Last night I started a new Kickstarter campaign. For those of you who just asked “what’s a Kickstarter?” you can learn more here. Basically, it is a site that links together people interested in investing in projects with those who require funding. These are generally smaller projects, sometimes creative, sometimes technological. Explore the site. There’s lots to see.
This is my second Kickstarter. I’ve mentioned my Kickstarter for Centurion: Legionaries of Rome, a role-playing game, here. I’ll have more to say about that once I get the final tally for shipping costs.
The new Kickstarter is a short fiction collection called Farewell, Something Lovely. I’ve subtitled it “Tales of Sword Noir,” working yet again the title of a sub- sub-genre in which I like to write. To me, sword noir is basically a mash-up of sword & sorcery and hardboiled crime fiction, falling more heavily on the sword & sorcery side. One of the stories re-printed in Farewell, Something Lovely first appeared in Black Gate 15.
Kickstarter offers a great opportunities for freelance creatives, including fiction authors. There are actually better paying markets for short fiction than there are for role-playing games, however there are less of them. E-books have certainly created opportunities for the “insurgent creative” – a term coined by Gareth-Michael Skarka – however Kickstarter offers an even better opportunity, at least in my mind.
Kickstarter provides two factors up-front that e-books or other self-publishing routes do not: market testing and funding.
While the fact that your Kickstarter didn’t fund may have more to do with a lack of publicity than a judgement on your project, successfully funding a project is definite proof of an existing interest among consumers. A reasonable funding target on an interesting project that gets the word out is pretty much certain to fund. A reasonable funding target on a project with little interest even when it is well-publicized is not as likely to do so.
Further, if your project is successful, you have funds to help propel your project forward. For something like Centurion, this translated into art, editing and layout. Farewell, Something Lovely has a much lower target, but it will still pay for printing the physical books promised, a professionally designed cover and layout. I might even get some pocket change out of it.
And while if it funds it would still pay me less than selling each of those stories individually in a market paying professional rates, this is a product that I can then sell in e-book venues and through Amazon and its Createspace program. The funds from Kickstarter will help me create a product that will more readily gain notice in a market overflowing with alternatives.
To me, Kickstarter is my best option for future projects. Farewell, Something Lovely is actually the biggest risk I’ve taken, given the extremely short funding window (10 days) and the difference in product from my successful Kickstarter (fiction rather than a game).
This should prove interesting.