courage to crowdfund

It took a lot of courage for me to leave the comfort and security of corporate life 20 years ago when I embarked on my freelance writing career. But I really felt I had to go out on my own and make decisions that would drive my happiness and open the door for creative ideas to flow.

It took a lot of courage when I refocused my writing career from periodical work to books. I’d built my professional credits on the basis of writing for magazine, newspapers, and online markets. Changing my focus to books was taking my creative efforts into new territory. But I love a challenge.

And it’s taking a tremendous amount of courage for me to turn to the public and ask for financial support for Chocolatour. Some people call it begging and think of crowdfunding as demeaning.

I have an entirely different opinion of crowdfunding. I see it as the evolution of being a patron of the arts. People have supported creative productions and endeavours via personal donations for centuries. It is nothing new. Just a new platform, or way to facilitate these donations more efficiently and to a global audience, rather than handing out leaflets to members of the community or sending our mailings via the postal service.

As well, it is an opportunity for the artist or creator of the project to drive the parameters of the work by setting a budget and financial goal that will either facilitate the project as planned, or cause alterations to be made in accordance with the financial reality the artist is facing.

Crowdfunding is enabling me to reach out to the world, tell them about my project, and hope they will support it–through their monetary donations or via the act of sharing my information or link with others who may be interested and better able to support the project.

Working together, we can all make this book and other creative projects happen.


a little feng shui is bound to help the success of my campaign


How is crowdfunding any different than selling chocolate covered almonds door to door in support of a school project? Most of us have either sold the almonds or bought countless boxes of them in support of a school’s desire/need to buy new equipment or take a group of students on a trip.

How is it any different than an individual asking for pledges for the marathon they are running in support of a cause, or a volunteer sports team seeking donations to purchase new equipment or attend a tournament across the country? Or a candidate or political party asking for donations to advance their cause?

I think that we as a global society need to rethink the way we support the arts and artists. I’m grateful to Kickstarter for launching the largest crowdfunding platform in the world, and had I been American, I may have used it. But as Canadians are not eligible to launch a KS project, I am grateful for Indiegogo and the opportunity to share my campaign in support of the printing and production costs for Chocolatour at

I would be most grateful if you would take 10 minutes out to watch the video and slideshow. The campaign will close  on April 13th, so if you wish to be part of Team Chocolatour, please donate now. If you prefer to bypass the Indiegogo campaign and donate to Chocolatour directly, you can do so via my website for the book at or by mailing a cheque directly to me. Thank you so much.

Your call. Would you like to talk about courage, and a point in your life when you had to reach deep within to find courage to embark on a new adventure or embrace a new situation? Or would you like to share your views on crowdfunding, and platforms such as Kickstarter and Indiegogo?

Doreen Pendgracs

Known throughout the Web as the "Wizard of Words", I've been a freelance writer since 1993. I'm currently researching and writing volume II of "Chocolatour: A Quest for the World's Best Chocolate". Volume I was published in September, 2013.

57 Responses

  1. bonita says:

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  2. What’s up friends, its impressive piece of writing concerning teachingand
    entirely defined, keep it up all the time. recently posted…graphistefreelance.orgMy Profile

  3. You could defcinitely see your enthusiasm within the article you write.

    The sector hoppes for more passionate writers like you who aren’t afraid to mention how they believe.
    Always follow your heart.

  4. Thsnks for sharing your thoughts about crowdfunding a project.

  5. “We’re really hoping that students, faculty, and staff will help us meet this goal,” said Sara Peterson, director of donor relations at Elon. “It’s not all that many thank you notes when you think about it. If everybody takes five minutes, we’ll have a thousand in no time. And opening an unexpected thank you note will really make a person’s day.”This is the second year that Elon has organized a note-writing campaign. Led by Amanda Zamzes ’08, a program assistant in donor relations, and Kelly Smith, a university sophomore interning with Peterson and Zamzes, the current effort has drawn support from several student groups, including the North Carolina Teaching Fellows, Pre-Dental Society and SGA.
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  6. Arianne says:

    Yet another wonderful piece. I have always admired your work and this by far the most inspirational post. You’re doing great with your excellent work, keep it up. I’m definitely enjoying every bit of it.
    Arianne recently posted…Link Building Techniques You Should AvoidMy Profile

    • WizardOfWords says:

      Thank you, Arianne. I’m glad you could feel the passion ad sincerity in my post.

