The year 2008 brought with it the launch of Kickstarter, which at that moment had plans and aspirations to tap into a large pool of crowd-sourced financing. Since then, the company has founded a wide array of ventures that range from journalism to comics, indie films to music and video games. The platform is the success pool for many graphic novel artists and writers and slowly but surely Kickstarter has become the 4thlargest publishing company in the world.
An article in the UK Guardian states: “Research by US book industry magazine Publishers Weekly puts Kickstarter—which is set to launch in the UK later this year—in fourth place in a ranking of the US’s top five graphic novel publishers over the three-month period from February to April. Seven of the site’s graphic novel projects raised more than $40,000 over the period, 25 of the 115 successfully funded projects earned five figures, and one—Rich Burlew’s The Order of the Stick comic—made $1,254,120.”
In essence, Kickstarter enables creators to “ask” for financial incentives from their backers. This way, people are able to add tiers of investment and if the goal is met, the project moves steps forward. Thus far, Burlew’s “The Order of the Stick” comic is the most funded creative work in the site’s history and had the following plan: users would pay $10 for a fridge magnet and a digital PDF of the original comic book, $200 for books, prints and autographs, and $5000 for a walk-on cameo for the donator’s Dungeons and Dragons character.
With the platform’s quick development, more and more graphic novelists and authors find it one of the largest and most viable publishing means in the business, not to mention a means of financing their other endeavours. Established authors have the easiest time when in need for funds, and the way to do that is through Kickstarter, the website that connects them directly to their fans. Newcomers may find it a bit difficult at first, but once their work breaches the market and they get a number of fans, things move smoother. At first, people have to be convinced that a project is viable and that is precisely why renowned writers and graphic novelists can get the funding they need in a matter of hours. For example, when Seth Godin started his campaign for a new book in June 2012, he got $40,000 in three hours, and surpassed $100,000 in another five.
Kickstarter is yet another successful platform that eased the life of creative people and helped them share their imagination with the world. The methods they use are not only positive – they help people make their works known and support raw creativity, but at the same time facilitate the relationship between supporters and artists. The way this business used to work before has been completely turned around. If before publishing was difficult, investors hard to find and the payoff would come only after the project was released for the public, now the public is the one that invests in the success of an author. Quite a simple principle, wouldn’t you say?