One of the latest crazes in the world of publishing (and well beyond) is using crowd funding to finance your writing project. Success stories of people who exceeded their wildest expectations abound. In fact, a personal friend of mine ran a Kickstarter campaign a year ago, aiming to raise $4000 to write his novel designed to entertain and educate 8-12 year old girls. By the end of his campaign, he had raised over $90,000 and has committed to writing several more novels, short stories, and a teachers’ companion. But it’s not just the publishing industry having success, here are some examples of current campaigns doing really (really, really) well on Kickstarter:
The Crabby Wallet: $10,000 goal, $114,000 raised with 22 days to go
BAUHAUS Titanium key chain/carabiner: $10,000 goal, $116,000 raised with 23 days remaining
Smallworld 2 (Video Game): $150,000 goal, $390,000 raised (sorry, only 30 minutes left)
Folding USB Solar Cell: $5000 goal, $71500 raised with 21 days remaining
Smart Herb Garden: $75000 goal, $300,000 raised with 10 days remaining
And the current biggie: The Veronica Mars Movie: $2,000,000 goal, over $5,000,000 raised with 54 hours remaining.
That’s without even looking at IndieGoGo or any of the other sources out there (there are currently 531 publishing related campaigns on Kickstarter alone). It seems that there is money out there to be had and I, for one, am planning on running a campaign for my next project.
But it is not the prospect of offering fans and readers the opportunity to be part of my next book that has actually prompted this post. Earlier today, I read about a crowd funding project for an independent author with some real importance.
David Farland, author of Nightingale and others, is in need of a different kind of assistance–not money for editing, cover art or promotion. His 16-year-old son Ben was in an accident on his long board, suffered severe head trauma, and is in a medically induced coma. Unfortunately, the family does not have insurance, and it is expected that Ben’s care could soar into the millions. A crowd funding campaign has been started to help out with the costs.
I don’t know Mr. Farland or his family, and I have not read any of his books, but when I read about what happened, it struck a nerve in me. I have a teenage son who once took a tumble off a long board (thankfully, without any major injuries), and I had a sudden flash of what his family must be going through. I live in Canada, where we complain about our health care but don’t have to worry about these sorts of situations, so it is almost unfathomable for me to imagine someone not getting the medical attention they need, yet as a father, I can feel the family’s pain.
My hope for Mr. Farland, his family, and his son is that some of those people out there who are happy to give their money for the development of video games, and herb gardens, books and movies, can also see when there is a real need for us all to pull together as a community.
I want to see a Veronica Mars movie just as much as the next guy, but how about we help save a life?