Sometimes you kick, sometimes you get kicked

You’ve probably heard of Kickstarter, the crowdsourced funding site. Most commonly used to generate revenue and interest in media projects such as indie films, albums and books, it has also been used to fund everything from designing parks, building better earbuds, flashlights and other gadgets to a bluetooth wristwatch that puts your smartphone apps on your wrist.

Recently I’ve seen many authors use it, some to great success. The biggest one I’ve seen recently (and one I contributed to) was for Dinocalypse Now, a role-playing game universe. They surpassed their goals so superfluously that backers will be getting over a half dozen e-books by various authors for their donation. They had a huge audience, and writers with large fanbases, such as Chuck Wendig behind them.

Other friends have kicked off campaigns, and some are a great deal. When it is tiered like a pre-order, and you get the e-book for the same price as you’d pay when it was released, it’s very easy to jump in and support an author whose work you know you enjoy. Those are my favorites, and I usually end up buying a higher level goodie, like the very cool Ace Double paperback of Butch Fatale that Christa Faust is offering for her campaign: Butch Fatale 2: The Big Sister

Other writers have been just as successful, asking you to pony up $10 or more for an e-book that will go on sale for $4.99, and more power to them. Personally, I don’t want my readers and supporters to pay extra for me to write a book. I’d prefer to think of it as a true advance. How well this works, remains to be seen. The books haven’t been written yet. I trust professional writers like Ms. Faust and Mr. Wendig to provide quality reading on deadline. They’ve done it for years, and there’s no reason to expect them not to keep kicking ass.

I’m not sure I’d be so willing to pony up for a first novel or novella by someone without a proven track record. I’m not being self-effacing here, but having self-published and edited an anthology, if I used Kickstarter to fund my own story collection, I would keep the price very low. (Self-publishing is work, but it doesn’t require cash up front. That’s one reason everyone is self-publishing.)

What do you think?

3 thoughts on “Sometimes you kick, sometimes you get kicked

  1. I’m with you: I don’t know that I would contribute to someone I’m not familiar with, or whose work I’ve already read and decided I probably wouldn’t want to read again. But for a known quantity, or for someone people whose opinion I trust are going to bat for, I’d much rather pay $5 – $10 for something that would likely hit the eWorld for .99 eventually because that is what a book is worth to me, always, even if I end up not liking it. So I’m all for Kickstarter campaigns if they can guarantee a writer is going to actually get a little cash in pocket for their efforts.

  2. I like the idea of supporting the arts, especially writers. Writing on spec is tough business. When a lone writer or a small publisher lacks deep pockets, then making up for it with creativity and ingenuity is admirable. Knowing there’s a hungry audience sometimes gives the artist/writer incentive to kick up their game. As for supporting somebody who hasn’t proved they have the chops, that’s a toughie. Raw talent should be supported and encouraged, but maybe not with cash.

  3. I can think of better causes to contribute money to than a writer I know little about. I think you’d need some sort of a track record. In these days, so many worthwhile cause have their hand out.

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