Gift Societies and Writing

Decided to roll out CuteGod 0.3.0 later today. Just need to finish up the Windows installer and make the various announcements. Nice features and people are beginning to really like what I've done, so that is a major egoboo. :)

Yesterday, I sent my first email to Blambot. If you don't know who they are, they make comic fonts. Two a month, one free and one not so free. I use them for Glorious Saber and I wanted to use the same font (Webletter Pro BB or the free version) in Ponies Among Us and a few other projects. Despite the fact these games are going to be open-sourced, Blambot (well, the guy who answered, but I treat this as a company/identity answer) said $400. Commerical, closed, or open-source, $400.

Now, it seems like a large hunk of money for something that I will never make money off of, but I'm still considering it. I think part of it comes from the nature of art verses programming. For some reason, the programming community has a very large section based on the gift society. You can see that in what I do: I give away 90% of my programming libraries and also about 90% of my stories. Yeah, I could keep them close to my chest and try to eek some money out of them, but I instead choose to publish them on the Internet and let anyone use them with relatively permissive terms. The same with stories. But, this isn't normal for the creative works.

On, I once found an article from a musician that even paying him $20, 50, or even $100 is something. He spends hours working on something and doesn't want to just give it away free, just because the code is free. Some of it comes from art verses programming (I'm an artistic programmer, that's how I write), but I think it has to do with something else. Artists should get paid for the work. And, fonts are art. It takes 20-30 hours to make a font. Yeah, I want to do it myself, but $400 might be far and away worth it for me to have a font that I like to use as I want. Same for paying someone to make music for me or draw art for my games. But, chances are, I'll continue to give away 90% of my art, be it stories, programming, and graphics, because it "feels right" to me.

This conflicts with my desire to be a professional writer, of course. It's hard to be famous and all writery when you give it away. People don't pay for things that are given away and if you don't get it pushed past a cash register, it never makes the New York Times Bestseller List. In this case, I'm trying to phase in the occasional pay in there. My novels are for the business side of my life. I do plan on giving them away, yes, but that is part of their "end of life" plan (i.e. after X years of publication, I'm planning on opening them up to Creative Commons, probably by-nc-sa, and throwing them on a POD). About 90% of my stories are freebies, things I want to give away so people know how I write, and the fact I write. I am combining both bylines in this, by the way, since looking at my stories index, I appear to be a rather unprolific writer. I need to fix that. Next year's goal is to write at least twelve stories under this byline and have nine go straight to the page, and the other three try the publication route. Yeah, it isn't 90%, but I think I'm having trouble establishing myself as a professional writer.

So, $400 isn't bad for a font. Well, for just a font, it's a bit high. Adobe sells their fonts for about $200 each, but the $400 gives me the right to put it in a game and send it out. I couldn't get that from Adobe for less than a couple grand problem. Yeah, I could cheat and pre-render the images and that would bypass it entirely. Or I could make my own font. Well, I want to make my own font, I really do and its on my list of "things to do" but is it worth the 40 hours of work to just make my own? Given the fact I'm already on month three of six for 4E6? Probably not, but you never know. Until then, I'll go with Webletter Pro BB, and if I don't have the insane desire to make my own font by February, I'll pay for the license and use a professional's work.

Remember, just because you can do something, doesn't mean it makes sense. Or is worth the time. Or will be better. And, I'll leave you one of my mottos in life:

Anyone can build a house. Experience just means you do it faster and with less mistakes.

It is true. Anyone can build a house. Anyone can figure out how to do it, get the tools and puzzle through it. But, an experienced house builder will do it faster, make less mistakes, and it probably will look better.

Case of the Morning Zombies (Edit #1, 0 of 37 chapters)
CuteGod 0.3.0 (8 of 10 tasks)