      Nice to have you joining is from India. It will take me a few years before I get to India to research chocolate, but I hope you’ll keep your eye open for the first edition of Chocolatour which will be out at the end of May.
      WizardOfWords recently posted…courage to crowdfundMy Profile

  7. Vianney says:

    You’re quite the inspiration. I myself have left the hardships of corporate life and am pursuing a freelance writing career and so far I’m really enjoying every moment of it. It’s truly a great experience; doing what you love and having to manage your time, your way.

  8. Fatima says:

    Wish you all the best for your campaign and with your progressive approach I am sure you will find success. Thanks for the inspiring share.

  9. Great idea for financing a book, or any other project for that matter, Doreen! Frankly had not thought about that option. Thank you for opening up my eyes to a different way of funding projects. Have bookmarked the URL.

    A friend of mine actually used the same site to raise funds when her husband unexpectedly had a stroke in the US. She got at least
    $35, 000 to help cover medical expenses. He was in a coma for about a month and is now recovering slowly. If it hadn’t been for crowd funding life would have been even more difficult for them. He has now left the United States which will lower expenses significantly.
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    • WizardOfWords says:

      Thanks for your comment, Catarina.

      Yes, I’ve heard of people using crowdfunding to help with expenses of various types. I really love to see people funding creative projects, but excessive medical expenses are certainly something we can all relate to. Cheers!

  10. Aayna says:

    Crowd funding is a great mechanism of involving other individuals in your endeavor. By contributing a little for the project one gets connected with the project. It’s so nice to hear that you are coming up with your book. All the best in the endeavor. Thanks for the share.
    Aayna recently posted…How To Use The Quick Access Toolbar in Excel 2013My Profile

  11. Mary Slagel says:

    I think being able to self publish is a great opportunity we are given as writers these days and not a lot of people take advantage of it as they should. I have mixed feelings on crowdfunding but I am not against it. To go with your analogies of what crowdfunding is similar to, I would compare it to scholarships for college. Sure, scholarships aren’t necessarily a collective amount of money from several people. They are presented by an organization or institution, but in reality that money comes from the students paying tuition. And some students may be paying more tuition than they should because they need to pay for that scholarship somebody else is getting. There is nothing wrong with crowdfunding when the people are choosing to donate. They have a choice. It isn’t like they are getting money taken out of their pay checks or taxes to pay it so I don’t understand why people are against it.

    • WizardOfWords says:

      Thanks for your comment, Mary.

      It’s interesting that when something new comes on the horizon, we all establish our own take on it. You’re right. The campaigns are completely optional and are there for anyone who wants to help an individual move forward with a valid and important creative project. Thank goodness there are people who support these campaigns, because it is a pretty tough thing to do.

  12. Trail blazing takes grit Doreen. And yes, it is SO lonely out there. I ran across this AWESOME Ted Talk by Amanda Palmer who has become an evangelist for crowdsourcing. Well worth watching and then, whether you think you would like her music or not, get ready for a treat. Her music is moving, beautiful, exquisite and so NOT what I expected from her self-styled punk handle. I’ve tried a half-dozen times to submit this comment with the url to Amanda’s Ted Talk and WordPress keeps spitting it back at me. So I suggest you just to a search on Ted Talks for Amanda Palmer and The Art of Asking. WELL WORTH the time!

  13. Well Doreen…funny that we should both be doing the Indiegogo thing at the same time. The crowd funding experience is such an interesting one to me. As someone who has supported several campaigns on Kickstarter and Indiegogo, I find that I’m much more invested in the “creation.” I cheer with each goal met. It is more a sense of ownership that I feel when I’ve bought a book at a store. Now being on the “pitching” end of a campaign had been equally rewarding. I don’t know whether we’ll make our goal (the project will go ahead either way). But it has been very rewarding and inspiring to have people both support my work financially and send “cheerleader” notes. That energy is being channeled into the creation of the graphic novel.It’s a win win, so far. ; )

    • WizardOfWords says:

      Thanks for your comment, Arthur.

      Yes, it’s really cool that our campaigns are running at the same time. When I saw yours go up, I wasn’t quite ready to launch mine, but you’d taken a longer running time than I did so we’ll both be finishing up around the same time. Hopefully, we’ll both meet our goal. Again amazing coincidence that our goal is exactly the same amount! Serendipity at play!

      It is indeed wonderful when contributors and others make encouraging comments. Otherwise, it gets a bit lonely on the campaign trail at times …

      All the best, my friend, and thanks for being on this journey with me.
      WizardOfWords recently posted…courage to crowdfundMy Profile

  14. Courage is a perfect way to describe what your doing and its also inspiring. The arts, like the charity world, need to think differently about funding. Using innovation and asking people to invest in the arts they want to see come to fruition is brilliant. Thanks for sharing this. I’ll be wandering over to your site to get a better understanding of the project and then sharing with my network.

