Stacey Jay, Veronica Mars, and The Kickstarter Controversy

Hey everyone,

Okay, I’m not going to lie. I’m upset. In fact, I’m shaking with the force of my feels. So please brace yourself, because this might be a bumpy ride.

Where to begin?

Right. Stacey Jay.

For those of you who haven’t had the distinct pleasure of meeting Stacey Jay, she’s a tremendous YA author whose talent is equaled only by her kindness. I met her at the Las Vegas Book Festival. I entered a room (where I knew almost nobody) wearing a giant poofy, sparkly prom dress and Stacey immediately made me feel welcome. That’s the kind of person she is.


You can read about that conference right here!

Unfortunately, Stacey’s book sales haven’t been strong enough for her publishing house to keep her on as an author. And at the end of the day, if a publisher feels like they will make more money investing in someone else’s book, that’s what they will do.

But Stacey’s heart was still with the characters of her most recent YA book, Princess of Thorns. Her readers wanted her to write a sequel. She wanted to write a sequel. Her publishing house wasn’t interested in publishing it.

Now here is where things start to get complicated.

Stacey created a Kickstarter for the project. Her plan was to have fans pay ten dollars for the book, and if they chose to donate more they would receive specific prizes. If enough people funded it, then she would be able to afford to focus all of her attention on writing this book for them.

This project was created specifically for her fans, but nobody was under any kind of obligation to support the Kickstarter.

Here is where things got twisted. Stacey openly shared that she would be spending a large portion of the money she would receive from the Kickstarter on her living expenses while she wrote the book. And some people didn’t think that was right. That meant that she was asking her fans to support her lifestyle, right?


If they wanted this book within the next seven months, well, then this was the only way they would be able to get it. Because the alternative for Stacey was to get a day job to pay the bills. And trust me, you have a whole lot less time for writing when you have another job competing for your time and energy.

Again, I would like to emphasize that at no point was anyone forced to give her money.

What fascinates me is that some people claim that this is not what Kickstarter was created for, that she shouldn’t be profiting from her fans before a book is even written.

To which I say, really?

I mean, Zac Brown raised over $55,000 to make himself a sandwich. Kickstarter can be pretty much whatever you make out of it.

But here is a better Kickstarter comparison.

The Veronica Mars Movie.

It’s a remarkably similar situation, actually. You have a writer (Rob Thomas) who desperately wanted to share his story. Thousands of fans were dying to see it. But the fact that nobody in Hollywood thought it would be monetarily worthwhile made it necessary to take the project to the people. A good chunk of the money that was raised went to equipment and sound and lighting and all those other cool movie things that I don’t completely understand, but have to be there in order to have a quality finished project.

Want to know where some of the money went?

To paying the actors. To paying the writers.

Yes, I’m sure Kristen Bell probably did something awesome with the money she was paid. She probably donated it to some worthy cause, perhaps she even donated it back into funding the Kickstarter. I don’t know. I’m not her accountant. And frankly, it’s none of my business.

But she was paid.

You know why? Because regardless of her net worth, she’s part of the Screen Actors Guild and that means it would be illegal to pay her nothing.

You know who else was paid?

Rob Thomas. He’s part of the Writers Guild of America. Again, it would have been illegal for him not to receive money for his work.

Now here’s what I find fascinating. Rob Thomas made it clear that without the support of fans, this movie would never be made. Nobody accused him of holding the movie hostage. He promised to deliver a product for the fans that did not yet exist. Nobody doubted that he would be true to his word. He constantly mentioned that this project was taking time that would otherwise be spent on other projects and that it was a strain on his family to have him so immersed in the world of Veronica Mars. Nobody accused him of using his home life to manipulate his fans.

So I have to wonder: Why the outrage over what Stacey Jay did when the Veronica Mars Kickstarter was roundly praised and received nothing but love from the YA community?

Stacey made it very clear on the Kickstarter that she was asking for the lowest amount possible for her to concentrate solely on this project. The amount she was hoping to raise would have been over a 60% decrease from the original amount her publisher gave her. Both Rob Thomas and Stacey Jay were willing to ask for the bare minimum of money they needed in order to give the fans what they wanted.

Perhaps the problem is that Stacey had the audacity to be upfront about the fact that she’d be using some of this money to pay her rent? Rob Thomas didn’t disclose that information. I’m willing to bet you almost anything that that is exactly where it went though. To food. To rent. To coffee. To all the mundane things that everyone needs to pay.

