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[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
Here's a post about how indie publishing can make a writer's brain kind of explode.

You know how I solve this? Most of the time, I let my fans steer. Once in a while, I get really determined to write a particular thing. But things the fans choose collectively have a higher chance of selling better. They're not picking stuff at random. My audience makes a mindful and effective gatekeeper.

I treasure this. You see, my brain has always been full of popcorn kittens. Having a few lackadaisical editors out in the blue yonder occasionally buying things didn't help a whole lot, so mostly I relied on my own taste. Or whim, because I'm better at starting things than finishing them. But I've gotten better results from a dedicated audience. Even with a whole bunch ofongoing series open at the same time, the total mass per storyline is way way higher, and some of those have developed a robust plotline. When people ask for more of characters they love, or particular events they want to see, or more of a favorite setting, that means the expansion is consistently driven by interest. It's great targeting information; it teaches me how to write better. It definitely shapes what I choose to extend or leave fallow.

You settle popcorn kittens by putting down a bowl of cat food. I'm cool with that.

So if you're having a hard time deciding what to work on next, you honestly have a bunch of promising projects you'd love to do, and you have an established audience -- try asking them. I've used polls myself. I've also seen webcomics actually do it with donations where every dollar equals a vote for your favorite character, and the one with the most votes wins.
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[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?
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
These tips generalize well to crowdfunding projects.
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
[personal profile] siege asked me to link something here, my post about how I decide what becomes crowdfunding vs. free samples.

How do other folks decide this? Do you use some of the same parameters or different ones?
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[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
[personal profile] burger_eater has written an essay of ruthless self-examination about when not to use Kickstarter, and why. Sometimes you have to decide between writing projects, and where you want your writing career to go. That means taking a good hard look at what's working and what's not working. Most of the time, when fans clamor for something, it's worth listening to them. But ... not quite always, and here's a detailed example of that.
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[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: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
   [personal profile] haikujaguar has launched a campaign on IndieGoGo to turn her popular Three Micahs column into a book.  It's about the business end of creative work such as art, writing, and crafts.
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
 Here is a terrific post about various aspects of writing webserials, and the differences between serialized novels and ongoing serials.
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[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
This post has links to all the great installments by Eseme. If you are a book author, this is relevant to you.
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[personal profile] aldersprig
Eseme has been guest-blogging in my journal a series on Getting Your Self-Published Book into a Library.

The posts can be found here:


Part One, How Libraries Buy Books

Part Two, Donating Your Book to a Library

Part Three, Ebooks in Libraries

Part Four, Author Events at Libraries


Part Five, Not Actually About Libraries
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.
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[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
Readers love books, and most readers have favorite authors. You wish they would write more. You may also wish for them to be happy and prosperous.

Well, authors have to put beans on the table. For some, that means writing whatever sells. For others, that means squeezing in time to write around a day job doing something else. Maybe they get paid a fair rate for their work, with a decent contract; maybe not. Often the end result is that they don't put out as much writing as you or they would like.

Here's the key: YOU can do something about this. You are the audience; you are the consumer. Your choices an individual, and the behavior of you-all collectively, can make a tremendous difference in the livelihood of your favorite authors. The more profitable something is, the more time they can afford to spend doing it. Do you value that reading material they create? Does it teach you things that will save you time and trouble, or things that are just fun to know? Does it give your mind a much-needed vacation to places you love, in the company of characters you enjoy? Does it lift your spirits, rouse your sense of wonder, or at least remind you that your life could suck a whole lot more than it does? If so, consider the following list of things you can do to support your favorite authors.

