Showing posts with label Kickstarter. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Kickstarter. Show all posts

Thursday, November 29

Crowdfunding: Cutting Out The Middleman

Crowdfunding: Cutting Out The Middleman

What Is Crowdfunding?

I've talked quite a bit about how to sell your work through Amazon, Smashwords, Barnes & Noble, and so on, but I haven't said a great deal about using crowdfunding.

Examples of crowdfunded projects are all over Kickstarter. That site also has a great tutorial, called Kickstarter School, which will step you through every aspect of creating a project.

The Do's And Don't Of Crowdfunding

1. Know how much money to ask for

Look at projects similar to yours and see how much money they're asking for. Don't ask for substantially more.

2. Make your pitch exciting!

Just as when you write a book blurb, you need to catch a readers attention quickly. Make them curious. Fascinated. Entertain them!

3. Make a great video

The Kickstarter folks have put together a great article on just this: Making your Kickstarter video.

4. Thoughtful rewards

Believe it or not, some Kickstarter projects don't have any rewards! Good, varied, rewards for donors go a long way toward making a project successful.

Those points come courtesy of Kris Rush and her wonderful article, Getting Rid of the Middle Man. Kris writes that even if you don't already have a tribe/community you can still do a Kickstarter project. She writes:
[I]f you have a fan base, you’re better off than the folks who are starting from scratch. But I just watched the Bijou raise funds from all over the world, not because of the theater’s fan base, but because small theaters in general have a fan base. 

Different Kinds Of Crowdfunding

So far I've just talked about Kickstarter, but there are many different ways to crowdsource a project.

For instance, Kris writes that a number of novelists are serializing their books online. They fund the project by placing a donate button at the end of very chapter.

Kris recommends, and I think this is an excellent idea, that you finish your book before you serialize it "just in case something in your life goes awry or you have to go back and add a gun in chapter one so that you can shoot that gun in chapter fifteen. (Getting Rid of the Middle Man)"

Yep, been there, done that.

Why Try Crowdfunding?

Crowdfunding, or crowdsourcing, allows writers to cut out the middle man.

Kris writes:
I’ve mentioned before how I appreciate the loss of the middle man. But this week truly showed me on a deep level what kind of world we’d live in if crowdsourcing hadn’t gone mainstream. ...

First, that royalty statement. It is missing both some information and some promised money—money the publisher has owed me ... since early last year. ...

As Dean said as he shook his head over yet another royalty fight facing me, the third this year, “It’s a wonder anyone survives in traditional publishing any more.”

I certainly wouldn’t be earning a living at it—a reasonable, above-poverty rate living—any more. In the last few years, I earned about one-quarter of what I used to earn in my bad years. The advances have gone from survivable to insulting. And now publishers are fudging on royalties owed. It’s disgraceful and hard.
.  .  .  .
But the next four e-mails were all from Kickstarter projects run by full-time freelancers. From anthology projects to magazine startups to calendars ...

... Sometimes I participate in a crowdsourced project because I like the people involved, but mostly I do so because I think the project is worthy—something I want in my library, I want to see, or I want to hang on my wall.

None of these projects would have gotten funding through some arts organization, nor would they have made it through the byzantine system set up by the studios/publishers—ah, hell, let’s just call them suits.

And if the project had made it past the suits, then the artist who proposed the project probably wouldn’t have made any money on it. Or the artist wouldn’t have seen any money for  years after the project got released.
.  .  .  .
It’s time for writers to explore all of their options. And many of those options should not include middle men.  The suits don’t care about midlist writers or indie films or small movie theaters. They care about whatever bottom line they see, and they don’t care how they reach that bottom line.

Should You Try Crowdfunding?

Crowdfunded projects aren't for everyone. They're stressful even for those folks who don't have trouble meeting their goals, folks like Kris Rusch and her husband Dean Wesley Smith with their project Fiction River.

Beyond that, there are many other ways to get your work out to readers: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, even places like wattpad. I think it would be interesting to serialize a novel on Amazon. Publish one chapter a week and then, at the end, release the book.

It's great to know writers have options such as crowdfunding. We no longer need middle-men. Though it's always good to keep ones options open. (That said, I cringe at the thought of constantly having to fight publishers just to get paid the royalties owed me.)

