Kickstarter and a Kick in the Pants

By modern social media standards, I hope I have not over-posted about my upcoming book. I was afraid I’d come off looking like a hustler, a self-promoter appearing too self-absorbed.

My attempts at genuine humility (combined with a shot of insecurity)  have been met with various reactions; some friends have said it’s too mopey. Some have admired my self-restraint. Some ask why I’m not big pimpin’ this thing.

After digesting all the feedback, I have decided that while the book is memoir-like in its narrative, it’s not supposed to be about me per se. In the forward I wrote I hope my readers can ride on my sentences, and not just read them. This is about as far away from a self-help book as I can imagine. Self-help books have a point and a pitch – the call to action, the “buy now” close (do it this way and get rich, do it this way and be happy). My book is a chronicle of infinite mistakes, poor judgement and bad process –  that doesn’t sound  like something you’d see in an infomercial!

This book has no solution or magic bullet. My inaugural book’s intent is to show people a story of a person who battled with career reinvention and got a little lucky in the process, and the life events that precipitated it. It took me a long time to get to Endgame on this, but I finally got some clarity: I want to aid others in breaking through the walls of resistance that innovation requires.

Now let’s bring in Kickstarter.
Screen Shot 2012-12-17 at 12.37.47 PM

This site crowdfunds creative projects. Your friends, family, fans and a bunch of other total strangers show their belief of your ability to complete a project by pledging money to help you do it. Kickstarter takes a cut if you are successful.

The company has been around for several years, and some of the projects they and their competitor sites have facilitated are impressive. Kickstarter coordinates and amplifies you… and what you wish to accomplish.

There is karma at work here. You are expected to do what you say you are going to do with the money, or you risk damaging your personal and professional reputation permanently. Hustlers not welcome, ever. Kickstarter has to actually initially approve your idea, or it goes nowhere. You are required to give each person who pledged money to you a “reward”, usually a copy or prototype of the “thing” you have created. That’s proof you accomplished your goal.

There are authors on Kickstarter. I paid close attention to what these writers’ endgames were, and most were laudable. “Help me publish my first book…” they said.  Funders supported often for purposes of true altruism. The difference between those who succeeded and who failed was subject. A cookbook might not be sexy enough – but steampunk anime might be.

So what does this aspiring writer and innovation entrepreneur do with this book he has written?

I’m going to offer to trade support for support; the maximum win-win.

These guys asked for $100k - they got 10 million dollars.
These guys asked for $100k – they got 10 million dollars.

I will pitch to my Kickstarter audience their funding will create hardcover copies of the work. I already will have had an eBook and audiobook versions in the marketplace, to prove that the work is real.  I will sell some hardcovers to anyone who wants to buy one, but I will also give away many copies, as an incentive to attend innovation workshops I will be hosting. Again, there are no “5 tips to getting rich” solutions here. The idea is about brainstorming, chopping it up and kicking ideas around to see if they make sense.

Simply put; you fund me, I return the favor my helping you do your own project, and doing it successfully. It’s about completing the circle and paying it forward. We help those who helped us, in the spirit of caring and interest in the other’s success.

It’s about getting off your ass, being a little vulnerable, taking a chance and sharing your capitalist vision with the marketplace.

I’m shooting the video to share my idea and pitch the “plan” this week. I’m counting on the New Year’s resolution season to provide some oomph to the overall scheme. By excelling at projects and jobs which we enjoy doing and minimizing the impact of the things we don’t (but many times have to), something interesting happens; our brains have room to maneuver. We have bandwidth to ponder. We have time to plan.

I love the creative process of brainstorming. It’s like sport to me. I always want to be in the game.

More soon…

Signature photoJohn Scott is a media instructor, online education coordinator and the career services manager at the School of Multimedia Communications, Academy of Art University, San Francisco. He also counsels individuals and groups in the art of reinvention. John’s debut book Broken Glass and Barbed Wire will be available during the holiday season. 

Follow John on Twitter @johnscottsf.

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