It happens all the time. Someone posts a thing they made online – product, information, service, or otherwise – and says something to the effect of “click here to buy this and SUPPORT MY WORK!”
Am I the only one who cringes at this?
Here’s the deal: I’m in no way above online panhandling. I write books and run a business, and thus it’s often necessary to hawk my shit publicly. “Here, I made this thing. Click here to buy it.” This is very different, however, from, “Here, I made this thing. Click here to buy it to support my work.”
If you’re a person that makes things and sells them, no matter what those things are, people “supporting your work,” should not be the goal. It’s basically a form of charity; “oh, this person I know of made this thing, good for them. They must’ve worked hard. I’ll buy it and support them.” It’s a nice thing to do – and undoubtedly people have bought my shit for these reasons before (thanks mom!) – but it’s not the goal.
The goal is to create things that add value to people’s lives.
Something they need, something they want. Something they buy because something’s in it for them. Demand, it’s a simple concept. That’s what we’re trying to do. Not make things that people only buy because they’re “supporting” you, but make things that people buy because they want to buy them.
And of course, we all know this. That’s what we’re all trying to do. But when you ask someone to support your work, you’re basically telling them that it’s not good enough to stand on its own merits. This is a timid and spineless way to live. Not “buy this to support me,” but, “buy this because it kicks mondo ass and you don’t want to live without it.” That’s the point. If you made a good thing, stand tall and be confident it is a good thing. Don’t be a dick, but be proud of it.
(I used to see people sign off corporate emails like this all the time. I never got it. “S?” It takes a fraction of a second to write the full name. “Sam.” There. That wasn’t hard. Even long names – “Barnabas” – take maybe a second more than just “B.” You can’t be that busy. If you are, I want the whole email in one-letter abbreviations. It would be fun to decipher. Anyway, that’s all. -S)