For those of you unfamiliar with “Kickstarter” it’s part fundraiser, part social network, all about giving authors and other creative types the chance to turn their dream projects into reality.
Unlike ebay, though, your project has to be screened and approved by Kickstarter, so just like authors submitting manuscripts (or illustrators portfolios of their work) we can be rejected, and if we don’t earn the amount of money set as a benchmark, all money’s returned to their respective donors (Which Kickstarter calls “Backers”), so this isn’t an easy way to score funds, but it is a WAY, and it can be an added motivator to help authors committed to their work make connections with their backers, and lead to networking opportunities not possible before.
It’s essentially an ebay-style fundraiser service with a social network aspect, but unlike Facebook, you have to be a paying “Backer” to be part of the dialogue of a Kickstarter project. Minimum is 1.00 ($USD), but can be higher, and the more you can donate, the greater the rewards backers can earn.
In terms of book projects, I’ve seen everything from signed editions (If and when the campaign earns it’s target amount), being mentioned in the acknowledgements, and for one project I will highlight next week (That’s nearing it’s final days and hope you’ll open your pocketbooks for along with me) you can even have your dog illustrated into the story!
I connected with this author who had this cool Kickstarter campaign, sadly it was too late for me to donate, and she only raised half the the money she needed, but long story short (For once), I reached out to her and offered to help if I could, though she didn’t reach her goal on Kickstarter, she’s determined to make her picture book series happen, and her first book is available in limited quantities, and it’s GORGEOUS! Her illustrator reminds me of the late, great Fred Marcelino, and even though the campaign’s over, you’ve got to see the video while you still can, she did a good job on it, IMHO-
For those of you who are still “Social Networking” averse, THIS is a prime example of TRUE down-to-earth networking at work. I would NOT have known about Jennifer Carson or this charming book had I not leapt into Kickstarter, and while her Kickstarter campaign didn’t earn out, she and her illustrator are not giving up, and when this book comes to fruition, your literary rat will tell you about it.
In the meantime, I urge you to check out Kickstarter to see if there are projects you’d like to be a backer for. The best part about Kickstarter is that you can make a difference if earnings are met, even exceeded the target goal. You might even have the honor of one day saying “I helped this author get started” not just by donating your money, but also by saying (Even if not aloud) “You’re Enough.” Two words ANY person wants to hear in life, but especially when they do something that comes from their hearts, and are willing to put themselves out there above and beyond to do so.
While I couldn’t help Jennifer financially get this book off the ground, meeting a kindred spirit in terms of what we write and read, Kickstarter’s platform brought me to someone I’d otherwise might not know about, and her story among others I found browsing Kickstarter campaigns this summer reminds me why it’s so important to give back.
To learn more about Jennifer Carson-
Check out her interview the blog for “Fiber College of Maine” (http://fibercollege.wordpress.com/2013/08/08/artist-interview-jennifer-carson/)
Follow her on Twitter (@JenniferCarson)
Stay tuned next week for an important post on how you can contribute to another new voice in the world of animal fantasy, and what you can win (From me) if you do.
Until next time,
May the fantastic fauna be with you.