Kickstarter Sets USC Alum On His Way To Literary Success
That’s because on Friday, his $30,000 campaign on crowd-funding website Kickstarter will expire.
As of Tuesday, he had 264 backers and had raised $21,403. But he has just three days left to reach his goal or none of the money pledged will go toward funding the book.
Daze, 28, a designer and self-professed “Internet ninja,” had heard of Kickstarter back in 2009 through a technology blog. He decided using the site to raise money for his book, Richard Nix, President at Six, was an ideal way to expedite the process and skirt traditional investors or loans.
He’s not the only one who’s started dipping into crowd-funding. Kickstarter has enjoyed heightened media attention in recent weeks, when a new smart watch became the highest funded project in the site’s history—more than $5 million raised in April.
The beginning of 2012 has been big for the site. The first project to break $1 million in funding came in February. Not too long after, Kickstarter had its first single day of raising over $1 million. Other projects quickly exceeded the $2-million and $3-million marks.
The site was established in 2008 and according to its FAQ page, is now “the world’s largest funding platform for creative projects.” Projects cannot be started by corporations or advertising, and the site isn’t used for charity—proposals must be creative, artistic projects. Those who pledge money on the site are eligible for rewards, like a limited edition or screening of the project.
Last year, members of Occupy Wall Street used it to raise money for the Occupy Wall Street Journal, a newspaper explaining the movement’s philosophy and demands. The initial goal was to raise $12,500 and print 50,000 copies; the project ended up raising over $75,000.
As incentive for donations, Daze is offering first-edition, hardcover copies of the book, as well as campaign bumper stickers and art prints. He said getting his own personal network involved in the fundraising campaign has been incredibly rewarding.
“I’ve just been awed by the warm blanket of support from friends and family,” he said.
Daze said he’s also been impressed with the site’s ability to garner interest in Roger Nix’s story. “With Kickstarter, the people that have already given you $10, $30 or $100—whatever—they’re out there hooting and hollering for you. They’re getting updates from you, they’re pasting stuff all over their Facebook timelines and Twitter feeds,” he said.
That community support is important to Daze because he holds the book so dear. He started writing the story in 2006 after graduating from USC because he had wanted to be president when he was a child. He said he believed that “kids have a lot of what’s missing in politics: wonder, optimism and a can-do attitude.”
Over the last few years, Daze has slowly been working on the book, paying an illustrator bit by bit out of his own pocket. A large portion of the $30,000 he hopes to raise would go toward finishing the illustrations, then covering the layout design, printing and shipping costs.
With his deadline three days away, the author said he was optimistic. “Our momentum has been building lately,” he said, “and we’re definitely still in the running for it to be a successful Kickstarter campaign.”
Because of his experience, Daze has become a big advocate of the crowd-funding site. “I really believe Kickstarter is one of the greatest innovations of our time—I’m not being hyperbolic, he said. “This year, Kickstarter has given more money to creative projects than the National Endowment for the Arts. That’s astounding.”
If Daze doesn’t reach $30,000 by Friday, he says he still plans to follow through with his dream of getting the children’s book published.
“Not meeting the goal is a total possibility, but Kickstarter is just about getting Roger Nix published by the fall election. If not, we won’t get a book out by November, but there a laundry list of different avenues we have to still make it a reality.”
Reach Contributor Jennifer Green here.