I’m sure there are some out there who have maybe heard of Kickstarter, or crowdfunding in general, but don’t know exactly how it works. I’m sure there are still others who have no idea what it is so I’m rehashing this post from my first book to refresh everyone!

Kickstarter 101:

  • Kickstarter is a crowdfunding organization
  • In order to contribute, you must have a valid email address & a valid credit or debit card.
  • You don’t have to make an account. You can pledge as a guest.
  • Check out this FAQ for more details.

If you’d like to help Tamaishi succeed, you can sign up for Kickstarter or simply pledge as a guest when the time comes!

So… how does this work?

In a nutshell, creators present their ideas, and those that want to see the project realized pledge money. There a time limit and it’s an all-or-nothing proposition. More on that below.

Is this a handout or a donation?

No. Crowdfunding isn’t a one-way transaction. The expectation is that those pledging get something of comparable value for their money. And while some crowdfunding campaigns are for causes — where the funders get something small in return (i.e. a keychain) — the greater return is the cause itself. But Kickstarter specifically forbids that projects be merely a donation to charity, with nothing given in return.

Personally, I think this the new world order: the internet gives the ability to tap into an audience that was unheard of even a decade ago. It doesn’t undermine the existence of publishing companies, or music labels, because these can do the work to find you an audience — but it I feel it democratizes the ability for anyone with passion and an idea to find their own audience.

So are you going to rich off this thing?

No… my funding goal just fits the estimate costs of production, and doesn’t cover Kickstarter fees or any of the time and money I’ll spend on the audiobook. “Getting rich” was never my goal — I just want to make the book, and print it beautifully. I don’t need a garage full of books, and while I’ll do some work to get it on some local bookshelves, I’m not expecting to be on the shelves of Barnes and Noble any time soon.

Why don’t you just go find a publisher?

In short — my goals right now are different. I gather publishers are rightly focused on printing what will sell. And I’m not sure I’m interested in making what is an enjoyable hobby into a job with external pressures.

Having spoken with many prolific writers I understand it takes year of effort to get noticed. Those that pursue a publisher are probably looking to make it a viable career. And that is wonderful — I’m not knocking it. But I am happy doing what I do, and don’t have any illusions that it’s easy to write something and achieve that kind of notoriety. They way I see it, I could walk away from the dream of doing this at all, or I could simply find a means to make it happen — come what may. I recently chose the path of just doing it.  If you pardon the comparison, I’d prefer to be more like Andy Weir, who considers writing to still be a hobby:

I always wanted to be a writer, but I also like eating regular meals. So when I went to college, I went with software engineering, and writing ultimately was my hobby. I kind of bungled into success with ‘The Martian’ so now I get to be a writer.

What’s this about a time limit and “all or nothing?”

There are now many different ways to crowdfund. GoFundMe, IndieGoGo, RocketHub are just a few. We actually used RocketHub to successfully fund my band’s first studio album last back in 2014. The short answer is that’s how Kickstarter chooses to do business. But since there are choices, you might be wondering why I picked Kickstarter.

Time Limits

Most crowdfunding sites make you set some kind of time limit. Kickstarter posits their research suggests that longer projects aren’t proportionally more successful. I tend to agree that putting a finite window creates a sense of urgency. If you know you only have 10 days or 5 hours to commit to pledging, you’re probably going to just do it. But if you knew you could do it…you know… whenever… then you’d wait.

Funding Goals

Some places offer you a deal where you set a funding goal, and you get to keep whatever you raise — but if you don’t hit your goal, there are bigger fees.

It worked for my band, but for me, I preferred to use Kickstarter, for one good reason: I estimated all these costs. If I only got a part of the funding, then I’m stuck with not enough more to fulfill it and a bunch of people now expecting me to produce the books with less than I need.

Plus, I know Kickstarter. I’ve backed over thirty projects there, and all but three were successfully funded — and that was research on my part to help planning my own approach.

So that’s why we’re here, and I hope you’ll join me in making Tamaishi a reality!