ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
[personal profile] haikujaguar has written a couple of posts on artistic business, "The Serpent's Whisper" and "I Am an Indie Midlister (and That's Okay)." These look at some ups and downs of alternative publishing and personal goals.
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
Crowdfunding is a relatively new business model. It's been around long enough that patterns are beginning to emerge as people experiment with different ideas and methods. Let's list some of those ...

* Free samples sell content. More often than not, people like to know what they're getting before they plunk down their hard-earned money. In a brick-and-mortar store they can just fondle whatever is on the shelves. Online shopping offers a much wider range but you can't always see what you're getting. So vendors are finding ways to substitute by offering videos, excerpts, etc. Crowdfunding involves an exchange between creator and audience, often with the viewers giving inspiration and feedback. Free samples don't just show people what they're buying, they reward participation and held hook viewers into ongoing projects. So look for bits of your work that you can afford to give away.

* Customization adds value. People love being able to get exactly what they want or need. This is actually a very old premise that used to be the norm, before mass production was invented. The economy has just shifted around to make it highly competitive again, by offering better ways to connect creators and shoppers. Often you can capitalize on this to make duplicates, because people may say, "Hey, I want what he just bought." For some types of content, that really reduces your workload.

* Find your niche. Marketing has always advised identifying and meeting unmet needs, but this really comes to the fore in crowdfunding. This business model can be small and nimble, or it can grow with demand. It thrives on connecting creators of unusual goodies to people who aren't fully satisfied with the mass-market stuff. So listen to what people are asking for, and look for places where there are gaps.

* The relationship is part of the process and the product. Traditional marketing of cultural goods has had a low level of interaction. Crowdfunding cuts out most or all of the middlemen and connects creators and fans directly. This connection makes the creative process more responsive, cycles energy back and forth, and generally means people have more fun. It's very different from the "lonely garret" model of creativity. Understand that going in, and plan to work with it.

What are some other things you are learning about crowdfunding?
havocthecat: willow and tara from btvs are kissing, with the text "havoc the cat"  (btvs willow/tara havocthecat)
[personal profile] havocthecat
Informational link for those interested, though this is full of legalese and I haven't had a chance to parse my way through more than the first couple of paragraphs yet:

SEC Proposes Crowdfunding Rules

I don't know that these would apply to small, individual crowdfunders, but thought it would be important to keep abreast of changes on the larger scale of crowdfunding as well.
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
This article looks at crowdfunding music and related expenses. Some crowdfunding projects are more successful than others; some people are better at raising money. But one thing seems consistently true: you can't take the exact model from conventional publishing and drop it straight into crowdfunding. That doesn't work very well. You need to design a business plan that works with your fundraising method and the available amount of money.

As for putting money back into a business? I so wish. I know that's the most effective way to build a business, but pretty much all the money I make from crowdfunding goes straight into basic living expenses.
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
For a while now, people have been talking about how great it would be if you could walk out of a movie theater and buy a copy of that movie in the lobby on your way home. A few producers have asked to do it and gotten shouted down.

So, I think an effective option would be to do an end run around the mainstream. There are film festivals for indie producers, and indie film is increasingly active in crowdfunding. Those people are putting out their own movies; they have control over what happens with the products. So an indie producer should be free to do simultaneous screen and consumer release if they want to. Once people got a taste of it, they'd scream at the mainstream movie companies until it became the norm. Or until the dinosaurs became extinct.

If you are into indie movies, or know people who are, pass the idea around.
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
Kickstarter is now one of the leading graphic novel publishers. This article looks at the business models and revenues from Kickstarter and several major comic publishers. Crowdfunding is having a huge impact on the comics field. This makes me happy, because the mainstream comic publishers aren't always supportive of diversity. Crowdfunding will support anything for which you can rustle up a bunch of people who want it.
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith

Recently LJ user catwithpen[profile] catwithpen asked in a comment:


It seems to me that some projects might be better suited to crowdfunding than others...but I don't know how to tell what kinds of projects would work well and what kinds wouldn't work well.


