Kickstarter (or similar crowdfunding campaigns) have become a ‘thing’ of late. So far, I’ve contributed to two of them.
The first was the ‘Gothtropolis Ravens’ ‘action figures’, which I did because they were action figures of anthropomorphised birds. The second was for the third book (A Shard of Sun) in the ‘Summer King Chronicles‘ series by J.E.Owen; a book series that focuses on gryphons (or gryfons, as the author calls them).
For the ‘Ravens’ campaign, it took a very long time from the moment that I had contributed to the time that the figures were actually delivered. I’ll have to go back and see when I contributed, but I did not get the figures delivered until the latter part of December (and did not get to pick them up until after getting back from Further Confusion, due to where I had them delivered, as sending them to Canada would have added to the cost in a large way).
The book kickstarter had a much quicker turnaround, as the campaign closed accepting donations in mid December, and I received access to the eBook version of the book last week. As for the book itself, I’ve already finished reading it, and now eagerly waiting for the fourth and final book in the series.
What I really want to put forward here is the emotional return that I got out of each of these.
The ‘figures’ all seemed like a great idea when the campaign was going on and for a few months afterwards, but the longer it took to actually get the figures really drained the emotional investment that I’d put into it. In fact, since I got the figures back, I haven’t even opened the shipping box they came in yet. It’s still sitting downstairs in my living room, behind a chair.
Yet the campaign for the ‘A Shard of Sun’ book has given me a much better feeling, and one that I continue to feel invested in.
I credit a lot of this to the author of this series, Jess Owen, as well as Jennifer Miller (aka Nambroth). It was through Nambroth that I came to know about the series in the first place; back in October, she was doing a livestream session working on cover art for one of the books. I didn’t know which book it was for at the time, and I asked and was pointed in the direction of the book series. There’s not (at least, not that I know of) many book series that prominently feature gryphons, so this certainly caught my attention. So I bought the first book in the series on Kindle, and went through it relatively quickly (as I have a ~45 minute train journey to and from work each day). It took me about a week to get through the first book, and then I was onto the second. Once that was over, I eagerly awaited the third, which I knew would have a kickstarter campaign to fund it, as the other books had as well.
Since I had very much enjoyed the first two books, and the author was around on social media (Twitter, Facebook) as well as DeviantArt, I did something that I’d never done before after reading a book; I left them a note on DA thanking them for the books and saying how I found them – and I got a reply! I replied, and got another reply! This was actually an author who enjoyed engaging with her readers, and that made me love this series all the more. She also took some sketch commissions, and I managed to get one of Morse. From my understanding, I think that she may have made it to at least one furry convention too – Rocky Mountain FurCon, I think? So she’s aware of our little odd fandom, which is another plus to me. I’d love to see her attend a convention as an actual guest, as I think she would be an interesting panel host too.
Sadly, I did not get onto the kickstater for the 3rd book quick enough to get one of the large gryfon plush that was being offered, but I did get in at a level where I would get the physical print books (all three, including the two I had previously got as Kindle books) as well as the eBook of the latest. I’ll also be getting an enamel pin and an art print too.
Yet what I didn’t notice (or did but forgot) was that my name would also appear in the acknowledgements of the book as a backer. So when I got to that part and saw it there, that was… a very interesting feeling. I’ve never had my name in print like that before in a published book, and that just added to the emotional return that I got from this campaign. To know that I’ve been part of something that made something very cool and something that I enjoy happen – even if the part that I played was just providing a little bit of money to make it possible.
When the next campaign for the final book starts, I’ll most certainly be back to help.