More on Kickstarter: I Was Wrong
After much discussion about Kickstarter this week, I’ve learned a lot. The most important lesson was not to be over-broad, that Kickstarter should be viewed as a tool, with its own pluses and minuses. It’s true, I was focusing too much on what could go wrong instead of also considering what benefits it brought to some types of creators, including providing a standardized interface/system.
Thanks especially to Matt Seneca for a well-timed reminder of the need for capital; Christian Beranek for sharing a couple of example projects; Bradley W. Schenck for doing the math; and Russell Lissau for his general patience. Since we’re talking about the subject, I found this article on what happens when a Kickstarter project is too successful thought-provoking.
I also very much appreciated an email I received from an artist who wished to remain anonymous who wanted to share with me thoughts on the value of unique, challenging, and personal work created out of love. I was reminded how many art forms these days (such as live theater or opera) survive only due to patronage, grants, and similar acts of charity. (I’d rather compare comics to rock’n’roll than chamber music, but that’s a different conversation.) So why not try patronage for unusual comics? Like webcomics or self-published indies, there are going to be some terrible Kickstarter projects, some mediocre ones, and a few very good ones. Since the former are going to need more help, those are going to be the ones I’m more likely to hear about, but I shouldn’t let that color my perception.
The most important lesson? Kickstarter doesn’t handle advertising for you. They’re just a mechanism. You’re still required to get the word out and drive potential customers to your project.