  15. A.K.Andrew says:

    Well done Doreen on taking the plunge. It does take courage to put yourself out like this and I admire you for doing that. Artists often have to be as creative as their projects to come up with ways to support themselves and their work, so this makes complete sense. The best part is we get a great video where we can see you! Thanks for the post and I wish you every success.
    A.K.Andrew recently posted…Does Every Picture Tell a Story?My Profile

    • WizardOfWords says:

      Thanks very much for your comment, A.K, for your ongoing support of this blog, and for your contribution to my campaign. All are very much appreciated.

      We’ve reached a lull in the campaign that is disconcerting, but I’m hoping that all the people who said they WILL contribute will indeed come thru for me.

  16. satinka says:

    H Doreen,
    I’m so glad to see this project taking off and I’m cheering noisily for you! I observed you working diligently at this project and I know you had a lot of fun doing it! It is wonderful to see independent writers becoming successful. You deserve this triumph!
    Hugs from your biggest fan,
    satinka recently posted…Love of NatureMy Profile

    • WizardOfWords says:

      Thanks so much, Esther. I really appreciate your support.

      You’ve been with me right from the start, when I started blogging back in 2009 and was thrilled to get one or two comments on a blog post. I’m so grateful that our community here has grown and blossomed into a wonderful place to be.

      Thanks again for your contribution to the campaign. It means so much to me.

  17. KellyWade says:

    I agree about the idea that crowdfunding is more of a way to support each other in artistic and business endeavors. I admire your courage to seek some support in your passion to write a book!
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  18. Harry Hobbs says:

    Hi Doreen:I was most interested in your post. I’ve not heard the term “crowd funding before but certainly am aware that for centuries artists and composers survived on the generosity of benefactors. I wish you the best of luck in this age when everyone seems to be asking. “What’s in it for me?”Purhaps the results might make an interesting book!Harry

    • WizardOfWords says:

      Thanks for your comment, Harry.

      Yes, I think technology has really opened the doors (or lines of communications) for creators to reach patrons and supporters directly. Why the need for a middle man (publisher) if you can make the connections yourself and get the job done in a professional and highly creative manner?

      I am grateful for the generosity of spirit I am encountering with my project. But I must forge onward in order to reach my goal.
      WizardOfWords recently posted…courage to crowdfundMy Profile

  19. Ceci Snow says:

    Congratulations on taking the plunge and I really enjoyed your comments above, particularly about encouraging more people to fund the arts to any extent. I have been considering going this route for a project I’m involved in and you’ve given me the courage to try it. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. All the best!
    Ceci Snow recently posted…Dandelion Fields ForeverMy Profile

    • WizardOfWords says:

      Thanks for your comment, Ceci. It really does take courage to embark on a project such as this, as you must be prepared to forge forward despite the lulls in movement on the campaign trail. It’s not for the faint of heart!

      Wishing you all the best with your project. Let me know if you do launch, and I will definitely support you.
      WizardOfWords recently posted…courage to crowdfundMy Profile

  20. Congrats Doreen on taking the plunge into crowd-funding! I think crowd-funding is a natural fit for book authors because, among other things, it offers us an opportunity to get some great advance promo and pre-sales on whatever book we have a crowd-funding campaign going on. Donating to a crowd-funded campaign isn’t simply a gift from the donor. The donor gets a perk, after all – and often the perk is the book itself as either a print book or eBook. I am inspired by your campaign, Doreen (and Arthur Slade’s too). I hope to do likewise before the end of the year. Good luck to you! 🙂
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    • WizardOfWords says:

      Thanks for the good wishes, Kim. Nice to have you join us on the blog.

      It will indeed be interesting to see how it all plays out. I am feeling very optimistic. Cheers!
      WizardOfWords recently posted…courage to crowdfundMy Profile

  21. Doreen Pendgracs says:

    Hi Amanda: The info about the fees is included in the text on my campaign site. But no worries. I built that into my budget. I do think having the independent site makes it easier for both the campaigner and the donors.Thx again for your support.

    • Amanda Lerougetel says:

      Ah. Well, I didn’t visit your website. I watched the video and then donated. Hope your campaign goes swimmingly, Doreen!

      • WizardOfWords says:

        Thanks, Amanda. We’ve hot a bit of a lull right now, but I’m hoping that all of the people who said they WILL contribute, indeed will. Please forward the link for my campaign to any chocolate lovers of literacy you might know. Thanks!
        WizardOfWords recently posted…courage to crowdfundMy Profile

  22. Jeri says:

    Yours is the second campaign I’ve funded in two weeks! It’s exciting to be able to help out in a small way, and also receive an ebook in the process.
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    • WizardOfWords says:

      Thanks so much, Jeri! I really appreciate your support. It’s so exciting that Chocolatour will soon be a reality!

