Talking Shop: How to Pay Your Writers

What is a word worth? In publishing, not as much as it used to be. At least, that's the impression writers often get.

Conversations around compensation – money – are admittedly uncomfortable, and that's if they're happening at all. Recently, a few incredible people gathered at Kickstarter HQ to discuss what they're doing to make sure their writers get paid. Alex Shvartsman (Editor of Unidentified Funny Objects), Lisa Lucas (Publisher of Guernica Magazine), and Ryan Chapman (BOMB Magazine), spoke in a conversation moderated by writer/editor Sari Botton. Hear about their strategies for fundraising and fairly compensating their writers in this installment of Talking Shop.

A Few Tips on Knowing Your Audience

Knowing who might enjoy the thing you're putting out into the world is a crucial, often overlooked, part of your campaign. It may seem obvious at first that the people that want to see your film, read your book, or watch your play would be a person like you, but it's important to take the time to find out who those people are. What else do they like? What organizations are they a part of?

By taking the time to think about who your audience might be, you're also helping to focus the goal of your project.

Projects They Love: Bikes

Every so often we'll pass the mic to a member of our community to give them a chance to talk about the projects they love. This time we've asked Matt Haughey, creator of MetaFilter.com, and Kickstarter super-backer. Matt has raced bikes in Oregon for ten years, so we asked him to tell us about some of the bike-centric projects he's supported.

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Discover Music and Tech Projects

If we were to walk up to you and yell "MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS" right in your face, you would—depending on your age and where you live—likely think of a guitar or a drum or maybe a trumpet or other horn. Or maybe a violin? Some other kind of classical instrument? You get the idea. There are a lot of instruments out there, and the common thread between them is that they were all invented a really long time ago. 

What about new instruments though? Things that take pre-existing models and combine them with technology to create something we haven't really seen yet? Well, a lot of those are being made right here on Kickstarter. Get them all and form a band, or just hoard them and start your own one person project.

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A Few Tips on Setting Your Funding Goal

It can seem incredibly difficult to determine a realistic and attainable goal for your Kickstarter project — it's one of the first things that people notice, after all. So how do you make sure it's the goal your project needs? We asked a few creators — David Thorpe, Bobbito Garcia, Malika Zouhali-Worrall, Karyn Parsons, Jimmy Goldblum and Adam Weber — to talk about how they approached this subject. 

These creators may all be filmmakers, but what they're saying applies to anyone who might be thinking about running a project: research similar projects, make a detailed budget for what you need, and think about what the essentials are. And most of all, don't let the project goal intimidate you. 

11 Creative Ways to Use the Button on Spotlight

This week, we launched a feature we're really excited about: spotlight pages. Creators with successfully funded projects can now make permanent, custom homes for their ideas, right here on Kickstarter.

What can you do to make a spotlight page all your own? Change up your description, tighten up the title, and go to town on the look and feel. You can get creative with everything from the background to the main image to the little blue button that starts out with "Follow along!"

It's a pretty cool button, indeed. You can change the words on it, make it whatever color you want, and link it to anywhere you'd like backers and fans to go when they're done exploring your spotlight page.

This project made their blue "Follow along!" button red — and it looks great!
This project made their blue "Follow along!" button red — and it looks great!

Here are some ideas (in no particular order, we promise) for using that button to direct traffic.

1. “Visit our website” • Your spotlight page is your homepage on Kickstarter, but you can also link to your website, portfolio, blog, or wherever you share your creative life at large. 

2. “Watch the movie” • David Cross sends visitors right to his movie, Hits — but you can link anywhere the film can be accessed, such as iTunes (like Terence Nance did, above). Didn't do a film project? Link to where fans can download the album, play the game, or read the e-book.

3. “See it live” • If you’re approaching opening night of your performance — or maybe you’ve finally got your band’s tour all booked — pack the house by linking to tour dates and ticket sales.

4. “Check out my new project” • Launching something new? Get the folks who've already shown their support to take a peek at what you're doing now.

5. “Follow me on Instagram” • Share even more cool things by linking to Instagram, Tumblr, or Youtube. Adam J. Kurtz has fans keep up with him on Instagram — and Golden Goose shared links to their arsenal of how-to videos on YouTube!

6. "Preorder" • Finishing up production? Build up that buzz like Electric Objects, and let supporters call first dibs on your creation. 

7. “Should I do this again?” • If you want to gauge interest in your work moving forward — or just poll your audience — you can link to a Google form or survey page and ask away!

8. “Buy it now” • Where can people get the amazing thing you’ve created? Make like this reinvented camera lens or this binary-busting comics anthology and link to your preferred place for supporters to buy what you've made.

9. "Fork us on Github" • Tap the endless coding power of your community or open up your idea to the world — like KickSat is — by linking to a Github repository.

10. “Vote for me”  • Entered your project in a competition somewhere? Make it easy for fans to show their support in numbers. (Make sure you're playing by the rules!)

11. "Booking and interviews" • If you're getting lots of inquiries about making appearances, you can show those who are interested the best way to get in touch, like Ellen Ziegler did. 

Pro tip: be creative, clever, and clear! Messages with a personal touch (and a call to action) will help visitors find their way. 

"Follow along!" can mean social media (Like us on Facebook!, Follow us on Twitter!), your website, blog, links to webisodes or podcasts, or even a sign-up page for your mailing list.
"Follow along!" can mean social media (Like us on Facebook!, Follow us on Twitter!), your website, blog, links to webisodes or podcasts, or even a sign-up page for your mailing list.

Thinking of launching your own project? Get motivated by checking out some other great spotlight pages. Don’t forget to take a look at our Creator Handbook and follow @KickstarterTips on Twitter so you can get hints on making your project come to life.

Already a creator with a successfully funded project? Just head on over to your project page and dive in!