New Kickstarter Up (And Funded... in 24 Hours...). Plus, Data!

My latest serial, Black Blossom, is now raising funds for e-, print and audiobook versions. We hit our target in less than 24 hours, and now we're into stretch goals:


http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/mcahogarth/black-blossom-a-fantasy-of-manners-among-aliens


Black Blossom was my most successful serial to date (and I believe it's my sixth, so the data is becoming slowly more useful). There are too many variables for me to analyze why, but I suspect it's some combination of the setting being a fan favorite; the book itself being a sequel to existing books; offering subscriptions; and offering donation incentives. Whatever the reasons, it made more per month than any other sequel I've offered to date (to the tune of almost twice the amount of the next most popular serial, Spots the Space Marine).


I am curious to see whether serial #7, The Faerie Farmer, will show that the trend is continuing upward, or if it'll show that the setting/book topic is what's driving the numbers. We shall see!


Meanwhile, check out the Kickstarter. Some of the stretch goal prizes are going to be fun. :)


Congrats on the successful kickstart! That's both fantastic and impressive. It's not a middling amount, either.


Wish I had more to add. Good luck with the rest!


Congrats MCA! That's awesome.


One thing I've noticed about Kickstarter, at least for comics and (apparently) books, is it really helps to have an enthusiastic and invested group of fans/community supporters. I've noticed your readers respond pretty enthusiastically to your work which is something I really need to figure out how to cultivate...


I wish I could say myself how that works. I think a lot of it involves... creating universes people feel like they want to live in. When I think of some of the most successful SF/F properties, for example, it's "I'd be a green dragonrider on Pern!" or "I'd be in House Slytherin!" or "I'd be a science officer on a Vulcan-run science ship!" Etc, etc.


As an update, we are $225 short of our first big stretch goal, the audiobook. I am hoping we make it within a week...!


I've created a universe, but my readers have pretty explicitly stated that they don't want to live in it, haha.


They are excited about the story, but I wonder how much people would invest were I to kickstart something involving it. I wouldn't even know where to set the dollar amount.


Well, what would you want to use the Kickstarter to fund, Wildbow? :)


I wish I could say myself how that works. I think a lot of it involves... creating universes people feel like they want to live in.


This reminds me of a joke I read pretty recently...


Fans of the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe: "I wish I lived in Narnia"


Fans of the Lord of the Rings: "I wish I lived in Rivendell/Hobbiton"


Fans of Star Wars: "I wish I lived on the Millennium Falcon"


Fans of The Hunger Games: "That's OK I'm good"


Wow. Congratulations! Considering that you've been mounting several KS campaigns one after another and making your goals, this is really something to be proud of. Your fans are really supportive!


I did catch part of the last Webfiction World podcast although haven't finished it. Do you think it helps that you've had many years of proving your commitment to your stories ? Also, curious as to whether you ever thought about strict presale /fundraising via indiegogo .


I think absolutely presence counts. Engineer Sam (my web admin's alias) just did a calculation... my domain's been active since 1998; the website itself had been up for a few years before that, just without a domain name...! I've been doing serial fiction for almost a decade, since 2004. In that time I've started and finished six serials, so people know they can count on me to finish what I start. I think that's a big deal. Plus I have other art and writing floating out there.


I think if you're going to do it to make money and get response, you have to put a lot of work into it. There's no getting around that. It's why I started writing that business column for creatives, because the administrative/business/marketing part of Doing the Work isn't as well-documented as the "what do I do about writer's block" and other craft/creative issues.


I consider what I'm doing right now with the Kickstarters as using it for presales, and having done print/e-books without that kind of support I'd rather not do it anymore. Getting the money beforehand for expenses is not just good for the bottom line, I think it gets more excitement/attention from people buying into it.


Today I got a $1000 backer (and not someone I know personally!). That's a first for me!


Time and work, absolutely!


You mention your web admin -- over the years have you accumulated a team of people to help with tasks? How much is just you? (And how has it changed over the years?)


I ask partly because I'm one of those extreme do-it-yourselfers. When I was in film school, I mostly did animation because I hated to gather and work with a crew.


Camille


When I started my website, my admin gave me hosting space and helped me when I had HTML questions. As the website got more complicated, he and I worked on it together (me with more brute force, him with more elegance), until finally I had to hand it over to him; it's at the point where it needs an actual database administrator for maintenance (I believe he said there were 170,000 database entries at this point?). Stardancer's larger than a lot of mid-range businesses, from a database perspective. In addition to the 3500+ pieces of art, it's also hosting all my serials, plus a bunch of other behind-the-scenes things.


These days someone going into a new website could do all that themselves using pre-made packages like Wordpress, or just by going with an existing big site like DeviantArt. But when I started Stardancer there were no sites like that, and no packages, so we had to build it from scratch. Once we'd done that... well, it became a legacy system, and it would be too hard to move everything over from the site to one of the pre-built packages. (I think he calculated it at 875 man-hours to move the database someplace new at this point.)


So I have a web-admin by accident of having been around when the web was brand new. I was one of the fortunate few with a friend who actually could host a website for me!


Since then, I've farmed out print layout services to a friend who does it professionally; he's got the software already, the experience, and he's far faster at it than I am, plus I enjoy working with him (and paying him!). I've been doing that for a few years. In the past two years I added another person to do e-book conversion for me, and this year I added an occasional assistant who updates my serial archive site and puts together Zazzle merchandise for me when there's something to upload.


At this point, my time is too hard to come by for me to do everything myself. Where I can find the expertise and afford it, I get help. That frees me to work on the things that only I can do. If I could figure out how to pay more people to take more stuff off my back, I'd do it in a heartbeat. :)


262% funded with 16 days to go... and now a Staff Pick, which is resulting in really interesting data...


That is awesome. Seriously, I need to get around to actually, you know... reading your fiction. Everyone else I know has, the excerpts I've read have all been great... Damn this only 25 hours in a day.