Why I Won’t Be Giving to Kickstarter Projects

I’m sure you’ve seen at least one of the emails or posts. An artist or group has a great idea for a comic book (usually with a spine), so they set up a Kickstarter project. That allows users to donate some amount of money, with the following rules:

  • If the target amount (“I aim to raise $8,000 in 60 days”, or whatever) isn’t reached in the specified time frame, all pledges are canceled. So no partial funding leading to “well, do I try to continue or just do part of it?” quandries.
  • Most project owners offer tiered rewards — copies of the eventual comic, for instance, at different levels (signed, dedicated, etc.), or for more money, being drawn into the comic or original art.

It’s a way to “crowd-source” your development and publication costs. The idea seems to be that if you ask a whole bunch of people for just a few dollars each, they won’t mind giving it and you can raise money easily by spreading the bite. So why don’t I like it?

Kickstarter logo

In short, gatekeepers are good. (As a reviewer, of course I’d say that, but bear with me.) Kickstarter plugs their site as allowing “people to test concepts (or conditionally sell stuff) without risk. If you don’t receive the support you want, you’re not compelled to follow through.” Why is that a good thing? Risk keeps business owners tough and determined. Having to sell their project to banks or publishers gives them valuable feedback that someone else thinks it’s worth investing in. Why would you encourage them to bail on following through?

Maybe that’s the problem. If you set out to make and sell a comic, you are a small business owner. But Kickstarter doesn’t view you that way. Instead of being encouraged to make smart business decisions and have a sensible plan, Kickstarter tells you to have a compelling “story”, to share your experience while you keep begging for donations.

I’d rather see a creator learn to think like an entrepreneur. Put together a business plan and get dedicated loans and funding. I know Kickstarter, which seems like free money, seems a lot easier, without putting you on the hook in any way, but ultimately, I think it’s better in the long run for creators to understand how to run their own small business. If they get the money in advance, what’s the impetus to keep going? If you’re not willing to risk your own money and fund your own startup, why should I? If you believe in it, you take the risk.

Note that, as with any new method in its early days, there have been a number of success stories. This method still seems fresh, but as more people jump on the bandwagon, it’s going to be harder to get the desired result. Early success is encouraging, I feel, young artists to aim too high. Instead of asking for $3,000 (a print bill, roughly), I see them asking for $8,000 or $10,000. When they fail, it’s going to be discouraging. People are quickly going to get tired of these pleas for funds. What’s going to happen when you need to pay for the second book? This isn’t a long-term funding method. Repeatability is low.

It’s also, like so much stuff online, a popularity contest. Kickstarter tells you to work your social network. To succeed, you have to get the word out — which means lots of contacts. Which is odd, because some of the people I see doing Kickstarter projects already have the established networks they need to be published in a more traditional fashion. I’m not sure why they’re seeking to eliminate the middleman here, unless it’s about getting more control. Which is a fine goal, only it comes with responsibilities that they may not realize.

For one thing, are they ready to do all the reward fulfillment? Storing, packing, and shipping all the comics going to individual purchasers, instead of doing mass shipments to distributors? If you’re running a small business — and if you’re trying to sell product to customers, retailers, and/or distributors, you are — you should have enough funding in place for at least a year before you plan to start making a profit. Kickstarter tries to jump-start you to a position you may not be ready to handle.

Plus, there’s the question of trust. I’m sure that most everyone who uses it is highly trustworthy, so I’m not casting any individual aspersions, but comics — I know you’re going to be shocked — do occasionally attract flakes (those who mean well but rarely follow through) and thieves (those who don’t mean well, only caring about their own benefit and ripping off others in the process). Kickstarter combines the uncertainty of preordering from a business you know little or nothing about with the self-satisfied feel of helping the disadvantaged. You too can be a magnanimous patron of the arts by throwing a few credit card dollars (using Amazon payments) at an artist worse off than you. Doesn’t charity make you feel good? AND you get a comic out of it at the end, and you only paid a premium over cover price to get that feel of contributing to creativity without actually doing anything. Assuming you get what you ordered at some unspecified future date.

Again, I’m sure that there are plenty of trustworthy creators out there, but I shopped with Martin Wagner. That broke me of believing that a creator, no matter how well-meaning, will follow through on their commitments. Comics has had too many people who didn’t respect deadlines for me to do anything but look askance at preorders. Kickstarter bails out of responsibility on this one, saying, “At the end of the day, use your internet street smarts,” and later, “It’s up to the project creator to create, price, and fulfill their rewards.” They only provide the funding engine, at a cost of 5% of the goal, plus the cost to the poster of Amazon’s fees.

On a personal basis, I’m already tired of getting “press releases” that are thinly disguised pleas for funds. I want to buy a book when I know when it’s available and what it looks like. I don’t want to take your word for it that this will be cool. There are alternate uses, too. Instead of aiming at a publication release, some creators are using Kickstarter to ask for living expenses while doing their webcomic, which makes this just the newest incarnation of the PayPal donation button, while others want a new computer. (Both drives were successful.)

Now that I went wandering through the list of projects ending soon, looking for those unlikely to make it, I’m rethinking my objection. If your comic looks generic or just plain bad, maybe it’s better you find out early without going into debt. And if users want to give artists money, hey, more power to them. I’m just a curmudgeon who still sees some value to the way it used to be done.


81 Responses to “Why I Won’t Be Giving to Kickstarter Projects”

  1. Thom Says:

    I’ve seen something similar with bands. But it tends to work more effectely there. I’ve seen bands due it to basically raise the money for production, rather than go into debt. These bands have usually been going to an established fan base, though. They are asking people who already like their work to help defray the costs of releasing a CD sans label (or for a small indie label). Usually, you then get a nice little package that includes a signed CD, your name in the CD’s “thank you” list, maybe a t-shirt… stuff like that. One band I listen to did something along this line, and the package I am getting includes the stems (the seperate audio tracks for each song) so I can mix my own version of the album, an interview disc where the band talks about the songs and a signed copy of the completed CD.

    However, I (like yourself) see this as much more problematic in the area of a comic.

  2. Trisha Lynn Says:

    I’m rather fond of Kickstarter.com, because it’s already provided me with a quality product. There’s a small subset of the Internet which loves donating in bits and pieces to creators (both fan-oriented and professional) because it makes them feel a little closer to the people they admire or whose work they enjoy, and I think that’s a pretty cool thing.

    I agree that being “curmudgeonly” about the existing controls that having your shite together enough for someone else with deeper pockets brings is okay… but then again, how many great artists and writers do you know who are struggling in obscurity because they’re not mainstream enough to be publishable as per some arcane set of “rules” that editors work by? Or they live in the “wrong” city?

  3. Johanna Says:

    Thom, yes, for concrete, one-off projects (like albums), it seems aimed best. I hadn’t realized until late in the piece that comic people were using it for other things, which is why I was so focused on talking about using it to get a book printed.

