:DDDDDD yes. Blame all the sterek fanfics ive been reading.
Ian Miller - The Werewolf Principle
Michael Whelan - Foundations Edge
date: Fri, Nov 22, 2013 at 9:33 PM
Hi! Aja sent me to you from Twitter. Here’s a list of my initial concerns from looking at your kickstarter page and website for 10 minutes, from my perspective as a publishing professional with 12+ years of publishing and editing under my belt (including publishing original works of fanfic authors)….
Because “Trust us—no, really!” is always a viable business plan. Oh, wait…
Okay, I have never published a book or done a Kickstarter myself, so take this for what it may or may not be worth. But my husband and I have bought into about a dozen Kickstarter projects, publishing and otherwise, and my dad bought into a couple more, and we got what we paid for. And from what I understand about it, it does look like the traditional publishing letter-writer has misunderstood the purpose of Kickstarter funding. Her questions pertain to starting a publishing business. But most of that isn’t relevant to what Big Bang is doing, yet.
A Kickstarter project specs out the cost of a project, and asks for backers to pre-buy and cover those costs, in return for a promised product. It’s a 1-to-1 proposition. You buy in, you get what you paid for or you get a refund. You’re not investing in a business, you’re buying a product.
The only marketing and advertising plan needed is what the Kickstarter creator does to attract the backers. The creators don’t need contacts with reviewers at this stage because if their Kickstarter is successful, they’ve already pre-sold enough of their product to make the project viable/profitable, so they don’t need reviews to reach a wider audience (yet). Distribution channels aren’t an issue at this point, because the distribution of a Kickstarter project is: Kickstarter creator ships promised products to Kickstarter backers.
I’m not speaking for the Big Bang folks and I haven’t looked into their project, but I’m just saying, a Kickstarter isn’t ‘Invest in our fledgling business, and here is our business plan, our marketing plan, our contacts, our pedigrees, our operating expenses et al. to convince you to invest in us.’ That’s selling shares in a company, basically. You can’t use Kickstarter for that.
A Kickstarter is, “Do you want this item? Pay this much to fund its creation, and you will receive it.” It’s a way for a specific thing(s) to get made and sold directly to the people who want them.
I’m guessing (I don’t know! guessing) that the Big Bang folks are pre-selling their books at a price that will cover their printing/editing/legal expenses, plus make enough profit to fund the start of the publishing business they want to get off the ground. Then those traditional publishing questions will become relevant.Then they’re going to need to find contacts and connections and reach a wider market.
And also, then— again, this is just my speculation— but if you want to start publishing books and you seek to hire ‘pedigreed’ editors and work with distribution channels and contact reviewers, my guess is, it probably benefits you to be able to say “We’re a publisher with three books that have already sold X number of copies via direct sales online. Would you like to take part in bringing this proven product line to a wider market?”
date: Fri, Nov 22, 2013 at 9:33 PM
Hi! Aja sent me to you from Twitter. Here’s a list of my initial concerns from looking at your kickstarter page and website for 10 minutes, from my perspective as a publishing…
I really wish the parties involved had consulted with the individuals behind Verb Noire, another small press that came out of fandom with great goals and ideals, who discovered just how difficult it is to make this kind of thing work. It’s great to want to give a boost to writers coming out of fandom. It’s better to KNOW WHAT YOU’RE DOING.
I’m also concerned that the bulk of Anna’s questions were not addressed in any way. Like, all of that stuff is still necessary even for a limited print run, and the way to get people off your back about your shit is to give even the slightest inkling you DO have plans, you DO have proper paperwork, etc. Because you’re asking for our money, so we kind of are allowed to ask the questions (those of us who/when we know to ask), and we’re allowed to Reach Conclusions based on your reactions to them.
I figured they didn’t answer my questions because they literally don’t even know what I’m asking because none of them have any kind of publishing experience. Oh, sorry, except for the one person who is an editorial assistant yet working as the production manager. Sure, that will go well.
yeaaaaaah, i’m pretty much sure this big bang press thing is p full of bullshit. would not support.
i would also like to point out you can withdraw your support from a kickstarter while it is still running.
There’s a lot of really, really concerning things about this Kickstarter campaign that Anna (and others) have pointed out—and continue to point out—which are well beyond my area of expertise, so I’ll let them talk. But I’d like to point out something that I am qualified to comment on.
One of my first reactions upon reading the Kickstarter was, “wait, your lawyer here is who now?” Because their “Legal and Business Consultant“‘s bio on the Kickstarter says:
She used to do legal stuff once upon a time in New York.
