Writing today is no longer about typing out a manuscript and having a publisher do the work of editing, printing, distribution and marketing. Instead, writers are finding it increasingly important to be entrepreneurial in creating markets for their work.
Crowdfunding is an interesting new concept that allows writers to conceptualise, fund and run their own projects, whether it’s raising money to assist in the research and writing phase, or creating capital to print, perform or otherwise distribute their work.
Recently, music writer Elmo Keep used crowdfunding to raise the money she needed to go on a journalistic adventure, to sail off on a KISS Kruise (seriously). She wanted to cover the story, but didn’t have the ready cash to pay for her expenses upfront. So she turned to crowdfunding:
As an unattached freelancer, you’re constantly between a rock and a hard place: you can’t get accredited without a publication, and you can’t get a piece up without accreditation. So paying your way (or crowdfunding your way) is the only way to solve that.
Her appeal to her fans for cash paid off, and she will be sailing off into the sunset with KISS later in the year (literally). For Elmo, crowdfunding is one weapon in a kit of tools that modern writers need to make their careers work for them:
As a writer or freelance journalist, you really have to write your own ticket – that’s your whole job. You need to find, essentially, benefactors to fund your work; whether that’s working in advertising or another job to pay your bills, or crowdfunding, or teaching, or being a festival director, or whatever it is you do until you can earn a wage writing full time.
As an organisation committed to exploring emerging mediums, the Emerging Writers’ Festival aims to inform and inspire our audience about embracing new ways of working. When we first found out about the Australian crowdfunding site, Pozible, we knew it was a tool that our writers would be interested in using. We have watched organisations like Format Adelaide and New Matilda use Pozible to successfully crowdfund operating costs, and when an exciting opportunity to take part in Queensland Writers Week came up, we decided to go ahead and put up our own project: Digital Writers.
By partnering with Pozible and getting hands-on experience running a crowdfunding project, the EWF are gaining the knowledge that we need in order to ensure that our writers and audience members can have access to the tools and assistance they need to launch projects of their own. We can’t wait to see more writers using creative crowdfunding to get their writing careers happening!
Lisa Dempster is Director of the Emerging Writers’ Festival.