Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Kickstarter Handbook: Real-Life Crowdfuding Success Stories

Have you thought about running a crowdfunding campaign, specifically on Kickstarter, and wanted to come up with a plan, or at least get an introduction to the platform? The Kickstarter Handbook should be one of the books that you pick up for your research, especially if you have not contributed to a campaign or have only a vague Veronica Mars or Double Fine Adventure vision of how the site works and how much money an entrepreneur can raise on the site.

This book provides a good overview by looking at the platform itself, the types of projects that are eligible for Kickstarter funding and by interviewing actual fundseekers. The author looks at what methods have succeeded and failed. Readers should keep in mind that there is no process or recipe for Kickstarter success and that a project can be snatched from the jaws of defeat with a concentrated final effort--or can fail despite the creator's best efforts and reputation. I also liked the simple worksheets that compared projects and their funding needs based on reward tiers and the actual cost of using Amazon payments and the platform to secure funds. I'm sure that quite a few people who plan to use crowdfunding have confused Kickstarter with an ATM, forgetting that they actually need to deliver--including writing all those emails and mailing labels, not to mention paying the shipping--on all of the rewards they have promised. Don't skip that chapter. I would have liked a chapter on what has happened to people who Kickstarted and didn't deliver, but this is a book about success stories, after all.

The Kickstarter Handbook is a quick read to introduce an entrepreneur to the platform and how it might work for their project. It is not industry or product-type specific, so the reader will have to do additional research into how a designer or a musician can use Kickstarter effectively. The author is a journalist, so it has that Business Insider/Forbes-style of writing, which does make it a  breeze to read; however, it is only the beginning for determining if crowdfunding is the right way to proceed for your project. It may also have insights for the reader who has tried crowdfunding and failed, as well as for the reader who just wants to understand what Kickstarter is and the role it may play in small business finance.

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