Kick Out the Jams
June 8, 2011 1:24 PM   Subscribe

This is interesting.
As mentioned in the comments, Kickstarter might not be the 'publisher' of these comics, but it is the financing of it, a role that publishers used to/still do fulfill. I wonder how the 'publishers' feel about this - I mean, it's all upside for them, right? I gotta look into how Kickstarter functions.
posted by From Bklyn at 1:48 PM on June 8, 2011

Fuck the publishers, how do the agents feel?
posted by Ardiril at 1:54 PM on June 8, 2011

I understand that Kickstarter is working really well for independent bands that have a decent following, when they need to raise money to record new albums, go on tour, etc. It's a fantastic model, although they're neither a publisher or a financier. They're just a venue, but a very good, and popular venue, and I'm glad it's gaining steam.

I'm especially glad for bands/musicians, because in the old model, they had to basically sell their souls to get an advance for recording, and now they can do things independently and still own the rights to all their intellectual property when they're done. Another well-deserved nail in the coffin of the big labels, as far as I'm concerned.

I don't think book publishing deals with the major publishing houses are as onerous as music contracts are, but if it's working for authors/creators, then great.
posted by Devils Rancher at 1:58 PM on June 8, 2011

Could Kickstarter Be Evil?
posted by Artw at 2:05 PM on June 8, 2011

Is Kickstarter killing your children? Find out the details, coming up tonight on LATENEWS at 11!
posted by blue_beetle at 2:32 PM on June 8, 2011 [3 favorites]

Kickstarter, and things like it, are going to be the future of art.

If you can't control copies (and you can't), all you can do is get the money up front.
posted by empath at 2:40 PM on June 8, 2011 [4 favorites]

Fuck the publishers, how do the agents feel?

If agents are smart, they'll see it as another opportunity to take their cut. Do you think bands and artists want to spend a lot of time running a kickstarter page? I imagine they'll work with their agents to come up with feasible projects, and the agents will work on shopping them to the public, instead of shopping them to publishers.

It seems like it would be much more rewarding work, because the motivations for kickstarter funders isn't nearly as mercenary.
posted by empath at 2:42 PM on June 8, 2011 [2 favorites]

See, you understand that, empath, and I understand that, but to read some of their blogs, they will never be convinced of that. I see agents morphing into production designers with a business degree.
posted by Ardiril at 2:46 PM on June 8, 2011

Kickstarter also eliminates misdirected schmooze resources.
posted by Ardiril at 2:47 PM on June 8, 2011

See, you understand that, empath, and I understand that, but to read some of their blogs, they will never be convinced of that.

Probably because they are the evil, greedy, soul-sucking parasite kind of agent, instead of the good ones that just want to help good art get made (and they are out there!).
posted by empath at 2:58 PM on June 8, 2011

I'd be interested in reading those blogs, if you have links, though.
posted by empath at 3:01 PM on June 8, 2011

My main prediction for the future of media is that everything midlist is fucked.
posted by Artw at 3:02 PM on June 8, 2011

No. Next question.
posted by symbioid at 4:00 PM on June 8, 2011

Artw: "My main prediction for the future of media is that everything midlist is fucked"

Doesn't the "long tail" theory predict the exact opposite, that the midlist will basically overtake the bestsellers in the long run?
posted by idiopath at 4:04 PM on June 8, 2011

Depends how sharp the curve in your L is. If it's sharp enough then what you get is a klong tail of basically self-funded or crowd funded hobbyist efforts and then a spike of mega huge successes and nothing in between.
posted by Artw at 4:09 PM on June 8, 2011 [1 favorite]

My main prediction for the future of media is that everything midlist is fucked.

The end of mediocre genre novels being churned out for a pay check shitting up store shelves? Yes, please.
posted by empath at 4:34 PM on June 8, 2011

Out of curiosity, what projects would be impossible/illegal/inappropriate to fund using kickstart? (he asks after just getting an email saying his grant application was rejected)
posted by scunning at 4:50 PM on June 8, 2011

Could Kickstarter Be Evil?
I'm concerned that Kickstarter might start pulling money away from nonprofits and charitable organizations, becoming a way for entertainers and creative-minded people to exploit their fans.

