This is a bit of an unusual post from me, but I’m running into IRL realities that need to be addressed that directly impact Beyond NERVA.
This blog and page are the most important thing to me, and are a thing that I want to continue to expand in the way that I have for about the past year. I genuinely believe that I’ve found a niche that no-one else has attempted to fill. Winchell Chung (otherwise known as Nyrath the Nearly Great [in his words, I tend to use Legendary when I reference him]) has built an incredible resource for all astronuclear geeks, but he himself says that he’s focused on helping Hard SF writers. (he also started the page in the late 1990s, so he’s got about two decades of development on me).
Beyond NERVA, on the other hand, looks at the nitty-gritty of making the potential power of astronuclear engineering into a reality. This is why I’m focusing on things like test stands, experiments that have been conducted, and making the various technical publications be MORE accessible. I tend to put out something closer to a serial white paper than a traditional blog (typically, a blog post here, without visuals, runs about 15 pages, with about that many direct references), and this takes a lot of time and effort on my part.
This page is a labor of love, but it also consumes (on average, whenever my job at the moment allows) between 30 and 60 hours a week of my time… and real life sucks. I have bills, I have a spouse, and I have to eat, have the lights on, have internet… and most especially, the free wordpress account is starting to creak at the seams.
I also am REALLY interested in starting up the YouTube channel, but again, this is a huge investment of time to get the channel built up. In about 200 hours of searching, I’ve found that the vast majority of the visuals that I’m needing simply aren’t available, and while I’ve been working to develop my knowledge in Blender, audio recording and editing, and video edition, this is still going to be an additional several hundred hours before I can start putting out video content.
So… I’m looking at monetizing my page. This isn’t really something that I WANT to do, but it’s something that I NEED to do. With WordPress (my current host), this is $25.00 a month, charged yearly, which also gives me the chance to have a MUCH better, and far more accessible, website design for all the work that I do that ISN’T the blog (about 50% of it by time, BTW).
This is FAR outside my current monetary capabilities. $300 isn’t much to many of you, but to many of you that’s a huge chunk of money, and I fall into the second category. Even that is the tip of the iceberg, what with my time investment and other considerations for building a webpage, much less a YT channel.
So, I’m looking at options for crowdfunding, and for rewards for said crowdfunding. I want to keep the content free, and not plagued by spam, but don’t object to advertisers or sponsors (as long as I can continue to publish as I see fit… any sponsored content will be clearly labeled as such, and any sponsored blog posts will still have serious questions and examinations of the systems proposed in the post).
The obvious choice is Patreon, but what the rewards are, I don’t really know. I’ve barely scratched the surface of the basics of astronuclear engineering (over 300 pages in… and still trying to stop talking about solid core NTRs!) What are your ideas for what good rewards would be?
Kickstarter has many advantages, for getting the webpage up and running, but again, the rewards are something that I struggle with.
What is worth money to you? What is worth a donation of a particular amount that I can continue to pursue this project? How can I incentivize you to help me in this project?
Please, comment, or PM me, or send me an email. I want to continue to be able to produce this content, and I think that we’re building something important here. That $300 initial cost (and about 40 hours of my time initially, with additional time dependent on moderation time) will allow me to build a forum on the website, do embedded features that simply aren’t available to me right now, upgrade the appearance and accessibility of the webpage… and anything more will allow me to eat, and keep the internet going, and other real-life stuff.
I look forward to your feedback!