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17 July, 2012

The Rise and Rise of Crowdfunding (and How My Book Will be Published)

A while ago I visited the Emerging Writer's Festival in Melbourne. I blogged about my experience here and took copious notes about the experience here. I revisited my notes about the festival the other day after a friend said they saw me on television, and sure enough there I was:

Asking the tough questions, with Marshwah (Source: ABC)

But that wasn't the only experience that piqued my interest, in fact, there was a session even more critical to the book than addressing Tough Topics. And this was to do with something I hadn't heard before, it was to do with crowdfunding.

What is crowdfunding? I hear you ask. At its essence, it's sourcing funds for a project from the public. But more importantly, it's democratising projects that deserve to be realised.

There are sites out there such as Kickstarter and IndieGoGo, that are international. But at the Festival I heard about an Australian site, Pozible that's doing really, really well and going toe-to-toe with these big names. 

Rather than just support large-scale commercial projects, the site is doing its bit to support those in the arts as well. At the conference I heard about Kate Toon, and how she raised funds for her book of poems. The story was inspiring, and I jotted down an idea, but I'll come back to that.

Some of the other projects that Pozible's helped that have caught my attention include:
  1. Patient 0 - an IRL zombie first-person shooter concept that is going to get off the ground and be realised.
  2. reallybigroadtrip - lady that works in the digital arts who wanted to travel around Australia in a bus and spread digital culture - she was halfway with 40 hours to go and then romped it in - she even received a tweet from Hugh Jackman supporting the cause!
  3. Soften The F*** Up - a campaign that's now 80% there and that I contributed to, looking to help prevent suicide in young males.

Pretty inspirational stuff right?
What's my idea then?

Well, it's no secret that I want to see my book published. How about crowd-funding production of the book? I'd get manuscript appraisal, an editor, and anyone contributing would receive a book... what's that? How would I publish the book? With Blurb of course.

Blurb is another site I heard about at the Festival, essentially it lets you self-publish for a nominal fee and no minimum on the amount of books published.

I'm still wrapping my head around the finer details and logistics of the thing, but rather than rely on gatekeepers, agents, and publishers, I can empower myself and get this thing done. That's what I love about the crowd-funding concept, it really is helping realise dreams.

You don't think it's possible? I dipped my toes in the water on that forum I frequent and mentioned I'm looking to get into crowd-funding, the thread transformed into a proposition that if I could lose 20kg in six months, $800 would go to the book fund. I am well on the way to achieving that.

You call down the thunder, now reap the whirlwhind.

Next steps are to develop the Pozible proposal and send it live, if you've got any tips let us know in the comments.