A year of new ‘Snide Remarks’?

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In a perfect world, I would be writing “Snide Remarks” every week, and you would be reading it, and all would be edified. Our world is imperfect — but together we can take a step toward remedying that!

I’m excited to officially announce a Kickstarter campaign for A Year of Snide Remarks. It launched just before Christmas, but I wanted to wait until after the holidays to start the big push. THIS IS NOW THE BIG PUSH.

Here are the basics. I love writing “Snide Remarks” but can’t justify the time and energy it requires if it’s not producing income, because I’m a freelance writer and not independently wealthy. And since no reputable publication will pay me to write “Snide Remarks,” I now come to YOU, the readers, to be my employers.

For $5,000, I will write “Snide Remarks” every week for a year. (Well, 50 columns. I get two weeks off.) It’s unseemly to discuss financial matters in such a public fashion, but there it is. That’s my price. Five grand for 50 columns. Now you people, you pitch in, pass the virtual hat around, and collect $5,000.

Kickstarter works on an all-or-nothing basis. We have until Feb. 1 to raise $5,000 in pledges. If that money is raised by Feb. 1, then I’ll write “Snide Remarks” every week for a year, starting March 7. If we don’t get $5,000 in pledges by Feb. 1, nobody pays anything, no columns are written, and everyone is sad.

Is a year of “Snide Remarks” worth a dollar to you? Then pledge a dollar! As long as 4,999 other people do the same, we’re cool. Perhaps $10 is more like it? Then $10 it shall be! Do you find it distasteful to pay any amount of money, no matter how small, for online entertainment? Then pledge nothing! You’ll still be able to read the columns when (if) they come out!

I struggled with how to go about this. I was afraid it would look like I was being lazy and shiftless, asking the Internet to pay my bills so that I could write goofy columns and avoid “real” work. (For some reason — and despite all evidence to the contrary — I have this work ethic that makes me feel guilty for earning a living doing something that isn’t very hard.)

But then I looked at it another way. I’m a freelance writer. I’m contracted at Film.com, Cinematical, and Salt Lake City Weekly to write certain things for a certain amount of money. The terms were agreed upon before I took the gigs. A year of “Snide Remarks” is just another gig. The only differences are that 1) my “employers” are whoever donates money and 2) the details of my contract are public rather than private.

Besides, it’s not like $5,000 is enough to live on. It’s not like I’ll be sittin’ around, doing nothing but write “Snide Remarks” for a year. If I wanted $40,000 to do it, that would be lazy, and you’d be right to ignore me. But $5,000 is a reasonable amount for a job like this.

Here is the Kickstarter page where you can contribute. Here is the Kickstarter FAQ, which should answer any questions you have about the process. (They use Amazon’s payment system, so it’s safe and secure, yada yada.) In addition, here are a couple other answers to questions that I can imagine receiving:

Q: What if you raise more than $5,000? Will you write additional columns? Like, say, if you got $5,500, would you write 55 column instead of 50? Is my math correct?
A: Your math is good, but no, anything more than $5,000 will be considered a bonus. (Kickstarter and Amazon each take a small cut, so I guess any bonus would offset that.) I mean, if we raised a HUGE amount of money, WAY more than five grand, I’d do something special, sure. Pizza party for the whole class, something like that. But Kickstarter doesn’t require it.

Q: Since I’m paying for this stuff, does that mean I get a say in what you write? Can I have my contribution returned to me if I don’t think the new stuff is funny?
A: Well, no. If you pledge at least $100, you do get to choose the topic of one column, but not what angle I take or what opinions (if any) I express. (I’ll do my best to communicate with those donors and try to make them happy with their contributions, though.) The idea here is that you generally like the “Snide Remarks” column and want to enable me to write it, not that you want to have creative control over it.

Q: What if we fund the project and then you don’t write the column? Are you going to take our money and run away?
A: I will not take your money and run away. My obligation will be to write 50 columns between March 7, 2011, and Feb. 27, 2012. In the event of serious illness or injury putting me out of commission for several weeks, I would ask for an extension on the final deadline, but there would still be 50 columns. If something catastrophic were to happen that forced me to quit the project altogether, I would refund everyone’s money.

Q: That picture on the Kickstarter page. Is that you?
A: Yes, sadly. It was 1992. I was 17. Those were the eyeglasses I wore every day. Why didn’t anyone tell me they were so comically large?

We’re already a quarter of the way there. My thanks to everyone who has pledged so far. Please spread the word! Put it on your Facebooks and your Twitters and your iPhones and your CB radios. Remember, this is an all-or-nothing system! If we don’t get $5,000 in pledges by Feb. 1, no one pays anything, and the project doesn’t happen.

I’m excited about the prospect of bringing “Snide Remarks” back to the Internets! I am also excited about the prospect of spending all of February writing practice columns to get back into the groove. Anyone know what PETA’s been up to lately?

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