Kickstarter: A Good Tool For Writers?

kickstarter logo

kickstarter logo (Photo credit: AslanMedia)

I was approached by a family member who thought I might be interested in Kickstarter.  If you’ve never heard of this project, they basically give authors, film makers,  entrepreneurs and anyone else who has an idea or dream, an opportunity to promote their project and ask for money to fund it. It’s an excellent idea and provides lots of support for anyone who would like to generate a following  which encompasses not only financial support but just support in regards to like minded individuals who may share the same idea.

Over at Litreactor, lots of reasons why Kickstarter can be good for writers. They’ve listed prime examples of how it could be a benefit and also a few that show why it may not work for everyone. If you have had an experience with Kickstarter or are considering it, I would love to hear all about it.

Is Kickstarter A Viable Tool For Writers?

It used to be that if you wanted to record an album or write a book, you had to beg your parents for money or get a job flipping burgers, just to keep the lights on and the booze flowing while you toiled at your art.

That paradigm has shifted, thanks to crowdfunding websites like Kickstarter, where you can post a work-in-progress, request funding by enticing people with exclusives and rewards, and ultimately fund your dream without the indignity of filing out an application at the local Starbucks.

It’s like a public endowment for the arts. It democratizes the process; the people choose what they want to hear or see or read. Sounds cool, right?

But the site and the process aren’t without criticisms. Some people regard it as little more than digital panhandling, and Kickstarter has been accused of not policing its own back yard; allowing projects that never come to fruition, and not protecting customers when money disappears.

Quick aside: Last night, on my commute home, I sat on the subway next a couple in their mid-30s. The guy was telling the girl about Kickstarter, and said they should figure out some way to get people to give them $10,000. Read more here.

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6 comments on “Kickstarter: A Good Tool For Writers?

  1. Thanks Colleen for all of the great information. I am glad you gave some insight about Indiegogo. I have heard of them but never researched it. It’s great that you can keep what you earn. It gives you a start on your project. It seems I need to write a post about them.

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  2. We wanted to use Kickstarter for our project, but it’s only open to Americans, so we looked at a few other options and settled on indiegogo. http://www.indiegogo.com/bluebearychristmas

    With indiegogo you don’t always get to keep your money, but you can choose a fixed or flexible plan. With the fixed plan you have to raise all or get nothing. On the flexible plan you get to keep whatever you raise, but indiegogo takes a bigger cut of your proceeds. We raised just over half of our goal. We received some other donations and commitments because of this project, but wanted to keep the whole amount, so didn’t add them to the site.

    Our first illustrator also ran an indiegogo project where she beautifully exceeded her goal. http://www.indiegogo.com/RJPcompactmirrors

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  3. Thanks for stopping by Rita. I have had this design on my site for a little while. ;o)
    I have not heard of Indiegogo, but plan to check it out. I know what you mean about distractions. I need to get busy on a long list of things to do myself.

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  4. Hey Kristi,
    I’ve heard (and read) lots of good things about Kickstarter, and I’ve considered using them for a project I have in mind. The only con I’ve heard is that no matter how hard you campaign for support, if you fall even a few dollars short of your goal, you get nothing. In the meantime, have you heard of Indiegogo? It’s a lot like Kickstarter and it’s gaining in popularity, mainly because you get to keep whatever funds you raise (minus their percentage), even if you don’t meet your original goal.

    In the end, I pretty much agree with you. Putting the effort into a fund-raising campaign will take away from writing/finishing my book, so I just won’t do it…at least not right now. I have enough distractions keeping me from writing without adding a fundraiser to it.

    Rita Lorraine

    PS – Love your site! Is this a new design…or has it been that long since I visited you?

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  5. I’ve heard some good things about Kickstarter and then some bad things as well. In order for projects to get funded, it’s better if you already have a fan base or a loyal following. Some companies may have it easier, depending on their size and marketing staff/campaign. The most popular ones happen to be projects that include video games, music, book series, and films that have some kind of prototype out already. If you have a ton of pictures and videos of the project being made or developed, this greatly increases your chances of getting more people to fund your project.

    However, the chances of getting funded if you’re just starting out are still quite slim. Someone who’s off the street (like the Average Joe) and has no money or evidence to show for whatsoever, probably wouldn’t have much of a chance of getting funded compared to the more experienced entrepreneurs, who know about marketing and business. When people donate to your project they expect some sort of gift or prize in exchange, so if your gifts aren’t all that great no one’s going to invest in your project.

    Also, there’s a deadline. So, if you were trying to raise… lets say $1,000 and you were like five bucks off, you wouldn’t get funded once the deadline expires. So, it’s an all or nothing kind of deal. Sort of like the roll of the dice, which sounds like gambling in a way. Also, if you do raise the money, I do believe Kickstarter takes a certain percentage off your profits. But I don’t know how much they take exactly. Not to mention, if you had set up some prizes for people, you’d have to send them to the people who donated. That costs time and money, especially if you were doing it all by yourself.

    For me, the time and effort to put into a site like that wouldn’t be worth it. I’d rather fund my own projects the old fashion way and take my time at it, without a deadline. In addition, I wouldn’t want people (donators) getting mad at me for taking so darn long to ship them a package or something. I don’t really expect people to pay me to write my own books. I say just write for yourself…but what do I know? That’s my opinion anyway.

    Hope that helps! And great article by the way! 🙂

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