We do love it when you delightful bunch back a campaign that’s a little bit different. Crowdfunding for artists, writers, film, and scripts (and of course the flat out wacky ideas) reminds us that platforms like Indiegogo or Kickstarter are there to do more than launch innovative startups and ground-breaking gadgets. For those brave enough to try, they provide the support they need to realize their dreams.
Or live them on their own terms.
That’s why celebrated artist Stephanie Law has turned to Kickstarter, utilizing the support of the crowd to maintain complete creative freedom over her work. We caught up with her to hear all about Descants & Cadences, her latest project.
“I have produced three books in my career. They were all relatively straightforward, a showcase of the art. This time, I wanted to dream bigger, to create a book that was a work of art in itself instead of just a catalog. Launching through Kickstarter allows me to dream bigger, to pull out all the stops because I know before going to print that other people share my vision, that there’s demand for this book.”
Well, there’s certainly demand for Stephanie’s book. At the time of writing, 673 backers had committed nearly $91,000 to get their hands on Descants & Cadences. Not bad for a campaign with an initial pledge goal of $26,400 – a figure she raised in a mere four hours.
“I have a decent sized social media following!” Stephanie explains her phenomenal success, “They’re very engaged. Plus, I have a strong following for my website thanks to several mass-market projects (she’s previously illustrated various watercolor technique books and a tarot deck). Although tapping into this following was difficult.”
Stephanie has some really brilliant strategies, which contributed to her success. She thoroughly researched the factors that were important to the success of art books and carefully analyzed what worked and what didn’t. By using Kicktraq she carefully studied the funding curves of a similar campaign and found out what resulted in a sudden increase or fall of the funding. By adding the right reward tiers throughout the campaign and employing some really effective strategies, she managed to increase the campaign funding by several times.
Like many campaigners, Stephanie struggled to get her message past email filters and social media algorithms. “The best solution I found was to create a new website for the book with preview information and a mailing list to notify of the launch. I then set up a Facebook Event page; this was the basis of my social media campaign. Every two or three days I would show sneak peeks of my book or post opinion polls and get other people’s take on the options I was considering. This worked really well. Even before I launched, I’d created a huge reach for my project.”
One of the major advantages of crowdfunding for artists is the sheer number of visual social media channels out there that can support your campaign. While her Facebook Event Page was a clever way to circumvent the social giant’s habit of selectively displaying updates (those following Event Pages have to actively opt out of update notifications), the nature of her project meant Stephanie could also use Instagram, Tumblr, and Twitter to generate a buzz around her campaign.
With such a successful campaign under her belt, it seems silly to ask this award-winning artist whether she’d consider launching another. “Of course! I will definitely be looking to launch my next artbook on Kickstarter.” She pauses before adding mysteriously, “As well as a few other endeavors.”
Any crowdfunder will tell you that running a campaign is incredibly stressful, so I can’t help but note how much Stephanie seems to be enjoying hers. “Much more than I expected.” She agrees, “It has created a bond between me and my community. Over the course of the last six weeks, they have provided suggestions, feedback and really committed to creating the book. In my campaign video, I said that this book was the culmination of a long creative process. I didn’t realize when I shot it that the creative journey wasn’t over yet, the campaign has become a part of the book as well.”
“But the best thing,” She continues, “Is the close bonds I have forged with the community of artists and viewers around me, it’s a bond I did not anticipate.”
Trust an artist to find the hidden beauty in the crowdfunding process.
If you’re looking for a heartfelt gift, something beautiful or tips on how crowdfunding for artists works, then we highly recommend you get on over to Kickstarter and take a look at Stephanie’s Descants & Cadences campaign.