a welcome to many, being “neil gaiman’s woman”, and a question for you.
hello loves….kia ora….
and greetings from waiheke island, aotearoa new zealand, lockdown day 47. things are feeling weird as usual as we continue in the full lockdown vibe, still no school, still no shops open, and everybody is bracing for monday’s announcement from the governemnt about whether or not auckland will be able to open schools and businesses. there were 35 new cases today; the outlook is bleak.
but there has still never been a single case of covid on the island where i live, population 9,000. not one.
we are still in lala land.
i took this above selfie late last night, final moment-thing before switching off, because i figure you all deserve to know what my office set-up in lockdown looks like.
yep. it’s a bed.
anyway – i wanted to say a few things today…and ask a question which may have a complicated answer.
i’ll be reading these comments all night and tomorrow, and i’ll respond to as much as possible, so hit me.
first of all, i wanted to extend a warm welcome to a whole slew of new patrons who joined, or re-joined, yesterday. we lost our usual few hundred patrons to bad credits cards, but we also gained another 200, in part because of a facebook post that i posted that i wasn’t expecting to blow up. (it’s here).
welcoming in 200 new patrons is always a little scary, because it’s like 200 people showing up for a party that’s already in full swing and trying to get everyone a drink….but here goes. WELCOME!!!! WELCOME!!! WELCOME!!! WELCOME!!!! WELCOME!!! WELCOME!!! WELCOME!!!! WELCOME!!! WELCOME!!! to this nice little corner of the internet. if you wanna say hi and tell us a little bit about yourself in the comments, please do. old-skool patrons, please help me be the welcoming committee. i know many of you are fearlessly good at it.
it was a pretty typical facebook post – i often do these little housekeeping reminders at the top of the month as a nudge to anyone who may be reading facebook and has accidentally floated off the patreon due to credit card expiries or whatever.
i always remind people that my funding is not from the sky, this patreon really does pay all my artistic bills and living expenses. it literally pays my rent here in new zealand.
here’s what i wrote in the original post:
happy OCTOBER! let’s talk for a moment about how the vegan art sausage is made, cos it ain’t magic….gotta do the occasional housekeeping. ahem.
i am a completely crowdfunded artist. i am not on a label. i do not have a brand sponsorship. i have PEOPLE. you. that’s it.
95% all of my income lately comes from patronage. that money pays my staff, my office rent in NY, my rent here in new zealand, my grocery bills, it’s gonna pay for the piano i’m about to rent here so i can get back to composing (i haven’t had a piano in the house in 9 months and it’s driving me slowly crazy).
it is everything.
my income does not come from touring or record sales or the government or the magical art money tree. it comes from PEOPLE – all sorts of people all over the world – who believe in the long arc of my art, my work, my message, my contribution to humanity….and want me to make things without having to stress about sales and marketing.
if you’re not already a patron, try it out. we have also become a tight little family, and things function differently over on my patreon posts and within our discussion forums than than for here on facebook, where people feel more like strangers, bullies and trolls show up, and it doesn’t feel safe and intimate. we have made a beautiful family. we love welcoming newcomers. if any of my patrons are reading this…back me up here.
i cannot do my kind of “work”, with unfettered artistic freedom and no commercial and corporate bent, without crowd support.
you can join the community for as little as $1 a month. $12 a year. it’s not a ton of money and a pledge that small gets you access to almost everything. if you have more disposable income, you can pledge more to access fun things like Art In The Mail, smaller private group webcasts – which are always wonderful and make us all feel less lonely – and that sort of thing.
to the 12,000+ patrons who are currently on this crazy art-journey with me…i treasure this relationship, and everything you teach me.
to my patrons reading this: please go check that your account info is up to date! we ALWAYS – like clockwork – lose a few hundred people – by accident – at the start of every month due to people not updating their payment info. go check!!!
there tons of great stuff coming up this month. webcasts, ask me anythings, new podcasts, new songs and live concerts, essays, you name it.
this bitch is on fire. i have now been on patreon for 6+ years and i’m only starting to understand its powers. what is possible. it’s incredible. 🔥🔥🔥🔥
let’s go. here’s the link……
for some reason, even though i often write reminders like this (so often it can even feel spammy, so i don’t do every month…but perhaps every 3-4 months), the post hit a raw nerve with some people.
and it was like time warp.
i felt like i was back in 2011, defending my use of crowdfunding to a bunch of strangers who really just don’t understand how it works.
oh my GOD, dudes.
