The Bat Segundo Pledge Drive


In almost four years of running Reluctant and two years of running The Bat Segundo Show, I have never openly asked for money on this website. Sure, there’s been a donation bar on the side, and some of you have graciously pitched in. I thank those of you who have. There’s also been some advertising, which has likewise helped. But this website has largely been run on my own dime. I’ve done my best to stimulate conversation and to make this a place for the literary community to connect.

So it pains me to make the following announcement. I’ve always tried to be self-sufficient here, ensuring that I can provide you, the readers and the listeners, with free content about the literary news and developments of our time.

But here’s the cold hard truth: Due to an unforeseen development on the advertising front, I’m out $800 this month. I’ve made some calls and spoken to a few people, and it appears that this is $800 I may not see for a while. The specific individuals responsible for collecting these monies have as much interest in performing their duties or informing me of their progress as the CIA. While I’ll be all right next month for income that has nothing to do with advertising, in the meantime, I’m now facing a shortfall that I’ll have to make up in the forthcoming weeks.

Understand that I don’t believe that the world owes me a living. But what this means is that, if I do not find a way to make up this shortfall this week, about seven Segundo interviews with some of today’s leading contemporary authors I had set up for the next three weeks will have to be canceled while I find immediate work elsewhere. (There are two interviews scheduled for this week and I plan to go ahead with these. And there are also some exciting interviews in the can that I hope to release once this financial setback has been resolved, including a provocative conversation with Steven Pinker and a two-part interview with Tom McCarthy.)

Now I don’t want to have to cancel these interviews. Trust me on this: these are all extremely interesting people. But if I cannot get $800 by the end of this week, I’m going to have to.

Here’s where you come in. As an experiment, I’m seeing if you — the readers and listeners who have been coming here — can help make up this $800 shortfall through donations. I’m not asking for a yearly salary like Jason Kottke once did and I certainly don’t want to make a regular habit of asking readers for donations. Nevertheless, in the grand scheme of things, collectively speaking, this is not a lot of dough.

I’ve produced 145 of these podcasts so far and made them available over the past two years for free. And I would like to continue devoting my time and energies doing this. As we all know, the number of outlets for in-depth literary interviews is shrinking. And I’ve been doing my best to fill in the gap with questions not usually asked of authors, careful reading of the books, and vigorous research.

If at some point, you’ve enjoyed any of the podcasts or any of the content here, please take some time to click on the Donation button below. If even sixteen of you contribute $50, then we’re back in business. Even if you can contribute $10, $5, beer money, it all helps. Let’s see if we can’t conquer this shortfall together. When I’ve raised around $800, I’ll remove this post and continue with business as usual.

And, as an added incentive, for those who contribute $10 or more, I’ll throw in a homemade chapbook containing an excerpt from my novel-in-progress, Humanity Unlimited, an excerpt from my play, Wrestling an Alligator, a brief history of Bat Segundo’s sordid past, along with a few other items. The chapbook is only available through a donation.

Thanks very much for your time.

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