    Trisha, I’ve never heard anyone in comics blame living in “the wrong city” for not being able to get published. Sure, it’s easier to meet people cheaply if you live in NYC, Portland, or San Diego, but conventions and the internet make those kinds of barriers near obsolete already. I’m glad Kickstarter worked for you; thanks for sharing that.

  4. Comics A.M. | The comics Internet in two minutes | Robot 6 @ Comic Book Resources – Covering Comic Book News and Entertainment Says:

    […] Creators | Johanna Draper Carlson explains why she won't donate to Kickstarter projects: "I’d rather see a creator learn to think like an entrepreneur. Put together a business plan and get dedicated loans and funding. I know Kickstarter, which seems like free money, seems a lot easier, without putting you on the hook in any way, but ultimately, I think it’s better in the long run for creators to understand how to run their own small business. If they get the money in advance, what’s the impetus to keep going? If you’re not willing to risk your own money and fund your own startup, why should I? If you believe in it, you take the risk." [Comics Worth Reading] […]

  5. Shannon Smith Says:

    I disagree but I’m looking at it from a totally different angle. You are looking at the creators as an upstart business and in that sense, all your concerns are valid. I don’t see it that way though. I just see the creators as artists looking for patrons. Very few great artists in history created in a vacuum. Most of the successful ones had a lot of financial backing. I see Kickstarter as a chance for art/comics enthusiasts to be patrons on a level that matches their checking account balance. And I think that’s really cool. You might be right. Maybe artists have to be good small business folk these days. But, that’s kind of sad. I wish they could just be good artists. But if my wishes were reality Smilin’ Stan would have shown up to buy my crayon Hulk drawings when I was five years old.

    Personally, I’ve been around artists, musicians and such long enough in my life that I know talk is worthless. So, I’d be more likely to contribute if I know the work is already done. As in, I’d be more likely to give to someone that had already drawn a book than to give money to someone so that they could afford to take the time to draw it. So far, the kickstarter projects I’ve mentioned on file under other have only been the ones where the book is already ready for print. The folks at 2D Cloud had actually sent out promo copies of their latest Good Minnesotan before they even started their Kickstarter. I think that shows pretty good small business savvy.

    http://fileunderother.blogspot.com/2010/06/check-out-kickstarter-for-good.html

  6. Matt Seneca Says:

    I don’t know. I think a lot of artists truly need Kickstarter because even if they do believe in the work enough to invest capital in it, they simply don’t have said capital. Comics is pretty vicious to break into, and a typical minicomics artist can easily spend a few thousand dollars on self-publishing before a bigger house picks up any of their work. That’s fine if you have the money, but lots of people simply don’t. I’ve known quite a few immensely talented artists who quit comics because they could no longer afford to publish their own minis. As with most media, the comics work that is truly work reading often bubbles up from some facet of the underground, which means its creators are often strapped for cash and (like in fine art) have to rely on patrons for their work to be seen. Kickstarter seems like a pretty good way for that to happen without every artist having to find a kindly millionaire to back them.

    Of course, it’s anyone’s prerogative whether or not to donate…..

  7. takingitoutside Says:

    Seems like Kickstarter should be treated the same as any other tool – potentially useful, potentially not. It just depends on how you use it. I had thought of it as a way of supporting artists/NGO’s that I already knew about and had some faith in (i.e. I’d think about paying for an author to write her second book, but not her first short story).

    In general, I think everyone could use a little more economical know-how, so I’m with you as far as artists’ knowing how to run businesses is concerned. I do think that Kickstarter supports that though. Of the Kickstarter projects that I’ve been interested in, I’ve leaned towards those that have detailed information – the old journalism who-what-when-where-why-and-how. People don’t want to lose their money, so they’ll tend towards those projects that look reasonable and have clear goals and deadlines. Some people will give just out of hope, but in order to have successful projects over the long haul those requesting money will need to present solid plans for completion of their projects.

  8. Russell Lissau Says:

    As a creator whose work is linked to a Kitckstarter-funded project (the Reading With Pictures anthology, see http://www.readingwithpictures.org), I was skeptical at first, too. But donors came through with flying colors, to the point that we raised 150% of our $10,000 goal. And now the fantastic book will be coming out in August.

  9. Howard Says:

    Johanna’s concerns are valid, but her methods don’t go far enough.

    For example, take a book under a traditional publisher. Now, you might be tempted to say, “Those artists have a viable business plan, after all, they are published!” But this is an unfounded assumption.

    The truth is, those artists working with a traditional publisher could be getting paid pennies on the dollar!

    Really, the only way to properly make a comic purchasing decision is to require a certified tax return issued at the point of purchase, showing the artist is properly profiting at the business in question.

    Now, I know you’ll ask, but what if its the artists first year in the comic business? Surely the tax return won’t reflect viable profit during the starting year?

    Wow, here’s the answer:. Simply require proof that the artist has posted a bond of at least $50,000 in escrow to cover all start up costs.

    This insures the artist takes their business model seriously, and has the additional benefit of keeping out the riffraff.

  10. Johanna Says:

    Shannon, yes, I think that’s the distinction. When I purchase a comic from someone (especially these days, when it’s closer to $20 than $2 for someone’s self-published graphic novel), I want to know that I’m getting what I’m buying and I expect to be happy with it. Sure, some of that is unpredictable (in terms of content), but it helps me to know that the person I’m buying from realizes that we’re doing a business transaction.

    If an artist isn’t willing to also handle their business, they need to know that and hand those duties off to either a partner or a publisher. The idea of “I’m just an artist, so I can focus on creating” is romantic, but not very reasonable.

    Thanks for pointing out additional ways some have used the Kickstarter tool. I agree, I’d be more likely to fund “I have all the pages drawn, I just need the print bill” than “pay for me to draw for 8 months”.

  11. Johanna Says:

    Takingitoutside, that’s another good distinction, thanks. I did exaggerate my position a bit to make my points. And Russell, I fixed your link — congrats on raising your funds. I think you were an early one, in at just the right time.

  12. B. Clay Moore Says:

    I think you’re way off base here, Johanna.

    The donations are solicited from people who get a chance to judge the validity of the business plan based on the information provided.

    Your refusal to examine the presentation and make a choice between supporting or not supporting the project sort of flies in the face of your primary contention regarding “business plans.”

    Most Kickstarter projects look absurd, but if you saw Kody’s approach to SWEETS, you’ve seen one that is presented logically and delivers real value to those willing to contribute.

    A hard and fast refusal to be swayed by any presentation strikes me as a little ridiculous.

    -BCM

  13. Johanna Says:

    Clay, as I said in a previous comment, I was making a point, not setting forth a plan of action for all time. (Although I am already tired of PR that wants me to tell people to go give Random Artist money through Kickstarter.) I just want artists to realize whenever they take in funds from others, they’re running a business. And success is not guaranteed, especially as this becomes more common.