1) Buy what your favorite authors have published. This is the core of this process: demand drives supply.
  • Preorder new books when they are announced. This tells bookstores and publishers that you love the author's work so much you'll buy it sight unseen. It encourages publishers to buy more manuscripts and bookstores to order more books; and those two things are a positive feedback loop unto themselves, too.
  • Buy new books in bookstores. This helps raise sellthrough, lowering returns and remainders. High sellthrough is good for authors (and publishers and bookstores too).
  • Subscribe to magazines. If you're reading a magazine because it features a lot of authors you like, support the magazine by subscribing. That way they get much more money than if you bought it through a bookstore. More money for the magazine keeps them afloat and may raise author pay rates.
  • Buy books directly from the publisher. Sometimes this can get you discounts, or books that many stores don't stock.
  • Buy books directly from the author. This may get you discounts, books that aren't available elsewhere, and extra goodies like autographs or bookmarks. Also authors typically make more money on books they sell personally, because they can get those books from the publisher at a discount. There are some organizations specializing in this, such as Basement Full of Books.
  • Buy other things that contain the author's writing. Magazines, newspapers, almanacs, webzines, and email newsletters are good to patronize. Also check out Anthology Builder, where you can compile a batch of short stories to be bound into a custom book.
  • Buy used books or back-issue magazines only as a last resort. These don't count towards the author's income or perceived popularity.
  • Buy books and other things by your favorite author to give as gifts. This is a great way to get your friends hooked on your favorites. If you're visiting someone who's sick, consider bringing a book or magazine instead of flowers -- it helps reduce boredom, and will last longer. Make a point of giving age-appropriate books and magazines to children, too; reading is a lifelong habit.
2) Route money directly to authors. There are various ways, so keep you eyes open for what your favorite authors are doing.
  • Participate in cyberfunded creativity. More and more authors are hosting projects with a high level of interactivity, where they write things supported by audience donations and sometimes inspired by audience prompts. Usually this involves putting up a PayPal button for donations or subscriptions; except for PayPal's transaction fee, every penny of that goes right into the author's pocket.
  • Attend workshops or lectures that charge a fee. Some authors enjoy teaching and/or public speaking. You can learn a lot from them in a very short time!
  • Watch for other goods and services. It's not rare for authors to have a sideline business, sometimes tied to their writing (fan art t-shirts, for example, or manuscript commentary).
  • Check the author's blog for a virtual "tip jar" (usually a PayPal button). This is a good way to give money to people in respect for things they've written or done in the past which enhanced your life.

