Artist Entrepreneur: K for Kickstarter — The Artist’s Alphabet Guide to Writing About Your Art by Aletta de Wal

Welcome to Artist Entrepreneur Fridays, where we talk about the fun, wild and scary ride of succeeding as an artist entrepreneur of all stripes and types and mediums.

Welcome back guest columnist, Aletta de Wal. She specializes in helping visual artists succeed in their fine art careers in any economy. She’s posting regularly on “The Artist’s Alphabet Guide to Writing About Your Art” and other success tips for fine artists around writing. This week it’s about using Kickstarter to fund your art projects. Enjoy!

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Kickstarter is the entrepreneurial artist’s equivalent of venture capitalists, only better.  Their tagline, “A new way to fund & follow creativity,” describes crowd-sourcing money and encouragement through “a unique all-or-nothing funding method where projects must be fully-funded or no money changes hands.”

Kickstarter differs from a charitable organization or fund for general business support because applicants seek funds for a specific creative project. You can get the overall picture in their FAQs here: http://budurl.com/KickstarterFAQ 

I first learned about Kickstarter when I read a blog post by my colleague John Unger.

“I sent a ‘cease and desist’ letter to someone over my firebowls. We did have formal copyright but [the person who copied the bowls] sued me in court to have the copyright overturned. Eventually we settled out of court and I did get them to stop. I didn’t get any legal fees or damages; I paid out of pocket, mostly out of a fundraiser on Kickstarter. If it had not been for the Internet I would have literally been bankrupted, ruined and actually be homeless now. While it’s an uncommon situation, by the other party bringing suit first, if I did not counter sue, by default the other party would have won and taken everything I owned. Challenging the suit ended up costing me everything I had. In the end, we won, but it cost us a little over $60,000 to get back to where we started.”

I’ve long been an advocate of artists copyrighting their art, but this was the first time I’d learned of an actual suit. Of course I donated and spread the word. This was my first exposure to Kickstarter and I loved the way the platform allowed John to appeal to his community and how each one of us could provide a contribution to his legal fees and emotional bank.

You don’t need dire circumstances or a huge project to use Kickstarter. Bay area painter Zannah Noe launched her project American Bones and raised $3,910 through donations by 50 backers.

Before you jump into submitting your own worthy project to Kickstarter, make a few notes about the following:

  • Clarify your intention and goals for the project. Why do you think this project is worth funding? Who else besides you will benefit and how?
  • Imagine the end result of your project. What will physically exist and where?
  • Describe the steps you will have to take, timing, and who will help you. When will you take each step and when will the project be finished?
  • Create a list of materials, tools, equipment and suppliers who will be involved. What will these cost you?
  • Create a project plan and budget for the rewards you will offer donors.

Now that you have a basic project strategy, you can get started.

How To Get Started With Kickstarter: The Short Version

Just follow to follow the Kickstarter guidelines and look at projects similar to yours for inspiration.

You are marketing your creative project to potential donors, so keep them in mind as your audience while you write the following:

  • For “About this project you will need a descriptive title, a short description and a bio.
  • To promote your project and publish updates on funding progress, you will need send emails, draft and publish posts and share links via social media, and if appropriate publish a press release, and make and print postcards and flyers.
  • To offer rewards you will need a description of the rewards for each level of donation.
  • To thank donors you will need thank you notes for each level of donation.

Let me know when you use Kickstarter to fund your next creative project and I’ll help spread the word!

Next time L for Lessons.

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Aletta de Wal, Artist Career Training

Aletta de Wal inspires fine artists to make a better living making art in any economy.

Aletta works with part-time, emerging and full-time visual artists who are serious about a career in fine arts. Aletta makes make art marketing easier and the business of art simpler.

More information at: http://www.artistcareertraining.com/artmatters-newsletter/

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