Here’s the difference: Stacey didn’t have the protection of a guild that said, you must pay her. She must make some money from her work. You cannot expect her to give you this book for free.

Rob Thomas was seen as generous for taking the lowest possible salary for himself, but Stacey was perceived as needy and greedy for doing the exact same thing.

Basically, Stacey was asking fans to preorder the book so that she wouldn’t have to worry about paying her bills while she wrote it for them. Some people have been comparing it to an advance, but I think they’ve misunderstood how advances work. When a publisher pays you an advance, it is the money you theoretically live on while you finish writing/editing/waiting for the book to come out. I say ‘theoretically’ because, trust me, those advances rarely last long.

The author never returns the money from an advance. The author waits until the publisher earns back that money in the form of book sales, before they will see a penny in royalties. But that initial money always belongs to the author.

Which is why this doesn’t make sense to me:


The donators are not business partners. They were never intended to be business partners; furthermore, I don’t think being a business partner has ever been a Kickstarter expectation. They were paying for a book that they would have received. Again, the Veronica Mars fans were paying for the salaries of actors in a movie that did not yet exist. Nobody expected Rob Thomas and Co. to pay back the Kickstarter fans when the movie arrived in their inbox. Nor did they expect to receive a percentage of the money the film ended up grossing.

If Stacey had paid her fans back for the Kickstarter after she’d written the book, they would have been getting it for free. And she’d have been super broke. And…huh?!

This is where a number of authors became offended at the expectation that they were supposed to work for free.

I think that that discussion has been covered pretty thoroughly. The gist of it being that art should be valued, because authors and artists also need to pay their rent. I’m pretty sure we can all agree on that.

So I’m going to jump ahead to the parts of the Stacey Jay Kickstarter conversation that are a bit more controversial.

1. Why should anyone be expected to fund Stacey Jay’s career by donating to the Kickstarter?

Answer: Nobody is expected to fund Stacey Jay’s career by donating. Just as nobody was expected to fund Rob Thomas’ career by donating to The Veronica Mars Movie. It is one project. One project doesn’t make a career, guys. And you could choose not to participate if you weren’t interested in that specific book.

2. What makes Stacey Jay so special that we should be paying her to write?

Answer: Well, if you want to read her book, then she is going to be part of the process. Furthermore, you’re not paying her to write. You are paying for the end product. I was not paying Rob Thomas to just write. I expected to have a movie sent to me.

3. Art shouldn’t be a privilege. If we are paying Stacey to write then she is receiving a special privilege.

Answer: Creating art absolutely involves privilege. Virginia Woolf nailed it when she said, “A woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction.” That’s the brutal truth. If you don’t have money, you will be spending all of those writing hours looking for steady employment.

But I’d like to address this notion that Stacey is receiving a special privilege. Here’s the thing, if you want her book? You should be paying her to write it. Nobody else in the whole freaking world will be able to deliver that specific experience to you. That’s part of what makes writing so magical.

4. It was an asshole move of Stacey’s to stop the Kickstarter.

Answer: I find this incredibly upsetting. First of all, this began as a passion project intended specifically to please her fans. When people began to insinuate that it was greedy/selfish, etc. she decided to withdraw from social media.

I totally support this decision.

You want to know why?

She did what was best for her own emotional health. In an industry where the statistics for mental health are incredibly grim, it should always be respected when someone says, I need to take care of myself.

Writers are twice as likely to commit suicide. They are more likely to suffer from depression, bipolar disorder, and to have anxiety issues. I don’t know if Stacey specifically deals with these–again, none of my freaking business–but criticizing someone for needing to protect their own mental/emotional/physical health, that’s not okay, guys.

5. I’ve had two broken arms, three jobs, and a bad case of gout and I found time for my hobbies. There’s no reason she couldn’t do it, too!

Answer: First of all, writing is not a hobby for Stacey. It’s a profession. A poorly paying one, sure, but it’s still a profession.

Secondly, congratulations! I know that sounds sarcastic, but I genuinely mean it. I am thrilled that despite many obstacles and hardships, you’ve been able to dedicate time to your life passions. That is truly a wonderful accomplishment.

That said, please do not expect me to meet your high standards of accomplishment. That’s like turning to someone suffering from depression and saying, “I’m happy all the time and I just got a speeding ticket! You should be way happier. I don’t think you are trying hard enough to be happy. So clearly it’s your own damn fault that you’re depressed.”

