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Crowdfunding Promotion and Tips

Posted by on March 27, 2013

I’m going to try combining a couple of posts I want to make here, since they’re both about crowdfunding. Don’t worry, I’ll save you from most of the spiel about the one I’m part of at the moment because I already have two posts about that one.

Instead, I want to draw your attention to some other campaigns that are running right now. I’ll also weave through a bit of my commentary about why I supported them, and/or why they’re good examples of crowdfunding campaigns.

But first! Why do I support crowdfunding?

Artists have to start somewhere to get their name out there. It makes me feel good to support projects that might not otherwise go ahead. It allows me to enjoy music, films, writing and other art that may not yet be accepted by the big companies because they’re not mainstream enough or deemed too risky to back in case it doesn’t make money. Or not letting those same companies stifle the artist’s creative control. It’s about having a say in what type of media I want to consume, and connecting with other artists like myself. Those who are creating the same sorts of things I am, and sharing ideas. It’s a way of reaching out and finding a wider audience for your work through social media that you might not otherwise get if you were completely self-funded. It’s a way to personally say to someone, “Hey, I like what you’re doing, keep at it!” that cannot be mistaken as just empty words. As the saying goes, put your money where your mouth is.

Some current crowdfunding campaigns I want to draw your attention to:

Twinsies Volume II
I’m not backing this one because I was an early enough fan of the Universe of One project that I got to back the first one. Hawaii based photographer Cheyne Gallarde put together a collection of self-portraits where he looked like other people. Through his first Kickstarter campaign, that included dressing up as many of the backers. Here he is as me, dressed up as my pirate character Jaclyn Rousseau. Through word of mouth, his project grew in popularity, and was even featured on The Huffington Post. Because it grew in popularity, Cheyne decided to run another campaign to do it all over again, for folks who either didn’t know about it or weren’t able to contribute the first time around. I really love this project, and I think it’s great value.
Crowdfunding site: Kickstarter
Deadline: Wednesday Apr 24, 8:48pm US EDT/Thursday Apr 25, 10:48am AEST

Long Hidden: Speculative Fiction From the Margins of History
I wrote about this in my last entry but I wanted to link it again. This anthology is being published by Crossed Genres. They focus on the non-mainstream stories, with characters who aren’t predominantly the straight rich white men who get written about most in history. I love the idea of reading about characters who are queer, and/or not white, so this is something I want to support more of.
Crowdfunding site: Kickstarter
Deadline: Sunday Mar 31, 11:59pm US EDT/Monday Apr 1, 2:59pm AEDT

CrossOver: Alaskan Sci-Fi Fantasy
This is to shoot the pilot of a sci-fi fantasy TV series in Alaska. Watching the video, seeing all the locations Alaska has to offer, made me want to throw in support. And for only $1 you can get a copy of the pilot when it’s finished.
Crowdfunding site: Indiegogo
Deadline: Wednesday May 1, 2:59am US EDT/Wednesday May 1, 4:59pm AEST

Teen Mermaid Dives into Novel Workshop
An author has been accepted into a novel workshop so she can hone her YA mermaid novel to make it more likely to be accepted by agents. Normally I don’t support projects that don’t offer me the finished product, but as I am someone who also writes mermaids, I thought I’d chip in a few dollars to show my interest.
Crowdfunding site: Indiegogo
Deadline: Friday Apr 19, 2:59am US EDT/Friday Apr 19, 4:59pm AEST

Girls I’ve Run Away With and Moonshine Press
This campaign looks somewhat similar to the one I’m part of at the moment – a new small press publishing their first book. Rather than an anthology, though, it’s a novel. What took my interest in this one was its focus on queer women. If it wasn’t already obvious, that’s a particular focus of mine right now, both in my writing and what I want to support. After all, that was why I also supported Plunge Magazine back when that was on Kickstarter. They’re also planning on putting together an anthology next, which is something I’d like to learn more about, so I started following them on Facebook.
Crowdfunding site: Indiegogo
Deadline: Wednesday Apr 3, 2:59am US EDT/Wednesday Apr 3, 5:59pm AEDT

Tips for those seeking crowdfunding!

