Thursday, May 2, 2013

Writing About Crowdfunding for Authors with Buckell, Sullivan, Shvartsman, and More!

I recently received an awesome opportunity to share my thoughts about crowdfunding for authors on the SF Signal blog, along with some of the most interesting people currently pushing the boundaries of publication and promotion methods.

MIND MELD: What Crowd Funding SF/F Novels Means for Authors and Publishers


"The introduction of crowdfunding is again upending the landscape, this time creating a natural vetting process; a success on a site like Kickstarter shows that an author is likely to have something other than the ability to type tens of thousands of words going for her. It’s never easy to judge how enjoyable a book by a first-time author will be, and crowdfunding provides a great tool to help good reads rise to the top."

The list of co-authors on the article really demonstrated how small the crowdfunded science fiction/fantasy author space is at the moment. I've actually been chatting with three of the eight other authors on the list, including...

Michael J. Sullivan, who recently concluded a thrilling Kickstarter campaign for his book Hollow World during which he raised more than 10 TIMES his funding target of $3,000 and blew through his stretch goals as if they were planets at the mercy of a Superlaser.

"Now more than ever, it’s being proved that the only two essential people in publishing are the reader and the writer, and I see this as very empowering for both. It helps readers determine what is produced and provides writers a higher profit per sale."

Alex Shvartsman, whose Kickstarter for the funny science fiction anthology he's writing (Unidentified Funny Objects 2) is ALMOST OVER! Get in now while you still can :) He's already got an impressive 181 backers, and the number continues to rise! If you've been reading along at home, you might recognize him from a Community Days interview I did in April, during which he provided some great information about his learnings from Kickstarting the first volume of UFO.

"Crowd funding will, however, remain a great boon to writers who have already mastered the art of managing a solid online presence, and/or have an established fan base from their traditionally published material; a meritocracy that will richly reward people who worked hard to build large online megaphones."

Tobias Buckell, who has successfully Kickstarted not one, but two novels - Mitigated Futures and The Apocalypse Ocean. I did an interview with him about a month and a half ago, during which he gave me some of my first real insights into the industry.

" a mid-lister I find crowdfunding terrifically exciting. Mid-listers in particular have built up an existing audience. It’s not as large as a bestseller’s audience, but it’s there. And because direct sales allows you to change the gear ratio of profits, a dedicated audience of 200 to 1,000 fans is capable of creating a well funded project."

The rest of the authors who participated (Allen Stroud, who Kickstarted Elite: Lave Revolution; Lou Anders, editorial director of SF&F imprint Pyr books and frequent project backer; Vera Nazarian, who Kickstarted Cobweb Bride; Judith Tarr, who Kickstarted Living in Threes and Forgotten Suns; and Tim Pratt, runner of multiple Kickstarter projects) all had fascinating takes on the industry as well, and I'm looking forward to getting to know more about their stories!

MIND MELD: What Crowd Funding SF/F Novels Means for Authors and Publishers

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