  23. Shaun says:

    I think most people will be willing to donate money if they think they are going to get something from it. Have you tried offering all donators a free report or something like that?
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  24. Ariana says:

    Absolute best of luck on your endeavor! What a fun book, I can’t wait to see the end result! I’ve been getting ready to launch a crowdfunding project myself, and have been trying to gain insight from those who have gone through the process! Would you suggest indiegogo? How would you describe your experience with crowdfunding?
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    • WizardOfWords says:

      Hello Ariana and welcome to the blog. I think this os your first comment (if not indeed your first visit.)

      So far, every thing is going very well with Indiegogo. I haven’t heard from anyone who has had difficulty contributing. The interface looks nice, and they make it easy for you to communicate with donors and keep track of your contributions.

      It’s too early (I’m only into Day 4 of the campaign) to give a full assessment of the process. Right now, I’m wondering if it has been worth it for me to go this route vs doing a campaign on my own and not having to pay the 9% fees. But in order to keep it professional and objective (not making anyone feel obligated) I think having a third-party campaign like this works well.

      Good luck with yours.
      WizardOfWords recently posted…courage to crowdfundMy Profile

      • Amanda Lerougetel says:

        Doreen – I would have liked to know about the 9% fees, as I could as easily have sent you a cheque directly without Indiegogo getting some of it. Oh well. Maybe the direct ‘ask’ is more difficult? I’ve learned a lot from friends on political issues who have always said, “If you don’t ask, you won’t get.” So, my personal position is that we should feel free to ask for financial help and feel equally free to say “No, thanks. Not this time” when we don’t want to contribute to something.

  25. Aw… courage is truly the right word. It takes courage to do all that you do everyday. You have many friends who would be more then happy to help in any way possible to see your project come to be. I am one of them. I will do my part to help, you can count on that my friend. 🙂
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    • WizardOfWords says:

      Thanks so much, Susan C.

      It has been as a result of your friendship and encouragement (and that of other members of the BHB group and colleagues from my volunteer associations) that I have had the courage to forge forward and be the director of my own fate. Thanks for offering to step forward. It is very much appreciated.

  26. I think another way that crowdfunding can help (and I will admit I am still on the fence about it in spite of my direct support of your project) is that it can be a motivating force to actually follow through on a project. If someone is giving you money towards it then you had bloody well better get on with it and finish it. This is why I think it is a good idea to use it the way you are, when the project is more or less complete and you need it to get it out there. It becomes problematic if you take money for something that never gets finished. I think you are quite right when you compare it to any other type of fundraising but it is still a fact of life that most people would prefer to support someone running for Children’s Hospital than for a writer to finish a project. It is something that needs to change. More and more we need to find ways to help us fulfill our dreams as artists because the government no longer cares about us at all. I gave (more than happily at the time) my entire inheritance from my grandmother years ago in order to start write the book that eventually got published last year. It was worth it and I would do it again if I could back to when I was 29 and starting it but would I do that now that I am in my sixties with no financial support by my side. The honest answer is very unlikely. As artists we have to continue to find ways to get our work out there.
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    • WizardOfWords says:

      Thanks so much for your comment, Susan.

      It’s been wonderful getting to know you via TWUC and our blogs.

      Yes, using the crowdfunding platform really does make us more accountable with our projects. I know my book is worthy, and having people step up to the plate and support it (whether financially or thru spreading the word via their networks) makes me forge forward and get it done right.

      Thanks for being on my team, and for sharing your insights and experience.

  27. A little Feng-shui, I like it! We all need a little calmness and a piece of nature with harmony to keep us grounded.

    Best of luck with your campaign!
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    • WizardOfWords says:

      Thanks so much, Paul, and thanks for visiting the blog! We always welcome new members of the community here, so do drop by again. 🙂
      WizardOfWords recently posted…courageMy Profile

  28. Jon Jefferson says:

    I think going the crowd funding route is great. In the end it allows you to retain control of your project while giving you the opportunity to complete it. It’s amazing the moment in time we find ourselves in now.

    • WizardOfWords says:

      Thanks for your comment, Jon. Yes, the times have sure changed indeed. But when I saw that one of Canada’s most celebrated authors (Margaret Atwood) had been involved in an Indiegogo campaign, I knew the time was ripe for even a relatively unknown author like me to give it a try. Wish me luck!
      WizardOfWords recently posted…courageMy Profile

  1. June 10, 2013



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