Okay, I know right off the bat most of you are going to be wondering, “What the hell? I thought he had book 2 almost finished. What’s he talking about kickstarting it?” Well, what I’m really talking about is Kickstarter.com. For those who are not familiar with Kickstarter, here’s a quick overview. Kickstarter is a site where you can raise money for a specific art/creative project by getting people to donate to it. Now it has to be something artsy or creative, like a comic book, cutting your own music album, an art project, or some other creative work that you need funds to help complete. Mind you, the monies are intended to go to that project, not for you to take a vacation or go on a personal spending spree. The object is to be able to get help to make a dream project a reality.
In my case, I’m going to be doing Kickstarter to pay for the professional editing for “The Ship”. Originally, I was going to try and fund this myself. Unfortunately as most of my regular readers will know this year has been a tough one in a lot of ways. Well, earlier this week, my car died as we came off a freeway. It turned out that the timing belt went. But it didn’t go by itself. It damaged the water pump and the valves resulting in a bill of two grand. There went my funds for the editing job. So, I decided to try a Kickstarter to get the money.
Why am I so determined to get the book edited professionally? Simple, my first book “The Bridge” made a good splash in spite of not having professional editing done on it. Over 1500 copies have been grabbed up and 95% of the reviews have been 4 and 5 stars. There were however a couple of 3 star ones, by professional authors and those more familiar with the industry, who loved the story, but lamented the fact that such a good book had not been given that final polish to make it “Great”. Yes, that word was used more than once. So I was determined that book 2 would get that extra polish and fine tuning.
So how exactly does Kickstarter work and how does it raise money for your project? It’s pretty simple really. First you have to have a project and a definite financial goal in mind. You set up an account on Kickstarter and read the guidelines about what kind of projects they will allow. Find the category yours fits in and then start working on your pitch. Yeah, that’s right, you have create pitch just as if your product was already finished and you were trying to sell it to prospective customers. In this case, your pitching to prospective backers. You still control the product and its design, as well as all the rights to it. So you might be wondering, “What do the backers get out of helping you?” That’s up to you.
Here in America, we have channels on TV called PBS or Public Broadcasting Stations. These are funded by the government and also by donations from viewers. These stations will do what they call “Pledge Drives” where they ask the public for donations. They will suggest different amounts of donations that also have thank you gifts for the donors depending on what amount of money they could afford. You might get a T-shirt, a mug, a pin with the stations logo, or possibly one that is connected to a favorite show of yours they happen to play on a regular basis.
My PBS station used to run Doctor Who. At the time I belonged to a Doctor Who Fan Club and we’d man the phone banks during these pledge breaks, wearing costumes from the show. I played one of the villains, while the people doing the sales pitch were dressed up as their favorite Doctor, whom I would try to harrass and usually wind up getting abused by a companion or the phone bank people. Our pledge breaks were the most successful and used to bring in the most donations. But it wasn’t just the entertainment we offered, but the thank you gifts. Doctor Who mugs, t-shirts, pins, books a whole bunch of items. Depending on the amount pledged a person might get one or several of these items altogether for really high donations.
This is what Kickstarter is like. Only the thank you gifts are based on your product. You might offer your supporters free copies of your work, some signed or personalized, a t-shirt with a logo, a special handwritten thank you note along with your product. It all depends on you and what you’re creating.
So check out Kickstarter if you’re looking to fund a project and see if yours qualifies. Just remember to really plan out your pitch and thank you gifts in advance. Don’t go off half-cocked and not have a clear plan in mind or you’ll fail.
Also, you’ll have anywhere from 30-60 days to reach your goal. Make sure the amount your aiming for is achievable in the time-frame you choose. Because if your Kickstarter does not reach its goal, your project will not be funded at all. Even if you got partial pledges, no money changes hands. This is to help protect your backers. Who wants to fund a project that may not see the light of day in the long run? So make sure you’ve really planned things out.
As for my goals, I’ll be aiming for about $500-$600 dollars. I’m still making a list of my thank you gifts which so far include advance PDF and Paperback copies of the finished book, some signed and personalized, thank you notes, mention in the thank you page of the book itself, the original artwork of the cover I designed. I’m even considering a possible guest appearance in an upcoming book. Who knows.
Now, I haven’t finished putting my Kickstarter together so don’t go wasting your time looking for it. I’m still planning out donation levels and the thank you gifts that go with them. Plus, I have to put together my video pitch. Most Kickstarters have a video and those tend to be more successful at getting funded, so please keep that in mind if you’re thinking of doing one for yourself.
I’ll be posting the link to my Kickstarter here, as soon as it is ready to go.
In the meantime, check out Kickstarter at the link below. Especially if you’ve had a project in mind for some time but couldn’t figure out how to finance it. Remember, look over their guidelines carefully to make sure your idea will qualify for a Kickstarter. Also, check out some of the Kickstarter projects others have set up to get ideas of thank you gifts and how to put together your sales pitch.
Until next time, take care and keep writing.
Kickstarter Link: http://www.kickstarter.com/