confidence wobble. My short story collection is available for presale through Unbound Publishing, an innovative and prestigious crowdfunding publisher. I was 11% funded last week and this week I'm only 13%. I need to get 313 pledges for my book by the end of May. Right now that seems like a daunting amount. I have sent out emails to my entire address book, people on Facebook and Twitter must be sick of me posting about it, and still the pledges are coming in a drip feed rather than a deluge. I need to make a plan for getting the word out to more people and making it clear that I need pledges for the project to go ahead. [Fifteen minutes flyer]

I admit I'm feeling a little despondent. This feeling wasn't helped by Ros Barber's article in The Guardian this week about self-publishing. I know that crowdfunding is different to self publishing and a lot of the article was irrelevant, for example, Unbound are selective in who they offer to crowdfund. You need to submit and when (if) you meet your target your book gets a full professional edit. This means that books that are out of the mainstream get a chance that traditional publishers wouldn't give them because they don't fit into the usual marketing models. It's all very modern and positive and looks like it just might save us from the same old dross dolled out in the name of sales. However, some of Barber's observations are extremely pertinent. I do need to attract supporters and so I am spending all of my time marketing rather than actually writing and I do worry that people will get fed up with me begging. In the article Barber says this;

Self-publishing can make you behave like a fool. Imagine we have just met. I invite you into my house and the first thing you do is show me the advertising blurb for your book and press me to check it out on Amazon. Then you read me the blurb for someone else whose book you’ve agreed to promote if they’ll do the same with yours.

This is so true! The thing is though, ALL authors have to self promote, unless you are mega famous and even then, pretty much everything you do is an act of self-promotion. You are only as popular as your last book. I have heard so many stories recently of fellow authors being dropped by publishers and agents because the last book didn't perform as well as expected, or because the current novel doesn't fit into the genre they had in mind. I am publishing with Unbound because I write literary short stories and publishers won't even consider them unless you are already a name.  But I need sales.

I wonder if people think crowdfunding is somehow inferior to traditional publishing. Today in The Bookseller came the news that philospher Roman Krznaric turned down an offer from a major UK publisher to publish with Unbound. Philip Pullman is quoted as saying,“Unbound is a marvellous way of publishing.”

I really think Unbound could be an alternative to both traditional and self-publishing. I'm hoping I get enough pledges to find out for sure.

To pledge to In The Future Everyone Will Be World Famous For Fifteen Minutes go to

It has just come to my attention that, as well as reasoned argument, Ros Barber has been getting some awful abuse on Twitter for her article on self-publishing - get a life losers! 

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DrSuzanne Conboy-Hill
 DrSuzanne Conboy-Hill says:

I've had this tab open so long there's moss growing across the top and I still don't have a coherent thought to contribute. One thing strikes me though and that is that crowd-funding/sponsorship looks a lot like pre-marketing without an actual product for people to buy. To make a success of that you need either a huge pool of contacts and friends willing to pitch in, or an identifiable and readily accessible target audience you know will be interested. From my limited experience, literary short fiction and the writers thereof are going to struggle to find a significant cohort of either because their work is likely to be an acquired taste and many of their contacts wrestling with the same issues. I have no idea what the answer is but given that marketing and self-promotion are often so far removed from a writer's natural habitat and critical mass is hard to find for any but established writers of every (and no) calibre, the words 'collective', 'studio', 'workshop' (meaning a group of like-minded creatives, not one for critiques) start springing to mind. Like artists in a communal studio; everyone benefits if one artist attracts visitors who then get to see the work of the rest. Maybe there needs to be a short fiction studio (many, actually) that shares the equivalent of the rent, feeds ideas among its tenants, and markets its products on behalf of all the members using everyone's pool of contacts. Then they all get behind a sponsorship push such as this.

posted 31st March 2016

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