Rich Burlew has used Kickstarter to raise $1m for his self-publishing activities. Burlew’s comic series The Order of the Stick has been running since 2003, and he started printing parts of it in 2005. But the huge success of his Kickstarter drive means he can now put the whole thing on paper for his readers.
Kickstarter is a site where users can post their projects and ask people if they want to invest. Burlew’s The Order of the Stick reprint drive secured a total of $1,254,120 from 14,952 investors, who were promised a range of things such as a fridge magnet and digital PDF (for people who invested $10) to the chance of a walk-on cameo for $5,000. The whole sum was raised in a month.
Sure, Burlew had a pre-existing fanbase for his project, but raising more than $1m is still extremely impressive. It shows, though, that it’s often easier to get a lot of people to donate a little, rather than getting a single investment from (for example) a publisher. And what publisher would ever have ponied up $1m for Burlew’s project?
Burlew is far from the only person to use Kickstarter to fund publishing projects. And while comic books tend to be more popular, there’s room for magazine and novel publishers to seek funding. After all, the worst thing that can happen is that you only get a small dribble of contributions.