    I wish you’d have included the link for Kody (?), as others have to promote theirs, so we could check it out.

  14. B. Clay Moore Says:

    Kody Chamberlain used Kickstarter to help fun his Image book, SWEETS. I’m not sure the link is still active, but his presentation and the clarity in his pitch were impressive.

    I think it’s relatively easy to distinguish between those with a plan and those just firing in the dark out of desperation.

  15. James Schee Says:

    I’m going to side with you on this Johanna. I just think with so many options out there, from online comics to minicomics, to print on demand. This just seems.. I don’t know a little icky I guess.

    Of course maybe I’m saying this because I’m tired of every time I go to the grocery store there’s always someone outside asking for donations.

    If very many do this, it can quickly become hard to tell the people who need the donations, from those who never tried doing it on their own, they just don’t want to have to pay themselves.

    To me it tracks back to the old saying

    “Give a man a fish, and you’ll feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you’ll feed him for a life time.”

    Someone needs to teach the creators how to “fish.”

  16. Miss Plum Says:

    What? Haven’t you ever heard of the stock market?

    Entrepreneur dreams up Big Idea that will require a large capital investment up front. Entrepreneur doesn’t have the money himself, so he raises the funds by getting lots of private investors to make small contributions. The payoff for the small investors: they’ll share the profits according to the amounts they invest. Entrepreneur may also get a bank loan, but if he can get everything he needs from small investors, why burden himself with interest rates? And who says the bank is a tougher gatekeeper than the small investors? They have to be no less persuaded about the viability of the project.

    You say the comic industry is populated by shadier individuals than other industries? You’ve GOT to be kidding. I can’t think of a single major industry chock-full of shareholders that hasn’t been called the epitome of evil. Oil, banks, pharmaceuticals, military contractors, movie studios, chemicals, food conglomerates, I could go on.

  17. Russell Lissau Says:

    <>

    And that’s one of the things that set the RWP proposal — which I had nothing to do with, I just wrote a story for the book — apart from some of the other Kickstarter projects. It is a professional operation through and through, with a business plan, a board of directors, a release schedule and top-notch talent filling out the book.

  18. Russell Lissau Says:

    Thanks, Johanna. You may remember, this is the project you and I talked about at c2e2. It’s set for an August release.

  19. Andrew Goletz Says:

    Johanna, I understand where you’re coming from but it feels like you’re trying to lump everyone into the same boat here. Yes there is potential for abuse with this system and if creators feel like they can get ‘free money’ from the site they may never learn how to properly budget and run their company but that isn’t everyone.

    Kickstarter recommends that you tell people what your business plan is (what do you need, why do you need it). Each project submitted on that site is unique. Some folks are attempting to raise extra money for promoting a book that already exists. Others want to use it to fund a follow up book. Still others feel like they have the idea of the century but no financial means to print up a copy

    I’m one of the many who have a project submitted with Kickstarter. Heck, based on the lines about PR releases you may have even been talking about our book since recently both AICN and CBG posted links to our pledge drive.

    I financed the first issue of our anthology book myself and I’m likely doing the same for book two. I’ve worked freelance in the business. I’ve talked at length with creators who know a heck of a lot more than me about the production and selling of a comic and have taken their advice every step of the way. I’m fully prepared to finance every issue of The Gathering if that’s what it comes down to. But in the months that we’ve been working on this I’ve heard from many people who’ve seen or heard of the book that want to contribute to the next volume (creatively, not financially). Instead of waiting for the numbers to come in for Vol 1 and 2 before beginning a 3rd and 4th I want to raise money to get additional projects started now. I don’t want to have creators ready to go just to tell them the book will be delayed 3-6 months while I recoup money and I certainly don’t want to wait before even telling them to begin. In my case this is about offering creative people an outlet to get their work published when they ordinarily wouldn’t have the means to do so. With any luck we’ll make our pledge goal and be able to let more people have a chance to succeed in a shorter amount of time.

    It may not be something you’re interested in but I think every book/project needs to be evaluated on their own merits.

    http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/…book-anthology

  20. Tuesday Afternoon Hotlink Extravaganza! | KS Comics Says:

    […] The philanthropy of art is dead, replaced instead by Capitalists who refuse to fund “lazy” comic book creators who use Kickstarter. You’re missing the point, is about a thousand words I’ve got to say wrapped up in […]

  21. Andrew Says:

    There seems to be a lot of kickstarter backlash floating around the comicbook internet at the moment. Sure it provides a convenient way for people to spam you about their half-baked “project”, but if that’s the cost of having all these other awesome projects come to fruition that would otherwise be too niche to convince a “gatekeeper” to bankroll then spam away.
    I find if hard to see the argument that anything that helps artists with the nuts and bolts of getting their vision out in the world is anything less than weapons-grade awesome.

  22. Ikapacho Says:

    I see what you’re saying, and while I can sort of understand saying “I won’t fund crappy projects,” I also think you’re taking it a bit too far with the “Why I won’t be giving to Kickstarter Projects,” header.

    Sure, sure, you were making a point. I just think you run the risk of throwing the baby out with the bathwater. What about someone with a small operation (literally only as large as the three people who write, ink, and color the comic) that already has a hard copy, and is going the route of digital distribution but having a hard time getting exposure and/or monetization?

    (Full disclosure, I’m writing this with a specific project in mind, in which the comic is a full-fledged finished project that as yet lacks the money to do a real hard-copy run).

    I swallowed my initial response to your post (“RAWR-RABBLE-RABBLE-RAGE”) and found that I do agree with you on a few fine points. For instance, some of the dollar amounts that are being asked are borderline insane (8K? Really? That’s nuts). However, the project I’ve been asked to contribute to is asking for a realistic $1500, and offers some of those rewards you mentioned, but to me having the option of holding a physical copy of a pretty cool comic in my hand is the real reward.

    I’m short on time, or I’d comment longer. I get some of your points, but again, I’d hate to see the baby tossed out when it’s not yet floating face down.

  23. Ikapacho Says:

    And here’s the link for that project that I mentioned. I only post it because I feel it to be a fairly excellent example of a reasonable goal.

    (Please don’t read the following as sarcasm, damned printed word makes things feel a lot snarkier than they are)

    If you should feel this isn’t the place for posting projects, please delete this
    comment.

    http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/jeremiahvedder/santa-and-obama-cant-beat-the-martians-alone

  24. Christian Beranek Says:

    Johanna, I certainly respect your opinion, however dour it may be. As someone who runs every single project I do as a business (I have managers, lawyers, etc) I can appreciate you being a watchdog against abuse of systems such as this. That being said, Kickstarter is a legitimate site and you are required to go through a process of verifying your business account through Amazon, in addition to writing to Kickstarter a brief outline of your business plan. It’s up to each individual project to make sure rewards are fulfilled should the fund drive become successful.

