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Port Hope writer crowdfunds latest project

posted Sep 15, 2014, 12:21 AM by J Shaw   [ updated Sep 15, 2014, 12:21 AM ]
PORT HOPE -- A local memoir writer has turned to the Internet in an effort to publish her latest book.

Diane Taylor’s The Gift of Memoir is 33 chapters meant to guide writers through the process of successfully producing a literary portrayal of someone’s life and stories.

It’s taken her three years to compile material for the book and now she’s at the final stage.

Ms. Taylor has had her work published more than 50 times in magazines and other media, along with one book under her name, but the publishing process can be unforgiving, even for a previously published author.

So, she’s turned to crowdfunding to raise money.

“I had never heard of it until three months ago,” she said. “Two women in my book club told me about relatives of theirs who had successfully fundraised on a crowdfunder.”

Crowdfunding can be achieved through numerous channels.

In Ms. Taylor’s case, she’s using an online platform known as Indiegogo to raise money. Ms. Taylor’s goal is $5,000 and she’s raised $2,565 so far.

“There’s a story behind everyone’s contribution,” she said.

For example, one contribution came from a man who lived with Ms. Taylor for about two months 45 years ago.

He’s now living and working in the United States and wrote Ms. Taylor a long letter about what he’s been up for the past half century, revealing he’s now a documentary filmmaker who struggles to find financing for his creative projects and also relies on crowdfunding.

“It blew my mind,” she said. “So many people I’ve talked to about this haven’t heard of crowdfunding.”

Crowdfunding is a new way to gain financial backing for projects. Projects can range from films to books to food and everything in between.

Recently, a man raised $55,000 on a website known as Kickstarter to make a potato salad -- that’s right, a $55,000 potato salad.

Money can be donated from anyone and anywhere in the world.

One of the biggest challenges is marketing a project.

Something as ridiculous as crowdfunding a potato salad became a viral sensation.

Filmmaker and actor Zach Braff crowdfunded $2 million to produce his movie Wish I Was Here.

So when Ms. Taylor discovered the method, she was excited and apprehensive.

“I had a lot of misgivings initially because I’m not technologically savvy. I thought it was just so improbable that it could happen for me.”

Ms. Taylor’s bookshelves are fully stocked with one memoir after another and her enthusiasm rarely fades when discussing the work she admires most.

In the three years it’s taken her to write The Gift of Memoir, Ms. Taylor’s read more than 100.

Some suggestions? Frank McCourt’s Angela’s Ashes, Lance Armstrong’s Every Second Counts or Dian Fossey’s Gorillas in the Mist.

“I feel leaving a written legacy of your life is very important for your family, because it helps them understand where they came from,” she said. “Our personal stories increase understanding and that makes the world a better place.”

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