I was at work at the time, and read that to my boss (who is, in fact, an Actual Entertainment & Business Attorney), and he laughed and said, “so they got their friend who dropped out of law school to be their consultant then?”
Which worried me, because I had also seen this on the Kickstarter page, under the “Risks and Challenges” section:
All of our authors are experienced at finishing novel-length works at an unusually fast pace, and this time they’ve signed a legally binding contract to do so.
Legally binding contracts, huh? Who is writing those contracts? So I looked up this Legal Consultant’s LInkedIn page (it was the first google result for her name) to check her professional credentials and:
Kostelanetz & Fink, LLP
Law Practice industry
October 2011 – Present (2 years 2 months)
Performs legal research and organization for cases ranging from tax law to contract procurement.
Oh. Oh I see. Her education does not list any law school. Her current profession is listed as “Writer and Translator (Japanese <> English) “.
As someone who works as support staff (often in a paralegal role) to entertainment attorneys, a lawyer should be writing your contracts. A paralegal without any law school experience is not qualified to be drafting final contracts without an attorney. Paralegals are not licensed to practice law.
So I repeat: who is writing your contracts??? And this is your business consultant as well? Presumably the person who is advising you on financial stuff? And you’re asking for HOW much money???
If all of the other stuff to be worried about with this project wasn’t already keeping me from giving them my money, this alone would have me running screaming in the opposite direction, clutching my wallet protectively.
We’re going to post new FAQs on Tumblr once a week or so, because inevitably there are things we didn’t have room to include in the main Kickstarter page. First, we’ll answer a couple of questions about how Big Bang Press selects its books and authors.
How did the selection process work?
We already included something about this on Kickstarter, but there’s more room for me to elaborate here on Tumblr.
Our first step was to contact around thirty fanfic writer who are generally known for writing high-quality, novel-length stories. We asked them if they’d be interested in a project like Big Bang Press, and fifteen of them agreed to submit a three-chapter excerpt of original writing. The others were either too busy, or wanted to try mainstream publishing first, or had no interest in writing original fiction. We did not specify what type of original writing they should submit: the authors had complete creative freedom to choose the genre, audience, target length, and so on.
Our submissions editor worked with those fifteen authors to develop their writing samples. We wanted to give them every chance to improve their writing with an editor, rather than just asking them to produce something to our deadline with no help at all.
Once the writing samples were ready, they were submitted anonymously to the other four members of the publishing team, along with cover letters and plot summaries. The reason why we felt it was very important to read the manuscripts “blind” is because this way, we could be sure our selection process was fair and unbiased, and based purely on the quality of the writing.
Why didn’t we just have open submissions?
Open submissions simply weren’t a practical option this time round, and here’s why:
- We didn’t have the time and manpower to sift through potentially hundreds of manuscripts before we had even launched the project.
- If we went public before our “official” launch, it would have put a serious dent in our crowdfunding campaign. Basically, people are way more likely to get excited about something fresh and new, as opposed to something they’ve been hearing for months and months already.
- This way, we could launch Big Bang Press in a professional manner, with months of preparation behind us. We have three excellent excerpts in a variety of genres, sketches from our cover artists, a polished website, and a realistic plan for our Kickstarter campaign.
In an ideal world, we would’ve been able to open our submissions to everyone, and that’s definitely something we want to do in the future. Which brings me to my final point:
The Future of Big Bang Press
As a crowdfunding site, Kickstarter’s purpose is to launch creative projects in fields such as visual art, music, publishing, technology, and so on. You’re not actually allowed to use Kickstarter to gain investors when starting a business. So while Big Bang Press is definitely a publishing press in that we are a team of editors, publishers, writers, and publicists, our Kickstarter campaign only pays for the three books we are currently marketing.
Our long term aim is to become a self-sustaining publishing press, but that’s reliant on a number of factors. Mostly, we need to sell a lot of books once all three novels are on general release, at which point we could set ourselves up on a more permanent basis. If we do get to the point of being able to afford a second round of submissions, we would start soliciting manuscripts from any writer who is interested in working with us. Until then, Big Bang Press is a typical Kickstarter campaign: our customers fund us by pre-ordering various reward levels, and we provide the eventual product.
If you like what we’re doing, and want to submit a manuscript to us one day, then the best thing for you to do just now is back us on Kickstarter and spread the word! :)
— Gavia Baker-Whitelaw, Managing Editor & Social Media Director
Cause it pisses me to all fuck when people get my name wrong, not gonna walk around saying his name wrong, adorable fucker that he is.
Kay-ah-who Kah-who-ah-new-ee. Hope my phonetic spelling is easy enough to understand? :)