    As for my own experience, I did not achieve my funding goal for my first project I posted on Kickstarter. You can see the results here:

    http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/christianberanek/unhappy-white-girls-graphic-novel-by-christian-ber

    Am I upset? No. I was able to get the word out about a very indie project to a wider audience. I do intend to finish and print the project via an alternative plan.

    Am I deterred by not reaching my mark? No way. I have adjusted my strategy and launched a new project:

    http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/christianberanek/blood-and-bones-a-military-horror-comic-by-christi-0

  25. Johanna Says:

    I knew when I posted this that I’d have people thinking I’m anti-artist, or wanting to tell me how THEIR project is DIFFERENT (or, in one particularly male bastion of the internet, calling me names, but that’s nothing new). And that’s very likely true, since anyone willing to come here and discuss the fine points of the system has already demonstrated that they’ve put a great deal of thought into this.

    Andrew G, I’m afraid a certain amount of generalization has to happen when I’m trying to discuss potential trends and movements. So many young artists are thinking and telling others about how great this is that I thought I’d provide a bit of a potential corrective, just to get a more balanced viewpoint out there. But just to reassure you, I wasn’t thinking about your project in particular, since I don’t recall seeing anything about your comic. And I think your attitude of “I don’t want to wait” is one of those risks I was concerned about. If 1 and 2 fail (I hope they don’t), then will it have been a good idea to have produced 4 without waiting to see how the first ones did? Perhaps there were improvements you could have made in 4 based on feedback from 1?

    Another Andrew said “I find if hard to see the argument that anything that helps artists with the nuts and bolts of getting their vision out in the world is anything less than weapons-grade awesome.” That makes porn (except they call it photo reference), caffeine, the internet, and video games AWESOME, so I can’t argue with that.

    Ikapacho, thanks very much for leaving the RAWR-RABBLE-RAGE (hee hee hee) elsewhere. And Christian, thanks very much for providing an alternate view. I hope Unhappy White Girls does get finished, because I’d like to see a copy — it sounds like an interesting story. And with your new project, the reward level titles are well-chosen, given the material. That process of review and reevaluation and taking a new tack is one of the things that contributes to a successful business.

    More serious summation: I’ve seen so many people have their hearts broken by comics by treating it like a love instead of a business. I just want everyone involved — creators, patrons, customers — to keep their eyes open. Trust and hope are great, but risky when dealing with folks on the internet with high aspirations and a limited track record.

  26. Bradley W. Schenck Says:

    I’m pretty sure you don’t write a comment like “gatekeepers are good” without expecting quite a few people to disagree with you. Surprise! I disagree.

    I’ve been an artist since the cool digital technology was, well, watches. When I was starting out color printing was prohibitively expensive; one-color printing was always offset and kind of affordable; distribution was impossible except for a fairly large operation. What I’ve seen over the course of my creative years has been a gradual erosion of the barriers to entry. A young artist today has all the tools that are necessary to create their work, promote their work, and see interested people purchase that work even though by its nature the work will appeal only to a small segment of the population.

    Every part of that is good.

    In my commercial life I spent many years working in a field where no project would ever be funded unless someone believed that they’d make a pile of money by investing in it. That’s not necessarily bad… but it leads to a world filled with me-too projects, sequels, and reboots. Most of those things are bad no matter how you judge them.

    I can’t agree that gatekeepers are good. Editors can be good, and they come with the gatekeepers. But to say that you need a profit-minded gatekeeper to ensure quality seems, to me, an extension of that usually American assumption that only those things that are profitable should exist. And in a markeplace setting, that quickly morphs into “only those things that are unusually profitable should exist”. You may think that I’m extending the argument into absurdity, but that is what happens.

    The best thing about developments like print on demand and Kickstarter go back to what I said above: “…even though by its nature the work will appeal only to a small segment of the population.” Strange and interesting niche work has an opportunity to find its audience today – to a far greater extent than when I was young.

    The worst thing is that Sturgeon’s Law still applies, and the majority of that work will be crap. But that’s no less true of gatekeeper-approved work. And so long as the percentage remains about the same we see more good work as well as more crap. Me, I can live with that.

    I’ll explain that I’m not disinterested; I myself have a Kickstarter promotion running. I won’t link to it so you’ll be fooled into thinking I’m selfless.

  27. Johanna Says:

    By gatekeepers, I didn’t just mean money men. I was referring to all kinds of support staff: editors, publishers, funders/patrons, reviewers, different editors that select what to feature in coverage, etc. So I think we’re closer together than it seems. I agree, it’s great that niche work can find an audience through the internet.

    Feel free to link to your Kickstarter (or email me and I’ll post in the link). The more “case studies” we have for this discussion, the better.

  28. Bradley W. Schenck Says:

    Mine’s not a comics project, exactly, though they did me a favor by cross-posting it as one. It may be an experiment to see how densely you can illustrate a story without its becoming a comic.

    It’s here:
    http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/101187357/thrilling-tales-of-the-downright-unusual-the-toast

    Oh. Heck. Now I’m not selfless.

  29. odessasteps magazine Says:

    i await seeing how many posts in this thread turn into people just plugging their kickstarter project.

    i also didn’t realize name-calling was a “male bastion of the internet.”

  30. Dustin Harbin Says:

    Johanna this is a bizarrely short-sighted post. And more than a little elitist–if someone uses Kickstarter to get money to help print a project, more power to them. Having a nascent fanbase (like mine) fund a project gives small-time creators (like me) the boost they need to hit the next level. When you’re talking about less than 500 copies, or even 1000 copies, most publishers are just plain uninterested in today’s climate, especially under Diamond’d minimums. Proclaiming that you aren’t going to fund any Kickstarter projects is, frankly, weird. I’m surprised.

  31. Johanna Says:

    I think you’re reading a bit too much into a headline designed, yes, to be eye-catching and get people reading, so we could have a discussion about the method’s pros and cons. I’d love to hear more about what you got out of it, Dustin, and lessons you’d share with others from your experience… if you could stop with the denigration of my differing opinion, thanks.

  32. James Kochalka Says:

    My partners at Pixeljam used Kickstarter to fund the video game we’re working on, Glorkian Warrior. There we financial reasons for doing it that way. But most importantly it turned into an incredible press juggernaut, and we could never have paid for press that good. You’ve got to give the press as many angles as possible to give them a compelling reason to write about you. It turns out that trying to raise money for a cool project is one of those compelling angles that press like to write about.

  33. Johanna Says:

    Do you think that the press will be as interested in covering that angle once 20 or 100 or 1000 other video games do the same thing?

  34. Andrew Says:

    “That makes porn (except they call it photo reference), caffeine, the internet, and video games AWESOME, so I can’t argue with that.”

    Huh?