6. Nobody was bullying her! I didn’t see anyone bullying her! Why can’t I state my opinion without people getting mad at me? You’re trying to take away my freedom of speech!

Answer: I also didn’t see her email inbox. There’s a lot neither of us have seen. We don’t know what kind of messages she received.

What I did see was a bunch of people saying that they didn’t approve of what she was trying to do for her fans. And you know what? They do have the right to free speech. They exercised that right with Twitter, Facebook, and a myriad of blog posts.

They just shouldn’t expect everyone to be happy with the opinion they are expressing. I know this blog post will upset people. And I’m sincerely sorry about that. I hate hurting people.

Hate. It.

But in this case, I think the issue is too important for me to stay silent. So I am accepting that some people will disapprove of the way I’m handling myself. I sincerely hope we will agree on other issues. Maybe we can bond over Veronica Mars later? Or, uh…unicorns?

I just have to get this last part out first.

This Kickstarter was created for Stacey Jay’s fans. Just as The Veronica Mars Movie was made for the Marshmallows. Nobody was obligated to participate. Nobody was expected to donate. You were more than welcome to join in the fun! But if you just want to critique it from the sidelines…you should expect some resistance.

I think the internet can make it very easy for us to hate on things that just aren’t intended for us. And that in turn can have a dampening effect on other people’s joy, even when that was never the intention behind it. In this case, that means that none of us will be able to read a seriously kickass sequel that only one author was capable of writing for us.

And that, my friends, is why this whole debacle is so freaking sad.

Much love,


110 thoughts on “Stacey Jay, Veronica Mars, and The Kickstarter Controversy

  1. I support you and Stacey Jay! Just because we love what we do doesn’t mean its not work. Our time is valuable and so is our product! We respect our fans and are truly thankful for every read and click and buy, but we do need to make a living. Read and let write! 😉

    • I love you so much, Hannah. Those incredible socks reached me yesterday and wearing them made my day significantly less terrible. So basically your timing is perfection and your heart is pure gold.

  2. Marni, you have completely and perfectly summed up my opinions about the whole Stacey Jay thing! I have only briefly met her and haven’t heard her books at all. However, I’ve been so bummed by the whole thing. She has my deepest sympathies and my total support.

  3. THANK YOU for writing this!!! Thank you for being brave enough to put yourself out there and write this. I really don’t understand how it became such big deal. Not when there are potato salad Kickstarters that raised $55k…. I think part of what makes me so defensive of Stacey, too, is that what she put up on her Kickstarter is EASILY something I would right. I’m a very honest and forthright person. I don’t think about things like ‘Oh, I should just say ‘expenses associated with publishing’ instead of ‘pay my bills so I can spend time writing the book you just pledged money to get’ because it’ll be better received by the public. I just don’t think that way (not slighting those who do) and so it’s extra terrifying for writers like me who haven’t been published, and are being told to make sure they have a platform on social media, because I see this, and think ‘Omg, what if I accidentally do/say something like this before I even have fans or anyone to care about me (career and book-wise) I could be demolished before I even get started! And then to see her try and make things ‘right’ in the eyes of her attackers, only to have them attack her for trying to cancel everything and apologize, well, it’s terrible.

    I’m so glad that at least *most* authors, even if they don’t agree with what she did originally, are now coming to her defense in some way.

    • Thank you for writing such a lovely comment! I’m glad most authors are rallying around Stacey too. I’m not going to lie; some aspects of this job are terrifying. But then you get an email from a kid who is now in love with reading because of you and it feels like it all paid off.

      Well, except for the rent. That’s still due. 😉

      Wishing you all the best in your writing career!


  4. So well said. I’m saddened by what happened. I hope Stacey Jay is okay and knows that there was/is support for her in this community. I just got her YA book as a show of support.

    • Thank you so much! I’m going to be buying another one of her books today myself. I hope that having her books reach more people could be the silver lining to this shit-storm (pardon my language).

  5. I love you. That’s all. This post made my day, and most of it needed to be said. I was so sick of people saying no one was bullying her, because FACT: most bullies wont do bullying in public. They sneak around and wait until no one is looking. I am certain she got plenty of crap through her pm system.

    I am sad to see her go. I hope she will return one day. I likewise hope that those ranting about the kickstarter will grow up and learn what the x button at the top of their browser does. No one held a gun to their head and forced them to pledge.

    Thanks for this!

