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Kickstarter, wine writing, and a Cheap Wine Book update

The Wine Curmudgeon has been remiss in updating the cyber-ether on the progress of the Cheap Wine book, which was scheduled to appear sometime in the next six or eight weeks. That’s not going to happen; call it the vicissitudes of book writing in the 21st century. How was I to know the city of Dallas was going to jackhammer my street while I was working on the second chapter?

The good news is that the book might still make the July 1 Kickstarter deadline, and will certainly be out this summer. Oddly enough, I did some quality work on the airplane when I was travelling to and from Denver over the weekend, which I take as a good sign. Who can write on an airplane? I’m about a quarter of the way through the manuscript, and it’s very nicely done. No point in false modesty here, is there? A sample:

We assume our betters know better. Ask an American about football, and they’ll have an opinion, and it doesn’t matter if the only thing they know about the game is that each team has 11 players. Ask them about politics, and they’ll have an opinion, and it doesn’t matter whether they vote or aren’t sure who the vice president is. Ask them about wine, on the other hand, and you’ll get a blank stare. “It’s too complicated,” they’ll say. Or, “That’s too fancy for me. I drink beer.” Or, my favorite, “I don’t know wine. What do you think I should drink?”

As part of this, I wrote a story for Palate Press, the on-line wine magazine, about funding wine writing projects tthrough Kickstarter. In the article, I talked a little about my experience, but focused on two of the most successful efforts, Alice Feiring’s natural wine newsletter and a series of on-line wine guides written by Lisa Talarico.

The Kickstarter model, transformed into some sort of author’s co-op, might well be the future of book publishing, given that there doesn’t seem to be much of a future for book publishing. Like-minded writers get together to finance each other’s efforts, much the way farming co-ops work. Interestingly, a Kickstarter spokesman declined to be interviewed for the article; I think alcohol-related projects are a touchy subject for them.

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