Sunday, May 19, 2013

LitStarter: Bringing You the Best in Bookish Projects

Welcome to the first LitStarter! This will be a regular look at some of my favorite projects discovered through two popular crowd sourcing websites: Kickstarter and Indiegogo. The featured projects will be related to literature and comics but not limited to publishing or writing projects. For example, there is a video game being made by a small team of independent game developers called Edgar: The Great Victorian Adventure Game. It is an adventure platformer where you play as Edgar Allan Poe. The developers have plans to create a Kickstarter to help fund the rest of their development and publication. When the time comes, we will be promoting it here. Why? Because Edgar Allan Poe wrote many American classics -- and the game sounds like fun! 

The term crowd funding has been thrown around a lot in the last couple of years and refers to the way in which a group of people come together to collectively support a cause financially. The two most well-known websites utilizing crowd funding are Kickstarter and Indiegogo. There are a few differences between the two: Kickstarter is limited to the United States and the United Kingdom, while Indiegogo is international; a project creator using Indiegogo has the opportunity to keep the donated funds, even if the project does not succeed, while the creator of an unsuccessful project on Kickstarter will not receive any money. There are some other differences regarding usage and guidelines, but I wanted to simply cover the basics.

For the first installment of LitStarter features Book Riot's Start Here: Read Your Way Into 25 Amazing Authors, Vol. 2. We share the same mission with Book Riot -- making books accessible and enjoyable for everyone. They are doing this through the Start Here books, guiding readers to where to start with contemporary and classic titles. Each chapter will be written by different person; some bloggers, some critics, some well-known authors. 

I don't normally back projects like this one. I prefer to back projects that are mostly completed and are utilizing crowd funding as a way to turn their project into a polished product for distribution. For example, I backed A Pretty Good Number One: An American Family Eats Tokyo. The author, Matthew Amster-Burton, had written a book about his experience living and eating his way through Tokyo one summer with his family. He was using Kickstarter as a way to pay a professional copyeditor, hire an artist to design the cover, and get his story published as an ebook. The project was successful, and backers began downloading the ebook about a month prior to his projected delivery date.

Despite Start Here: Vol. 2 not being a finished product that just needs a little polishing, I think you should support them. I did. And here's why: they have already completed a successful Kickstarter campaign with Start Here: Vol. 1 with only one minor setback courtesy of Hurricane Sandy. As I mentioned earlier, they are looking to make great books more accessible to everyone. How can you say no to that?

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