Rabble is being touted as publishing’s potential answer to The Trouble With Finding Books Online (Forbes). Some are describing it as “Rotten Tomatoes for books.” It is apparently going to be the first site of its kind to try to put self-published books on the same level playing field as traditionally published books.
After reading the Forbes article, I was pretty interested in the concept and even went to Rabble’s Kickstarter page to find out more about it. They’d raised $510 toward their goal of $10,000 in the less-than-one-day the kickstarter had been live.
I admit this surprised me. I mean, compare that to the recent HONY efforts to raise money for kids for camp. He’s got $60,000 now, but at a similar stage in the game as Rabble’s attempt, he had over $10,000 raised. Is the difference that one is for charity and everyone has a dog in that? And the Rabble Kickstarter is for an untried website where only some people (readers, authors) might have a dog in it? Probably. That would probably explain a lot. And I’m also not sure where this Rabble Kickstarter is being marketed. I only read about it because a friend sent that Forbes article to me in a general interest sort of way.
But, I don’t think that’s all that’s going on here. HONY is a very life affirming organization and their reason for their Kickstarter was inspiring. He’d had DNKY in Bangkok steal what amounts to about $100,000 worth of his photos. And instead of suing them, or wasting his time on that, this is what he had to say:
I feel like the luckiest guy in the world right now. I do what I love every day. No amount of money would be worth taking my mind off that. Not for a month. Not for a week. Not for a day.
In ten years, I don’t want to look back on this week as some sort of missed opportunity. I’d rather remember it as that time we took something negative and used it as an excuse to send a bunch of kids to summer camp– who otherwise would not have had the resources to go.
We’ve raised almost $10,000 in just a few hours, which is great. We may need a few heroes to reach our $75,000 goal, but either way we are going to make a huge impact, and I’m thrilled about that.
That’s inspiring and makes me want to give him and his cause some money.
Which brings me back to Rabble, when I clicked on the Kickstarter page for Rabble, I was immediately disappointed. Not in how little money they’d raised, but in the aggressive and hostile tone they took in the headline: Death to the Sockpuppets.
I think we can all agree that sockpuppetry in reviews exists and that it sometimes gets out of hand. But when I read about Rabble in the Forbes article, I wasn’t thinking about sockpuppets. I was thinking, “Wow, this could be huge. It would be amazing to see this built. It will be fascinating to see them aggregate reviews in a helpful way and to put self-pub and traditional on the same level.”
But when I clicked, instead of seeing anything inspiring like, “Let’s fix reviews together! Let’s build something amazing!” Instead, I got a faceful of anger. I immediately no longer felt like donating.
Call me strange, but I just don’t think anger sells. Or it doesn’t sell for me, anyway. Not when it comes to this kind of thing.
I closed the page and didn’t donate. I still haven’t. Even though I still think that if Rabble is more like the Forbes article descrption, then I want it to exist. Strange how easily we are turned off by things, isn’t it?