Gone are the days where you had hoped that a big investor would see your project and hope that you’d make enough money to recoup the investors’ money and maybe, if you’re lucky, make some yourself.
Music, books and games have benefited greatly for crowdfunding. Unlike traditional funding sources is the number of backers and the amounts that people have raised. They also provide with payment system where the money is held in escrow and, in the case of Kickstarter, only paid out if the process is successful in raising all its funds.
Crowdfunding (alternately crowd financing, equity crowdfunding, crowd-sourced fundraising) is the collective effort of individuals who network and pool their money, usually via the Internet, to support efforts initiated by other people or organizations. Crowdfunding is used in support of a wide variety of activities, including disaster relief, citizen journalism, support of artists by fans, political campaigns, startup company funding, motion picture promotion, free software development, inventions development, scientific research, and civic projects.
Kickstarter and Indiegogo are two examples of crowd funding platforms. They provide tools and infrastructure for individuals or groups to raise money for their projects. These platforms also allow you to communicate with your supporters and build community around your project by creating two-way communication between the project and its backers.
Kickstarter will only release the funds if the project reaches its minimum level of funding. Indiegogo gives you the options of full funding or partial funding on project completion date. Both of them have deeply changed the way we fund our projects.
I prefer the Kickstarter’s fundraising model as it helps sets expectations for a project’s backer. If you don’t rise the full funding and the site released the funds, where are the remaining funds coming from? People tend to expect that the fully funded project will happen even if the project only achieves partial funding.
It is not unheard of games and other content to get over 1 million dollars on funding. Meeting and beating stretch goals; what they call the funding goals raised in excess of their initial funding, and usually with extra rewards attached, and additional products related to the fundraising that can be purchased at a discounted price.
One of my favorite examples of successful crowd funded projects is Ukiyo-e heroes
The project is very niche specific. It seeks to create traditional Japanese wood prints using modern video game characters as a way to pay homage to the characters’ roots in Japanese tradition.
The project raised over 310,000 dollars, many times over their modest goal of $10,400. The project not only raised a huge amount of money but it also built a community of people who are interested in the product and who can be tapped for additional funds through additional Kickstarter projects or through direct sales. The potential is endless.
The additional funding Ukiyo-e Heroes raised has allowed David Bull, the Japanese printmaker who created the prints for the project, to keep his art alive by hiring apprentices and experienced printmakers to work in the project. The impact was felt way beyond the virtual community of backers in Kickstarter.
Look at the most successful Kickstarter publishing projects in terms of funding. Look at the broad definition of publishing and the variety of projects that get funded under this category.
I’ve chosen 3 different projects to highlight some of these new publishing methods and results.
- Ukiyo-e heroes
- Art Space Tokyo
- Mind’s Eye Theater: Vampire the Masquerade