Local writing scene man-of-many-hats, rob mclennan (our first Ottawa Writes interviewee from many episodes ago) is now ramping up his Indigogo Campaign to raise funds for Chaudiere Books, an Ottawa based small press publisher.
This looks like the perfect opportunity to 1) Plug his campaign as it hits the final stretch of fundraising and 2) Take a look at Indigogo. Wohoo for dual purpose!
What I find quite special about rob’s campaign is that Chaudiere Books is a publisher. In this “Crowdfunding For Writers” series, we’re going to take a look at things from the publishers perspective. Why not? They love writing and making books too. If you are eager to give your support right at the start of this post, here’s the link to Chaudiere Books’ Indigogo campaign!
[OW Note: What is Indigogo? Indigogo is an international crowdfunding platform founded in 2008. It is the largest global crowdfunding platform. While Kickstarter is still rolling out to many countries (it only arrived in Canada in 2013), Indigogo has long been present internationally. One of the most notable aspects of Indigogo that really set it apart from its biggest competitor, Kickstarter, (if that’s the right word) is the user being able to choose between flexi and fixed funding.]
Ottawa Writes: So rob, what made you want to crowdfund for Chaudiere Books?
rob: Books are expensive to produce, and to even be eligible for funding, one has to have produced a certain amount of books within a year or two, which the old version of Chaudiere hadn’t actually managed to do. We’re in the midst of re-building the company, and require a bit of a push to get over a couple of hurdles, including a debt the previous iteration had amassed. We’re slowly working to reduce that, get a proper schedule of books out, and start looking at options both promotional and funding-wise. Also, crowdfunding, we thought, was also a good way to really let the wider world know that the press exists at all, and is returning to life after a fallow period.
Ottawa Writes: How is the campaign going?
rob: I think it’s going quite well! We’re nearly at *50%, and have been humbled and amazed by the response to our fundraiser, from those who have contributed, to others who have seen to help us promote the campaign. Simply knowing that there are those out in the literary community willing to support our endeavour can’t help but make us feel that much more supported and accepted.
*This has increased since the time of this interview.
Ottawa Writes: What are the challenges? What has surprised you?
rob: I suppose the challenge is in promoting such without over promoting, or telling the same folk over and over and over that we’re fundraising. I’ve been surprised in that I spent months working on one-offs, including a stack of signed titles by David W. McFadden, or the five copies of the John Newlove documentary, but most of the perks folk have picked up have been for two copies of titles we’ve already published. I’m glad, in hindsight, that we created a wide range of perks, because the ones that have been going aren’t at all the ones I thought would be, first.
Ottawa Writes: What will the raised funds be used for?
rob: The funds will go directly into the building and maintaining of the company. I suspect the bulk of it will help offset much of the bill to the printers for our three fall titles. I’ve been confident that with this push, we can figure out the company to a point that it can be self-sustaining within a couple of years.
Ottawa Writes: rob, do you think this might be the future for both publishers & writers?
rob: Possibly. But one has to have a specific reason for any campaign. This is only the first I’ve been part of, so my experience is rather limited.
Thanks so much to rob mclennan for sharing some of his experiences from his crowdfunding campaign. If you would like to check out more about Chaudiere Books and learn about his Indigogo campaign, you can do so by clicking here. Also worth noting, The Small Press Book Fair is celebrating it’s 20th anniversary this fall, and that is happening on November 8, 2014. Kevin is going to be there too with his Page Turners series, as well as his writing series how-to books.
Also, if you want to learn more about Indigogo and get some really in depth mulling over on the Indigogo crowdfunding experience do be sure to subscribe to the podcast and sign to the mailing list. We’re going to have Vanessa Ricci-Thode, author of Dragon Whisperer, on the podcast talking about her crowdfunding experiences, and she’s used both Indigogo and Pubslush.
Hi Catherine here, I’m back! Actually, I was here all along since this is my series on Crowdfunding for writers. But nevertheless. With my limited exposure to Indigogo, it looks like a varied and large community. That being said, do keep in mind that the majority of your backers will typically be (unless you are famous) from people you already know. (Which ties in well with rob’s reflections in the interview). So big community or little community. . . does it all come out the same?
Based on my quick review of Indigogo here are the first-impressions pros and cons.
Pro: Well, many would say flexible funding is a pro. I will grant you that it is useful, and at times very useful. What is flexi funding? Basically it means you get whatever you raise, minus a certain percentage that goes to the crowdfunding platform. Flexi funding is especially useful in cases like rob’s when money has already been spent.
Another big pro is customer service. YAY more customer service! I love that. On top of the CS they have their Indigogo Playbook and blog.
Another pro is that Indigogo is quite a recognizable brand. Many, if not all, would know what you are talking about when you say you have an Indigogo campaign. That simplifies explanations. Their international platform also means people all over the world can hook into the community & crowdfund. Expose & huge audience = pro.
Con: It’s hard to hit up Indigogo with any severe cons. That being said, crowdfunder be warned, they take a larger chunk of the raised funds when you opt for flexible funding if your campaign doesn’t hit its target. That, I reckon, is to discourage people from setting crazy goals.
This isn’t exactly a con, but there are many different facets of Indigogo. Okay, this isn’t a con at all. Essentially within the sphere of what new browsers to the platform might fund, you have loads of competition – including some very touching stories about people who need support for their health needs. I know a load of people who struggle with bills over health, so I’m glad to see Indigogo giving them a platform. BUT all this to say, the focus is certainly not just on funding books. Does this matter? I don’t know, but I reckon not really since you’ll bring in most of your funders yourself.
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