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» Hatrack River Writers Workshop » Forums » Open Discussions About Writing » Kickstarter?

   
Author Topic: Kickstarter?
Kathleen Dalton Woodbury
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Tracy Hickman (of DRAGONLANCE fame) advocates using Kickstarter to get projects funded, and he's had quite a bit of success with it.

Judith Tarr has also used Kickstarter and has been very pleased with the results.

Is it something a new writer has a chance of success at, or do you have to have some name recognition?

And has anyone here had any experience with it, either as someone collecting money for a project, or as someone pledging money toward a project?

So what do you think?

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Meredith
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I've pledged once, for Laura Ann Gilman's "From Whence You Came".

My thoughts are that, like everything else, it helps to have a name. On the other hand, it doesn't really cost anything to try. If your project doesn't get funded, no one pays and you don't owe any of the premiums.

I haven't tried it yet, though.

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redux
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I think that if you have a name you're more likely to not only meet your funding goal but do so a lot quicker.

However, I do believe that a "no-name" writer still stands a good chance so long as their proposal is a good one, the funding goal is not too high, and they can drum up enough interest for their project through social media.

As to personal experience with Kickstarter, I became a backer for a Shadowrun Returns game.

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WBSchmidt
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I have not tried Kickstarter yet but it's something I may in the future. I believe your project is only available on Kickstarter for a month. As such, it's recommended that gather support for your project before your Kickstarter begins. Otherwise, few will know of your project and your success is limited, whether you have a "name" or not.

I believe Tracy brought up preparing for a Kickstarter project in one of his seminars at LTUE this year. I'd have to go back to the recording to review what he said.

Hope that helps. [Smile]

-- William

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Kathleen Dalton Woodbury
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What kinds of campaigns would you be willing to participate in? And how much would you be willng to pay?

For example, are there any authors whose series were dropped by a publisher that you'd be willing to pay in a Kickstarter campaign for the author to "self-publish" the rest of the series?

(I'd like OSC to write the other half of his RACHEL AND LEAH story, not to mention the rest of the Alvin Maker series, and I don't think either of them are being held up by lack of publisher interest.)

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redux
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I think the pledge amounts should mirror the value of the rewards. I'm sure a signed hardcover copy would garner somewhere between $50-70 versus an e-book copy at $3-5 pledge.

Here's an interesting project:
http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/johnjosephadams/nightmare-magazine?ref=live

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Osiris
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I've thought of using Kickstarter to fund an anthology project, but I'd like to make some kind of a name for myself first.
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EVOC
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I thought about using Kickstarter to fund my Magazine, but we went the traditional route by using advertisers.
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LDWriter2
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This is a bit long but it deals with my experience with kickstarter, and it covers the reward question and if I would use it or not.

First heard about kickstarter while looking over C. E. Murphy's blog maybe a year ago or so. She used it for a novel about side character. The major side character in her Walker tales. By the time I figured out what was happening it was too late. I would have donated for that book.

I looked over Kickstarter at that point. Months later I wondered if I could use it to pay for line editing and a cover for a E-book or two. Still thinking about it.

A few months ago I notched that Laura Anne Gilman was using it in her Vineart series...possibly the one Meredith donated to. I don't read that series but I like her writing so I thought about donating. Took too long to decide, the time was up before iI could however she did it again this time in her Cosa Nostradamus series. She wanted to do a book for a minor character her publisher said no to. This time I got in and made sure I donated. That series I love and I like the character.

As to rewards. She offered a variety. From at first two e-stories-then four e-stories, to a thank you note from the character, to using your name in a book, to including your name on a thank you list in the book to a signed early copy of her next P.U.P.I novel finally homemade cookies. The stories were new ones and one would be about another minor character in that series, and two are novelettes and maybe a e-copy of the book she wanted to publish. That last part I was a a little confused about.

Each price range got one more reward. So a $500 donation would get everything listed there and maybe one thing I forgot. I wanted to do the $100 one because I wanted that signed early copy. By early I mean before it goes on sale. But I was too late for that one.

I think she went a bit overboard with the rewards, adding two extra stories during the last week.

If I went that route I would have to decide which pro editor to use and which cover artist so I would have a total. I figure I would need $800 to $1500. Most would go to the copy editor to make sure it had very, very few nitpicks.

I'm not totally sure what I would offer as rewards. For lower donations (From another thread here) a bookmark for the book, a couple of my stories--maybe a new story about the Main Character in the book--for larger donations a copy of the final product. A thank you page in the book for all. That's all I can think of right now.

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axeminister
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Well, I know we were talking about using kickstarter to get the anthology off the ground. I think the question is, what would the rewards be?

Here's a kickstarter with professional novel and movie script critiques (among other items) as rewards:

www.kickstarter.com/projects/1499648032/fat-kid-rules-the-world-0

This covers both scripts and novels. (And a burger, cooked for you, ha!) As the page count of your novel goes up, the price per page goes down.

I suppose we could offer critiques for the anthology, but to really get someone's donation juices flowing, I think there has to be a healthy mix of rewards, including tangibles.

Axe

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Kathleen Dalton Woodbury
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If we were to use Kickstarter for an anthology, I think critiques could be a worthy premium.
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Pyre Dynasty
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Richard Bliss has a podcast about kickstarter called Funding the Dream. He's a board game reviewer but I think his points on kickstarter work across the board.

My thoughts on it: Kickstarter is for proving the value of a project. I'm thinking of the famous Double-Fine Adventure project (which I supported.) It's a wonderful thing to be able to know you can instantly sell enough books to make a profit before you put in the print order.

It works best when you treat it like you are preselling a product instead of asking for charity. So if you were going to sell your book for 19.99 then make that the level that gets the book. Also you have to make it more special for your supporters than if they bought it after. This means every book you sell should be signed/personalized/numbered.

The most common support level is $25.

The quickest project I've seen funded had the first 3000 1 dollar donations get the product. (It was a conductive stylus shaped like a space shuttle retail 49.99.)

Rewards for the higher levels I think are hard to figure out sometimes. (Except for for the buy two books, three books, four books etc.) If I did one I think I would include a level where they get a random book from my overflowing library with my personal review written in the inside cover.

I think making big ridiculous levels is a good thing too. If only for the comedy. I once saw one that was $2000 for the writer to come to their house for a party and be nice to all their obnoxious friends. (I can't remember if there were any takers.) I think it works psychologically on people. "I'm not paying $500 for a silly book, but 25 isn't too much."

But I think the most important thing is getting people excited about it, and getting the word out as far as you can. If we were to do one for an anthology here I would expect everyone involved to blog like crazy about it, call in their contacts, create contacts. We could get quite a bump if we could get Howard Tayler to give us just a single retweet. (I use him as an example because he does it now and then.)

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Denevius
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this is pretty interesting. thanks for posting about it!
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axeminister
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So CNN Money is talking about Kickstarter.

http://tech.fortune.cnn.com/2012/06/07/kickstarter-how-crowdsourcing-went-mainstream/

I was browsing around the other day in Kickstarter's food area. Some of the items looked very interesting. Unique. But I have to wonder how long before it becomes saturated with conglomerates pushing their wares.

For $50 you can have 2 boxes of the new Pillsbury M&M cookies. (only $10 add'l for shipping)

For now, most projects still have the indie feel but the video game section is bizarre. Half a mill to create a game, of which you get a copy - that might not be any good!

Strange.

Axe

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