    Anyhow. Kickstarter and services like it are just a piece of the puzzle, sure some people may see it as “easy money” and and perhaps more than a few have been able to ride on the wave of novelty and get too much money for their Bad Idea. Surely it’s by no means without risk, or requiring thought, planning and entrepreneurial hustle to execute well. Those little videos and the ‘rewards’ you choose to give are a sales pitch like any other, aren’t they?

    I haven’t used kickstarter myself, but did initiate a stupid Internet Fundraising Exercise selling drawings. It ended up being successful but the mechanics of setting up the website, and the paypal and keeping track of it all was a bit of a drag. Would have been great to have a stable, secure platform to help manage that mess.

    A friend of mine has put out an anthology of local cartoonists most years for the past decade or so. It’s this great big book that has little hope of financial success, but it was a central part of the community. Part of the reason he stopped doing it was the financial drain. A kickstarter-like service would be a great way for projects like this to gather funds, and maybe even push out a little from the local community into the outside world.

    It _will_ be interesting to see what happens after that 1000th game, maybe it can lose the hype and just become part of the plumbing.

  35. Bradley W. Schenck Says:

    I’ve gone back to the original post in case I was sidetracked by that word “gatekeeper” – to me, that means whoever holds they keys to getting work out to some of those others you include as gatekeepers. I understand that you include reviewers because they also stand between the work and the public; it’s just that from my standpoint a reviewer is closer to the public than to those who decide whether a project will actually happen. Who will review a book if no publisher wants to take a chance on it?

    So I haven’t changed my mind on that score. A gatekeeper who decides whether a work will or won’t exist remains a pretty mixed blessing to me. Which is stating it rather mildly.

    “Instead of being encouraged to make smart business decisions and have a sensible plan, Kickstarter tells you to have a compelling “story”, to share your experience while you keep begging for donations.”

    I think that’s valid for what they’re doing. You’d prefer that creators get funding through traditional means, where paperwork outweighs “story”, but getting funding through individual backers is very different. Kickstarter is encouraging people to do what they have seen works in their own system. And as another commenter pointed out this is not just fundraising – it also turns out to be a form of promotion.

    “Instead of asking for $3,000 (a print bill, roughly), I see them asking for $8,000 or $10,000. ”

    I’ve seen it the opposite way. I think that many of these projects are trying to raise too small an amount. Here’s why: take 10% off the top immediately. That goes to Kickstarter and to Amazon Payments. Now subtract the cost of the rewards; now subtract the costs of shipping those rewards, including international shipments. Then look at what’s left. A bunch of the projects I’ve looked at there are trying to raise the exact amount that they need but will in fact not bring in enough funds because the creators didn’t do the math. That’s going to give them one of those real-life business lessons you’d like for them to have.

    It’s going to vary from project to project (and from reward to reward) because the cost of rewards varies. For my project I set up a rewards structure that would yield 60 to 70%. The lower that yield is, the higher your goal has to be. If the goal gets too high, then there’s that failure and disappointment you mentioned. But if it’s too low, the fundraiser can succeed – while the actual project might still fail.

    What you say about how reliable the creators may be is something I can’t really argue. It’s completely appropriate that backers should worry about that in cases where the rewards can’t be available until the project is complete. If the creative work is already complete you’re just waiting on printing; but that’s not always true. So, sure – backers should enter into this with their eyes open. But in my book that’s how they should be doing everything else, too.

  36. James Kochalka Says:

    “Do you think that the press will be as interested in covering that angle once 20 or 100 or 1000 other video games do the same thing?”

    Only truly special projects will get that kind of attention. And the more people who do it, the harder it will be to seem special.

  37. Johanna Says:

    Andrew, you said (simplified) “anything that helps artists getting their vision out in the world is awesome”. So I was making a joke about other things that artists use for inspiration for making art.

    You make a good point about Kickstarter simplifying and standardizing what people have already been doing. And having that generalized, familiar version available is probably a good thing.

    Bradley, I’ve reviewed an awful lot of self-published material over the years, so whether or not there’s a publisher involved doesn’t matter much to me. It may to other venues; alternately, someone pushing their own work has more time and attention to devote to their baby, instead of risking a publisher losing sight of it in favor of promoting other things.

    Excellent point about the math, thanks.

  38. Dustin Harbin Says:

    Johanna this seems like you’re in the business of creating false dichotomies in the interest of fostering discussion. Sure there are ton of goofy Kickstarter projects out there: I’ve even seen ones by friends of mine that I thought were ill-advised at best, downright awful at worst. But I don’t see at all how it follows that therefore any Kickstarter project is suspect.

    The idea that readers and funders are being duped or are not capable of making reasoned choices about how they’re spending their money seems cynical on the surface; but not as cynical as chucking out this almost troll-ish anti-Kickstarter essay and then adopting a “well let’s have a reasonable discussion about it now that I’ve smeared it” attitude. It seems like blog-baiting, and I find it insulting as a reader.

    This despite, of course, holding you as a person in high regards–just this practice of yours, very similar to how you handled your “Stupid Publisher Tricks” post about Kramer’s Ergot: http://comicsworthreading.com/2008/08/12/stupid-publisher-tricks-excessive-pricing/

    Kickstarter is a tool, and can and will be used like any tool, both well and poorly. You can drive a nail with a hammer or you can drop it on someone’s foot. Twitter is a tool. Facebook is a tool. Blogs like this one, mine, and a bajillion others are tools. The problem with this discussion is that it begins with “this hammer is a menace to innocent feet, best to find something else to drive nails with,” and then proceeds from there, with people attacking or defending this specious thesis. It’s internet sophistry, and I expect better from someone who’s been around in the comics blog community for so SOOO long.

  39. Johanna Says:

    See, that’s what I was saying I didn’t want to see. Your “I expect better” is a back-handed compliment that’s trying to make the discussion about me instead of my points. You’re not addressing these observations:
    * that donators need to be aware that there is no mechanism to ensure they get what they’re paying for
    * that Kickstarter will become less useful as more people swarm to it
    * that I would rather see creators selling comics than begging for money
    * that comics should be a business, not a charity, and it’s better off when treated that way.

    And yes, eye-catching headlines get discussion. Moderate, balanced slugs don’t. Blame the internet, always distracted by something else. (And get over the Kramer’s thing — they’re now out of business, let’s not argue over the corpse.) But I don’t agree with you that the ESSAY was troll-ish, or as you called it on twitter, “one of the dumbest things you’ve read on the Internet”. Again, you’re trying to distract attention away from addressing my points. That’s another sadly common internet practice, of smearing the speaker when you can’t argue intelligently against the content. I expect better from someone like you. :)

  40. Dustin Harbin Says:

    Johanna I didn’t address your points because I think they’re without value. But here I’ll address them real quick:

    * Donators probably “need to be aware” of a lot of things, but that’s how the internet works. Broad marketplace, broad possibility of danger and value. Caveat emptor, et cetera.

    * Kickstarter will definitely become less useful as more people use it, yes. The bus is less fun to ride on when it’s crammed with smelly people. As James said, this will if anything promote more innovation from users in order to stand out from the pack.