As promised, I wanted to offer some advice for people who are looking into crowdfunding their own projects. Most of my advice is going to come from what choices I make as a backer, but I’ll throw in some things that has so far worked best for me in the campaign I’m helping out with.

Prior to launching the campaign, these are things you should know

1. First and foremost, I am most likely to support a project if I see value for money. Usually that means I want to receive the product you’re getting funding for, for the price I can expect to pay once it’s available for sale outside the campaign. Sometimes I will pay more if I feel like I’m getting added value. For example, one of the documentaries I contributed to last year offered the DVD copy at a reasonable price. I paid more, though, because I liked the idea of getting a nice thank you in the credits of the film. It does not matter how much I think a project is awesome, if it is not offering the product at a reasonable price, I will not support it. I’ve seen too many campaigns that have their books or films set at $50 or $100. Why would I pay that if I could wait until it’s properly released and get it at a decent price?

2. Usually, the campaign needs to have a clear focus and be something I would ordinarily be interested in. I can find this out in several ways. I enjoy watching the videos that have them, in part because they feel more personal. I like seeing example photos or art, so I know what I can expect from the finished product. Films I support often have some sample video footage so I can see its quality. But sometimes all I need is the description, if it’s thought out well enough.

3. I’m not sure how many other crowdfunding supporters do this, but I will find projects by strangers by searching for keywords. Usually that word has been “bisexual” but a couple of the Indiegogo ones I listed above I found by searching “fantasy,” and the 3rd was recommended to me when I supported the 2nd one. Do make sure people who have an interest in the sort of thing you’re producing can find you. I like supporting things that are similar or related to the sorts of things I am doing myself.

Once the campaign is up

4. Contact people directly. Tell them about your project, and why you think they would be interested in it. Ask them if they’ll share your campaign with their friends. I’ve found that the more direct approach is more effective than throwing out a link and a few words on social media, especially when it comes to asking others to share it for you. Those who have been more likely to support me are also those I have supported in the past, or who I’ve supported their friends thanks to their links.

5. Show that you’re someone who gives back to the community, so you’re not someone just asking for money. Preferably you should start doing this well before your campaign begins. I like seeing people who are running crowdfunding campaigns, and their profile shows they’ve backed X number of projects themselves. However, I don’t just support other projects with money, I also tell people about them. This post is even a good example of that!

6. Talk about your campaign. I’ve found that my blogging and journaling has led to more people either mentioning they want to support it, or going ahead and chipping in some money. Those who’ve followed through after my blogging/journaling has so far been names I haven’t recognised, which leads me to:

7. Linking it on social media, particularly Twitter, and use appropriate hash tags. I regularly use #crowdfunding and have ended up with a few favourites or new followers from that, if not actual sales. But it’s been when I’ve linked to a blog entry with an appropriate hash tag that seemed to work best. Otherwise I’ve gotten a lot of clicks, but not really any sales.

There is probably still more I can say on this subject, but there are plenty of other blog posts out there that talk in greater detail, which I recommend you have a look at.

If you haven’t already, it would be awesome if you also checked out the crowdfunding campaign for the anthology I’m going to be published in, Fae Fatales: A Fantasy Noir Anthology. My story in the book features a mermaid haunting a Hawaiian man in 1946.

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Dominica has a strong interest in exploring diversity in media, seeing people subverting corporate control of creativity through crowdfunding and indie publishing, and spending as much time as she can travelling the world and discovering culture. This is what she most regularly blogs about. In her spare time, Dominica is primarily focused on long-form improv theatre, and writing and publishing speculative fiction. You can find links to some of her free and published stories and screenplays on her writing page, or check out her pirate time-travel novel Adrift. Though born and raised in Australia to American parents, Dominica lived in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, between 2008-2014, until she moved to the San Francisco Bay Area. She also has a background in web programming, filmmaking, and stand-up comedy. For more information, check out her about page, or any of the specific pages about her various creative pursuits in the links at the top of the page.

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