Why Kickstarter is business, not begging
As I start the drive to fund my third Kickstarter campaign, I am once again noting the distinct division between individuals and websites who absolutely love anything crowdfunded and those who seem affronted at the very thought. I can see some practical reasons why a site may not want to post an article on a Kickstarter - the campaigns are by definition fleeting, will become old news within weeks as they reach their funding goal or not, then if the project continues it will be from some other platform. Fair enough.
What is not so fair is the assumption that any creator using crowdfunding is begging for money instead of working for it. Now I can't speak for every individual out there but I can speak for myself and many other creators and say with absolute certainty that we've earned every penny :) I'll talk about some of what's involved a bit later for the benefit of anyone contemplating having a bash themselves but the thing that interests me is how Kickstarter actually works and what it offers everyone.
A Kickstarter campaign is effectively an online pop-up shop, centred around a single product or project. Kickstarter provides the venue in return for a fee if the campaign reaches its funding goal. In return, the creator gets a pitch to show their wares in and a certain amount of footfall from folks who like to drop in and see what's happening this week. The 'rewards', shiny new things on offer can be anything from a physical product - a book, a piece of art, to an experience - being on a film set perhaps or a day out with the creator.
The creator benefits because they are taking pre orders on their products and so raising much needed funds for producing the thing while reducing the risks as they only launch if they have hit their target and made enough sales to cover the costs. The backers benefit because asides from the fun of being directly involved in the start of something, rewards usually involve a certain amount of exclusivity and often added value in other ways.
As for claims that this is somehow easy money (and a word of warning if you're thinking of starting one on that basis) - put simply, it's not. I normally expect to get paid for what I do because that's how my rent works, just like everyone else's. With a Kickstarter, in addition to the usual expenses of time, materials, etc. I and my co-creator of this particular project Sean Walter have spent a solid two weeks building and costing the campaign. At the time of writing we are one day in to the month long battle for views and pledges. It's a very concentrated promotional campaign as early backing is critical and if we don't hit our target we get precisely nothing back for all that time.
With all that said, there are some fun bits such as the creation of our campaign video below which we've shared here because we're actually rather proud of it. If you enjoy that please go see what all of this is in aid of at Tales in Somber Tones Kickstarter