Veronica Mars and Me

I had a conversation with Twitter not long after the Veronica Mars Kickstarter launched, in which I observed that my funding for The Daring Adventures of Captain Lucy Smokeheart would probably dry up for a few days. That's because the pool of people willing to fund me and the pool of people who freaking LOVE Veronica Mars are pretty close to being the same exact thing. These people having only so much money and enthusiasm to go around, I reasoned, would result in my not particularly getting backers for a couple of days.

Now, it's not clear what actually happens in the Kickstarter ecosystem when a big project like Veronica Mars shows up and makes everyone excited. Kickstarter is on record saying that a big project results in more money overall going to smaller projects (like Lucy Smokeheart.) They're probably right -- they know their internal metrics better than I do -- but I speculate that it only really helps other projects in the same category in the short run. When you fund Veronica Mars, the "you might also like" suggestions are a bunch of other film projects. I expect other film projects right now are experiencing a delightful uptick in funding.

Publishing projects like mine, maybe not so much.

Yesterday was tied for my second-worst funding day on record; I got a single $25 backer. My only worse day was March 4, in which I got only $20. (This is still admittedly better than no-backer days!) So it's clear that the thousands of people pouring into Veronica Mars aren't benefiting me any.

But it's also not clear that Veronica has hurt me any. Yesterday was a bad day for funding, to be sure, but it was also an off day for me in terms of promotion -- I spent most of the day out of the office and more or less off social media. And I've learned there's a pretty clear relationship between Tweeting about your project and reminding people you're out there, and those people actually clicking over to give you money. Fancy that!

So the bad day is almost certainly my fault, not Veronica's.

And in fact I did get a significant bump in funding a few hours after the Veronica Mars project launched -- though that was almost certainly a response to my prediction that I wasn't going to see much funding for a while, as a supportive group of friends went out of their way to promote Lucy Smokeheart right then. The more noise you can make, the more money you get. It's like science all up in here!

So my conclusion is that Veronica Mars hasn't sucked all of the air out of the room, so to speak. I am competing with her for dollars -- but only in the sense that I was already competing with the whole of the entertainment industrial complex to begin with. And if I can't compete with the entertainment industrial complex enough to get a couple hundred people excited enough to give me money now, that's my sign that maybe the thing I'm talking about isn't something that people actually want in the first place. Better to know that now, and not after I've spent a year writing.

Oh, and of course I funded Veronica Mars, and you should too. That thing is going to be amazing. And if you have a few dollars left after that, maybe fund Lucy Smokeheart, too?