Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Reading, Writing & Publishing ~

Tag Archives: Kickstarter

#Crowdfunding for #Writers

I have two sources for my report today—I could call this a post or an article; but, because of the way I work here, I can’t help but feel like a reporter, out on my Beat, hunting down stories… 

Crowdfunding for Writers

Image Courtesy of Dominic Morel ~

First, a definition:Crowdfunding (a form of crowdsourcing) is the practice of funding a project or venture by raising monetary contributions from a large number of people, today often performed via Internet-mediated registries, but the concept can also be executed through mail-order subscriptions, benefit events, and other methods.”

For writers, crowdfunding can also be one of the first methods they use to establish a core group of supporters for their books

The first source for this Report is Crowdfund Insider and their article, Kickstarter Reports: $100M Has Been Pledged to Publishing Projects.

Kickstarter is a well-known facilitator of crowdfunding but there are others (as a link in a post I did in May reveals)

I think the information on Crowdfund Insider about Kickstarter is a great source of encouragement for writers who just can’t find any other way to fund the things they need to do—pay editors; cover designers; possibly, book designers; purchase copies of a book for personal distribution

Of course, the numbers for Kickstarter could be seen as somewhat “representative” of other crowdfunding services

Here are Kickstarter’s Stats for Publishing Projects from April 28, 2009, to August 10, 2016:

* Amount pledged: $100,000,000 
* Projects launched: 33,009 
* Projects successfully funded: 9,660 
* Creators who have launched more than one successfully funded Publishing project: 608 
* Successfully funded creators who have backed at least one other project: 6,414 
* Number of backers: 1,226,438 
* Number of countries those backers have come from: 211 
* Number of times they have pledged to a project: 1,673,631 
* Number of publishing projects supported by the backer who has pledged to more publishing projects than anyone else: 364

Here are the various categories of publishing represented in those numbers:

* Academic: 660 projects launched 
* Anthologies: 231 projects launched 
* Art Books: 2,103 projects launched 
* Calendars: 198 projects launched 
* Children’s Books: 5,349 projects launched 
* Fiction: 8,009 projects launched 
* Literary Journals: 195 projects launched 
* Nonfiction: 7,170 projects launched 
* Periodicals: 1,129 projects launched 
* Poetry: 1,189 projects launched 
* Publishing: 5,020 projects launched 
* Radio & Podcasts: 778 projects launched 
* Translations: 116 projects launched 
* Young Adult: 607 projects launched 
* Zines: 255 projects launched

O.K., now that you have some idea of the breadth and depth of crowdfunding for writers, let’s look at the perspectives in source two—author Ben Galley in his article, Top Tips on Crowdfunding for Authors.

And, as I usually do in my reportorial blogging, I encourage you (since you’ve actually read this far...) to go read Ben’s full article

Here are the bullet points for his top four tips:

Confirm: Is your project worth it?

Compel: Make it irresistible

Prepare: Don’t assume your project will fund itself

Reward: Make it worthwhile for your backers 

And, I must finish this post with a fascinating quote from Ben:

“Using the crowd isn’t a new concept – the first edition of the Oxford English Dictionary was heavily ‘crowdsourced’…”

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CrowdFunding for Authors

CrowdFunding = “…to help bring creative projects to life.”, according to the famous WebSite, KickStarter.

Crowdfunding for Authors

Image Courtesy of Griszka Niewiadomski ~

Here’s a link to info on 9 other crowdfunding sites

Enter Bethany Carlson—“CFA, loves bringing films, books, and other art to life with the power of crowdfunding! Her passion is making yours possible at The Artist’s Partner. Bethany has a B.S. in Applied and Computational Mathematical Sciences with an Emphasis in Economics, with Honors, from the University of Washington, and she is a CFA charter-holder. She is a former NASA researcher and teaches math and physics at Renaissance School.”

She has a book on crowdfunding for authors coming out in October

Jane Friedman gave her space to post an excerpt from the book—Crowdfunding Usually Doesn’t Work for Writers—But It Can.

Here come the excerpts:

“Crowdfunding centralizes and organizes your fan base…”

“Crowdfunding is book marketing boot camp and publication day training…”

“Crowdfunding is not easy money.”

“Crowdfunding is not fast money.”

“Crowdfunding is not free money.”

“Writers fail at crowdfunding more frequently than other creatives….because it requires four skills that most writers do not regularly practice….Brevity….Visual design….Collaboration….Self-promotion…”

“The challenges are real—but they are not insurmountable. Over thirty thousand authors have collectively raised over $100 million for their books.”

On the same day Jane let Bethany post the excerpt, they had an interview—Q&A about Crowdfunding for Authors with Bethany Joy Carlson.

Important first excerpt:

“…Bethany Joy Carlson, owner of  The Artist’s Partner…has helped crowdfund over $110,000 for creative projects, including over $70,000 for books.”

Now, to break with certain “traditions” surrounding how to excerpt, I’ll list only the questions Jane asked Bethany:

*I worry that some authors who are interested in crowdfunding don’t have the proper resources or network in place to run a successful campaign. While I don’t want to be discouraging at the start of this interview (!), are there situations where you advise authors to wait before they start a campaign—to ensure they have some essential components in place?”

* “For an author undertaking their first crowdfunding effort, about how many hours of prep time would you budget, and then how many hours per day during a typical campaign?”