I doubt that people spending on entertainment via something like Kickstarter instead of a comic book store will pull them away from donating to charity.

It wouldn't be hard to combine the two groups anyway. PledgeMusic does it with musicians. Heather Nova just did a pledge drive that funded mastering her latest album and a disaster relief organisation. The David Lynch Foundation is doing a drive to fund their meditation-based educational programs.
posted by WhackyparseThis at 7:13 PM on June 8, 2011

Scunning: you have to apply to kickstarter to list a project in the first place. I and my partner applied to kickstarter. We were rejected because what we wanted to create was supposedly, according to them, not a creative project (even though it indeed was. and the specific financial backing we were looking for was to hire an industrial DESIGNER). I had to beg for that explanation; initially they just rejected us with a form letter, and they ignored my first polite request for an explanation as to why we were rejected.

Aside from the requirement that the project be "creative" (by kickstarter's bizarre definition of the term), there are a bunch of guidelines on the site as to what generally makes for a successful project. People who already have a following, or devoted friends and family with money, have a better chance, as most projects are mostly funded by existing supporters. If you're just looking to get funding for a neat idea, and are hoping to find a bunch of strangers who will realize how neat the idea is and put their money behind that realization, apparently you're unlikely to be successful.

So, I'm really not a fan of kickstarter. Despite their basic claim to help the little guy, you really have to already have some success in your chosen endeavor to get any help. I roll my eyes when I see all the tech projects (not very creative at all) and such that are funded on there, and I roll my eyes when I hear all about how kickstarter removes the obstacle of access to funds for people who don't have connections or money.
posted by parrot_person at 9:13 PM on June 8, 2011 [1 favorite]

Oooh, cool. I didn't know Ursula's group book made it's funding goal! Sweet.

*ponders doing a Kickstarter for her current graphic novel once she gets an idea of how long it will be*
posted by egypturnash at 11:56 PM on June 8, 2011

As the proud owner of the Trasnmetropolitan Art Book off of Kickstarter, if they're evil, I'm okay with it!

However, kickstarter's gotten big enough now that it seems the weird projects never get funded. Because there's just too many other places for people to throw a few bucks. Dilution is the enemy.
posted by DigDoug at 5:53 AM on June 9, 2011

We recently did a Kickstarter for a significant (10-book) series my company's been working on for the past year and raised enough money to really make a difference in getting all 10 to market faster. Yes, it helps to have a following already, but I also know (from cross-referencing against our existing client database) that we made a lot of new friends and got to interact with people who maybe weren't familiar with who we are and what we publish, indie fiber arts-wise.

So I count it as a net positive, and a chance for people to support something they believe in in exchange for some pretty sweet rewards we could afford to give (such as my most recent book) which then, again, helped build even more familiarity with what we do and publish. And I still keep getting emails that say "I missed the Kickstarter while it was running, can I still give something to support what you're doing?"

As a one-person company who hires a lot of freelancers to do the stuff I can't do, I have a very personal relationship with my customers. Kickstarter was perfect for reaching out.
posted by at 5:59 AM on June 9, 2011 [2 favorites]

I published a book (print collection of my old Gentleman's Gentleman webcomic) through a Kickstarter drive. It was a pretty intense experience. I'm glad I did it, but man, that month of hustling for pledges was tough; and I won't miss the days of freaking out when I was behind pace to meet the goal. Honestly, I kind of feel like marshaling a successful Kickstarter drive ought to be something you can put on a resume.

It was a grind, but I'm really happy to have been able to make the book. Really positive experience, overall.
posted by COBRA! at 7:13 AM on June 9, 2011

I would think that running a successful kickstarter drive *would* be something you could put on a resume. I'd sure put it on mine, if the skills involved seemed relevant to the job I was applying for. And there's the benefit that the potential employer can go right to kickstarter and easily see your project, unlike more fudgable/fakable credentials.

Our project could definitely be considered "weird", but we didn't even get to list it, so no dilution effect was involved. I sure would have liked for us to have a chance to fail, but we didn't even get that.
posted by parrot_person at 2:51 PM on June 9, 2011

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