3) Promote and participate in events. There's more to a writing career than just writing. Authors often hold book signings and launch parties, lead workshops, do readings, attend conventions, and all kinds of other activities. This can be fun and educational for everyone. It also helps boost the author's popularity and visibility.
  • If you like a local author, contact the bookstores, libraries, and coffeehouses in your area and encourage them to host an author event. This works best when there's a new book about to be released, a new column launching, or some other particular project to promote. This way if the author contacts those places seeking to arrange an event, they'll be primed with audience interest, and more likely to agree.
  • Attend author events whenever you have the opportunity. Your physical presence shows support; in venues that favor audience discussion, your verbal contributions can help make the event fun and interesting.
  • Bring a friend. Better yet, bring everyone you can beg, bribe, or drag into coming! The more the merrier. A good-sized crowd is more effective for most group activities, and it demonstrates the author's popularity, thus making it easier to get more such bookings in the future.
  • If the event is at a bookstore, buy the book that the author is promoting. (Already got a copy? Get one to give as a gift. This is one of your favorite authors -- surely you know someone else who'd enjoy their writing!) According to bookstore staff, it only takes one or a few such sales for them to consider the event a success, because often they don't sell any; people just bring their own copies to be signed or whatever. You get a lot of bang for your buck there.
  • After an event, thank the owner and/or organizer for hosting your favorite author. Make sure you say the author's name. A handwritten thank-you note can make an even bigger impression because few people bother with them nowadays.
4) Generate buzz. Today word-of-mouth advertising is a potent force in the economy, including publishing. This is one place where audience participation shines like a blue star. It's not something that can be easily done by anyone else.
  • Talk about your favorite author and/or their books, articles, poetry, short stories -- whatever they write. This works in any venue: in person, in your blog, anywhere people will pay attention to you. The conversation may inspire other people to read that author's work. Write reviews. You don't know how? Learn the skill; it's not terribly hard. Even a paragraph describing what you like will suffice. Barnes & Noble and many other online suppliers accept customer reviews for books they sell. Posting reviews to your own blog is just fine. You can also post reviews in Dreamwidth communites such as:
[community profile] audiobooks
[community profile] books
[community profile] littleknownbooks
[community profile] romancereviews
[community profile] sps
  • Use book recommendation sites and word-of-mouth networks. Good Reads shows what your friends are reading. What Should I Read Next? compiles user input to make recommendations when you key in the title and author of what you read last. The Book Explorer sorts books by categories, manages lists, and makes recommendations.  Digg It links web content, including blog posts.
  • BookCrossing is in a class of its own. Join the network, get special labels, tag a spare copy of a favorite book, and "release it into the wild" by leaving it in a public place. The label allows it to be tracked as it passes from one person to another, if people log in to say they found it. You could get hundreds of people to read your favorite author's book this way! It's a perfect use for that extra copy you bought at the signing.
  • Write letters to the editor. Make sure the people with the buying power know you like an author's work. If your favorite author writes for a magazine, newspaper, or other periodical (hardcopy or online) then contact the editor. For books, contact the publisher. You can usually find the relevant contact information in the publication's website or the masthead of a periodical.
  • Nominate your favorite author, book, magazine, short story, etc. for awards. There are award databases online for many different types of awards, such as the Locus Index to Science Fiction Awards, Book Spot Awards, and American Library Association Awards and Grants.
  • Make the networking connections. If your favorite author has a blog, a website, a hardcopy newsletter, etc. then link to it or provide the contact information so people can find it. Once you've piqued people's interest, make sure they can follow through on it in ways that will benefit the author.

5) Give feedback to your favorite author. Most authors love  feedback. Here's why.
  • Feedback is candy. When people respond to something an author has written, it triggers the pleasure circuit. A lot. Just being noticed is gratifying. Positive feedback -- knowing that you made someone smile, or made their life easier -- is really, really gratifying. Some authors also enjoy negative feedback. If you enjoy screaming at each other, go for it. Whatever floats your boat. Just don't sit there with your mouth open, saying nothing.
  • Feedback is inspiration. Some authors use audience input directly; they may ask for writing prompts, or inquire what topics you'd like to see covered next. This is especially prevalent in blogs, cyberfunded creativity, short story drives, and certain periodical columns. However, all authors use feedback indirectly. Like giant sponges, writers absorb input from all around them. Something you say in passing may float in a writer's backbrain for a decade before attaching to something else and developing into an article or story. Writers do the same thing with the news, the vacations they take, their jobs, the trees they pass in the park ... everything  is research.
  • Feedback is grit. It helps polish a diamond in the rough into a real gem, whether that's a rough draft or a whole writing career. This is primarily true of negative feedback, but the overall mass can also alert an author to areas needing improvement. If nobody ever raves about the characterization, chances are it would benefit from added dimension. Constructive criticism is especially valuable if you can precisely indicate what went wrong, why it didn't work for you, and what might be done to fix it. Novice and semi-pro writers really benefit from finding readers who will help them hone their craft; if you have a knack for this, you can make a friend for life that way. Some writers welcome this sort of thing; others don't. Check first if you care about their feelings.
  • Feedback is fuel. When you pay attention to someone's work, you're sending energy in that direction. (You may have seen how a performer onstage can use an audience's excitement to fire up their creative engine in a delicious feedback loop. This works much the same way.) Many authors can use this energy to power their writing. Since authors are frequently busy, every extra bit of energy helps.
  • Detailed feedback is more useful than vague feedback. This is true for both positive and negative feedback. "Golly gee whiz I love your book!" is not as helpful as "I love your characterization in Liberty's Lady," which is not as helpful as "President Jane Doe is the most believable projection of a female president I've ever read; she's always three steps ahead of everyone else but she never forgets the human side."

