Friday, June 1, 2012

Israeli Storyteller Fundraising in Retrospect

As promised, conclusions from my first IndieGoGo. These are purely intuitive and personal. If you’re considering doing your own fundraiser, I strongly recommend reading some more scientific articles as well. Anyhow, there it goes – 9 acute observations from 3 fun months.

The art, coincidentally, is from my next project. Have fun.

All contributions are good, not just money. I’m really glad I encouraged people interested in the project to make any contribution they can, not only monetary donations. In the end of the day, money is a means to an end, not the end. Translated into money, I have received more in art pledges and other forms of help than in dollars and shekels. In fact, this is the main reason why I consider this project a success. Translated into cold currency, I did reach my goal. Why, one artist alone had pledged more than a $1,000 of art!
A picture is worth a gazillion words. Even if what you’re doing is a fiction book, don’t be overly verbose and don’t be skimpy on the art. What immediately shows the difference between a yammerhead and a professional is the art. This is why this post is lavishly illustrated, even though the art has nothing to do with IST. And while at it...

"Master, is it time yet?"
"No, let him finish talking about IST first."
Art by the silent warrior Yan

Don’t be shy, post about your project. A LOT. They say that if the first 500 times didn’t convince a person to contribute, the 501st time won’t either. This isn’t true. People follow and unfollow your social network every day. Posts drown in the stream within minutes. Some people might want to contribute, but don’t have the money handy and need be reminded later on. Speaking of which...

People mostly contribute at the first few days of the month. Promote accordingly.

Be concise. At first I told about my project in excruciating detail and there were hardly any contributions, except from friends and early readers who enjoyed the book. Then I replaced this long-winded essay with a two paragraph summary and folks became much more interested. Don’t be a graphomaniac

Start with handy art. People, in general, are not to be trusted. Don’t assume that artists will live up to their promises and deliver on time. There’s a chance you’ll get your art a month late and it will be of the wrong size and depict something that has absolutely nothing to do with what you'd asked for. All the while, you’re losing precious time as your campaign looks unappealing and fails to attract funders. So, don’t start before you have a heap of art ready.

Post new art often. If you have a decent amount of art, post a new picture every few days. Personally, I didn’t have much art when the project started, so my updates were mostly anecdotal and not very effective, but once art started flowing in, so did the contributions.

Use Kickstarter. I know IGG is awesome and free while KS are a bunch of censoring cunts, but for some reason folks seem to like KS much better, possibly because they only charge you in the end of the project and not immediately. KS is only for Americans, however, so if you’re an alien like me, you’ll need to find an American partner.

Be social. In addition to getting funding and art for my project, I got to meet cool new people who share interests with me. These people helped me spread the word, offered cool ideas and were generally awesome. Thank you awesome people. As the old saying goes, “better 100 friends than 100 rubles.”

Don't forget to have fun...
Art by the undefeated Stav
There, this is what I learned from my first fundraiser. All in all, it was an amazing experience which, in addition to helping me finance my strange book, also brought me in contact with some huge talents and generally very fun people. Definitely very recommended.

My next fundraiser will be RATS! Coming this summer to eat you and everything you love. Be afraid!


  1. I'm glad I could contribute some £s to the project, I thought it was interesting and different enough from others for me to help support it, even if it was only a bit; and glad you're doing one for RATS. I liked the ida of that when you first posted about, and will happily back that too :)

  2. So, then... what happens to all the material you wrote for the book? Can you publish it some other way, now that the funding hasn't happened?

    1. Don't worry, due to the artist's kind non-monetary contribution, the book is certainly happening and I might even lose a few pounds with all the money I'll be saving to make it so :P