does anyone remember 2011, when i launched my giant kickstarter? was anyone THERE? remember how very, very bad it was…? yikes. if you weren’t, it was…gnarly. i could probably make a daisy-chain to the moon and back to earth with the number of vicious and cruel comments i had to digest with my eyeballs, into brain, into soul, hitting heart. it was a hard time. it was painful to feel so constantly and fundamentally misunderstood. i became very acclimated to a certain kind of abuse online. i would check my daily twitter feed and see dozens, hundreds, sometimes thousands of comments a day, sometimes addresses straight to me, sometimes talking “about” me. i was a thief. i was a greedy whore. i was a narcissistic cunt. amanda palmer and her kickstarter are a pox on the music industry. amanda palmer begs for money. amanda palmer’s fans are being swindled. amanda palmer is married to rich, rich neil gaiman and fuck her and her begging for cash. amanda palmer should die. her music sucks anyway. fuck amanda palmer.
when you read comments like this for a year or so, you sort get….dare i say, slightly inoculated? they become white noise.
i became very good at blocking out the noise and focusing on the signal. i also became better at being kinder to people who didn’t understand crowdfunding….or feminism…or the music industry….or….me.
it was a very exhuasting couple of years.
i tried to exorcise a lot of those insult-demons when i wrote “the art of asking”, and it’s moment like these where i realize:
i’ve truly grown.
how very, very far i’ve come from those days. i’m so much less afraid, so much less insecure. i take bait from (almost) no bully. i still slip sometimes. i try to listen. i just don’t get angry anymore. not even a little. i have completed a lot of my internet jiujitsu training.
and i really do actually, genuinely love and appreciate every comment, even the ones telling me i am hideous, greedy, fraudulent, bullshit artist….and the best gem: why would i need to beg and crowdfund when i am “NEIL GAIMAN’S WOMAN?”. oh my god! i remember when i used to fend these sorts of comments off hourly!
i enjoyed responding to that one. i hugged the guy and gave him a little mini-feminism lesson about how thinking that way can hurt all of us. i’ll post it below.
but it was weird. it was a little taste of all that old cruelty come to re-visit for a moment.
okay….truth: i liked it.
call me weird. i liked it because i have changed so very much since those dark days of 2011 when i became an internet punching bag for an entire year.
so….again, you’re free to go read the whole thread – you don’t have to be on facebook to read it, it’s open – but this i wanted to cut and paste some of the more pertinent exchanges. there are over 1,000 comments to sift through, so you’re welcome. here are the highlights.
from susan: I read your book, “The Art of Asking.” Still unimpressed. And I really wanted to be impressed, having been a street artist myself, busking and begging for myself, a song, my art.
You ask for collaborations with other artists who don’t have your support network, and pay them nothing for THEIR talent, and abuse their trust, their talent, and their time. Pay your collaborators, Amanda. Gratitude and exposure doesn’t pay the rent, and your bill will come due sooner or later.
my response: hi susan!
nice to meet a fellow busker. your post makes me think a few things. first of all, the fact that you refer to your busking as “begging” says something to me…that maybe there’s still a glimmer shame lurking around your story of the experience. which would add up, if you have such a deeply emotional aversion to this kind of work and exchange. what i have generally found is that people who actively attack this sort of consensual work and exchange usually have something personally going on that really riles them; issues around fairness, loyalty, commitment, trust….having been hurt or taken for a ride themselves.
i’m not sure which collaborators you are referring to, i’ve had thousands. and a different and unique exchange with all of them. to my knowledge, i’ve never hired a collaborator and then withheld a promised payment they were owed, but perhaps you know something i don’t. i’m sending lots of love to you, wherever you are. anyone who busks or has busked understands an aspect of life many others don’t, and i tip my (virtual) hat to you❤️
from jennifer: Hi Amanda. Thank you for being a source of light and compassion and bringing your art into the world despite the number of empty-souled people who come here to hate on you for no reason.❤️
my response: you know what? i’m not kidding: i love those people. it makes me really curious, always, to see what nerves crowdfunding still hits in people all these years later, even though people seem to understand much better than they did back in 2011 that it’s truly no different than giving your money to a record store, or amazon, or a major label who then passes the money (or a piddling percentage of it) to the artist. there’s still a lot of shame in the system. but man…i know who i am.
these people don’t bug me, they teach me how much work we still have to do as a community to break down the shame wall that keeps so many artists from asking for support for their work.
it’s precisely those sorts of comments that keep artists caged in systems they don’t really like and don’t benefit from…but the alternative is often just too scary when you see the judgement and negativity that gets aimed at people, like me, who choose to do business directly without giving the system it’s usual cut. we have a lot of work to do. 🙏🏻
from catherine: I joined Amanda’s Patreon a few years ago when I saw someone being quite vicious about it on twitter – I didn’t know much about her at the time but thought it sounded like a great system and I strongly believe that the arts and artists need more support. I signed up to the bottom tier at a princely $1 per month and I don’t engage much but reckon I will keep doing it as it is a brilliant system and think that what she does is well worth supporting – I’m actually not too concerned about the output that is part of the Patreon “deal” (probably don’t deserve to be for $12 a year) but like that I am in some way helping some one to have the freedom to do what they want to do. I have since started supporting a couple of other artists through Patreon as well and if nothing else it’s a good feeling for what is really not much money.