There are a lot of different factors that could influence a project's suitability.  While planning your project, it helps to outline its features as best you can and compare those to the set of things that crowdfunding does well vs. what other business models do well.  Then choose the closest match.

* Does this project already look like, or could be made to resemble, an existing crowdfunding model?

It's easier to launch a new project in a model that crowdfunding folks will already recognize.  If a project more closely resembles mainstream things, or is so new that it's not like anything else, the setup will be harder.  Those might work better in a different business model.

* How much interaction does the project involve?

Projects that require or benefit from more interaction between creator and audience are better suited to crowdfunding than those that thrive as solo work.

* Is the material monolithic or expansive?

Monolithic projects can be challenging to do as crowdfunding; they're harder to divide into small sections for phased contributions, or to spin off bits for perks.  Projects that expand or divide conveniently are better suited to the crowdfunding model.

* Does the material have a potentially enormous audience, or a smaller one?

If it's close to mainstream material and will appeal to that audience, a mainstream publisher will probably pay more than could be raised via crowdfunding.  But if it's an odd little project appealing to a niche market, the mainstream probably won't touch it while the underserved audience could be all over it in crowdfunding.

* Does the project and/or creator already have a fanbase?

If not, crowdfunding is iffy because the audience would have to be built from scratch, which is a lot of work.  But if there's already an audience in place and the mainstream markets aren't keen on the project, just go direct to the fans.  Good projects pitched to an extant fanbase usually thrive.

* Is the content actually creative?

Creative projects such as writing, art, music, etc. do well in the branch we call "cyberfunded creativity."  Crowdfunding as a wider business model can also be used to start a business, fund a trip, or do all kinds of other things -- but the venues are different and so are some of the strategies.  But once you get outside the creative sphere, opportunities may be broader in mainstream options, not just for finance but other support as well.  The mainstream is a lot more enthusiastic about businesses than books.

* Does the content lend itself well to cyberspace?

Most crowdfunding these days takes place online, and cyberfunded creativity evolved specifically in this dimension.  Things like text, images, and sounds are easily shared online so they make good project types for crowdfunding.  If it's something that can't readily be transmitted -- the flavor of a recipe, the fragrance of essential oils, the texture of fabric -- that makes attracting supporters more difficult.  Some other business model might work better for projects that rely on realspace appreciation.

* Can there be copies of the material, or only originals?

Crowdfunding works best with things that can be shared widely.  A story or song exists in as many copies as desired; a painting can be rendered as prints.  But if you're making ceramic altar goods, each one is an original that you have to create by hand.  That's less suited for crowdfunding.

* Does this project actually require money?

Crowdfunding is great if you need cash.  But if you don't -- and I've heard a couple folks say that about their projects -- then it may be more bother than it's worth.

* If it requires money, how much?

A low entry threshold makes it easier to build a big audience.  A low goal is more likely to reach fulfillment.  Such projects tend to work well in crowdfunding.  This business model is really all about pooling lots of little contributions to accomplish something that's difficult or impossible for individuals to do.  If it costs more to buy in, fewer people will be able to afford it; and higher goals succeed more rarely.  Such projects may require the deep pockets of a conventional publisher. 

ysabetwordsmith: (Crowdfunding butterfly ship)
[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
Recently I got this note from Dreamwidth:

We wanted to let you know that your paid Dreamwidth Studios community,
crowdfunding, will be expiring in two weeks.

If you'd like, you can add more paid time to your community account


If you don't want to renew your community's paid account, don't worry --
it'll still be there for you to use. You and your community members just
won't have access to all of the paid account features. You can see a list
of those paid account features here:


Dreamwidth Studios is supported entirely by your payments. We aren't owned
by a corporate conglomerate, we haven't taken any venture capital from
outside investors, and we don't accept advertising, so we're 100% focused
on making you happy with our service and our site. If there's anything at
all that you think we're not doing right, or if there's something that we
could do better, we'd love to hear from you. You can email us at:


Thank you so much for supporting Dreamwidth and making it possible
for us to build an awesome service.