  6. Well said! I’m with you and Stacey 100%. This is the first time I’m hearing about this whole mess, but I have read Princess of Thorns and I loved it, I loved it so much I would gladly pay Stacey $10000 to write the sequel if I Could, and then I’d massage her feet and bake cupcakes for her every single day. Because she’s talented and irreplaceable and I would do almost anything to get my hands on that sequel. And screw all the haters, they didn’t have to pay, no one forced them, so why going around yapping about it.

    • Thanks, Evie! I totally agree with you. I just finished reading Juliet Immortal and I totally geeked out over it. She’s such a talented author! And truly, just the nicest person you can possibly imagine.

      And on that note… *grabs copy of Romeo Redeemed*

      Wishing you all the best!


  7. This is exactly (EXACTLY) how I feel on the matter, and pretty much what I’d say, after a few tangents on entitlement, the undervaluing of the arts as legitimate work, and the ridiculous perpetuation of the “starving artist” expectation. I get that people weren’t fans of what they perceived as an ultimatum (fund my life or I’ll never write a new book for you), but I have to say, I was so sad and disappointed by the vehement negativity and lack of empathy I saw with this whole kerfuffle. And I’m sad for Stacey right now, I’d imagine she’s not in the happiest of places after all this. It’s a shame; we should be a community that pulls together.

      • I couldn’t agree with you more! In fact, I’m going to leave both comments up because I agree *that* much. Okay, and because tinkering with comments on my blog pushes the boundaries of my tech skills. But let’s pretend it’s all because of the first reason, ‘k? 😉

        Wishing you all the best!

  8. This is exactly (EXACTLY) how I feel on the matter, and pretty much what I’d say, after a few tangents on entitlement, the undervaluing of the arts as legitimate work, and the ridiculous perpetuation of the “starving artist” expectation. I get that people weren’t fans of what they perceived as an ultimatum (fund my life or I’ll never write a new book for you), but I have to say, I was so sad and disappointed by the vehement negativity and lack of empathy I saw with this whole kerfuffle. And I’m sad for Stacey right now, I’d imagine she’s not in the happiest of places after all this. It’s a shame; we should be a community that pulls together.

  9. Everything you said here is EXACTLY how I feel about the situation. I missed the controversy, but had I seen the kickstarter, I would have backed it. Even though I’ve yet to read the first book, I love projects like this. I love when authors are passionate about their characters and understand that the fans need something even when the business side of things don’t work out. She would not be the first author I backed and she won’t be the last.

    I feel sad that this community saw such a unique and awesome way to get things done as something greedy. I see that $10 less as paying for an ebook as investing in a passion and creating art.

    Jess @ Such a Novel Idea

  10. Reblogged this on Robin L. Martinez and commented:
    I first heard about this from Chuck Wendig’s blog and it made my heart hurt. When I posted Chuck’s blog post in a Facebook writing group I’m a part of, a lot of WRITERS, WOMEN WRITERS were echoing all of these excuses for why Stacey Jay’s kickstarter project was “inappropriate.” I’ve about had it with that group after this (along with some previous incidences). Shouldn’t writers support and celebrate when someone finds an innovative way to pay the bills through writing? Doesn’t that make it a little bit easier for us coming after?

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  13. Just wanted to note that it’s not “illegal” to not pay SAG actors or WGA writers. It violates those guilds’ rules for signatory production companies. If signatory prodco’s hire Guild actors/writers, they have to pay appropriate rates. So, not illegal, but still not a good thing to do in Hollywood.

    • Interesting! I was under the impression it was illegal. I think my point still stands, however, because nobody expected Rob Thomas or any of the actor’s to be kicked out of their respective guilds over The Veronica Mars Movie.

      Thanks for the input!

      Wishing you all the best,

      • Violating a collective bargaining agreement may be an illegal unfair labor practice if it amounts to repudiating the contract. Failing to pay one person contractually-required overtime would probably not be a ULP, but refusing to pay any contractually-required wages to all bargaining unit members on an entire production may well be.