    * I find this outright insulting, as someone who has used Kickstarter successfully to raise money to print 1000 copies of a full-color 8-page newspaper, which I now sell or give away as I see fit, especially to stores/reviewers/new readers. What you call “begging” I call “being smart.”

    * See above point. I think what’s off-putting about your attitude on this, same as with the Kramer’s thing, is that you’re displaying a peculiar sort of entitlement. I think that comics should be whatever comics *is*–it’s a business for sure, but if it’s a charity too, fine, let’s do it. Or maybe a hybrid? I intend to use any and all tools at my disposal as I see fit, that’s what tools are for.

    I’m not trying to distract attention away from your points; I just don’t see them as worth addressing. I’m an artist, I’m in the “business” of making art. Kickstarter is just a crowd-powered grant system, and I am happy to have used it, and will enjoy immensely sending out the 40-something or so sketches and packages next month that I owe people. Each of those people will not only have a comic or a newspaper or a sketch or fancier drawing; they will have taken part in the development of an artist they choose to support: me. You can talk all day about what this means or what you were saying, but really the point is that Kickstarter is about putting audience and artist together in a way that both (in most cases) will find mutually beneficial. There isn’t a slot in that relationship for “press.”

    Ditto for the Kramer’s argument, which I bring up because it’s essentially the same thing: you want to insert yourself between the art and the audience. You’re use of terms like “gatekeeper” is very telling.

  41. Dustin Harbin Says:

    Holy bible, I mixed “you’re” and your. Unforgiveable!

  42. Russell Says:

    Johanna:

    You say you’d like to see comics creators selling comics rather than begging for money. In the pre-internet days, how did someone self-publish a book? By raising money — asking friends and family for any dime they could spare. In the Internet Age, we (comics creators) can do that online, by reaching out to friends via e-mail, Twitter and facebook. And what’s even better is that we can also reach out to fans, people who we wouldn’t have contact information for (nor they for us). But they can preorder a book and feel like they’re on the ground floor of something special through Kickstarter.

    I’m not knocking you for not digging Kickstarter, nor trying to persuade you to donate to any of the projects there. But as a journalist who’s using “new media” to ply her trade (let’s all remove our hats and bow our heads for the death of the newspaper, eh?), I’m a bit surprised you didn’t see mass communication as one of Kickstarter’s advantages.

  43. Russell Says:

    I meant to say:

    In the Internet Age, we (comics creators) can do that online, by reaching out to friends via e-mail, Twitter and facebook — and now Kickstarter.

  44. Johanna Says:

    Once someone starts bashing reviewers as unnecessary, Dustin, I think useful conversation has come to an end. You won’t believe that I, like artists, work on how to reach an audience with my message or fund my creative work in different ways or find time to create amongst other demands. Spare me, I’ve heard the abuse before (and better done (which is a review, get it?)). I keep doing this in spite of all that because my readers find it useful (and honestly, at this point, I can’t not.)

    Russell, that’s a more compelling point. Thanks for taking this in a much better direction.

  45. Dustin Harbin Says:

    Johanna I don’t understand this response at all. I haven’t bashed reviewers, nor have I said, either explicitly or implicitly, that I won’t believe you work on how to reach an audience. I just think in this instance you’ve made very broad statements in order to create a discussion, and I have called you on it. You seem to be taking it more personally than I think it reads; maybe it’s easier than supporting your arguments. I’m not interested in offending you though, just in clearly stating that I strongly, passionately disagree with you on this, both in the substance of your statements and the way they were made. I think I’ve made all the points I have to make here.

  46. Johanna Says:

    When you talk about it being unnecessary for “press” to “insert” themselves in the “relationship” (speaking of telling words) between artist and audience, then yeah, I see that as saying that you think reviewers aren’t needed.

    I stand behind my essay, I’m confident I’ve supported my case, and I wouldn’t change the points I was making. “It worked for me” doesn’t address the meat of my concerns, since I’m talking about trends and future possibilities.

  47. James Kochalka Says:

    ” that comics should be a business, not a charity, and it’s better off when treated that way.”

    I’ll address this one. Business never makes art better. Comics are art, and if they’re going to be great art the farther away from business they can stay, the better.

    (Of course, simply trying to attract pledges could be considered too businessy and corrupting in itself. But from this angle of argument Kickstarter is too business oriented, not the opposite as you suggest.)

  48. David Oakes Says:

    Ah yes, “Commerce is the enemy!” “To be a great artist you must starve!”

    In as much as these are true, then yes, instituionalized begging – be it Kickstarter or blogs or “hostage” novels – is the best thing for Art!

    A creator should not change his vision for the sake of Marketing. (Of course, a creator should also be able to distinguish Vision from Incidentals and Cultural Assumptions.) And anything that takes time from Creating is by definition Un-Creative. But to insist that Art and Artists should exist in a vaccum isn’t freedom but ignorance. You aren’t giving your Art away for free, to keep it “pure”, now are you? If you want to make a living at your chosen trade, then it is no longer “Art” by this definition anyway, so the argument is moot.

  49. Robin Enrico Says:

    Hey, MK Reed and I discussed this article this morning so I wanted to comment. I agree with you here Johanna. It may get me labeled an Objectivist, but I have always been against “e-begging”. For many of the same reasons you outlined. I feel like this whole donate money to me for my project scam has been around since the dawn of the internet.

    Now, am I saying creators should not be compensated for their hard work? No. But I like that idea of the gate keeper. That not everyone deserves to make a living off of their art. It’s like something Rob G. said to me years ago at SPX, “I only want the people who would crawl over broken glass to be here.”I always took that to heart. That like most things in life, you have to be really lucky or work very hard to get what you want.

    I feel like this happy community of everyone funding everyone else’s artistic goals is a tad utopian. Ugh. That makes me sounds like an asshole. But okay. We need to be held to higher standards. Or hold ourselves to higher standards. Case in point, you reviewed my book on this site. You didn’t like it. I didn’t go cry in my pillow over that. It had no effect on my desire to produce my work. Nothing really ever has. So why cartoonist feel the need to say, “I can’t do my art unless you give me money,” is just bullshit to me. You wanna make comics? Then you do what you fucking gotta do to afford your habit.

    But maybe I am one of those “artist have to suffer for their art” kinda guys.

  50. B. Clay Moore Says:

    The mere act of creating a comic book that doesn’t suck is akin to crawling through broken glass.

    I’ve spent my time in hell while sustaining myself on ink and fumes, and if people are interested in helping fund entertainment, then I think the “do what you gotta do to afford your habit” attitude is laughably ignorant.

    Anyway, if you don’t like Kickstarter, don’t contribute.

  51. Andrew Says:

    “e-begging”?

