Today, I’d like to let my readers know about a new site, called Kickstarter, that may be very useful to struggling authors, who are looking for ways to fund their publishing costs for their books. So I’ve invited someone who knows about the site and its program to tell you all about it. My friend, author Tim Baker has agreed to do a guest blog for us and tell us about this interesting fund raising program. Many of you may remember Tim from the profile that I did on him earlier this year. He is an independent author who has written and published five wonderfully entertaining books, and is currently looking to fund his most recent one, Pump It Up, through the Kickstarter program. Please welcome Tim as he tells us more about it, and feel free to ask questions or leave comments.
Kickstarter is a public web site where artists of all kinds can seek private funding for projects. It isn’t limited to writing. Funding has been secured for independent films, CDs, art projects, video game creation and, of course, novels and graphic novels. Just about anything “art” related can be funded. It is one of a number of sites which uses a relatively new concept called “crowd-funding”.
To start, the artist fills out a general information proposal on the site – giving the basic information of his project—what it is, why he needs funding, what he plans to do with the money, etc. The Kickstarter people review this proposal and decide if the project meets their guidelines. Assuming it does, the artist then writes a full blown project outline describing in detail what he/she wants to do. The inclusion of a video is recommended and pictures also help. The artist should also explain to potential supporters why he needs this money, what it will be used for and any other pertinent information. Then the artist must create “rewards” which serve as incentive to entice backers.
Since one of the rules of Kickstarter is that there can be no monetary payback or financial rewards (you can’t promise people a share in your profits or a percentage of sales) it is common to offer unique rewards. In my case I offered a variety of e-book packages, hard copy packages, etc.
A time frame is set by the artist as to how long he/she will leave the project active. Kickstarter recommends 30 days but you can go as long as 90 if you like.
Once the project is posted, it is then the responsibility of the artist to spread the word and solicit backers. This is where the artist must rely on the potential viral power of the internet.
There are a couple of limitations on the types of projects for which one can seek funding. No pornographic material, no “hate” material and no “fund my life while I create” projects.
The only true “rub” in the whole thing is this: Kickstarter is an “all-or-nothing” deal.
If you seek $1000 to fund a project and you select a 30 day time frame… if you do not raise the $1000 by the end of the 30 days, you get nothing – and the people who have pledged support pay nothing.
This seems unfair at first…people instinctually ask “why can’t I keep the money I raise?”
This is done to protect the backers.
If you claim that you will need $1000 and you only secure $750 – it is conceivable that you may not be able to “complete” your project as described. This would mean people donated money to an incomplete project. It would also mean your rewards may never happen.
All In all – Kickstarter is a great idea and really takes supporting independent artists to the next level.
For more information you can read the guidelines on the site and feel free to view (and share) my project to see a typical listing. http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/blindogg/pump-it-up-a-novel-by-tim-baker .
Thank you, Tim for all the great information on Kickstarter. One question that I had, was what if you raise more money for your project than the goal that you have set. Tim’s answer was that the artist gets to keep any money that they raise, as long as the initial goal is met. It sounds like a great way to help fund writing projects, although other types of artists may find it useful, as well. I hope all my readers will click on the link above and check out Tim’s page for his project, and don’t forget to make a pledge to help Tim meet his goal. Pump It Up is a great book, well worth your contributions. You can read my review of Pump It Up here: