Last year, authors, illustrators, developers, and entrepreneurs once again turned to Kickstarter, the crowdsourcing Web site, to finance a range of projects—from new e-book platforms to independent presses. More than 6,000 publishing campaigns were launched on Kickstarter in 2013, including over 1,600 works of fiction and nearly 1,000 children’s book projects. In all, contributors pledged $21 million to publishing endeavors (up from $15 million in 2012), with an average pledge of $3,540 per project.
“[In 2013], we saw innovative tools for writers, like a new open-source publishing platform for e-books, and we saw great resources for readers, like new tiny free libraries in small communities,” said Kickstarter spokesperson Julie Wood, referring, in the latter instance, to the expansion of Todd Bol’s Little Free Library Project. Over the course of the year, Kickstarter campaigns raised funds to build small “take a book, return a book” neighborhood libraries in Bargersville, Ind.; Saskatoon, Canada; Forest Acres, S.C.; and Portland, Ore., among other locations. “We also saw that authors and writers are using Kickstarter for more than just funds—they are building communities of supporters and like-minded people,” added Wood.
A Selection of Publishing Projects Successfully Funded on Kickstarter in 2013
The People’s E-Book, created by Hol Art Books
Initial Goal: $10,000
Funds Pledged: $28,872, with 920 backers
Description: An “online tool with an intuitive visual interface to allow anyone to make e-books quickly and for free.”
The Origin of the Species: Evolutionary Edition, written by Simon Phillipson
Initial Goal: £4,200
Funds Pledged: £24,147, with 780 backers
Description: “A typographic edition of Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species showing all the evolutionary changes made to the book over the last 154 years.”
Kindergarde: Experimental Writing for Children, written by Marthe Reed, Black Radish Books
Initial Goal: $3,100
Funds Pledged: $12,217, with 392 backers
Description: An anthology of “avant-garde poems, plays, stories, and songs” for children.
Boss Fight Books, created by Gabe Durham
Initial Goal: $5,000
Funds Pledged: $45,429, with 1,349 backers
Description: “A new press for great books on classic video games,” with books sold in paperback and e-book formats.
Lucy and the Anvil, written by Adam Kline
Initial Goal: $30,000
Funds Pledged: $34,850, with 560 backers
Description: “An attempt at the perfect bedtime story, with illustrations by Scottish artist Brian Taylor.”
Masters of Anatomy, created by the Masters of Anatomy team
Initial Goal: C$20,000
Funds Pledged: C$532,614, with 6,974 backers
Description: “An anatomy book drawn by animators, illustrators, and comic book artists who have worked for Disney, Pixar, DreamWorks, Marvel, and DC.”
*This article has been corrected. An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that 2013 saw an average pledge of $3,540 per backer. It is per project.