I have never heard of crowdfunding until my daughter Karen decided to self-publish Kinds of Blue, an anthology of short comics she put together on depression (see her blog on the genesis of this project).
I was aware that she has been working on a ‘graphic’ nonfiction with a bunch of friends and has approached numerous publishers to get the anthology published. It had been demoralising to be met with deafening silence or an occasional rejection note, but Karen is always resourceful.
Plan B is to self-publish, but who will pay for it?
Karen found Pozible, a site for Crowdfunding Creativity, and worked out how much she needed to raise in order to cover printing and postage costs. There were ‘rewards’ for donors (such as a copy of the book, a sketch by one of the artists, or the original artwork of the book cover) who pledge support for the project, but until the funding goal is reached, no one needs to pay anything. The whole book is free for anyone to read online before they make a decision to support the project.
This sounded a bit fanciful at first, but when Karen launched the campaign on 15 June 2011, the response was instantaneous. The social network went into overdrive, with Twitter, Facebook and e-mail messages flying around the globe, being retweeted and forwarded to an unknown number of recipients.
The donations also came thick and fast—the dollar amount went up every time I refreshed the Pozible webpage.
Amazing things began to happen: Scott McCloud, a guru of comic-making, not only decided to become a donor, he also wrote a piece promoting the book on his website. Karen and her friends were delighted and amazed.
It only took two days to raise 100% of the funding goal, and donations are still rolling in. As of this minute, there are 124 supporters and 114% of the funding goal has been raised (see FAQ for what next).
There is no doubt great celebration and rejoicing among the contributors. Very soon, their book will become real.
The crowd has made it happen.