    It’s not begging, it’s not charity. It’s commerce. I gave Dustin 10, 20 bucks (I forget which) – he’s going to send me a comic (waiting by the mailbox dusty…). I gave Jamie Tanner 50, and he’s going to send me some original art.

    People are going to beg, plead and be annoying – or not – no matter where their money comes from: “Please Mr Bank Manager, our business plan is *sound*”, “Please everyone, we’re in diamond this month, *please* go tell your comic shop to *please* order some in”

    Crowdsourcing in general, and Kickstarter in particular didn’t kill the gatekeeper, it just added some new ones.

    And I can’t do my art unless someone gives me some money – there’s only so many hours in the day and these kids aren’t going to not-starve-to-death themselves. You can suffer all you like – I will, as you say “Do what I fucking gotta do”

  52. More on Kickstarter: I Was Wrong » Comics Worth Reading Says:

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  53. In Which My Arithmetic Astounds All Who See It | Webomator Blog Says:

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  54. Richard Says:

    I don’t have a horse in this race, but I do find things like Kickstarter interesting to look at.

    Particularly the failures. Roger Slifer’s project looked horrible, was far too far away from production, asked for too much and got nothing as a result. In many ways, the inability to achieve funding acts very much like a gatekeeper here.

  55. Jason A. Quest Says:

    There are a lot of Kickstarter fundees saying how they’re using the site and why; I want to mention why I’m a Kickstarter *funder*. (Keep in mind that I make the kind of money that should put me on the asking-for-money side.)

    I saw Ted Rall asking for money so he can go to Afghanistan; well, I want Ted Rall to go to Afghanistan because I think our society needs someone like him to go there, so I gave him a few bucks. I saw a guy asking for money to pay an artist to do illustrations for his book of gay porn fiction; I want to buy that book and I want it to have pictures, and the world needs more books like that, so I gave him a few bucks. I saw someone asking for money to finish their low-budget movie; I want to see that movie and… do you see the pattern here?

    I didn’t donate money for the sake of the people asking, but for the sake of promoting the kinds of things they’re trying to do, and… for my own selfishness. (OK, I gave money to the Reading With Pictures project mostly because I like Russell (to his dismay I’m sure), not so much for myself.)

  56. Johanna Says:

    That’s the best kind of philanthropy, where everyone benefits. Thanks for sharing your approach.

  57. Hsifeng Says:

    James Schee Says:

    “…Of course maybe I’m saying this because I’m tired of every time I go to the grocery store there’s always someone outside asking for donations.

    “If very many do this, it can quickly become hard to tell the people who need the donations, from those who never tried doing it on their own, they just don’t want to have to pay themselves…”

    Maybe Charity Navigator could help with telling who needs the donations?

    Johanna Says:

    “…* that comics should be a business, not a charity, and it’s better off when treated that way…”

    Good point.

    Remember, when you present your art as a charity case instead of an entertainment product or service and ask for donations instead of asking to make a deal, you’re no longer just competing with other artists anymore and trying to answer the potential customers’ question “why should I buy your comic book instead of their movie DVD?”…

    …You’re now also competing with the people who fight human trafficking, run food banks, shelter homeless people, treat patients, etc. (and yes there’s possibly some overlap between these folks and “other artists” I just mentioned!) and trying to answer the potential donors’ question “why do you need and deserve my help more than they need and deserve it?” Is this really something that you want to do? Maybe yes, maybe no, either way it’s something to think about ahead of time.

    If you’re trying to support yourself with your art (instead of sticking with your day job and enjoying your art as an awesome hobby) then you might do better to present your art as an entertainment product or service and try to make deals with potential investors and/or potential patrons as well as potential customers, whether or not you use Kickstarter to do that. :)

    Andrew Says:

    “…People are going to beg, plead and be annoying – or not – no matter where their money comes from: ‘Please Mr Bank Manager, our business plan is *sound*’, ‘Please everyone, we’re in diamond this month, *please* go tell your comic shop to *please* order some in’

    “Crowdsourcing in general, and Kickstarter in particular didn’t kill the gatekeeper, it just added some new ones…”

    More good points.

  58. Russell Lissau Says:

    Nonsense, Jason. Nothing but love on this side of the table.

  59. Kenny Says:

    Johanna – I’m going to echo a lot of your detractors but before I do, I wanted to let you know I appreciate this article. I was struggling with whether or not to start a project of my own on Kickstarter, and was scouring the internet for well articulated arguments from someone who didn’t think the crowd-sourcing site was made out of magic and cupcakes. This piece was just about all I could dig up. So thanks for that.

    But, it can’t be said enough: Kickstarter is a tool, and it’s all in how creators choose to use it. The smart creator will *still* have to think like an entrepreneur. I tend to shy away from projects that look to be asking for “donations” – but if the project appeals to me, and I see a reward I want, I’m more than happy to purchase it. So that’s the mentality I have as both a funder and a fundee – it’s just another form of e-commerce as far as I’m concerned.

    Yes, there’s a certain novelty to it for now that’s bound to run out, but I still feel like the overall purpose of the site has legs. As far as this not being a viable funding platform for the long-term, or having low repeatability… I would just point out that the site is called Kickstarter, with a special focus on helping creators get their ventures off the ground. What happens next is up to the creators.

    And as for the traditional way of doing things (and ignoring that the patron system has quite a bit of tradition to it), I agree that gatekeepers are good, but I don’t think crowd-sourcing does away with them. It’s just that instead of 1 or 2 huge gatekeepers, now there are thousands of small ones.

    I did enjoy your article, I think it’s a worthwhile read for anyone considering getting involved in Kickstarter in any capacity. Ultimately I disagree but time will tell how it will all pan out I suppose.

  60. Johanna Says:

    I’m glad you found it helpful, Kenny. You’ll want to make sure you also read my followup post, too, for more on the subject. And good luck with your effort!

  61. sara Says:

    so what keeps an artist from pumping up his or her own funding? why wouldn’t they donate a couple hundred in order to make sure they reach the goal and get a return of thousands…they will get their money right back anyway!

  62. Johanna Says:

    As the FAQ says, “Credit card rules forbid project creators from paying themselves. Any pledges made by a project creator to themselves may cause Amazon to cancel a project creator’s Amazon account, making it impossible to receive or remove funds.”

  63. Advice to Make Kickstarter Successful for Your Project » Comics Worth Reading Says:

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  64. Ken D. Webber Says:

    I have seen a flaw in Kickstarter. The site is supposed to be for people in need of cash. The flaw is that the rich are going to kickstarter already having the money they are asking for. Example, they ask for $20,000.00 but they already have it, interest free from their rich parents. They then use Rich Dad’s cash to buy their own offerings. Why? Because successful projects are promoted on multiple pages, design blogs, musician blogs, and kickstarter’s own Popular Page. In doing this, they create the FAKE impression that they are supported and popular and a feeding frenzy develops that snares the gullible marks. It costs the rich kid NOTHING and they get free advertising worth thousands more that the poor kid who really needs cash won’t see. The poor kid is seen as unpopular and not picked up on. The rich kid pays the fee to kickstarter and pockets the rewards. So Kickstarter caters to the rich, who as we all know, are weak in ideas and talent in Art and Music and Design.