* “You’ve helped your clients successfully raise more than $100,000, and you’ve got the process down to a near science. Your excellent posts on how to run a successful crowdfunding campaign elaborate on the number crunching you do beforehand. How much do you think it’s a numbers game?”

* “Okay, moving away from the numbers: I know there’s an art to this as well. What are elements you observe, on the qualitative side, that the author has to bring to the table to help ensure a campaign succeeds?”

* “What tools or resources do you find indispensable for managing a crowdfunding campaign?”

Now, breaking with my own break with excerpt-tradition, here are the bullet points for that last question:

“A good email host.”

“Lots and lots of great pictures of the author’s face—and other faces.”

“Basic image-editing software.”

Each of those do have an additional explanation

So, just from the excerpts (though, if interested, you really need to go read both full articles…) are you up for the challenge?

What if mastering the skills of crowdfunding made the difference between selling lots of books or not selling very many books at all?
If you don’t see a way to comment (or, “reply”) after this post, try up there at the top right…
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“Wordnik Is Looking for a Million Missing Words—Can You Help?”

The title of this post was the subject line of an email I got yesterday. Wordnik

Wordnik is an online dictionary/thesaurus; and, if you didn’t know, a thesaurus is what shows you the synonyms of words. And, Wordnik also shows you a word’s etymology—its word-history

Or, in their own words, “…we’re the world’s biggest and friendliest English dictionary.”

Then, they told me:

“This is just a quick email to let you know that Wordnik launched a Kickstarter campaign today!”

Before I share about the Kickstarter campaign, I should let Wordnik tell you a bit more about itself:

“Every word at Wordnik gets its own full page, with as much data shown as possible: a standard definition (if one already exists), example sentences; synonyms, antonyms, and other related words; space for community-added tags, lists, and comments; images from Flickr and tweets from Twitter; and statistics on usage, including how many times a word has been favorited, listed, tagged, commented-upon, and, of course, whether or not it’s valid in Scrabble (and how many points it scores).”

And, here’s more about the Kickstarter campaign:

“We want to find a million words that haven’t been included in major English dictionaries and give them each a home on the Internet.

“At Wordnik we believe that every word of English deserves to be lookupable!

“The internet is, for all practical purposes, infinite. Wordnik can and should include every English word that’s ever been used.”


“Every word deserves a recorded place in our language’s history. We want to collect, preserve, and share every word of English, and provide a place where people can find, learn, annotate, comment on, and argue about every word.

“If you want to know more about a word—any word!—we want to help you find the information you need. If you’re curious about a word, why should you have to wait until someone else decides that a word is worth knowing?”

And, in case you need even more reason to go check out the Kickstarter campaign:

“We already have all these words in English! They exist right now in articles, books, blog posts, and even tweets. But they’ve never all been recorded in one place where they can be discovered and loved.

“Have you ever felt that the right word was out there, but you just couldn’t find it?

“Have you ever learned a weird word that made your whole day? Perhaps a word like thoil, which means ‘to be able to justify the expense of a purchase’? Or pandiculation, which means ‘yawning and stretching (as when first waking up)’?”

Here’s Wordnik’s Kickstarter link again :-)
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Getting Published Is Easy ~ Getting Readers Is Hard Work

My New Year’s Resolution will be Steady As She Goes

I have a new novel published and two companion books in the works

And, I have a somewhat unique way to find Readers

Past posts in this blog about Traditional Publishing and Self-Publishing can, hopefully, help a few writers make a few decisions about which path they want to trudge

I published my novel, Notes from An Alien, for a total of US$200.

If you need to pay an editor (mine did it just to be acknowledged in the book) and a cover designer (NASA provided me with an image, gratis), you could use something like Kickstarter to generate a few thousand dollars.

For some insight into using Kickstarter, check out, The Challenges of Using Kickstarter to Fund a New Novel.

So, you get published. Where are your readers?

Even traditionally published books can languish in the arena of readership and many a traditionally published author has had to do their own work to build an audience.

And, while traditionally published authors can wait years for a finished book to hit the shelves, it may only be on those shelves for a few months.

Digital shelves bring up the concept of the Long Tail—books selling “forever”—“…the cultural benefit of all of this is much more diversity, reversing the blanding effects of a century of distribution scarcity and ending the tyranny of the hit.”

Still, the author with print or ebooks on a digital shelf needs readers

That Long Tail article addresses some of this but an author will still have to build an Audience or Platform to get the “recommendation tools” of the digital shelves working for them.

Seth Godin in the article, What I Learned In My Year Of Revolutionizing Publishing, says something profound about what he calls Permission Marketing—having a “tribe” of readers who have given you permission to let them know what you’ve done (this is the modern way to “sell”):

Permission is still the most important and valuable asset of the web (and of publishing). The core group of 50,000 subscribers to the Domino blog made all the difference in getting the word out and turning each of our books into a bestseller. It still amazes me how few online merchants and traditional publishers (and even authors) have done the hard work necessary to create this asset. If you’re an author in search of success and you don’t pursue this with single-minded passion, you’re making a serious error. (See #2 on my advice for authors post from five years ago, or the last part of my other advice for authors post from six years ago.)”

Is all this talk about the hard work of finding readers going to make you give up?

If you have a book, in your head or written out, does its Life justify lots of hard work?

Does it seem unfair to you that sensitive, creative people need to roll up their sleeves and build a sustainable author platform?

What do you think is the most important attribute authors need to develop to be successful?

What is “success”?
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