What are some of your favorite methods for supporting authors or other creative people?

(This is a revised version of something I previously posted on my LiveJournal account, The Wordsmith's Forge.)

ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
The better an audience a crowdfunded project has, the higher its chances of success. Here are some tips for improving the activity and size of your audience, useful for cyberfunded creativity and for blogging in general.

To make an audience more lively:
  • Invite comments by asking questions.
  • Praise people when they comment.
  • Track your main topics: go to your Profile page, select "Organize" and then "Manage Tags." Look under "Your Tags" and sort by "Usage." Click each tag topic to display its number of posts and other data.
  • Ask your audience if they like the topics you are posting about most frequently and what topics they would like more (or less) of.
  • Post polls.
  • Watch for active people who interest you. Subscribe to their DW journal and/or grant them access to yours.

To make an audience bigger:
  • Post on other blogs that have a big, active audience and are related to your topic.
  • Join some networking communities, such as [community profile] addme.
  • Watch for people whose interests match yours, and add them to your Circle.
  • Join communities related to your topic and post frequently there.
  • Scan the membership lists of communities you frequent, visit other members' journals, and connect with the ones that appeal to you.
  • Encourage your current readers to link to your blog and tell their friends about it.
  • Announce that you will release new material when a target number of new Friends join. (This idea courtesy of Ave Pasifika.)

More and better content will, of course, help with both of the above goals:
  • Post frequently. Once a week is the minimum for an effective blog, several times a week is better, and daily is best.
  • If you cannot post frequently, post regularly. Pick a day of the week or several days in the month when your blog always updates, and tell people when.
  • Post good material. If it is dull, ugly, or difficult to decipher then people will probably not pay much attention to it.
  • Posting experiments, failures, and/or works-in-progress can draw attention if you discuss your goals and what is going right or wrong. This attracts other people who are trying to learn similar skills.
  • Post original material. If they can't get it anywhere else, people are more likely to hang around your blog to get the goodies.
  • Relay interesting material. If there is news related to your blog topic(s), post an excerpt and link to the original article, then add some personal comments. When people find a good source for news that interests them, they tend to check it often.

What are some of your ideas for boosting an audience?

(This is a revised version of something I previously posted over on the LiveJournal community Crowdfunding.)
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
Over time, I have browsed through a great deal of crowdfunded creativity ... and things that might be cyberfunded projects but I can't really tell, and things that would be if they had a clear money path. I realized that the most popular projects had certain things in common. Doing these things doesn't guarantee success -- nothing does -- but will certainly move a project in that direction.

1) Name your project. This makes it easy for people to discuss and recommend your project. Now they can say, "I'm reading 'Awesome Content' by A.J. Muse" instead of "I'm reading this thing about ferrets with pictures and music." Like the title of a story, your project name should be descriptive and memorable, something not already in heavy use. Ideally, typing the project name into a search engine should put your project on the first page.

2) Design a landing page for your project. On a private website, this can be a whole separate page or section; in a blog, it can be an individual post. Title it something like "[Project Name] Landing Page." Include a brief description of crowdfunding/cyberfunded creativity, a description of your project, a description of your particular business model, and tips on how people can help support what you're doing. If your project is regularly updated, this is a good place for a link-list table of contents; otherwise feature or link to some other sample of the main content. If you have separate pages such as an honor roll of donors or instructions for special activities, link those pages or posts here as well. The landing page should be the one-stop-shop for linking to your project, so make sure all the information people need is on this page or accessible from it. It's a good idea to link your landing page at the end of each individual project post.

