The 2014 numbers are in:Kickstarter funded 2,064 publishing projects this year, representing a total amount of $21.8 million dollars. If you’ve got nothing to compare that to, it’s just an interesting tidbit, but comparing it to previous years tells us quite a bit about the platform’s evolving role in independent publishing.
The following figures are for the Publishing category only:
Oddly, these numbers are being misreported on blogs and news outlets across the Internet—typically, the authors are confusing Kickstarter’s total projects funded (over its lifetime) with the numbers for a particular year.
No, the numbers didn’t go down.
Here’s the really important thing to know: Journalism became its own separate category this year, raising nearly $2 million. So if your instinct is to think that 2014 saw a significant slow-down in the Publishing category’s growth, you’d be wrong. It has not, however, kept up the momentum of previous years.
The numbers are still pretty staggering. $21.8 million is a great deal of money, and 2,064 is a lot of books. The simple average there is $10,562 in funding per book, though that’s misleading (runaway smash hit projects that amass tens of thousands—if not hundreds of thousands—skew the numbers.)
The success rate and number of unsuccessful projects also tell us a little something: word’s getting around about Kickstarter as a venue for indie publishing. In only a few short years, crowdfunding has gone from fringe to mainstream, and more than ever people are looking to jump on the bandwagon. Unsurprisingly, many of them are unprepared, don’t do their homework, or don’t have a good product to pitch in the first place. (Soon we’ll release a big article on helping you avoid those pitfalls.) Self-publishing has made it easier than ever for people to get into the publishing game, but it’s also made it easier for authors to approach it poorly—and as such, it’s likely that in the next few years we’ll see even more campaigns launched on Kickstarter that fail out of the gate while the funding numbers continue to climb. Why? Because people get excited about publishing projects, but they also want them done right.
How does that fit into the overall ecosystem of Kickstarter for the year?
In 2014, $529 million was pledged by 3.3 million people, which is a big, big number. That’s up from $480 million in 2013, but that year had almost the same number of funders—3 million, give or take. So we might suspect that backers are investing themselves more fully in the projects they back, that more ambitious projects with higher entry-level backing are appearing, etc.
Those same numbers also suggest that perhaps we’re seeing a rise in serial backers, people who actively surf Kickstarter’s project listings and back many projects. 1,125 people backed more than 100 projects in 2014, for instance. 71, 478 backed more than ten. There’s a whole community out there that’s waiting to back projects they like, actively searching for them—which means people launching book campaigns have a built-in audience to appeal to. Something to remember for your campaign.
Thinking about launching a crowdfunding campaign to finance your next book project? Check out our five-part crowdfunding cash course series to learn more or email firstname.lastname@example.org if you’re interested in getting help!