me: every little bit adds up to a lot. don’t forget that the $5 donations to obama’s campaign back in the day wound up making up the bulk of it. it’s the gesture. xx
(side note…obama may not have been a perfect president….but oh my lord, after all this trump shit, i miss him a lot. onwards)
from tony: Why do you need a “staff” to sit in New Zealand??? I can’t believe you still ask people for money while doing nothing.
i responded: hey tony! that’s a great question. if you’re truly curious and not just being a bully, you should take a look at the monthly newsletters i send out on the patreon.
they go into detail about what the staff is working on…there’s always a lot to do. podcasts don’t pod themselves, merch doesn’t design and ship itself from magical spaces, recordings don’t just happen on my phone and get popped up on the cloud. if i didn’t need a staff, believe me, i’d be very happy not to have one. but i don’t have time to do an extra 100 hours of admin and shipping and email-replying a week.
it’s often amazing to me that people don’t understand that musicians need to hire help for the work we do. i’ve even run into people who were shocked to find out that it’s common to have six-twelve people on the road for an average dolls tour. and i’m like…who do you think is doing everything? most of this just comes down to people not really understanding how the business works, how much time and energy it takes to make certain things, and so forth. but what’s also fascinating is this: there HAVE been months this year in new zealand where i’ve done very little “output”. i was single mothering, there was covid, i was in a new country, and so forth. and those months often made me nervous…because i feared the sort of judgemnt brought forth in your comment.
what i found was truly extraordinary: my patrons did not come to me demanding that i GIVE THEM VALUE GODDAMIT, but rather, they encouraged me to go easy on myself, to not worry, to take care of my kid, to take a breath. i never felt more loved and understood, more cared for, than by my long-term patrons this year who really showed me that they’re in it not for a “product” or “content”, but because they truly just want to support the human being behind the piano, the microphone, the drafting table. sending lots of love, and thank you for your question…it was nice to be able to articulate all this.
from TJ: Im a broke millennial tens of thousands in debt with multiple medical issues… and I fucking love you and your husband’s works. They have gotten me through some of the darkest days of my life and LITERALLY saved my life. I may have a bank account that makes others my age laugh, but I’ll keep throwing whatever pennies I have at both of you (and other artists) until I die. If my only contribution in this life is I somehow allowed more beauty into this world via art I will rest easy. Thank you for indirectly being a major part of my life.
me: may i also point out, TJ, that the whole reason i do patreon and keep 99% of my content FREE is so that broke people can access it whenever they want. i really don’t like paywalls. i love the idea of old-school patronage, where the wealthier among us dig deeper to support the art we want to see in the public sphere, so that everybody can enjoy it. so it would make me sad to think that anyone was ever struggling to pay me. there are a lot of people out there who will have your back. and one day, if and when you’ve got more money to spare, you’ll pay it forward…whether it’s to me or another artist.❤️🙏🏻
and for your sincere enjoyment….
the gem, from our pal michael:
I know I’m gonna sound like a jerk too but aren’t you married to Neil Gaiman? Like you guys are actually set for life, and so is your kid(s).
I’m not saying “live off your husband” because you are a brilliant writer and artist in your own right and I appreciate your words. But for a minute i literally thought I was reading a post from my close personal musician friend Amanda Rogers who is also a struggling piano player living off of $11 for every 50k streams she gets and raising two toddlers and because my brain glitched you two (it does thar a lot) I was like ‘wow this is so sincere and amazing to ask the audience for what you need’ (I’m a starving author artist as well). I love your writing. The moment I realized it wasn’t her was when you mentioned paying an office and staff cuz she’s got none of that.
So then I’m like— “Neil Gaiman’s wife needs money? Hahahahahaha”.
If i’m mixing you up with someone else my apologies, but otherwise I just gotta shake my head cuz you are set for life and get to live free and do whatever you want all the time while the rest of us writhe in the fucking slavery of this piece of shit civilization.
