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New Book Seeks to Be the Bible for Crowdfunding Endeavors
This past February, Elan Lee, Shane Small, and Matthew Inman, known for their work on the comedy/comics website The Oatmeal, launched a Kickstarter campaign for a card game concept called Exploding Kittens. Their goal was to raise $10,000 so that they could mass manufacturer what they described as "a card game for people who are into kittens and explosions and laser beams and sometimes goats." Naturally, the off-the-wall concept, paired with the established brand likability of The Oatmeal, caused the project to go viral, and the rest was history. Lee, Small, and Inman hit their $10,000 goal in eight minutes, reached $100,000 in less than an hour, and hit the $2 million mark after just a day. The project went on to raise $8,782,571—more than 878 times the initial goal.
The Exploding Kittens example is just one example in a growing list of rousing crowdfunding successes. It's not the most success project in the history of Kickstarter or other crowdfunding platforms, either. Heck, it's not even the most successful project of 2015. This year also saw the makers of the Pebble Watch raise $20 million for the third generation of their product; it saw a team of independent video game developers notch $19 million for a prison construction simulator; it saw a startup called Flow Hive earning $12 million in funding for a high-tech domesticated bee hive. In other eras, these are product ideas that might have been too bizarre of left of the mainstream to earn investor attention. Thanks to crowdfunding platforms like Kickstarter and Indiegogo, they are all off to the races.
On the surface, it may seem like crowdfunding is a place for weird novelty ideas to find an audience and get funded. The key, based on most of the projects described above, is to think of an idea that is weird or funny enough to gain viral attention on social media. Once that happens, the sky is the limit for how much money you can make. But crowdfunding is more than just an island of misfit project ideas. Indeed, crowdfunding is the method by which countless entrepreneurial concepts, technological ideas, and artistic ventures have been able to transcend words on a page and become real, actualized products. Countless bands and artists raise money to record their albums on sites like PledgeMusic. In 2014, the cult television series Veronica Mars was able to continue on as a feature-length film seven years after it went off the air, thanks to a $5.7 million Kickstarter campaign. Technologies like the Mastercoin cybercurrency and the Oculus Rift virtual reality headset also got their start with crowdfunding campaigns.
Bottom line, virtually any type of project can be realized through the use of crowdfunding. But how can you formulate a smart crowdfunding campaign, or know which campaigns are worthy of your investment? In his comprehensive new book, Crowdfunding Intelligence: The No-Nonsense Guide to Raising Investment Funds on the Internet, crowdfunding specialist Chris Buckingham covers all the bases of this new and exciting fundraising channel. For entrepreneurs, artists, or idea people who want to see their loftiest ambitions realized, this book is a must-read.
Buckingham, an expert who has worked on campaigns "ranging from the arts through to zoos," breaks down crowdfunding into various different fundraising models and campaign strategies, to help readers understand how the concept works. However, more than just being a surface-level walkthrough of crowdfunding concepts and definitions, Crowdfunding Intelligence gets down into the nitty-gritty layers of the subject to help readers truly formulate effective online fundraising campaigns. Sure, plenty of words are spent illustrating the differences between reward-based campaigns (the most common type of crowdfunding) and equity or interest-based campaigns (riskier and less common forms). We also learn significantly about the pitfalls and risks of crowdfunding—both for entrepreneurs and investors.
The most useful parts of the book come later on, though, when Buckingham uses his expertise to help readers plan and execute the perfect crowdfunding campaign. From giving pointers on which fundraising models are ideal in which situations, to providing extremely helpful and in-depth advice on the rhetorical strategies that should be employed when writing a crowdfunding pitch, Buckingham delivers loads of helpful advice here. All portions of the crowdfunding process are covered, from putting together a kickass video to promoting your campaign on social media, all the way to designing rewards that will win over investors. To top it all off, the book is gorgeously put together, with the information separated into easily digestible chapters and sections and with a slew of tables, graphs, and visuals that help illustrate all the key points.
Since Buckingham hails from the United Kingdom, the perspective of Crowdfunding Intelligence is slightly different than you might expect from an American book on the subject. For instance, monetary amounts are communicated in pounds instead of dollars, and there is a brief chapter where Buckingham encourages readers to "support the UK crowdfunding ecosystem" and not be "blinded by the media coverage" of United States-owned platforms like Kickstarter and Indiegogo. Ultimately, though, Buckingham's advice is universal, regardless of where you live geographically. And who knows, maybe his tips can be the difference for you between putting together a crowdfunding campaign that falls short of the mark, and one that surpasses its goal 878 times over.
Are you interested in getting your hands on a copy of Crowdfunding Intelligence: The No-Nonsense Guide to Raising Investment Funds on the Internet? The book is available in paperback form on Amazon.com and directly from Buckingham's independent publisher, LID Publishing.
Craig Manning is currently studying English and Music at Western Michigan University. In addition to writing for IndependentPublisher.com, he maintains a pair of entertainment blogs, interns at the Traverse City Business News, and writes for Rockfreaks.net and his college newspaper. He welcomes comments or questions concerning his articles via email, at firstname.lastname@example.org.