What Pirates Say To Copyright.
How writers will make money
Crowdfunding is when fans decide they like an artist enough to give them money to continue making art.
This is not a hypothetical. Fans are already realizing that they can–and that they want to–give money directly to an artists whose work they enjoy so that they can continue enjoying it. Here is a list of some of the most popular crowdfunding sites.
This is how publishing looks right now:
1) Publishers take exclusive rights to a manuscript and shoehorn the artists into approved distribution methods.
2) Publishers decide what a reader should want to pay for a book and put a price tag on it.
3) They make the book pretty and visible on the shelves. Maybe they make some bookmarks and posters too.
4) They hope people wander by and decide, spontaneously, to buy a book they’ve never read.
5) If this happens they give the author a couple dollars for their trouble. If not, well, better luck next time. And, by the way, that’s next time with another publisher…
This is how crowdsourcing works:
1) Author pitches an idea to fans.
2) Fans decide if they like the author’s work enough to want more. Non-fans look over the pitch and any previous work and decide whether it looks good enough for them to kick in a couple dollars–or whatever they can/want to pay.
3) Fans/non-fans who want the artists work to be available donate money to the artist.
4) Author takes the money (perhaps 90-95% if they are using a crowdfunding service.)
5) Author writes, shares writing.
This form of making and distributing art does not rely on a copyright monopoly. It does not rely on withholding the rights of artists and art lovers to produce or share art freely. Fans give money for art they like. Artists get money for work that has an audience. Simple.
Of course, developing enough of a crowd to fund a project is difficult. Kickstarter, for example, claims that about 50% of it’s projects get funded, of course meaning that 50% do not. Perhaps this seems like flipping a coin. Perhaps this seems like too much of a chance, if 1 out of 2 people are disappointed with insufficient funding. And to further stress out struggling artists is the fact that some of these sites, like Kickstarter and Pozible, are all-or-nothing types. That is if you do not raise all the funds you need you get nothing. (It sounds harsh, but this is to avoid having fans lose money on a project that can’t be completed, or is completed half-assed.)
Yup, it is competitive. It’s difficult.
Unlike getting published.
Agents accept a tiny percent of the manuscripts sent to them. Publishers accept an even tinier percent. Most people who never get published don’t get published because they give up before they are given the opportunity. Opportunities are rare.
Welcome to the arts.
The point is not that crowdfunding will be easy short cut to publication. The point is not that crowdfunding will make you wealthy and famous or even successful. If you can find a system that does that… well… write your own post about it.
The point is that crowdfunding is a viable source of income for authors. Sure it takes initiative on the part of the author. Sure it takes a track record to prove to fans that you can write a book they want to read. Sure it take persistence and a thick skin and the ability to bounce back up to face rejection after rejection after rejection after rejection.
Welcome to writing.
This is what we signed up for.