Paul Mannering just wrote a great blog on the subject of starting up Kickstarter (or similar) projects for books. Personally, I believe if you want to beg for money to publish a book, that’s on your own conscience, but what’s worse yet if if you inflate the goal amount to somehow make the public reward you for work you haven’t even done yet.
As I’d said in a recent Facebook discussion on the subject: “Asking people for money on a project that has yet to begin is a pitch to investors. When they choose to invest, it is an investment on their part to have a product created, similar to a film project except these people get no monetary returns (just a book or whatever). What’s absurd is the people running these things who think they can rack up the amount way over the necessary expenses for the project, as though they’re getting rewarded extra from the public for work they haven’t done yet. Not only that, but they like to refer to the projects as more like fan/reader support, etc. No, they’re investors and should be respected as such. Show where the money goes and don’t ask for a penny more.”
Anyway, I think a great example is HERE. That’s right: $27,000 for one author to self-publish a book. When that didn’t go over so well, she tried again recently HERE, where it’s now down to $7,500. And it’s to publish the book, which only has 50 pages written of it, on CreateSpace. That’s free, by the way.
I joined in on a discussion over it all HERE, if you’d care to check it out. And take special note that while the subject is very similar to what is discussed below, the thread still exists on the message board.
Anyway, moving on to Paul Mannering’s blog. He called attention to another project for an anthology. The project’s goal was $25,000, and it received that and then some. The book is to be 125,000 words and paying the authors 6 cents a word. That comes to $7,500. The editor is paying herself $6,000. That leaves $11,500 for the publisher to launch the trade paperback and ebook.
Sound like too much money left over for the public to pay? That’s because it is. But hey, it’s my opinion. If publishers and editors feel comfortable begging for an excessive amount of money from the public before even starting a project, then banking the profits after it’s done, that’s fine. I, however, see a horrible lacking of ethics in it all.
You can read Paul’s blog speaking with the editor HERE.
There is mention of a discussion (excuse me – “bruhaha”) on a message board thread that was deleted by the owner when things started getting hot. This thread was created on the same day as the one I linked to above – the one that still exists. As someone who has frequented that board for years, I know that you only have to complain to the owner that someone is picking on you, etc, to have the thread taken down.
And the Internet seems to have cached a few pages of it before it went away. Paul posted screen grabs of them in a follow up blog HERE.
I had a little trouble reading the grabs, myself. It may have been my browser – I’m not sure. So I thought I’d share them here, as well. It doesn’t hurt to have them in more than one place, anyway. As for my further opinion on this subject, well, I’m in the discussion.
To view screen grabs, click the links (they’re large files to get it all in). Then click on the thumbnails and then the crosshairs to zoom. Or simply “view” the images (right-click) and and save them to your computer to zoom in:
Now, there are Kickstarter projects used in other situations that I think are fantastic, like to accumulate donations for those in need or for video game projects that really do cost many thousands and the developers are working out of their bedrooms. Kudos to that. Like any useful tool, however, it is only a matter of time before people find ways of abusing them.