What is it and How does it Work?
(applies to Kickstarter and Indiegogo)
September 2021 Argyro Graphy
A family member or friend asks you to support their Kickstarter/Indiegogo campaign. Your eyes widen, and you start searching for an escape route, wondering how much will this cost you, and feeling like a deer caught in the headlights of a car. What do you do?
First of all, what on earth does supporting a Kickstarter even mean?
In simple terms, you are supporting a project that you believe in and are helping to bring the project to life. It's a platform used to collect funds to help pay for the high cost to produce something.
In the publishing space the most expensive costs in creating a fully illustrated children's book are the illustrations, covers, and printing (let's face it paper shortages and increased printing costs are making it harder for authors to profit) Some illustrations for a single children's book can run anywhere from a few thousand dollars upwards of $10k- Yup! you read right, thousands. Hence the reason authors turn to Kickstarter. Well, that's easy enough right?
Not quite. There is a lot of 'behind-the-scenes' work and months of preparation that go into the creation and execution of a campaign. But, let me try to simplify things.
Let's start with terminology.
Project/Campaign: This is the item or service that the creator wants to bring to life, like a book.
Creator: Also referred to as the inventor, designer, author, artist,
Funding Goal: The amount of money it will take to bring the project to life. Campaigns are usually All-or-nothing: If the amount is not achieved by the set timeframe then nobody will be charged and the creator will not receive any funds.
Backer/Supporter: Kickstarter is not a store, as a backer you are supporting a creative process, helping to bring a project to life.
Rewards: Some call these pre-orders. Creators want backers to be part of this journey and offer 'levels/tiers' of rewards. Some are limited and only available in the campaign while others may offer extra products in the form of a bundle deal.
Pledge: The amount you contribute/pledge. You may choose a reward level (for example $20 for a book) or just a monetary amount. But it's always cool to get a version of the book, to see what you helped bring to life.
Funded: YAY! We did it, thanks to YOU! The goal has been reached. Once the campaign ends backers will be charged for their pledge - so you may change your selection up until that final day.
Project unsuccessful/not funded: The goal has not been reached. You are not charged and the creator does not receive any money either. (sigh)
Stretch Goals: If the goal is reached before the deadline, additional perks are added. You will receive updates and given the opportunity to upgrade your pledge.
Pre-Launch: The first thing you want to do is to sign up to be notified when the project actually goes live so you don't miss any Early bird specials.
The first few days are crucial to building momentum.
Launch Day! Watch the video (if there is one) explaining the project, mission/story, and so on. Read the story; the reason or the why.
Click on the green button 'back this project' scroll through the rewards and select the one that appeals to you.
Fill in your information and you are done! (you are NOT charged at this stage) Don't want a reward but love the concept/project, then
Click on Pledge without reward and enter your dollar amount.
Many campaigns offer bulk/class sets of books, author visits and special perks at discounted rates for schools. Books can also be donated.
Share: Another way that you can help support the creator is to share the campaign; the more eyes on the project, the more likely it will get funded.
Updates/Delivery: Once the campaign ends and the platform collects the money, fees are deducted and the creator receives the funds within 10 days. The creator will then update each backer on the progress/production and an expected delivery time.
REMEMBER: Both Kickstarter and Indiegogo are "all-or-nothing" campaigns, meaning if the money is not raised by the deadline then the campaign ends without collecting any funds, and the creator decides if they want to continue with the project or abandon it.
Indiegogo also has a "flexible" option where the creator will get the amount raised whether the goal is reached or not.
Both platforms charge fees that are deducted from the amount payable to the creator and it takes about 10 days to receive the funds.
So there you have it, in a very large nutshell.