Last year I was part of a successfully funded Kickstarter campaign for an independent book publisher who was supporting authors and artists with his new experiential book/activity concept. It may or may not be what typically comes to mind when you think of crowdfunding, but I would say the opportunity for unexpected niches like, authors, artists, screenwriters and other creatives are ripe for the picking. In fact, as of August 2016, more than $100 Million has been pledged to authors, poets, publishers, podcasters and other creatives. Backers love to latch on to and root for these passion projects. But there’s more reasons to use crowdfunding than just fundraising.
Three reasons for authors, screenwriters and artists to use crowdfunding for their projects
- Funding for projects
This is probably the best-known of the top three reasons crowdfunding is used. It helps creators, including authors, screenwriters, visual artists and other creatives fund their projects so they can continue doing the work they love.
- Creating awareness
Traditional media relations and publicity efforts don’t have the same impact they once did with respect to creating awareness for the arts, including books, TV shows, films, visual art and music. Crowdfunding may be the perfect strategy for reaching your goal and objectives for an awareness campaign and letting your audience know about the wonderful work you’re doing to enhance culture. Sometimes creative projects have funding but need patrons to learn about their creations more than they need the cold, hard cash to publish or create them.
- Idea Validation
Artists, musicians and writers are often looking for ways to validate their ideas through proof of concept. Crowdfunding presents an opportunity to gauge consumer interest before introducing a final product to market. Is there enough interest? Does the product need to be tweaked to make give it broader commercial appeal and if so, how? A backer community also serves as an engaged focus group that’s created organically. In the case of the first campaign I worked on, all three of these reasons were important to the founder. He was looking to secure more funding to develop his publishing business, he wanted to create consumer awareness for his new book and activity series, and wanted to know what prospective customers thought of his project that was unique to the marketplace.
Why authors, screenwriters and artists have an edge when running crowdfunding campaigns
- Storytelling and content development
A solid crowdfunding campaign needs to have a compelling story that explains the passion for the project and builds an emotional connection with the audience. The story must be conveyed effectively through video, imagery and text. Who better to help with that than you – someone who is passionate about storytelling and content creation?
- Community Engagement
Community building is critical during the campaign but even more important in the months leading up to the launch. I may be taking a bit of a leap here, but in today’s digital world, most creatives need to have a strong social media presence to be successful artists. Now you’ll need to take this at least one step further (or perhaps a giant leap) and develop a social media plan that builds, sustains, grows and engages your community. Ultimately, you’ll want to convert the members of your community to backers and brand ambassadors.
- Relationship Building (media, bloggers, other influencers)
As a creator, you may already have a highly-engaged fan base. Your challenge now is identifying the influencers who can help you spread the word about your crowdfunding campaign. This is where you may want to enlist a PR pro to help with media and blogger relations. Just beware, some bloggers and influencers on other social media sites want nothing to do with crowdfunding campaigns. You’ll need to make sure whoever is handling this for your campaign does their research before reaching out to bloggers and influencers.
Crowdfunding continues to evolve and will continue to grow as a viable way for you to find an audience that will fund your passion projects. But before you get your hopes too high, did you know only 36% of all Kickstarter campaigns are funded? The problem is typically not knowing how all the pieces of the puzzle fit together to make the campaign a success (even long before it launches publicly).
There’s a huge opportunity here for screenwriters, creatives and authors to learn how to make a successfully campaign happen. I also have some good news for you. I dive into crowdfunding with way more details in my free ebook 7 Essentials of a Successful Crowdfunding Campaign.
Any questions or crowdfunding experiences you’d like to share in the comments?