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Kickstarter: Game Changer or Trash Producer for Independent Artistry

Posted on 2013-Jan-18

by BB eBooks Staff

Personal Rant


I cannot believe I actually spend half the day looking into what the zeitgeist of Kickstarter has circled around literary wordsmith and visual artists. Links are bountiful interchangeably on the browser’s tab as though they were inseparable and indistinguishable silver chains. Literally, I think I can spend the entire day reading the pros and cons and negative arguments of whether the crowdfunding site has successfully supported the good causes and made them available but all things must come to an end and my brain is now overloaded with information.

Founder & Backers


Among the historical success stories and bitter remarks to address failures, Kickstarter started rolling out its projects’ statistics back in June 2012 to reveal what campaigns fares the furthest towards the goal of raising the fund that will cover the costs caused by their creativity. Perry Chen, Kickstarter founder, thinks that word-of-mouth strategy does help sustain his business and hope that reliable revenue will chase spammers away. Despite the founder’s optimistic attitude, Ted Leonsis, Vice Chairman of AOL, chairman of Revolution Money and Clearspring Technologies, and co-owner of the NHL, NBA, and WNBA franchises in Washington, D.C., is concerned that the crowdfunding site may not be able to attract enough unique visitors. Still, Perry’s humble ambition is to replicate the success of eBay. With good faith and ready-made products in their hands, certain projects did receive the green light pushed by “backers” who financially support the needy artists and wordsmiths. Comic book authors had their share of success when their pledges of fund exceeded the actual costs crunched on their calculator. However, the comparison between success rate in June last year (45.48%) and January this year (45.77%) is nearly the same.

Visual Novel


Graphic novelists are the type of artists who want to make a bold statement on Kickstarter that their artwork combined with intricate storyline is worth the investment. Kelly Thompson’s ‘The Girl Who Would Be King’ met her goal when $26,478 triumphantly surpassed her initial pledge of $8,000. Her project description tells an enduring journey how so many professional experts have helped her design the book. What interests me the most in her case is that 3 backers are willing to pay for “the ultimate fan package” to enjoy reading the book and cool rewards.

Meet the Authors Who Writes ‘The Written’

Another up-and-coming novelist who is one of the youngest and more successful self-published authors in the UK has recently launched his campaign on the crowdfunding site (disclaimer: Ben Galley is a client of BB eBooks). If you happen to read his informative blog, Shelf Help, you may be surprised to find his graphic novel full of dark fantasy and fast-pacing action instead of marketing tips. Currently, The Written is halfway through to its goal before Mar 2 this year. His site scrolls with arcane announcement of rewards will clarify your earliest doubts. Apart from getting into his fantasy realm, reading his great tip on Forbes makes me realize what many indie and self-publishers might neglect.

While it holds true for many authors that they are capable of maintaining the hectic schedule switching between day and night shifts making ends meet and fulfilling the aspiring dream in private moment. Hiring experts can lessen the burdens the self-promoting task has challenged. An editor, cover designer, marketing guru, publicist, printer, accountant, and distributor make up the list of those contributors getting involved in launching a book. Although you may not want to spend your life savings hiring each dedicated expert to do the job you are capable of doing, there are certain jobs you want to leave up to artists o productively add value to your book. To harness budget control effectively, Ben recommends consulting frugal sources like LightningSource, CreateSpace, and Lulu. The choice is forever yours.

Social Media as Fan-making Platform

Although it might sound redundant to hear a lecture about how important social media is, hear his suggestion! When your writing product flies to the booksellers, please bear in mind that marketing plays the vital role to boost sales continually. Yes, your official online portal must comprise of your face, previous works, contact details, social media links, and so on.

Social media is not your main sales platform, but it is your main fan-making platform. It doesn’t mean being a salesman and putting up link after link. It’s social media, not sales media.”

What does he want to tell? I guess Ben is trying to break the popularized term down especially when it overlaps with marketing purposes. Stripped down of sales-driven ambition, social media can generate ideas communication to maintain the social aspect of meeting new friends who share similar interests. For authors, apart from connecting with followers, they can use book review sites to boost the author’s discoverable rate. Since your website and author page are an information hub of for sales, social media channels can focus on more on sharing your inspiration and identity that had led you to write productively on a regular basis.

Active Offline Connection


After spending every ounce of energy corresponding on Twitter, Goodreads, Facebook, Google+, the establishment of your relationship with offline world should not be overlooked. Face-to-face appearances and conversation allows authors to observe their target audience’s reaction in real time. You stand the opportunity to promote your book and yourself as a brand ambassador formally and informally. Necessary Q&A can demystify their doubts and uncertainties in your writing. Taking pictures with your fans and uploading to your website will eventually benefit your online presence’s substance and adds weight in your portfolio to show them that you care about their support.

The Pledge to Be Heard


Whether you like it or not, Kickstarter will be around a lot longer as long as money is brought in to resuscitate the artists’ vein. Creativity is presented in many forms which attract approval and disgust ranging from innovative Lomography Smartphone Film Scanner to a USB vibrator. It seems that the vibrator, according to Gawker, has long been taken down by Kickstarter since the search returns with zero result. So far, 2,843 projects have been successfully funded in the category of publishing yet the success rate remains modest at 31.19%. To reinstate Ben’s point, the offline can be seen as your critical tool to connect with your fans. Although Kickstarter can financially allow you to kick start your dreams and initiatives, it is the chemistry in the writing that will thus establish your long-lasting reputation. In summary, Kickstarter makes unreachable dreams possible for everybody who has faith in their capacity. Regardless of what criticism draws the attention to the crowdfunding site, good causes need to be heard!

Label: Marketing

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