Friday, September 27, 2013

All or Nothing

Over at Anatomy of Perceval, C. C. Yager writes that she's taken the Kickstarter plunge in order to raise the money to pay for production costs related to e-publishing her novel, Perceval's Secret.  Kickstarter has been around for a while, but still not a lot of people know much about how it works.  Or how popular crowd-source funding has become.  If you are interested in seeing Yager's Kickstarter project page as a reference for my blog post, you can find it here.  Feel free, if the spirit so moves you, to also support her efforts with a money donation. She has some great rewards!

What is crowd-source funding?  Yager is putting her project in a place available for a crowd of people to see.  That crowd becomes the source of her funding when they donate money to her project.  In appreciation for their support, she gives them items related to her project.  Kickstarter isn't the only website set up for crowd-source funding.  I did a search and came up with an article at Forbes about what it is and the different models.  Kickstarter is on the donation model, but there's also the investment model.  Rather than donating for rewards or perks, people invest in a project, become shareholders or investors expecting a monetary return.  The Forbes article lists nine other websites that crowd-source fund different things.

At Kickstarter, it's an all or nothing proposition.  That is, Yager must make her stated goal in order to keep the money she raises there.  If she doesn't meet her goal, she gets nothing.  This is a huge risk, of course, and would give me many sleepless nights.  It is a leap of faith: faith in her project, faith in other people, faith that it will all work out as it should.

Over at Indiegogo, another crowd-source funding site, they have a similar set-up with one crucial difference: they offer flexible funding or fixed funding.  The latter is exactly like Kickstarter, i.e. you must make your goal in order to keep the money raised.  But with flexible funding, you can keep whatever you raise.  Another difference is that Indiegogo doesn't limit the purpose of fundraising to creative projects.  Anyone can raise money for any reason there.  Say, you have a friend who has no medical insurance and is in need of an expensive operation.  You could set up a fundraising campaign at Indiegogo for all or part of the cost of your friend's operation.

Both Kickstarter and Indiegogo charge a modest fee, a percentage of the money raised, for the privilege of using the website.  Depending on how the actual collection of money is set up, there could be an additional fee, such as a credit card processing fee.

Looking at Yager's project page, it includes a video, a photo, and written text about her project.  I suspect it was a lot of thought and work.  It looks like her rewards will also involve some design, printing, and other kinds of work -- she's offering bookmarks, T-shirts, a DVD of her reading the first chapter of the novel, and a written tour of the real locations in Vienna, Austria, which is the novel's setting, among others. She provides links to her Anatomy of Perceval blog for even more material.  So, you really must have a real need in order to put together a project like this.

I suppose it was only a matter of time before crowd-source funding made its appearance online and earns a measure of popularity.  It's fun to browse through the projects offered in different categories to see what creative people are doing, and maybe even make a donation, like to Yager's project.... 

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