Posted by & filed under Uncategorized. 7 comments

(WTF is this?  See Problem #1)

The second hurdle Flattr faces is that it can’t guarantee that the artists in its community make much money, or really any money at all.

True enough.  But I see two problems with the logic of this criticism.

Firstly, it has never been true of any system ever that it guaranteed even a large percentage of its creators make much money at all.

Most authors will never see any royalties.  At least 70% of books do not make out their advance.  ()Which not only means that they won’t ever get a cent from sales of the book, not making out the advance also means books get dropped, series get cut off, contracts don’t get renewed, and new contracts are harder to find.

And the common authors’ advances are hardly a living wage, when taking into account what actually gets taken home and the amount of time between one paycheck and the next.

But of course, most authors will never even get an advance, because most books are not accepted for publication period. It’s hard to give an overall percentage for this because acceptance rates vary from publisher to publisher, but a common estimate seems to be about 1-2%.  Or lower.

The fact is that NO system guarantees writers–or any type of artists–either money or success and if it does, you should run away very, very fast.

So what does this mean for authors and Flattr?

It means that we need to stop making a high chance of a fat paycheck our standard for acceptance when it comes to potentially very useful services.

This brings us to the second problem with this logic: the notion that Flattr is intended to compete with a traditional author’s prime income source.  It’s not.  Flattr is not intended to be or to replace an artist’s main mode of support.

It’s a micro-payment system.  Not a salary.

So what does this mean to us?

As artists, we are lucky to be living in a world where we have many opportunities to create, distribute and, yes, make money from our work.  Rather than having one stream of support– that is, the royalty/advance model of traditional publishing–we have the potential for both many streams and many methods of support. Streams of support can include traditional sales through bookstores, Print on Demand technology, ebooks, start-up funding like Kickstarter, plain old donations, and micro-payments like Flattr.   Methods of support can include financial compensation (donations, sales), building recognition through a fan-base (free advertising!), and mutual community support for professional development (e.g. online writing communities for critiques and guidance.)

Flattr could serve any of these purposes, and seems to already be doing all these things for different people.  Some people are making money, some are discovering new content to enjoy, some are making connections within the sub-community of creators within Flattr.  

But for the most part, micro-payment systems shouldn’t be seen primarily as a salary but rather as any number of community-related services.  And we need to remember that creating community, connecting with other readers and writers, and building a mutually supportive network are equally as important as finding a way to make writing put food on the table.

7 Responses to “Flattr: Problem #2 that’s not really a problem”

  1. live60

    You are right about many things here, Aelius, but I don’t see any potential in Flattr since writers are trying to transform their lives, not merely exist as they have always done. Yes, writers are seeking to do what I have done, and that’s become transcendental, to transcend the conventional starving artists route. And, there is only one way to overcome all the negative realities you have described that most writers face, and that’s by becoming a magical being with some unknown charisma to pull in dollars from friends, lovers and sponsors. It’s a matter of you, the writer, make them feel good about who they are and about their spending big bucks on your voyage. Real success comes from that intangible chemistry that only comes from face to face meetings with the writer, something I avoid most of the time. It can be a curse also. But Flattr looks like a game of flipping quarters in the alley of life compared to Las Vegas casinos.


  2. aeliusblythe

    Yes, writers are trying to transform their lives and that’s exactly what our internet resources allow us to do. Thirty years ago there was nothing like Flattr. Now, we have one more opportunity to use for our benefit.

    “… pull in dollars from friends, lovers and sponsors. It’s a matter of you, the writer, make them feel good about who they are and about their spending big bucks on your voyage. Real success comes from that intangible chemistry that only comes from face to face meetings with the writer…”

    Do you really think this is the way to go? Think of all the self-pubbed books on Amazon with 5 star reviews from friends and family. Do you think these people are successful? Do you think that’s effective. I am proud that I’ve been able to put my work out there and make connections without any of my friends or family even knowing until very recently that I was doing it at all. I certainly won’t be using them as customers if I start selling…

    “Flattr looks like a game of flipping quarters in the alley of life compared to Las Vegas casinos.”

    Um, in this scenario the casino would be the better option? Sorry, but I’ll stay in the alley flipping quarters with my friends.

    • Eugenia

      I ablolutely love it utill it strats to crash :/ I try to open it by th terminal and it gives back:[16:35:57:536642 WARNING] Unknown property: GtkWindow.has-resize-grip(process:10376): Gtk-WARNING (recursed) **: Unknown property: GtkDialog.has-resize-gripPrzerwane (core dumped)And get closed. Any clues how to fix that?

  3. live60

    Well, Aelius, one of those friends was August Busch of Anheuser-Busch who paid me extremely well for 23 years because I wrote an experimental work program that kept me in the big money for all that time, not to mention the many projects I wrote that helped transform some of the brewers advertising. And, from 1991 until 2000 when my friend Charlie died who had 30 million dollars, he sponsored me which paid for my travels all over North America, from Alaska to Mexico, not to mention the years I was able to take off from work. So, Aelius, you can hide your talent, beat the bushes, flail in cyber-space, or learn how to get from your friends what they’re getting from you. Life is a two way street. If people want my time and friendship, they pay for it. Or, they provide me with what I want. Most people just can’t face the fact that those who profess to be friends will not fund the artist. Giving up those who do not add fuel to your dream is what most people cannot do to become successful. The artist hates to believe their friends and relatives don’t love them enough to support them.


  4. live60

    I know that sounds cold of me, Aelius, but the truth is, I can find good friends who are willing to pay for my talents as well. A wealthy person may need a good friend more than an average Joe who can’t seem to ever get off the launching pad. A wealthy person often considers an honest person a friend, and I’m brutally honest. There are some good trades to be made in such friendships that can’t be had with a down and outer or the average person. For example. I wanted to make a movie, but realized it would be far more expensive than I wanted to pay for alone. So, I cut a deal to write a screenplay for a company for free, and they are paying to produce it. I couldn’t make this deal if the producer didn’t have the money. Here in St. Louis it cost $1200.00 per day to rent one camera with one camera man. That’s not considering all the other costs. And, I’m paying none of it. This producer owns all the equipment needed. The deal is, the person with money can hand you free tickets to many different chapters in your life. Of course this is not for everyone since most creative people are afraid of success and breaking out of their little circle down at the coffee shop. And, if I were not successful or talented, I couldn’t cut deals like this. Most people can’t get through the door. Another good thing about it is, I don’t have those friends that call and say, “Whatz up?” My life is about staying free and teaching others how to get there.


    • Elvira

      Sub-pies are now opened at their pneart’s location. Man, I want to try out the other way, I want the sub-pies to open at the new location my cursor is at would make naviagtion much easier, as the ways the cursor needs to make decrease even more!(MakeItAnOption?)



  1.  Flattr Problem #3 that’s not really a problem « Cheap Ass Fiction
  2.  Flattr: Problem #1 that’s not really a problem « Cheap Ass Fiction

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