Howlarium - Jason Howell

18 June 2014 / Leave a Comment
Jason Howell recently created a website to showcase his writing, as well as other authors such as Krista Asselstine and Mary L. Tabor. Jason's addictive rhythm in his short story Walking and Smoking practically got my toes tapping, while This Tragic Infection is masterful with its razor sharp verse style. Here he tells us more about his new website, crowdfunding and working with other talented writers …

What's the idea behind your new website
The idea behind it was pretty basic, which was that I wanted access to an on-tap publishing venue outside of the free online communities. I'm a short story writer, which means I can either submit my work to journals and weather long, purgatorial waiting periods, or I can post my work to a community like Wattpad and have it read near instantly, but with minimal control over how the thing's going to look.  So I just wanted to conjure up an alternative. Which sounds knuckle-draggingly simple, but that's really all it was.

Most writers, if they have a website, are using it for traditional blogging and/or advertising, but I wanted to do something with a little more free-play involved. As it turns out, so far on Howlarium I've been able to feature not only my own work, but work by friends of mine like poet Krista Asselstine and novelist/memoirist Mary L. Tabor. I like having that kind of freedom.

How are you going to use crowd funding to help support authors on the site?
That's something I'm still working out. When I began the site it was important to me that it have a strong crowdfunding component. In a little over six weeks the site's received a few generous donations, but all in all what I'm discovering is that crowdfunding is still most effective when it's in a Kickstarter kind of a frame - where there's one well defined project for supporters to rally around. Maybe with sites like Patreon and Flattr (new(ish) startups that present viable methods for ongoing donation-based support) that may start to change. Time'll tell.

As it stands now, most folks just aren't inclined to voluntarily fork over a dollar because they liked something they read on your website. You're still better off having a concrete product to sell. Or you need to be creating content within a community that has crowdfunding built into the platform.

What's your advice for other writers considering creating a website to showcase their work?
Tough one about advice. Because the only advice I can give might not be something everyone should listen to. But I'd say get out there and screw up. Try stuff. The way web-hosting is now you can do almost anything; and you'd be amazed how much you can learn by just following your gut and trying crazy things. Of course, most of the time you fail, and that's what makes it so informative. And those rare times you don't can be pretty sweet.



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