When Kickstarter launched back in 2009, the traditional publishing industry was a vastly different landscape than it is today. Since its inception, comic lovers leveraging Kickstarter have raised more than $127M to fund more than 10,000 comic books—now even Keanu Reeves is doing it. But our bud Keanu isn’t the only one benefiting from this exciting disruption.
Amplifying marginalized voices
As is traditionally seen in venture capital and most funding methods, white male voices and stories tend to be prioritized and dominate mainstream publishing. We can see this reflected in a crowded entertainment landscape consisting predominantly of superheroes from the hardly diversified Marvel and DC Universe. Smaller voices and story ideas tend to thrive on crowdfunding platforms, because the traditional gatekeepers have been eliminated and the readers hold the power to decide which stories get funded. This has resulted in successful crowdfunding campaigns for comics telling stories of LGBT+ and people of color, who would likely have been overlooked by publishers for being too niche.
Providing real-world traction and proof of concept
There’s always an inherent risk when investing, but crowdfunding tends to lessen the risk for all parties involved. For many small publishers and entrepreneurs, the pre-orders and commitments are proof that an idea has traction and there’s a market available and willing to pay for it. Smaller authors can reach their audience directly, test their concepts and then take the guaranteed sales generated to a publisher who can see the results for themselves. That’s certainly a more attractive and stable business model for publishers and their ever-shrinking profit margins.
Bolstering small publishers
Getting a book published is a long endeavour that often has no guaranteed results, and the industry has been under siege from online publishing and the big monopolies for years now. Crowdfunding books has changed the publishing game and has allowed smaller businesses to thrive and connect directly with their customers. One small publisher noted that their business has doubled thanks to crowdfunding campaigns, which eliminated waiting for payments and allowed them to accurately forecast the number of printed copies necessary. Quick turnaround and faster access to cash has been a driving force in the crowdfunding arena since its inception, but it’s particularly significant in the publishing space, which often requires substantial upfront costs and a lead time of months or even years before a book is printed. Smaller publishers, authors and readers all benefit from books being published via crowdfunding portals. Keanu might be the first big name to foray into comic book crowdfunding, but it’s doubtful he’ll be the last.
If you’re curious to learn more about investing in and via equity crowdfunding, check out TruCrowd’s online investment portal