  14. First off, I do agree with several points you made on this post, but there’s just one thing that keeps bothering me. And no, I wouldn’t consider myself a “hater” before anyone starts calling names. I read two of Jay’s books and adored them. Back to that thing I said bothering me…I do “get” why Stacey Jay did the fundraiser I really do. However, I think it was too high of an expectation to get her fans to pay for $10,000+ for the sequel- and yes, I do agree she never forced her fans to pay that money. But still, by saying that is how much money she wants implies that she did expect to get it or else she wouldn’t have even done the kickstarter. Onto my point: Jay did mention how 10,000 is so much less than when she was a “published” author. This is a key difference. You could call Stacey Jay a self-published author when she was planning on writing the sequel. She wanted money for living expenses while she was writing the book. Again, I get it. But it bothers me at the same time, because Stacey Jay-and I’ll say the word you probably so hate by now- would have had the privilege of being paid while writing. When you’re a published writer, that’s to be expected. However, not so much when you’re a self-published author. They usually simply get the money that they sell on retail sites(after taking away other money). That money is certainly not near 10,000 unless you are extremely popular-as ebooks usually sell for less than say, $5.99, especially from unknown authors. That’s what the difference was between Stacey Jay and self-published authors, she had been paid quite a lot more when she was a published author and the “10,000” dollars that she said was so generous for us since she got paid a ton more from publishing her other works-that money was a lot more for being a an expected self-published book. Yes, self-published books do make profits, but those profits definitely don’t compare to the money you get while being an author for such a huge publishing such as random house. I don’t know at all if this made any sense…but I had to get it out.

    • Hi Kierra,

      I respectfully disagree with you. First of all, she was asking for her fans to pay $10 for a copy of her book. Now, if you decide that this is too much compared to self-pubbed works, you were under no obligation to join the Kickstarter. The $10,000 was the total amount required to make it happen. And no, Stacey Jay did not instantly become a self-pub author the instant she uploaded the Kickstarter. She became a hybrid author. Nothing and nobody can take away the fact that Stacey Jay has been a traditionally published author. She is an established name with an established fan base. And if they wanted the project to happen, this was the price it would cost. Again, I’d like to point out that Rob Thomas did the EXACT same thing for The Veronica Mars movie. He gave an amount that would make the project possible. Nobody quibbled with his numbers. Nobody said, “Hey, that’s more than the price of a movie ticket at the theaters! That’s not fair!”

      Furthermore, I can’t stress enough that the fans would have been paying for a finished product! That is an equal exchange. The notion that you would have been paying her simply to write is inaccurate.

      Lastly, I’d like to address the point you made about how she expected to get the money or else she wouldn’t have created it in the first place. That still doesn’t obligate anyone to pay a freaking dime. She wasn’t storming around online demanding that her readers hand over the money. She had the audacity to say that her book would cost ten dollars. That’s it.

      Wishing you all the best,

    • I would also take exception to your statement that there is a key difference between published and self-published. You seem to imply that self-published books are inherently worth less than published books and that an author has no right to expect to make as much money that way. Books are books, publishing is publishing. However it comes to market, a book deserves as much money as people are willing to pay for it. An author with a proven track record and established fan base has every right to place a value on her work, especially one that is significantly lower than past efforts have garnered. And I think if you look, you’ll find quite a number of self-published authors who are making the same kind of money as mid-list authors at the big houses. And that isn’t what any of this is about, anyway.

  15. Great piece on this subject. I didn’t think anything was wrong with her campaign. When you have a family and bills to pay its hard to write a book in such a short time. It’s too bad all those people discouraged her.

  16. So I’ll start by saying this is the first I’ve heard of all this, and of Stacy Jay.

    Regardless of that, I don’t understand how people can be so obtuse to the situation. This is her career. It is, as far as this is concerned, no different than my career, or anyone else’s for that matter. She produces a product which no one else can create, therefore we have a limited supply. She has fans who want to read more of her work, therefore we have demand. Seems pretty simple in a basic sense that we have a classic case of how our economic system works. She’s does a thing, we pay money to consume that thing.

    Veronica Mars or no, she deserves income for doing her job. Anyone thinking otherwise should contemplate what it would be like for someone to suggest they do their job for free because they don’t think that their wages should be used for living expenses. That is the comparison.

    I hope she doesn’t give up on something she obviously dearly loved doing because of the morons in our world, but if she does I hope she can find joy in whatever she does next.

      • No, thank you for writing the article! I just realized I mispelled her name, and I feel bad for that…I blame typing my response on my phone on a work break. I have shared your article on FB to draw more attention to it, because as a wannabe author this is a discussion that I feel needs to be had and sooner rather than later or we will be stuck with systemic issues in the new landscape of media as we move from the traditional models to more content creator friendly ones.

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  18. I just heard about this and missed the ‘drama’ I think but I think you said everything beautifully. That’s exactly how I feel. I’ve actually supported kickstarters for books I didn’t even care about just because I felt the artist deserved to be heard. I feel awful about everything she’s had to go through though, it’s ridiculous and sad that anyone had to say anything negative about it.

