“I Hate Asking For Money”

 

            I learned a lot of things from my family. I learned how to start a fire with a road flare, I learned how to open a beer bottle on a truck door, I learned that movie blood tastes like syrup, I learned it was okay to name your cats “Honky” and “Spooky” as long as you were being ironic, and I learned the best place to hide you weed was in the dirt of the giant plant in your living room.

            I also learned not to ask people for money.

            In our family it was the height of rudeness to ask somebody how much they made at their job. So you can easily imagine that it was damn near a stoning offense to actually ask someone for a buck. I don’t actually think this policy is a bad thing but sometimes you do need to ask for help. It was a refusal to ask for help which eventually contributed to my family’s bankruptcy in 2005 and losing our house in 2011. But to be fair to myself I’m not whining or looking for sympathy just stating a few facts before getting to the heart of all this.

            So two years ago, well closer to 18 months ago, I did a Kickstarter to being my publishing business. I needed the start up capitol to pay for a few different things but most for the cover art for the firs three books of the Shores of the Dead series.  The Kickstarter was successful and I even reached the first stretch goal off $1100.

            I enlisted an amazing artist who agreed to do the covers. He finished the first one and knocked it out of the fucking park, if you want to know what it looks like go check the book on Amazon. We had plans for what came next when tragedy struck. My cover artist had a stroke right before Christmas 2012, then after new years his home burned down while he was in the hospital.

            I won’t let you wonder about what happened. He eventually recovered and is now working again. But I had to eat two thirds of the money, I’m an asshole but I’m not the asshole who will demand a refund from a stroke victim.

            In the end I had to finance the remaining covers from my own bank account. I found another awesome artist who nailed covers 2 and 3 while cutting me an excellent deal. So everything tuned out fine but 70% of the Kickstarter money was wasted. But I recovered, reinvested the profits back into the company, and came out ahead in the end.

            Fast forward to last summer, while attending Gen Con I decided it was time to take the next great step forward. I’d spent the first full year of publishing concentrating on the digital marketplace. It was now time to work on pushing the paperbacks but more importantly it was time to start interacting with the fans and customers in person.

            It was time to join the convention circuit.

            I spent the last day of Gen Con 2013 asking the authors who populate “Authors Alley” about the process. How did they get their tables? How much did it cost? What were the added expenses of putting their table together? And most importantly I asked them what advice they could offer me on the whole experience of doing conventions.

            Let me tell you right now that Indie Authors and Artists are some of the best people in the world. Every question I asked was answered in detail along with follow ups. That single round of Q&A convinced me I could do it too.

            I determined I would do it by myself this time. I was not going to ask anyone for funds and instead I was going to make sure to put aside part of my revenue every month in preparation for Gen Con 2014. I worked out what I would need, I made contact with the people at Gen Con, and I saved my pennies. Everything was working like clockwork.

            Until it wasn’t.

            Snag number one happened in January when it was determined my middle daughter needed massive amounts of dental work. I am not going to give you the numbers but she needed all four wisdom teeth and a full set of braces applied to her mouth. According to her orthodontist she has one of the worst sets of teeth he’s ever seen. In order to pay for it (and keep in mind we have dental insurance) I had to completely deplete the Gen Con fund.

            There was no choice in the matter. I would do anything for my kids.

            I was reduced to a zero sum game but I knew tax season was here and I could use the meager return we’d get to finance a bare bones Gen Con experience. This looked like a sound plan until sag number two happened.

            Two weeks ago the engine in my wife’s 2008 Chevrolet Cobalt blew. We’d taken very good care of the car and maintained it since day one of ownership. The mileage is commiserate with the age and there is no identifiable flaw other than “Shit Happens”. We still owe on the car until June of 2015 and have been a one car family since mine died in December of 2012.

            There goes the tax returns for 2014.

            So now we are five months from Gen Con and funds are nearly nonexistent. I refuse to shave the household budget in order to pay for the outing and GWSP has monthly bills that have to be paid if we want to stay in operation. I wrestled with the conundrum, made decisions, and then reconsidered those decisions.

            Sigh… I am now doing something I hate. I am asking for help.

            The table at Gen Con is paid for and the hotel arrangements are being divvied amongst several people. What I need to pay for are;

{C}·         Prints – I will need more than a thousand dollars to cover the bare minimum number of prints I need to take in order to hopefully sell and cover the costs of the trip.

{C}·         SWAG – I am going to be GIVING AWAY bookmarks, lanyards, buttons, and anything else I can think of.

{C}·         Table Bling – I want to have a custom banner, table skirt, and displays for my books. I was shocked when I saw how much this can cost.

            So that is the situation. As much as I hate this I am asking people to contribute through the website “Go Fund Me”. I have set out some rewards for levels of funding and I am hoping people realize I am only doing this because I can’t think of a better option.

 

http://www.gofundme.com/7k54oc

 

 

            -Josh

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Josh Hilden

When I was born on August 3, 1976 in the great state of Michigan the hills shook and the sky was swept with fire. These were portents of the greatness for my future that was written in the stars ... I'm still waiting for that greatness. My name is Josh Hilden and I am many things. I am a husband, a father, a son, a friend. These are all important things but at my core I am an artist and the medium that I work in is words. I am a writer of Horror, Science Fiction, Drama, and Role Playing Games. I worked for Palladium Books (www.palladiumbooks.com) and Third Eye Games (www.thirdeyegames.net) before striking out on my own and founding a small press publishing company Gorillas with Scissors Press (www.gwspress.com). I also work for Fat Goblin Games (www.fatgoblingames.com). In the everyday world I can be found spending time with my family and friends. I have been married to my lovely wife Karen since 1996 and we have six amazing children. We tend to be a family of unabashed geeks and gamers who were geek before geek was chic. If you are really interested in me I am very active online with a personal and a writing blog along with a plethora of social media outlets. If you have any questions or just want to chat hit me up!