Here's a useful article from How to Crowdfund Your Creative Project.

Have you tried crowdfunding? How'd it go? Would you recommend the approach to others?

Other articles you might like:
- Simon & Schuster's Archway Publishing: Is It Ethical?
- How To Start A Blog
- How To Design A Great Looking Book Cover

Photo credit: "the smile of a man with a wild fan base" by notsogoodphotography under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0.

Thursday, August 2

Ripley Patton: The Self-Validated Writer

I am honored to have another guest on my blog! Ripley Patton is soon publishing a young adult paranormal thriller, Ghost Hand. Her book has everything: ghosts, the paranormal and it's a thriller! What's not to like?

Ripley: I always thought I would get published via the traditional route. After all, I had been writing and successfully publishing short stories for seven years. I had been nominated for an award multiple times and won once. I already had a strong author platform, blog following, and fan base (in both hemispheres). I was pretty sure I was an agent or publisher's dream client. But, apparently, that was not the case.

When I began to shop my YA novel Ghost Hand around in the traditional manner, I didn't even get a nibble. Beta readers had loved it. I had revised it savagely three times. A well-published, award-winning novelist had read the manuscript and thought it was both well-written and marketable. Still, I got form rejections and finally a "no" from a major agency on the full manuscript.

A dark cloud descended over my dream. No one wanted what I had spent two years writing and polishing. I won't lie that I found myself in a dark place. I was depressed. I couldn't believe that all those years of people enjoying my writing were a lie, or something that had suddenly dried up and blown away. My one passion in life was to be a writer, but I had hit a serious road block. Maybe it really was all over.

Then I went to a Con, because that tends to cheer me up. And there I was, sitting in the audience at a panel on women in the gaming industry when some woman I don't know said something I will never forget. She said, "As women, we are always waiting for others to validate us. We want to be told we've done a good job or made something worthwhile before we will ever believe it ourselves. It is time for women to rise up and self-validate. It is time for us to take our place and toot our own horns."

I don't think this concept applies only to women. I think it applies to writers as well. The entire traditional publishing industry is an endless gauntlet of seeking the validation of others. We seek the validation of our peers. We seek the validation of an agent. We seek the validation of a publisher and an editor. We seek the validation of reviewers and sales. And last, but most importantly, we hang on the edge of our writerly seats, waiting for the daily validation of our readers. Traditionally, an author who wanted to get published had to run that gauntlet of spanks and paddles before they could ever reach their readers.

But not anymore.

And when that woman said what she did, I had an epiphany. I realized I had already circumnavigated the gauntlet. My writing had already been validated numerous times through contest wins and awards won and publications accepted. I had readers. I had a fan base. I had people who loved my writing. Yet, there I was lining up for a tunnel of punishment when I didn't have to.

That was the day I decided to self-publish Ghost Hand. That was the day my depression lifted, and I got really excited about being a writer again.

Of course, the self-publishing route isn't easy. It isn't any easier than the traditional route, though it certainly has been much more enjoyable for me. I love being a self-validated writer. 

Recently, I commissioned a professional cover design for Ghost Hand and that was a blast. Then I realized I was going to need money to pay for a quality professional edit, and I turned my eye to Kickstarter. Right now I am running a Kickstarter Project for Ghost Hand, and it has been very validating. My family, friends, and fans have gotten behind me. At the moment, I am nearly half-way to my goal. When I reach the half-way mark, I will be doing a BIG Unveiling of the Cover of Ghost Hand, so head on over and be a part of that by backing me today.

One thing I like about Kickstarter is that it isn't charity. Every backer receives a reward related to the creative project they are backing, and payment is made securely through Amazon, so if you have an Amazon account, you're all ready to go.

Want to join me in validating Ghost Hand? The first two chapters can be read on my website HERE. Two more chapters can be acquired by sending a request to my Ghost Hand mailing list. And of course, I hope you will go to my Kickstarter and back Ghost Hand with your financial support.

Karen: Thanks Ripley! I love your writing style and I can hardly wait to read Ghost Hand. By the way, for anyone interested in reading a great essay on agents I highly recommend Ripley's article, When Agents Fail.

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- How To Sell 100 Books Per Day: 6 Things You Need To Do