Authors publishers and literary journals are all finding new ways of connecting directly to their readers – and their wallets – on online platforms such as Kickstarter
As the digital revolution gathers pace the pressures on writers and publishers only increase. But authors – magazines and independent presses are starting to respond to the challenge of the online world by turning to the internet themselves – reaching out to readers through crowdfunding websites such as Kickstarter.
Since launching in 2009 Kickstarter has seen $70m pledged to projects in the site’s publishing category. But recent years have seen the number of successul books-related projects more than double – from 735 in 2011 to 2064 in 2014.
According to Kickstarter’s publishing outreach lead Margot Atwell – the book industry has lagged behind gaming – technology and design – perhaps because ‘traditional publishing can be a little conservative and risk averse’. But ‘lately we’re seeing more authors and high profile publishers’ Atwell says. ‘They’re becoming a critical mass and people are starting to notice it more’.
Authors such as Eric Ries – previously published by Random House imprint Crown Business – are turning to the site as well. Ries posted an appeal on the site in March 2015 to fund a ‘250-page book’ The Leader’s Guide – which is due to be available exclusively to those who pledged money to the project. The $135,000 goal was reached within a day – with users signing up for additional ‘stretch’ goals which have made it the best-funded book-project on the site – after raiding more than $500,000 from more than 9,000 backers.
And crowdfunding is clearly a no-brainer for self-published writers of all stripes Atwell argues – allowing indies to ‘test the waters’ for an idea – mobilise the fans.