3) Create tags for your project. Tags are words or short phrases that identify what kind of content is there. All blog posts concerning your project should be accessible through a project tag. In a blog, tags appear above or below posts and in your tag list or tag cloud. This way, when people stumble across a blog post they like, they can easily find more. If you or your audience use Twitter, then you should also create a Twitter hashtag identifying your project. For instance, a friend of mine created the #poetryfishbowl hashtag for my monthly Poetry Fishbowl project, even though I don't have a Twitter account myself. This allows people to tweet and retweet your project, hopefully expanding your exposure and audience. Some other social networks have other tagging systems, so keep an eye on this.

4) Establish definite audience interaction. This distinguishes your crowdfunded project from anything that is simply an online store. If someone looks at your site and wonders, "Is this cyberfunded creativity or just a store?" then it should be easy for them to find your audience interaction for confirmation. Popular types of audience interaction include polls, contests, asking for prompts, how-to or step-by-step posts in response to questions, inviting the audience to set themes or other goals, adding characters or scenes or other tidbits inspired by frequent commenters, and listing your patrons for community praise.

5) Post a donation button. This makes your project instantly identifiable as cyberfunded creativity, even if you customarily use some other method of exchange such as subscriptions paid by check. It's an easy option for folks who just want to say, "I like what you're doing; have some random cash." PayPal is the most popular online money service for crowdfunding, but there are alternatives such as ChipIn, AlertPay, Moneybookers, Daopay, etc. You may want a general button on your landing page or profile page, and a specific button for each project post. If you're shy and/or new, put it on your profile page; if you're confident and/or experienced, put it on each post; if you're really organized, put it on your landing page. Make sure you put a button in at least one of those three places. They are the most likely places people will look when they want to give you money, and if there isn't an easy way to do it there, you'll miss opportunities.

Following these steps will give your project cohesion. It's a good idea to do these things even if you don't plan on promoting a particular project as a big deal -- you never know what people will like. Several of the more popular cyberfunded projects started out as whims, experiments, or practice. Once you start repeating a particular thing, though, there's a chance that people will start watching for it and then it has a following. Those folks should be able to tell you in a concrete fashion, "I enjoy this and want to see more of it." Feedback is candy, but cash is concrete. When people give you money, they are trading their time for yours, because money is crystallized time and energy. Make sure your audience has convenient ways to indicate their interest and support. Then you can deliver more of what they want the most -- and then you are truly on your way to crowdfunded success.

(This is a revised version of something I previously posted over on the LiveJournal community Crowdfunding.)

ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
You've read about Crowdfunding (aka Cyberfunded Creativity), a business model in which creative folks sell their work directly to audiences online. You've probably seen one or more projects by other people. Now you're considering a project of your own, and you aren't sure how to get started. Here are some tips...

1) Join the [community profile] crowdfunding community. Here you can observe other people's cyberfunded creativity projects, learn about new ones, talk with other creators, read polls about CFC issues, post about your own project, and invite feedback. This community is a great resource for creators and donors alike. In one place you can do many of the other recommended steps.

2) Read articles about cyberfunded creativity. There aren't a lot yet, but you can find a few. Some time ago, I wrote a four-part series about cyberfunded creativity for EMG-zine:
"What Is Cyberfunded Creativity?"
"Cyberfunded Creativity in Context"
"Exploring Cyberfunded Projects"
"How to Practice Cyberfunded Creativity"

3) Explore cyberfunded creativity projects by other people. On DW, [community profile] crowdfunding maintains a Links list of projects. Many other projects, including whole fields of things such as webcomics and online novels by famous authors, are available elsewhere on the web. Do some serious browsing.

4) Cultivate a large and lively audience. Cyberfunded creativity lives or dies on audience interaction. The bigger your audience, the better, although you may succeed with just a few avid fans. The livelier your audience, the better, although you may succeed with a horde of lurkers sprinkled with die-hards. Do everything you can to to encourage people to participate in your blog and your project.

Network widely to attract new members. Watch for people who comment and/or donate a lot in other people's projects. If you make friends with them, they may do the same for your project. Also, vocal people are good indicators of what an audience likes; if several people say they like something, probably others like it also. Feedback on other projects can help improve yours.