So if we want to keep this community as a paid one, anybody is welcome to chip in for that. These are the prices:

Premium Paid Account
12 months for 500 points ($50.00 USD)
6 months for 250 points ($25.00 USD)

Paid Account
12 months for 350 points ($35.00 USD)
6 months for 175 points ($17.50 USD)
2 months for 60 points ($6.00 USD)
1 month for 30 points ($3.00 USD)

If you want to be listed as a sponsor, just say so and what you donated.  I'll make a post accordingly.

ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
Here is some data about successful vs. unsuccessful Kickstarter projects.

Successful projects averaged 38 days while unsuccessful ones averaged 43 days. A short campaign is often better, such as 30 days. If you are raising a lot of money, consider 60 or 90 so you have time to build momentum.

Successful projects averaged $5,487 while unsuccessful projects averaged $16,365. Asking too much is a common reason for failure. Set reasonable goals. It's a good idea to start with small projects -- raising a few hundred dollars is quite doable, and a few thousand possible. Raising $10,000 or more is really hard.
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
  I was intrigued to hear that the JOBS Act, which President Obama signed on April 5, 2012, included a provision legalizing the use of crowdfunding for investing.  There's a brief note of this on the Wikipedia page for crowdfunding, although not much has been written elsewhere yet.  
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
I have a list of online money-handlers on my Crowdfunding Economics page. Based on a request, I've updated the entry with a summary of features for each service, citing what I could readily find on their websites. Many of them are not good about listing what they do, but at least this is a start.

Do you use a money-handler that is not on this list? Give me their URL and I can add them.
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
This month, boycott the commercial entertainment industry. Buy your books, music, movies, and other goodies from independent producers. Support crowdfunding and other alternatives to the corporate economy. There is a banner for this on my LJ scrapbook.

ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
Pirate Bay offers the Promo Bay, where you can get your free stuff promoted in several countries.  For those of you who feel that copyright has outlived its usefulness and that information should be free, here's a chance to put your products where your morals are.

I'll be keeping an eye out to see if any new hits, bestsellers, superstars, etc. emerge from this exercise in alternative distribution.
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
I was updating my list of crowdfunding activities for 2012 and realized something interesting: I already have two projects marked "JOB CREATOR" and it's only January.  One is "The Bookstore That's Bigger on the Inside" where funds will go toward paying staff members, among other things.  The other is Plunge  webzine, in planning stages currently with a Kickstarter to open soon, and the job it's creating is mine as Line Editor.

In this lousy economy, people care a lot about creating jobs.  They might like to know if a crowdfunded project is doing that, and it might attract more donations.  So I'd like to encourage folks, when posting about their own projects or those they support, to include "JOB CREATOR" in the post.
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
 This article on technology relevant to social business trends may be helpful for folks practicing or promoting cyberfunded creativity.
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
  [personal profile] haikujaguar is hosting an awesome conversation about book covers as art, how they're changing, and how to keep them alive in today's market.  Please join in with your thoughts.
aldersprig: a close up of an alder leaf (Leaf)
[personal profile] aldersprig
As I was IM'ing [personal profile] eseme "Stop me before I tip again" last night, I was laughing at myself for my nickle-and-dime donations lately.

But I write a webserial, and I know that nickles and dimes pay the bills. And why people tip is useful information.

We discussed this a bit in this post by [profile] stryck on tip incentives, but perhaps we can discuss, specifically, what top reasons motivate you to tip?

Mine are:
* I get something, or something more, directly for donating ([personal profile] djinni's icons)
* I can give something to a friend who's short on cash that week
* Sick kitty/kid/about to be evicted sort of call
* A really classy call for money ([personal profile] haikujaguar's Black Blossom)
* More of a product I've seen some of (Torn World)

I almost never throw more than $5 at something in this way, although for direct commissions I'll pay more.

What about you?
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
 Check out this discussion of crowdfunding theory, which deals with webcomics.
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
[personal profile] haikujaguar has posted (on LiveJournal) the latest installment of her creative business series, "The Three Micahs on Un-Slimy Marketing."  Whatever you sell, you want to read this; it's all about positive customer relationships and building a pool of patrons.


crowdfunding: Ship with butterflies for sails, captioned "Crowdfunding" (Default)
Crowdfunding: Connecting Creators and Patrons

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