What am I asking you to do?
I am trying to raise the money to write and publish the Seaside Donkey book, and also to make the film. I had to work out the budget I need (which is £28,000), and set the deadline within which I have to find this money (January the 29th, 2014). Lots of brilliant kind people have pledged money already, by following the instructions here:
When you pledge money you have to enter your bank details, but the money does not go out of your account unless we do manage to raise the full £28,000. If we fall short, no money goes out of your account, and I don’t get any of the pledges.
What is Kickstarter?
Kickstarter is a crowd funding website. Crowd funding is a new way of funding projects that don’t otherwise have the money to get off the ground. There are a number of different websites that list and administrate projects seeking crowd funding, but Kickstarter.com is the most well-known. It is solely for creative projects, and it has only been running in the UK since November 2012 – it’s a really new idea. The general theory is similar to seeking patronage through subscriptions though – in the 17th century authors used to seek many small donations to finance book prints. A bit like walking with a donkey, our ancestors have been here before!
Why did I decide to run a Kickstarter campaign?
I think that this is a really exciting new way of funding projects. It means that people can really be involved in the creation of projects, and mixes up the relationship between the creator and the consumer. Throughout the journey Chico and I met heaps of people and their input, hospitality, questions, experiences etc all became a big part of the adventure. Funding the book and film in this scary, public, open way feels very similar to the spirit of the walk – it makes it about lots of people having a little input to make something big happen, rather than one big publishing company having all of the power. If it works, people will get a book and film that they know they made possible – I’ve backed a few other projects and that’s a pretty good feeling!
It also means that we can work much faster. Getting an agent, a publishing company and a TV channel interested is a very slow process, and I couldn’t bear to let all of the vivid memories fade as I went through it.
Don’t I want to publish through a company?
I do hope to publish the book the traditional way too, and we also hope that TV channels will be interested in the film (which would probably become a series, in this case). If we fund it through Kickstarter it means that we can retain a lot more creative control and take almost finished products to publishers and commissioners, which would speed up the whole process.
Why £28,000? Isn’t that a lot of money?
Yes, it’s gigantic. It works out as being about £10,000 for the making of the book (employing a copy editor, a structural editor, a typesetter, getting cover art made, buying the ISBN number etc) and £13,000 for the film (mostly an editor’s time, buying a music license, sound design, graphics etc), and around £5000 to fulfill the promises – eg to actually print the copies of the book and DVD and post them to you. Kickstarter take a 5% fee, and another 5% goes in transaction fees.
It’s all estimates because the print costs vary with the number of copies being printed, and the postage costs very depending on how heavy the book is etc etc, but £28,000 was the minimum we could ask for and know that we could deliver a well-put-together book and film.
Why don’t Kickstarter let me keep the pledges if it doesn’t meet the full £28,000?
Scary though it is, there is a good intention behind it. If I only made half of the money I need to make the book and film and was allowed to keep it, I would still have to send copies of the book and DVD to all of the people who had pledged. This means that I would either have to take a very long time to do them, borrow lots of money from the bank to make up the shortfall, or scrimp so much that the final products were a bit rubbish. This all-or-nothing model means that I had to be honest about the money I needed to do a good job, and be prepared not to try to cobble together the projects on less.
Why didn’t I do two campaigns, one for the book and one for the film?
I thought that people would get tired and cross of hearing me ask for money if I ran two Kickstarter campaigns, one after the other. I would also not have been able to offer the film as a reward on the book campaign, or the book as a reward on the film campaign because of not knowing if I would raise the funds needed to make them. £28,000 is a whole lot of money to ask for, and the all-or-nothing model is risky, but I’d rather risk not making the target, than risk making a bad book and film.
Is it safe to pay online?
I know that lots of people aren’t keen on putting their bank details into a website, and that’s understandable. Kickstarter are very careful and serious about card security, and haven’t had any trouble with fraud. However, if you want to support the project but really don’t want to put your details in online, do email me at hannah @ hannahme.com (without the spaces) and we’ll sort out another way of paying.
What does Chico think about all this?
Chico doesn’t really understand what I’m doing looking at screens all the time. He thinks I make life too complicated. What’s wrong with a pile of hay and a nice view? I don’t think donkeys really have the same culture of storytelling that we humans do…
Convinced? Just head to Kickstarter to support the project! It’s here: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/hannahme/seaside-donkey-1000-miles-around-wales-with-a-donk Or if you have any more questions ask them in the comments below and I’ll add the answers on here.