Turbo Monkey Tales is a group blog focusing on the craft, production, marketing and consumption of Children's Literature. We are illustrators, writers, animators and media mongrels. We are readers! We are published, unpublished and self-published; agented and searching, and 100% dedicated to our Kid Lit journey, no matter where we are on the path. Join our Tribe and grab a vine. The more the merrier!

Monday, February 4, 2013

Fund your dream with Crowdfunding!

Lemme throw the “I want to publish my book” equation at you.
Line editing $6,000 + Limited income +
Printing  $1,500 + Mortgage +
Illustrator $3,500 +    =      1.5 kids +
Marketing $2,000 + Car Payment 
 ------------------------------                   --------------------------
                      $12,000                           ( -$57.23 + X)

                               How do you solve for X?

The answer is:
  1. Marry a millionaire
  2. Sell a kidney
  3. Win the Lotto
  4. Crowdfunding.
If you chose a-c, more power to you but the only answer that does not require drugs or luck is crowdfunding.

But what is crowdfunding?

Think of crowdfunding as gift giving on a global scale.

It is not venture capital investing, where you must show a profit. Nor are you selling your rights to your work. With crowdfunding, Individuals from around the world offer donations to your project, prior to publication, in exchange for a gift.

A gift?  Like a set of purple earphones?

Not exactly. 

If you’re a writer you might offer to “give” your benefactors a signed copy of your book for $20 that will cost you $10 per book to publish.  The gap between the cost and the donation is what you use to fund your editing, printing, cover design etc.

With my AR graphic novel, The Goths, I offered my benefactors the opportunity to play one of the characters in the Augmented Reality elements.  For a lesser amount we would name a character in the book after them or have their artwork used as graffiti in the background of a scene.  

So how do you go about crowdfunding?

First choose an online crowdfunding service.  Here is a list of just some of the more popular sites.

Do your research.  Not all the services are the same or charge the same percentage.  

Kickstarter uses an all or nothing model where you only receive funds (minus their fees) if you meet or exceed your funding target.   They are also the most well known crowdfunding site but they don't accept every project that is submitted.

Indiegogo has a flexible funding option where you receive all the funds contributed minus fees regardless of your funding target.

I chose Indiegogo over Rockethub for my "Smittens Says" campaign because it requires fewer clicks to make donations.

After you  choose your crowdfunding service, then you get "jiggy with it."
  1. You create a project proposal including a synopsis, pictures, list of team members
  2. record a pitch video.  That’s right.  It’s you talking, juggling your dog or pony.   Whatever fits your personality and your project just as long as it’s you.
  3. create a list of gifts that people will want, your book, their name in the credits...etc. 
  4. establish a paypal account
  5. upload your proposal
  6. market online 
  7. keep marketing
  8. prod friends to share your link **
  9. prod them harder 
  10. add project updates that include "George Clooney wants to play the lead role"
  11. prod your friends with your boot, a hot fire poker and pepper spray **
  12. get funded!!!
Twelve easy steps.  That's all it takes!

Lemme know if you launch a campaign.  I promise to share.  I hate pepper spray.  

** Shares are essential for any chance of success.  "Likes" won't get anyone to your campaign.  The key to funding success is volume, so you need to reach beyond your own sphere of influence.  You need the 6 degrees of online friends to achieve success.  So even if your close friends don't back you with money... REAL friends SHARE!


  1. Clearly, the marketing your campaign is key. But it's an intriguing concept to basically 'pre-sell' your items in exchange for seed money. Cool! :)

    1. Exactly, You can also test market your concepts by using an "American Idol" model where peeps vote with their dollars.

  2. This is an interesting topic, Craig. I know we're going to hear more and more about it as time goes on. I'd like to see updates on your projects (esp. Smittens' tell-all) here on the blog. And now I'm going to check out her project :)

    1. Thanks Marilyn, and Smittens thanks you too. ;) I do think there will be more crowd funding for projects. Mine are more about pre selling rather than fundraising. But it is also a trend since the jobs act was signed allowing individuals to "invest" in companies now...without the SEC regulations or filings.

      I will be working on Smitten's book this weekend. Hopefully for a crit with the Turbo Monkeys.

  3. Interesting! I like the idea of being a character in the AR element.Very Creative ideas, Craig!

    1. Thanks EJ. I have lots of ideas. Need more shares and more benefactors.

  4. Craig - thanks for the 12 steps. We all need those programs, right? I'm beginning to think creatively about my projects and this is one piece of the puzzle. Yay.

    1. Yes Suzy. And although many think crowdfunding is just for indie published books this can also be used for a manuscript that is targeted for traditional publishing but maybe the writer needs $6000 for a fab editor. Or for hiring an Augmented Reality company to enhance an existing book already on the shelves. ;) ;)

      Thanks for dropping in and reading.

  5. Good information. I like to get jiggy with it.

    1. I bet you do! And I bet when you get Jiggy with it, it ends up ten times better than before.