Three months? Three months? checking… checking… Yup. Three months since my last Flattr-related post. Time for an update!
Last fall, I talked about the Flattr community and philosophy. But the practical application is really what the creative communities are watching for. What is concrete realization of the philosophy? What are the tangible benefits?
I wondered too. And then I realized–I just realized–that I already had an answer.
I just realized: these clicks add up.
As a micro-payment system, or a “Like” button with a few cents attached, Flattr is not a salary, it’s a token of appreciation. For me, I did not think about the reality of making money but only about that nice glowy feeling you get from knowing someone appreciates what you have to offer. It was fun.
Intellectually, I knew that even spare change adds up. But actually seeing it happen was rather surprising.
It’s not much (uh, micropayments remember?) In six months I have made a little over $60. But this is money that people had given me for doing what I love totally for free. And it is–thrillingly–money that, when added up, really can make a difference in my creative projects.
For example, you know I’ve been looking into professional cover art because my visual skills are, well, absent. Nice covers can carry a $500 or even more daunting price tag. But now, for the first time, it occurred to me that augmenting my work with some quality professional packaging may not be totally out of my reach.Of course, with any method of fundraising, it would take a long time to even defray the cost a little. But fortunately, making a manuscript shelf-worthy takes quite a while as well.
And if I may be so bold to say it, I think my situation represents exactly what Flattr is for. I don’t have a publisher and a book contract, so an advance isn’t going to help me out. As an amateur still working on my craft, sales are not yet an option. And since my little blog doesn’t exactly get a lot of traffic, advertising is not a viable option. Like many, many aspiring artists and writers, I have no guarantee that I will ever see a return on the time I (very happily!) put into my work. But I love doing it, and like a fool will continue to do it regardless.
Flattr is precisely for us happy fools who keep working out of love and not money. It presents us with a chance that wasn’t there before–a chance that maybe, just maybe work done out of love, work done for sharing and not money can be rewarded too. I for one will write even if I never make another cent. I will write just as I did before I made a single cent.
It is only a chance.
But I’ll take it.
This is not a call for cash. My motivation for reporting my Flattr earnings is to give other writers a more concrete idea of what Flattr can do on a practical and average level. I, after all, am not some famous blogger (I get excited when the hit counter makes tripple digits–woot!) I am not even a published writer. I know that I am like so many other young netizens hiding in the creative corners of the internet, working away,looking to make something of my labor. And I know that with a new entity like Flattr, talking about philosophy and community is all well and good, but practical examples are what is really needed. In this respect, I hope to do my part by allowing anyone interested to observe my experience and make of it what they will.