5) Ask your audience what they want. This is another aspect of audience interaction: people are more willing to give you money if you deliver exactly what they want, especially if nobody else can or will. They may prefer certain characters, painting media, song topics, or some other facet of stuff you're already doing. Find out where your passions overlap theirs and pump that.

6) Pick an exciting idea. Some cyberfunded projects are small, but many feature ongoing characters, plots, settings, styles, or other motifs. Try to find something you will enjoy doing for a while. If it works, it's easier to keep people paying for more of something they already like than to start from scratch all the time and hook people on new stuff. But switching to new things sometimes is also good; don't let people get bored.

7) Figure out what presentation mode will suit your needs. Some projects use specific donation levels or subscriptions. Others have a general donation button where people give whatever amount they choose. Some projects are one-shots and others are ongoing. There are art, writing, music, and other media in cyberfunded creativity. Mix and match as you wish.

8) Plan to promote your project. Use different media such as blogging, email lists, web ads, personal conversation, flyers, whatever works for you. If you're not comfortable blowing your own horn, cyberfunded creativity will pose an extra challenge for you; be prepared to deal with that. It helps to enlist other people to promote your project, such as echoing announcements on their blogs or putting your banners on their websites.

9) Network with other cyberfunded creativity providers. If you comment on their projects, donate, and/or echo their announcements then they are more likely to do so for yours. Decide whose work you really like and make friends with them. Tell them about your project and ask about theirs. Post and comment frequently on cyberfund_creat to join in conversations with other creators. Put "cyberfunded creativity" and "crowdfunding" in your Interests on your DW profile. When people subscribe to your DW journal or grant you access to theirs, return the favor unless you have a strong reason not to; this really boosts your exposure.

10) Offer something before you ask for something. Start small and work up, especially by offering free samples before requesting money. This helps attract and retain audience members. It also lets you try things out and tinker with them before a project gets too solid to change easily. That way the paid version can be a bigger and better expansion that makes people want it even more.

Similarly, many CFC providers use some kind of perk for their donors or even their whole audience. Artists may scan extra art from their sketchbooks. Writers may offer an extra post. Both use "honor roll" lists naming their donors, and either may offer character cameos that put donors into their world. People selling prints, books, etc. may offer free shipping or tuck surprises into a package. Use your imagination and think about what kinds of things would make you go squee.

(This is a revised version of something I previously posted over on the LiveJournal community Crowdfunding.)
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
Crowdfunded Creativity (aka Cyberfunded Creativity) is a new, growing business model. It allows creative folks such as writers and artists to sell their goods and services directly to online audiences. It enables viewers to support their favorite creators, which encourages them to produce more goodies. It cuts out the middleman. CFC can be done through blogs or personal websites, in assorted variations.

What this community offers for creative people:
Use this space to promote your crowdfunded projects and reach a wider audience. You may explain how your particular CFC project works: what you produce, what crowdfunding model you use, what your perks are, etc.  You can ask for people's input on projects or decisions when you aren't sure what you want to do. Discussions of CFC theory and practice, success or failure, are also welcome. All kinds of creativity are welcome: writing, art, music, webcomics, crafts, etc.

What this community offers for patrons:
Use this space to find new projects to view and/or support.  You may also share your exciting discoveries of projects that you think other viewers might enjoy.  Give creators feedback about what kinds of methods or perks you like.  Compare/contrast cyberfunded creativity with conventional business models.  Full reviews of CFC offerings are especially welcome.

For service providers and seekers:
In cyberfunded creativity, the creator has to do or hire everything.  Use this space to find freelance artists, editors, programmers, etc. to handle aspects of your project that lie outside your own skills.  Likewise, promote what you can do for potential customers.  In both cases, mention if you're open to barter -- this works especially well with matched skill sets such as swapping writing for art or editing for writing.  Post thoughtfully and don't spam.


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

October 2017

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