Kickstarter? What’s that?

I’m sure there are some out there who have maybe heard of Kickstarter, or crowdfunding in general, but don’t know exactly how it works. I’m sure there are still others who have no idea what it is, so let me quickly explain.

If you’e considering contributing to my campaign when it launches, please sign up for Kickstarter if you aren’t already!

Crowdfunding
In a nutshell, the idea is that you present your idea to the masses, and the masses like your idea and trust you enough to give you money. There a time limit and it’s an all-or-nothing proposition. More on that below.

Isn’t that a handout or a donation?
No. Crowdfunding isn’t a one-way transaction. Usually the expectation is that those giving money get something of comparable value for their money. And while some crowdfunding campaigns are for causes, where the funders get something small in return (i.e. a keychain) the greater return is the cause itself. But Kickstarter specifically forbids that projects be merely a donation to charity, with nothing given in return.

Personally, I think this the new world order: the internet gives the ability to tap into an audience that was unheard of even a decade ago. It doesn’t undermine the existence of publishing companies, or music labels, because these can do the work to find you an audience — but it I feel it democratizes the ability for anyone with passion and an idea to find their own audience.

So are you going to rich off this thing?
Not likely. When I put together my project, I figured out how much it’s going to cost to make the book(s), factored in shipping, and then set my goal accordingly. That’s why it took me so long to launch — not only was I just working on finishing the book, but I had to work out all the logistics and get cost estimates from everyone else involved.

There aren’t profit margins here; Kickstarter takes a cut of what I raise first for offering me the service, and second for charging credit cards.

What’s this about a time limit and “all or nothing?”
There are now many different ways to crowdfund. GoFundMe, IndieGoGo, RocketHub are just a few. We actually used RocketHub to successfully fund my band’s first studio album last year.

The short answer is that’s how Kickstarter chooses to do business. But since there are choices, you might be wondering why I picked Kickstarter.
Time Limits

Most crowdfunding sites make you set some kind of time limit. Kickstarter posits their research suggests that longer projects aren’t proportionally more successful. I tend to agree that putting a finite window creates a sense of urgency. If you know you only have 10 days or 5 hours to commit to pledging, you’re probably going to just do it. But if you knew you could do it…you know… whenever… then you’d wait.

Funding Goals

Some places offer you a deal where you set a funding goal, and you get to keep whatever you raise — but if you don’t hit your goal, there are bigger fees.

It worked for my band, but for me, I preferred to use Kickstarter, for one good reason: I estimated all these costs. If I only got a part of the funding, then I’m stuck with not enough more to fulfill it and a bunch of people now expecting me to produce the books with less than I need.

Plus, I know Kickstarter. I’ve backed 17 projects there, and all but two were successfully funded — and that was research on my part, planning my own approach.

So that’s why we’re here. But at this writing, the project is 70% funded with over a week to go. That’s a good sign. Thank you to all who have pledged, and thank you for reading.

 

 

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