In my last blog post I wrote about crowd funding, but did not by any means exhaust the subject. In fact, I barely introduced it. My toes dipped in the water. Since then I have paddled out a little deeper and I am now standing up to my knees. (I hope you are appreciating this attempt at a seasonally appropriate metaphor – it’s about to be extended.)
I don’t much enjoy sea bathing – and I’m not used to lake bathing – but I know what happens next. You hobble a little deeper, gasping as the cold water creeps higher, afraid of losing your footing on the concealed rocks, slippery with weed. And then you stand there, shivering, until either cowardice prevails and you stumble back, or the cheers and jeers (“Come on in,” they call. “Are you a man or a mouse? The water’s lovely!”) persuade you take the plunge… Or you slip.
And sometimes the water is lovely. And sometimes it’s not.
As with bathing in the open air, so with pretty much every new endeavour, in my experience.
After the last blog post I received some encouraging and informative feedback, both on this site and from fellow Egenutgivarnas who I met up with that afternoon. Among much else, I was pointed in the direction of several crowd funding websites other than Unbound. These were Kickstarter (mentioned last week) a Swedish site called Kickstarta.nu and Fundedbyme.com. (Thanks to fellow Blogg52-er Lars and indie author Charlotte.)
I’m going to take a quick look at each of these (exploring the submerged rocks with my feet, so to say) from the point of view of a wannabe self-publisher, resident in Sweden.
British, Swedish or American?
Unbound is the only crowd funder that deals specifically with book publishing. Kickstarter, which is the most well established and well-known, also has a Publishing section. Funded by me – sorry Fundedbyme – has no dedicated publishing section but does have a Media and Entertainment section and an Education section – and if one’s project doesn’t seem to fit in either of these, there’s always Other. (It would seem that many Fundedbyme projects categorise themselves under more than one heading.) Kickstarta is in Swedish and has a category for “Litteratur”.
Let’s deal with the smallest first. Kickstarta is a Swedish site and at first glance seems quite serious. There are a number of projects presented on the front page. There’s a Sign-up and Log-in link – and a “Kickstarta ditt project” link – in the header. There are also links to About (Om Kickstarta), a FAQ, a contact page and legal info – though you can only find them by scrolling to the menus at the bottom of the page.
So far so good. Unfortunately the site seems to be abandoned. The four projects on the front page are the only projects the site has. None of them seem to be active and each of them as a little indicator that there are “0 timmar kvar” = zero hours left (to support them? It’s not explained anywhere.) Further, the contact form has broken code showing. Avoid that one!
To go from Kickstarta to Kickstarter is to move from the ridiculous to the sublime. The site is well-made, well-filled and easily navigated. There are quick links from the header to Discover, Start and Search, Sign up and Log in. There are video links promoting selected projects and at the bottom of the page links to About, Help and Legal information.
However, there is one drawback from my point of view. Projects can only be started by people resident in a handful of countries – and Sweden isn’t one of them. People can sponsor projects from anywhere in the world, but people seeking financing must be residents of the USA, the UK, Canada, Australia, New Zealand or the Netherlands.
The fact The Netherlands is there does suggest they are expanding into Europe though. Maybe Scandinavia will come.
In the meantime: Fundedbyme.
Here’s a funny thing. Fundedbyme is a Swedish company, based in Stockholm (on Regeringsgatan), but they don’t offer a version of their home page in Swedish. You can have the front page in English, Español, Suomi, Italiano and Deutsch – but not Svenska. What are they communicating by this? Perhaps they don’t want Swedish punters? If so, they’ve not succeeded. It looks like more than half of the projects on Fundedbyme are Swedish.
This language anomaly aside, Fundedbyme seems like a really worthwhile site. They clearly work to promote themselves internationally (bringing in potential investors as well as international projects seeking funding). Even though I’d never heard of them before last week, they clearly have quite a high profile in Sweden. I’ve been surprised by the number of people I know who – when I’ve told them what I’m doing – have recognised the site’s name.
I like the fact that there is an About link at the top of the front page (along with all the usual search and log in links). Also a link to Success Stories. There are the usual more detailed links at the foot of the page (which is also where you can change the language if you wish).
Equity, Loan or Reward based campaigns
From the top of the Brows Campaigns page, the search form allows you to sort campaigns by type, status, categories, country and popularity/date. Some of the options give another slant on the site and its interests. For example, Fundedbyme offers three different sorts of campaign – Equity, Loan and Reward based (see my previous article for an interpretation of these forms from the point of view of an indie author), but it seems as though they prefer campaigns to be equity or loan based because these two come pre-checked in the Select Campaign Type search box. That’s a negative for me as I’m only interested in reward-based campaigns.
Under Status you can search for campaigns that are Live or have Closed Successfully. Campaigns that failed are quietly brushed under the carpet. Understandable, but a complication for someone trying to get an idea of how many campaigns succeed, and why those that fail do so. Still, it ought to be possible to look at how different campaigns present themselves and follow them through to success or failure as there appears to be a short 45 day time limit for each campaign.
Last Wednesday my thought was to try out a crowd funding campaign on my projected poetry book (50-50ish), but during the week I’ve swung around to thinking that the best project to test drive on Fundedbyme is probably the photo book. In the meantime, the next step (into the water up to my waist perhaps) is to sign up to Fundedbyme and find a couple of projects to support.
The water is still cold and the bottom uneven, but I’m beginning to think I might eventually dive in.
More on this in a future post!
This article was written for the #Blogg52 challenge.