Kickstart the Apocalypse

Kickstarter intrigues me when it comes to novels and comics projects. There are a lot of great projects on there, some of which blow their funding out of the water and others which fall well short. When they’re very successful, I can’t help but wonder if the creators wouldn’t have been better servered going through the standard publishing path in the first place.

Yet, sometimes the creators have turned to Kickstarter because the standard publishing path has failed them.

Case in point: Victor Gischler’s Kickstarter campaign for Go-Go Girls of the Apocalypse II: The Luxury Wars.

Go-Go Girls II cover

You’re going to want this.

I really enjoyed the first book, so I was happy to back the project as soon as I heard about it.

In just a few days, Gischler has almost hit his goal, a very reasonable $3,000. He’s also sold out his $100 and $250 level rewards and one of his $500 rewards. Those higher rewards alone amount to $1750 for a book he hasn’t even written yet, which is in the neighborhood of the advances a certain defunct mass market paperback publisher offered.

And this is not an advance from a publisher making an investment, mind, but money from fans eager to read the book. Chances are he’s going to destroy his goal.

This is exactly the kind of project I’m talking about where, given the fan response, I don’t understand why a publisher hasn’t picked it up. Yet, as Gischler informs us in the project video, the publisher of the first Go-Go Girls of the Apocalypse was not interested. If Gischler smokes his goal, someone screwed up. Maybe the publisher underestimated fan response, or maybe they need to rethink how they determine a book’s success or failure.

At five bucks, backers get a copy of the book. At ten bucks, backers get their name in the special thanks at the back of the book. Either way, the sequel is cheaper than the Kindle edition of the first book. It’s win-win for Gischler and his fans, because now he can write the story the fans want and it has a shot at making some money.

And that, my friends, nails the real advantage of Kickstarter for writers: knowing a project is not a waste of time. Writing is a business, and if a full-time writer works on a book that’s already been rejected once (probably to the detriment of other paying work), there’s a good chance he’s going to have a tough time paying the bills. With a positive Kickstarter commitment, a writer can make a business decision to fit the project in with his other projects. If a campaign fails, the writer knows he should probably work on something else.

Now if only we could all decode what makes a Kickstarter campaign successful…

About Mike Oliveri

Mike Oliveri is a writer, martial artist, cigar aficionado, motorcyclist, and family man, but not necessarily in that order. He is currently hard at work on the werewolf noir series The Pack for Evileye Books.

5 comments

  1. Noah L says:

    I loved the first book, and just pledged $25 to the Kickstarter–thanks, Mike!

  2. [...] to expand on yesterday’s thoughts, now Wendig can write Bait Dog with the confidence it will be worth the time it takes away from [...]

  3. Never gone this route, though I know several writers who’ve done quite well by it. This seems tailored for writers who’ve had a book series dropped by their publisher, yet the fans want to see it continue.

    I don’t know why Kickstarter gets all the buzz; Indiegogo’s probably a better choice, if only because you get to keep all the money you collect, regardless of whether your total goal is met.

    -j.s.

    • Mike says:

      Yeah, I think it would be tough to get a new project from a new creator off the ground without something really killer to demonstrate on the page to get someone to buy in.

      As for Indiegogo, my understanding is they have fewer restrictions on what you can do with the money, too.

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