Many people in their 80s might be hesitant to learn about new technology, let alone the ins and outs of trying to raise money on Kickstarter.
Al Marsiglia isn’t most people.
He’s taking to Kickstarter and social media to promote his novel, “Contract Pending.”
“I know a little bit about computers, but I’m not a techie or anything like that,” said Marsiglia, 82, who lives in North Raleigh. “Any program I use presents some technological problems, and it takes me a little longer than the average guy to do stuff.”
But he is not deterred. He finished his novel at the beginning of the year and self-published it. He hopes to raise $11,800 by Nov. 26 to hire a company to promote the book.
I wrote about Marsiglia before, highlighting his experiences as a Renaissance man. He’s a hynotherapist who has also worked as an actor, a salesman, a pizzeria owner and more. Now, of course, he’s a writer.
“Contract Pending” is a mob thriller. The son of a Brooklyn shoemaker is recruited by the mob to be an enforcer. He gives it his best shot – because who doesn’t want to excel at strong-arming? – but finds mob life isn’t for him.
His buddy decides to steal their boss’ money, and suspicion falls on the shoemaker’s son. He takes off for North Carolina to lay low, and well, it’s the mob, so you can see where this is going.
Marsiglia said he created the characters from memories of his youth in the Bronx.
“When I was a kid and a teenager, I knew a lot of these characters that I write about,” he said. “So it’s pretty authentic as far as language and the way they act.”
The book is based on a screenplay he wrote years ago. In 2006, Marsiglia decided to revive his childhood dream of being a writer, and he started with the big screen in mind. He wrote three screenplays and submitted them to various producers, directors and competitions.
“Contract Pending” did the best, becoming a finalist in the Disney Fellowship Awards.
If he raises the money, the bulk of the funds will be used for promotion. But Marsiglia plans to use a portion of the money to create an audiobook and for editing and a cover design for a sequel he’s working on.
Kickstarter is no easy way to make money. I recently wrote about local comic creator Jeremy Whitley, who was doing a Kickstarter campaign. He said it basically amounted to a full-time job – one that relied on extensive use of social media.
Even for the younger generations, social media can sometimes be a struggle, especially staying on top of all the tweets and posts. For an octogenarian, that learning curve is even greater, but Marsiglia knows social media is important, and he’s using Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn to promote his Kickstarter campaign.
“I’m not adept at all. I usually have to struggle to use them in the right way, but eventually I prevail – to some degree,” he wrote in an e-mail.
And that’s the thing about this guy. He’s persistent.
Practice makes perfect. If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.
All those cliches fit him, but he turns them into something more. A way of life. And you have to admire that.