  19. Reblogged this on Count My Stars and commented:
    I was debating what to say about the Stacey Jay Kickstarter controversy, and then Marni Bates went and said everything I wanted to, so I’m sharing her post. I do want to say a couple of things, though: 1) If you agree with the statement she takes issue with in item 5, you are an incredibly shitty human being, and 2) there was, in fact, bullying. Everything about this situation pisses me off and the authors who took Ms. Jay to task for doing something that hundreds of other artists have done with zero blowback ought to be ashamed of themselves.

  20. Pingback: Bewitched BookwormsThe Dark Side of Social Media and the sad story of Stacey Jay and her Kickstarter Project - my 2Cents - Bewitched Bookworms

  21. Marni, I’m still head-desking right now. If I had Stacey’s address (actually I’m almost certain I have her email from an event we did a couple of years back) I would mail her $10 right now. She doesn’t even have to promise me a book.

  22. Reblogged this on Joyce Mangola and commented:
    Good read. While no one is forced to give to Kickstarter, I can’t imagine asking my readers to fork over money for me to write a book. There are so many publishers out there that this is baffling. Anyway, read this lovely post by Marni.

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  26. Wow. I had no idea what happened to this author, but I completely sympathize with her and commend you for sharing her story.

    I don’t care how much she asked for, she figured out how much time she would need and what that would cost her (i.e. not working at a day job) and asked those who wanted to read her book to pay the average price of a book (which she would have delivered) … I don’t get why people are upset by it.

    But more than that, there is a mentality that art should be free. That pirating (illegally downloading for free) books and music is a-okay. It’s that mentality that has created this atmosphere that writers don’t need to be paid.

    I’ve written on spec (writing the book before receiving an advance) but I rarely do it, and because I am a professional writer, I do expect to be paid an advance so I don’t have to go get a day job in order to support my family. If I had a day job ( and I had a full-time day job before I signed my first contract) it would take me longer to write AND I sacrificed two years of writing every night from 8pm until midnight WHILE raising 5 kids WHILE working a 9-to-5 job. I certainly didn’t expect to do that for the rest of my life.

    And don’t get me started on Dear Author — but that comment was ludicrous. Advances are never repaid unless the author doesn’t deliver an acceptable book. The advance is technically “an advance against future royalties” meaning that once the advance has “earned out” (based on 8-15% of the cover price for print, and 25% net for digital — standard rates) then the author will see additional royalties. Advances are absolutely so the author can write FIRST — at least that’s how it used to be.

    Anyway, you have my sympathy and please extend to your friend my warm regards, and I sincerely hope she doesn’t stop writing because of some cruel, mis-informed people.

    ~ Allison Brennan

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  29. Frankly, I’m as confused as can be. Why was there an uproar in the first place when all this author did was use Kickstarter for the purpose for which it is intended? Thanks for sharing this post. I hadn’t heard much about this situation until now but I hope she keeps her head high and keeps doing her thing–haters be damned.

    • Thanks, Tonya! I’m equally baffled by the reaction. I honestly got so upset that I hid inside the pages of Stacey’s book, Juliet Immortal, until the worst of it had passed. Reading that book was truly the brightest part of my week. She’s such a fantastic writer!

      Wishing you all the best,

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  31. I had not heard of this author before a few hours ago, but I support her 100%. Her situation was laid out, her Publisher did not want to crank up the presses, so she needed funds to live on. If the fans think her work is worth 10.00 a book, and she gets 1000 fans, that’s 10K. Not much to ask, for people who are opting in AS FANS.

    Too long has there been this idea that writing is a hobby, that “Anyone” can do it as a hobby, while Real Work at a white or blue collar job, is tougher than writing. Work is work.

    What’s darkly funny is when a writer goes to a party, invariably there’s the guy that says, “Hey, great idea for a book or movie. I’ll tell it to you, you write it up, we’ll split 50-50.”

    Every situation has already been written. It’s the execution and style of those ideas that is worth something.

    People saw an easy target and jumped on. Shame. The trolls and brigands need to go home.

    Good luck Stacey Jay, there is a “Zen place” right where you are at right now, all around you.

    • I really love your comment. And I admit, I totally laughed when you mentioned an author at a party. That has happened to me *way* too many times. Darkly funny is absolutely right.

      Wishing you all the best!