  65. Ken D. Webber Says:

    I would like to add, that it is easy to get around the credit card rules by having the payments made by a group of friends.

  66. Russell Lissau Says:

    Who said you have to be poor to raise money through Kickstarter or any other means? Are the CEO’s of multibillion-dollar corporations poor when they sell stock in the company? Kickstarter is a way to raise money for a project, period. If you want to support the project and essentially be a stockholder, you can chip in a few bucks. If not, you don’t have to.

  67. Vincci Ching Says:

    On the topic of not using Kickstarter…

    Has anyone dealing with non paying backers? Amazon Payments keep on charging me 4% of the pledge and Kickstarter is not helping at all.

    I’m really against Kickstarter charging me their cut when the full project funding has not been collected! Shouldn’t the all or nothing funding model apply to Kickstarter too? That is, if funds of a project is not 100% received by the project creator, why should Kickstarter get its cut?

    Right now, I’m left with partial funding which is not enough for me to start my project (minus an additional 3 or 4% by Kickstarter), continued failed transaction fee charges from Amazon Payments, a bunch of backers who is waiting for the project to start.

    Can anyone advice on how to proceed? Your advice will be much appreciated.

  68. Johanna Says:

    The Kickstarter FAQ says if a backer doesn’t fix the problem with their credit card preventing the Amazon Payment from going through, they’ll be dropped from your Backer Report and don’t get the promised reward. (http://www.kickstarter.com/help/faq#pwHappIfABackCredCardIsDecl)

    If you’re having issues with the payments, that’s an Amazon problem, not Kickstarter. I’m surprised to hear that you have so many non-payers that it affects you starting your project at all. That seems like a very high ratio.

  69. KSP Says:

    This is a Kickstarter problem from the other side. Projects are started, backers pony up promises and then the project itself (and the project’s originator) suddenly disappears without explanation.

    This does not inspire confidence in any Kickstarter project even though some might be worth funding. This is not a good precedent.

    http://www.neowin.net/news/kickstarter-control-your-power-outlets-via-wi-fi

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  72. Veg Metal Says:

    Thank you! I find this service no different than hippies panhandling. You have to take their word for it that they a) need assistance (although in the facts section of the website it says you are encouraged to ask for money even though you don’t need it) b) are going to send rewards and c) are actually going to follow through with the project! This site can be used to fund creative and useful things for people who are really in need of an upstart but I’m not comfortable with the lack of accountability. It’s like telemarketing. If an artist wants to promote, go on twitter, facebook and play gigs or submit art to galleries. If an artist needs funding to start a project then….get a job! or a loan or a credit card. If there are people who don’t mind giving money to people who are asking for it for non philanthropic reasons, hey more power to them. Not for me.

  73. Adonis Says:

    Well I’m just about to start a kickstarter campaign and i thought this forum would help me with the way im going to approach it. I agree small business owners should step out and take some risks on there own financially. But for a small business like mine that has been around for a few years now and have a new product that needs to be developed, i think kickstarter is perfect for that. Im sitting on something that took me a year to start developing but i need more money to make the product great and bring it to the public, should i get a loan from a bank and if the product doesn’s work be sitting on a mountain of debt or do i take it straight to the people and see if the people want it or not.

  74. Russell Lissau Says:

    I remembered this old thread tonight as I watched the latest READING WITH PICTURES kickstarter drive, for THE GRAPHIC TEXTBOOK, approach its goal. With three days to go, it is now less than $2k from a $65,000 goal. Tremendous final week, thanks to a lot of grassroots support.
    http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/readingwithpictures/the-graphic-textbook

  75. Russell Lissau Says:

    We made it!

  76. Christian Beranek Says:

    Kickstarter has re-invigorated creator owned comments. Would love to hear what Johanna thinks about the site two years after her initial thoughts

  77. Johanna Says:

    Interesting you should ask, since I just this morning put up my latest thoughts here:
    http://comicsworthreading.com/2012/06/20/comic-fans-need-patience-thoughts-on-lengthy-kickstarters-incomplete-first-issues/

  78. Problems With Kickstarter Make News, Cause Site Revisions » Comics Worth Reading Says:

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  79. creator Says:

    Why would you even write this? If you don’t want to back a Kickstarter project don’t do it. Simple as that. Why try and discourage people with your negative opinion when there are obviously thousands of satisfied people who have backed multiple comics projects on Kickstarter. You can see it in their bio page. Great big multi-colored pie chart. So, obviously this works and plenty of people are happy to do it. You’re better off just keeping these thoughts to yourself and spending your time/energy to do something positive.

  80. creator Says:

    All I can say in response to the comment I have posted below is this: WRONG WRONG WRONG.
    I am a broke ass middle class white guy who works his ass off over 40 hrs a week and still managed to make time to create a book and get it funded on kickstarter.
    This is classic troll behavior.

    “Ken D. Webber Says:
    February 8, 2011 at 10:14 AM

    I have seen a flaw in Kickstarter. The site is supposed to be for people in need of cash. The flaw is that the rich are going to kickstarter already having the money they are asking for. Example, they ask for $20,000.00 but they already have it, interest free from their rich parents. They then use Rich Dad’s cash to buy their own offerings. Why? Because successful projects are promoted on multiple pages, design blogs, musician blogs, and kickstarter’s own Popular Page. In doing this, they create the FAKE impression that they are supported and popular and a feeding frenzy develops that snares the gullible marks. It costs the rich kid NOTHING and they get free advertising worth thousands more that the poor kid who really needs cash won’t see. The poor kid is seen as unpopular and not picked up on. The rich kid pays the fee to kickstarter and pockets the rewards. So Kickstarter caters to the rich, who as we all know, are weak in ideas and talent in Art and Music and Design.”

  81. creator Says:

    First of all, something you may really enjoy and be entertained by could come out of a kickstarter campaign. Think like a Medici who wants to make society better through funding the arts. you could miss out on something life-changing.

    “Veg Metal Says:
    February 23, 2012 at 3:07 PM

    Thank you! I find this service no different than hippies panhandling. You have to take their word for it that they a) need assistance (although in the facts section of the website it says you are encouraged to ask for money even though you don’t need it) b) are going to send rewards and c) are actually going to follow through with the project! This site can be used to fund creative and useful things for people who are really in need of an upstart but I’m not comfortable with the lack of accountability. It’s like telemarketing. If an artist wants to promote, go on twitter, facebook and play gigs or submit art to galleries. If an artist needs funding to start a project then….get a job! or a loan or a credit card. If there are people who don’t mind giving money to people who are asking for it for non philanthropic reasons, hey more power to them. Not for me.”




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