Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Fundraising for Writers

One of the challenges for writers is finding time to write while supporting yourself through other jobs. When it comes to self publishing your work, you need even more time -- plus some money -- to get the project properly edited and formatted with a good cover and then to work on your publicity. Of course, it helps if you have inherited or won loads of money, have a spouse with a well-paying job, or for other reasons don't need to worry about funds. But for the rest of us....

One interesting option that has come to my attention lately is the site Kickstarter. According to the website, "Kickstarter is the largest funding platform for creative projects in the world. Every month, tens of thousands of amazing people pledge millions of dollars to projects from the worlds of music, film, art, technology, design, food, publishing and other creative fields."

These pledges aren't loans and they aren't, strictly speaking, donations. Rather, the project creator offers something in exchange -- signed copies of the book/CD/video, tickets to the event, swag such as T-shirts, or other products or experiences. As the project creator, you decide how much people have to pledge to get each item. For example, in my current project, pledges start at $3 for an e-book version of Rattled, include $15 for a signed print book, $35 for a picture book manuscript critique, $45 for a "Taste of New Mexico" gift pack, $50 for the chance to name a character in my next book, and $80 for a set of my children's books. The options top out at $400 for a novel manuscript critique.

You also set your funding goal. You must reach that goal in order to get any of the money (if you don't reach it, no one pays and you don't provide the gifts). If you go over your goal, you get to keep the extra money. Kickstarter takes a five percent cut. There are some other details, but that's the gist.

How well does it work? I'm not sure yet. I feel awkward asking people to help support me. Some people on the site have funded multiple projects, which suggests they look for appealing ideas even from people they don't know, but realistically, you're more likely to get support from people you know. Plenty of projects seem to get funded, including several where an author was trying to finish or self publish a book. Having realistic expectations probably helps.

You can check out my listing on Kickstarter here. If you've benefited from this blog -- or you just think some of the gift options seem cool -- please consider making a pledge. In a month I'll report back on how well the process worked.

1 comment:

  1. Greg Pincus successfully funded his poetry project at 5,000.
    You forgot to mention the best part. The money you pledge can be funded through your Amazon account. You pledge the money and Amazon is your method of payment. The money will not be charged to you Amazon Account unless the project funds successfully.
    For ways to find time to write, stop by Pen and Ink for a look at the writers emergency supply kit.