  32. I’m a little baffled by all this. What exactly do these people think happens when a book is created? Did they expect the money to- IDEK- light candles for angels who would then sing the book out of the clouds (complete with bar codes and cover art) and guide each copy tenderly into a packing crate addressed to the recipient with feathery glitter quills?? Because of course no mundane expenses are incurred during the production of ART. All is supplied by the Muse, right? I don’t know who these aliens are, or where they’re from, but on this planet 10,000 is pretty minimal funds for interim expenses and publishing costs.

  33. Writing books is a job. It’s work that takes a considerable amount of time and effort. I’ve been writing professionally for five years, and like any other professional, I want to be compensated for my work. If publishers and readers think a work has merit, they should be willing to pay for it. I know things are more complicated in the arts because these are fields where so many are trying to succeed and so few do, and there are so many questions of quality and marketability, and these evaluations are often subjective and hard to quantify. But what Stacey Jay did is a way of answering all of them: “Does this work have merit? Do you want to read it? Then please help pay for it.”

    The fact that some people had problems with this says a lot about the state of the arts in this country and the privileged, entitled attitude that seems to be framing these peoples’ expectations. “We want what we want when we want it, and we don’t want to pay for it.”

  34. I just bought Stacey’s book without knowing all this. It’s sad that her numbers were low. That crap happens, but I don’t understand why anyone would get upset over Stacey doing a Kickstarter to support her writing a sequel to her fairy tale retelling? People do Kickstarters for all sorts of reasons, and supporting one is completely voluntary. I wish she had not backed out. I would have supported it. I just hope that she reads this page and it lifts her spirits and that she continues to write stories. I’m a big fan of her Juliet and Romeo books. She’s an incredible writer.

    • Hi Melinda,

      I couldn’t agree with you more! The whole thing is just heart-breaking. I spent all of yesterday reading Juliet Immortal and now I’m geeking out over Romeo Redeemed. She’s such an incredible author! Her prose is *insane* in the very best way imaginable. The scene in the car at the beginning of Juliet Immortal…*flails arms*

      Wishing you all the best!

  35. Reblogged this on Joyce Mangola and commented:
    Good read. While no one is forced to give to Kickstarter, I can’t imagine asking my readers to fork over money for me to write a book. There are so many publishers out there that this is baffling. Stacey Jay was given an advance for her first book. The way advances work is it is money that the publisher plans for that novel to make. Meaning, the author doesn’t see a cent of royalties until they reach the advance. If it doesn’t, verbage can be in your contract that you have to pay it back. Advances are rare and no publisher is obligated to give you another contract. If they drop you, it’s for good cause as in–you didn’t sell what they projected. I should be so lucky as to only write but I live in reality.
    Anyway, read this lovely post by Marni.

    • Hi Joyce,

      I think Melinda perfectly summed up my response to your points. (Her comment is on here somewhere…) But I do appreciate hearing from you!

      Wishing you all the best,

  36. Actually an advance is not what a publisher thinks a book will make. And as far as I know, no advance is ever paid back (exception Joan Collins). An author is dropped for lots of reasons, their editor can leave, their numbers are too low and /or the publisher is cutting their list of authors, conflict over author’s content. I think we all should go read what musician and artist Amanda Palmer says about asking people for money. She does it all the time. And asking $10 for a book is not unreasonable. After all, said book has to be written, edited, formatted, a cover, etc. I recently read an article by a hybrid author who spent over $4000 for three small books for Kindle and she never made that money back. What is important to remember here is: (1) A Kickstarter basically is asking for money, it’s an exchange between artist/etc. and fan. (2) The artist/etc. ask for the money as donations in return for a product that fan wants. It doesn’t matter how the money is really spent. And it doesn’t matter if other people like it or not. I read Dear Author. I could never make any sense of what they were saying. Good discussion and though I only saw this discussion today, I am really disappointed that Stacey felt so bad over what happened. Sad indeed, and it’s really a reflection on the people who were critical, not Stacey.

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  39. But…that’s not what Kickstarter is for.

    Kickstarter is designed to crowdfund the production costs of a single project. For something like the Veronica Mars movie, that includes the cost of a cast/crew because ultimately they will almost certainly not be receiving an equal share of profits, whereas for a novel the whole notion is that all publication costs are covered AFTER the cost of rewards and thus every copy sold post-Kickstarter is 100% profit directly to the creator (less distribution costs if on Amazon/etc.) The idea isn’t to support her making a wage from the book…the idea is to cover the cost of producing that book and letting the profits support her.

    I haven’t been able to find it on the site, but this was even explicitly stated in an earlier take on the Terms of Service.