If you are Neil’s woman I have to say— I DO respect your mind and writing immensely. But also— come on— you’re already a celebrity and you’re living the high life asking all the broke ass people for more money. Your fam probably has more money than all of us put together.
my response: hi matthew. i don’t have that kind of arrangement with neil, it is not 1750, and i am not neil’s property, nor i am not his “woman”, nor does neil have to pay for the running of my business – that’s crazy.
i wonder if you would say the same thing if i were running a different kind of company – one that made, say, shoes instead of art. should neil – because we are married – pay all of the costs of a shoe business? i wouldn’t think so.
i really enjoy working and getting paid for my work, as many women do – regardless of whether or not they have a partner who also has an income. i don’t take for granted that everybody understands the basics of a new way of looking at equality. many, many women – and many men – no longer think that this patriarchal system – where a man must earn, and his female partner woman must be supported is really in all of our best interests. it is not only very old-fashioned, but many of us have discovered that it is very harmful way to look at the world, indeed. love to you. xxx
and….i can’t find the comment at the moment, but i pointed out that my the end of this robust discussion, i’d probably typed a total of 1-2k words in responses, which is far longer than most articles i’ve written, and been paid for, my magazines. the poetry, dudes. the poetry.
i also pointed out to someone who bullying-ly accused my defenders of being “fat stay at home moms and feminists” or something along those lines….i pointed out some amazing poetry.
i actually AM a stay at home mom right now. i have been for the last 6 weeks. i am in full lockdown in new zealand, barely able to work 10-15 hours a week if i’m lucky.
and you know what’s been making that possible without me having to borrow money (from neil, or anyone else for that matter) and go into debt?
also: EXCITING KARMIC AND UNIVERSE SYNCHRONICITY SIDE NOTE….someone tagged someone into this post and I WAS OFFERED A FREE PIANO by someone (debra) who knows someone on waiheke who has one to spare.
i told debra how to get to my house.
today, i met debra.
i mean….i love the internet.
make a post about patreon credit cards….get a free piano.
THANK YOU WORLD
so here comes my question…..and it’s a kind of a BORAD one…..for new and old patrons alike:
have your feelings about crowdfunding changed since 2011?
did crowdfunding always make “sense” to you?
did you CONVERT?
go into detail!! tell me your whole history with crowdfunding!
did you once support a kickstarter back in 2016 and it was horrible because you never got your fucking stuff from the artist and you decided “never again”, but i lured you back with patreon?
have you never done anything with crowdfunding until now?
have you always known that crowdfunding was amazing? why? how?
did you think crowdfunding was satanic back in 2012 but it’s become so normal that you kinda changed your mind? what changed your mind?
INQUIRING AMANDA WANTS TO KNOW.
these things fascinate me….and i don’t think anyone has done this research, so i’m going to make this an open post and share the comments with some of my internet nerd pals over at berkman-klein if you don’t mind. i think people will be really keen to know WHAT, if anything, changes people’s minds about whether or not crowdfunding is as “legitimate” as, say, just walking into a store and buying a record, or going to a website and buying a ticket for a piece of theater.
talk to me.
and for the newbs: i LOVE talking here. you may find the comments system is a little annoying – patreon is still a new and sometimes clonky platform…but so much, er, “nicer” than facebook even if it isn’t as fast and as streamlined (and you can’t post photos, which is a damn shame).
but you can post links. please do heart comments that you like and please don’t be afraid to chat and converse with strangers…we do that here. and everybody is kind. which is wonderful.
comment away. say hi, introduce yourselves….i’m reading, and i’ll respond to everything i can later this evening.
oh and here’s a picture i took on a lockdown walk in the woods (sorry kiwis, THE BUSH) on waiheke today.
it made me smile.
I LOVE YOU ALL A LOT
WELCOME! SAY HI! TELL ME THINGS! ASK QUESTIONS!
and to my patrons of six years, you know i have no words.
p.s. oh….one last note to all the NEW PATRONS for a quick starter: here is the latest thing you’ve missed. it’s a longer story, which you can read at this link, but a few days i released a really powerful live-perfomance MASHUP of robin thicke’s “blurred lines” and nirvana’s “rape me” with new zealnd icon reb founatin. it’s going to go public this week, but go sneak a peek. it’s the best thing i’ve done in a while…and will also give you a taste of what patreon makes POSSIBLE. i cannot make this kind of content without you. so thank you for being here. i love you. https://www.patreon.com/posts/56275346
——THE STUFF I SAY AT THE END OF EVERY POST————
1. if you are a patron and new to my work, don’t forget your patronage allows you access to ALL of my patreon releases to date. HERE is the link to download my latest big solo record, “There Will Be No Intermission”, and HERE is a link to download the PDF of the art/essay book that goes with it.
2. if you’re a patron reading this post via an email notification, please click through to comment on this post. at the very least, if you’ve read it, indicate that by using the heart symbol. that’s always nice for me to see, so i know who’s reading.
3. see All the Things (over 150 of them) i’ve made so far on patreon:
4. JOIN THE SHADOWBOX COMMUNITY FORUM, find your people, and discuss everything: https://forum.theshadowbox.net/
5. are you new to my music and TOTALLY OVERWHELMED? TAKE A WALK THROUGH AMANDALANDA….we made a basic list of my greatest hits n stuff (at least up until a few years ago, this desperately needs updating) on this lovely page: http://amandalanda.amandapalmer.net/
6. general AFP/patreon-related questions? ask away, someone will answer: firstname.lastname@example.org