5 Reasons Authors Should Be on Kickstarter (and 5 Reasons They Really Shouldn't)
So there I was, doing my monthly Kickstarter round-up to help showcase some of the more amazing crowdsourcing projects our city has to offer (mostly tabletop and video games because that's what happens when the staff geek does the column). Once again, I ran across yet another first-time author looking to use the site to try to finagle the money to write a book.
Please stop doing that.
Seriously, stop. There are very few legitimate reasons an author would be on Kickstarter, and in the almost two years I have been doing the column, I have seen none of them in practice. You want to know the kind of author who should try for funding?
1. Someone Who Is Making a Book That Only Works as a Physical Creation: These include pop-up books, certain children's books, coffee-table books or things of that nature. If Mark Z. Danielewski said he needed to use Kickstarter to make a sequel to House of Leaves because conventional book routes just wouldn't do, I would believe him because he's proven he's that kind of nuts.
Who Doesn't Need Kickstarter?: Any kind of conventional book. If it fits on a standard bookshelf or is perfectly readable as an eBook, then you have no need to be printing anything. CreateSpace.com will set you up for print-on-demand for customers for $35, and get you listed on Amazon, and concert your book to Kindle, and make copies available to order from booksellers. If you need copies of your own for some reason, the price is also very reasonable.
2. Someone Who Needs to Leave the House to Write His Book: Writing fiction is a very solitary act, and all you really need is space to do it in. There are nonfiction books, though, that require travel and research. Want to go spend two weeks exploring the haunted-ass Bridgewater Triangle and researching all the uncanny stuff that goes on there (everything from thunderbirds to Satanic rituals)? Sure, I'll plunk down cash for that.
Who Doesn't Need Kickstarter?: Anyone who can write his book without ever leaving his chair. Yes, it would be nice to get paid to miss your day job and just write. Either go on welfare like J.K. Rowling or get up early and do it before work like literally every other working writer I know. Sorry, you don't get to skip to the "author toiling at his leisure" stage.