    It’s not even that I disagree with the principle (and I’m certainly against harassment over it). If fans want to support the living costs of a creator while they work on said art then as long as it’s clearly communicated, I’m all for that. It’s just that what you’re describing isn’t Kickstarter. It’s Patreon.

    • Hi Brendan,

      I respectfully disagree. Like I said above, I think Kickstarter is what you make of it. Plenty of book projects similar to Stacey’s have been successfully done via Kickstarter. Patreon is also not a site I would recommend for a novel, because the model tends to work better for continuous works instead of one lone project. If you want to check out a great example of Patreon, I highly recommend Postmodern Jukebox, mostly because I’m a huge fan of their music.

      Wishing you all the best,

      • I respectfully disagree too. If the Kickstarter is meant to cover the cost of producing the book, how can it NOT include paying the writer for her time to write it? Especially when it is specifically so she can get it out faster.

  40. “the idea is to cover the cost of producing that book”
    And without rent and food, how is that book going to get “produced?”

  41. Oh absolutely and hurrah. This is what I wrote about it on Facebook: (forgive the use of ‘some chick’ – I don’t know Stacey Jay and I was trying to make a point generally, because I think this is a valid point, regardless of who it involves):

    ‘Apparently, some chick did a kickstarter to see if people wanted to fund the production of the second in a series that her publisher dropped. In her calculations she allowed some money for herself, so she could work on it exclusively, so it would be done faster for the backers. And then, apparently, some other people got their knickers in a knot over that fact.

    I am genuinely bamboozled by this. The way I understand Kickstarter is that it is a way of funding a product. When the product is a book, surely that includes paying the person who creates the book? I just don’t get why anyone would have a problem with that. Imagine a business case for building a house that showed the payments for the bricklayers, carpenters, painters et al, but no allowance to pay the dude who makes the bricks. You’d be laughed out of the bank. I don’t see how this is any different. People are weird.

    Oh, and the upshot? She’s withdrawn the kickstarter and the world won’t get that book now. Some victory for people who probably claim to be book lovers.’

    I would add now that I agree wholeheartedly that this was nothing to do with those who were not her fans. This kickstarter, as I see it, was a chance to see whether there were enough fans willing to pay $10 to see the sequel. If there were, she’d get straight on that. If not, she’d have to prioritise things that paid the bills. This seems a perfectly reasonable step to me and I just don’t see what the problem is.

    Thanks for such a well-written post.

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  43. Marnie: I’m hoping Stacey is keeping an eye on your blog & comments, because I’m hoping she will see and be heartened by my experience. I work primarily in a field where there is a huge number of consumers whose view is, “You have a gift/talent, therefore it should be free: we shouldn’t have to pay!”

    Yet their view of professional athletes is that their “gifted” and “talented” ability in their sports field is absolutely worth paying millions of dollars *per year* for.

    Does this strike me as, oh, just a tad inequitable? Ohhhh…you betcha! But that is the currently held belief. Now here is a bit of reality:

    I don’t know where Stacey lives, so I’m going to talk about where I live: California. In my home-base area (which is NOT a major metropolitan city), the poverty line is currently between $35k-$40k yearly. Stacey asked for $10k for 7 months of her time to work exclusively on this one project. That works out to a little less than $1.5k/mo. or less than half the poverty level. On that, you can pay for rent and utilities. But not food. Or anything else. Now, like I say, I don’t know where Stacey lives — for for all I know she can pay for a palatial mansion, raise 5 kids as a single mom, and keep horses (and pay for vet bills!) on the princely sum of $1.5k/mo. AND pay for a professional editor, book/cover designer/artist, and all of the other expenses of producing a professional literary work.

    Doesn’t matter.

    What *does* matter is that she is absolutely entitled to ask for funding. Hell, she could incorporate herself and sell shares, like David Bowie did (and made $50M opening day of his IPO!), in order to fund her project(s).

    And frankly, I’m hoping she will.

    Stacey: there will always be users/abusers/flamers/and general a$$hats out there on the net attempting to harm others because that’s just the way they roll ///over everyone who lets them get away with it///. Don’t cooperate with their selfish and manipulative games. Absolutely don’t reward them for playing. Put your product out there. They’ll never do that; they have nothing to offer but bile and negativity — and that doesn’t sell.

    Shine on, girl! 🙂

    Best wishes,


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  45. People are really god damn stupid. That’s why they freaked out over her Kickstarter and not the ‘Veronica Mars’ Kickstarter.

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