What is kickstarter? It’s a US site that lets people put up their projects to ask for crowdsourcing funding. Say you need $1000 to publish a book (my situation) – people can chip in $15, 35, 50, or more, in exchange for a copy of the book and other bonuses. Projects can range from books to movies to a product.
I have been thinking about putting together a campaign for the past year, but was thinking of Indiegogo (a similar but less popular site), as up until now, Kickstarter did not allow Canadians to raise funds. The issue was that Kickstarter used Amazon Marketplace payment system which is only open to US residents with a US SIN Card. Now, starting in September 2013, Canadians can use Kickstarter, with funds deposited into their bank accounts directly.
It sounds too good to be true, doesn’t it? Free money! When you look at some campaign pages, people have raised over $200K for some projects, which is amazing! The idea is that people will put their money into projects that they want to see appear in the market.
There is a catch – if you don’t reach the goal you specify (eg. $1000), then you get $0 and the project campaign is considered a failure. You can launch again, but all previous donations will have to be re-pledged by people.
If you have a great idea and want to set up a campaign, it’s pretty easy if you are willing to put in some blood, sweat and tears. Also, you do need a thick skin because if you are asking for money, you have to put your face onto video and sincerely tell people what you are doing with the money and why your project is important.
What you need to do:
1. Think of a project
2. Write about why you are doing it, who you are, what you need money for
3. Make a video asking for help
4. Open a kickstarter account
5. Fill in pages of information and pledge information (if people give you money, what do they get in return?)
6. Send finished campaign pages to kickstarter staff, they have to approve the project before it becomes live
7. If it is a go, think about who you are going to beg for support via email, facebook, etc.
8. Wait a month and hope it works; pray for the kindness of strangers
Each step sounds simple, but in reality it is all fairly time consuming!
Trying to figure out how to make a video with sound, editing graphics, writing the script, etc, took me a few weeks. Writing the pages for the campaign took a few days. I bought a video camera as I wanted better quality videos than webcams or phonecams (I wanted to make sure voice sounds were properly captured). For a professional book cover, I hired a graphic artist company to help me create one. Prior to kickstarter opening to Canada, I was hunting down Americans to see if I could find a silent partner with a SIN number.
Anyhow, I am in the process of putting together for my non-fiction book, “How to Make a Munchkin” and will see if I can launch a campaign in September then! Will be bugging you soon!