It went quite well (apart from my dog barking incessantly throughout). I could get used to being a Z list celeb.
I’m struggling to upload the audio file, so why not read the transcript below instead?
Transcript of the show
If you were listening to the show last week you may have heard a chat I had with an American writer called Jonah Lehrer about his new book called Imagine. It’s a book about how to think more creatively and it’s debuted at the top of the New York Bestseller list. If you missed the interview and you want to hear it you can find it on the Drive blog on our website – abc.net.au/Canberra, click on Drive on the front page and you’ll find it.
But what happens if you are creative, if you do have a great idea but you just can’t get it off the ground, if you need some cash to make it happen and you don’t have that cash? Well this is where something called crowd funding comes in. Crowd funding is where lots of people put in a bit of money to make something happen, usually they come together on the internet.
Kate Toon is a poet and a playwright who has used a site called Pozible to get support for a book of poetry she wants to publish, and she’s written a helpful guide for other creative, though financially frustrated, people. Kate, good afternoon.
Hi, how are you going?
Well thanks. Pozible is a really interesting site, how did you come across it?
Well, I’d heard of the US equivalent, which is called Kickstarter, but the problem with that site is you have to have an American bank account and lots of details. Pozible is the Australian site and I’d been following them on Facebook for a little while and seen lots of creative projects taking off, so I thought I’d take the plunge.
What sort of creative projects? I mean, you were hoping to get – and have won – support for your book of poetry, but what are some of the other projects that have garnered support?
Mostly on there, there seems to be a lot of short films, music projects, art projects – really it’s anything. There’s one woman on there who got a huge amount of pledges to sell Australian wool and there’s another lady who launched a cake business on there that’s been funded for 400% or something like that. So it’s a real range of different things.
How much did you want to raise for your book?
Well, I started off with a goal of $1,000. I didn’t really think too much about how much it was going to cost to publish and I realised afterwards it was going to cost a little bit more than that to get published.
I was going to say, you were fairly mild in your request.
Yes I was a bit silly. So I put that up to about $2,000 hoping and thinking that whatever I didn’t get I would put in myself. But I’ve just, literally, just had another pledge just a second ago and I’m now up to $2,876 – woo!
Congratulations. Well how do you encourage people to support you?
Well, obviously, you know, you start with friends and family, but I have a Facebook Page where I promoted it, I’ve promoted it on Twitter. But a lot of people, well, several of the people who’ve contributed are just complete strangers really who’ve just come across the Pozible site, seen my project and given me some money. So yeah, it’s been great.
What do they get out of it, these people who pledge money?
Well, the whole point of it is, it’s kind of not internet begging, which I’ve heard some people call it. Everybody gets a reward and those rewards range from $5 up to $1,000 on some people’s sites. Obviously with a book it’s quite easy because one of my rewards is just to get a copy of the book, but I also did a few sort of “money can’t buy” rewards, one of which was to have a bespoke poem written for you. So you could tell me the details of someone you love or your cat or whatever and I wrote – five of the poems in the book have been written specifically for people who donated money.
So depending on how much people give there’s a kind of sliding scale?
If someone gives $5 they can get such-and-such a reward, if they give $100 they get such-and-such?
Exactly, and they kind of get better and better. There’s a fellow Pozible person, one of their rewards was their mum would come to your house and cook you dinner, which is a great one. So no, they’re not all straightforward, some are quite kooky and fun and, yeah, you can kind of play with the rewards and do some interesting things.
That’s part of the creative process, coming up with good rewards.
Exactly, yes, and I think also the creative process is how you write your pitch. You are selling yourself. You can use videos on the Pozible site, which I didn’t do, but I did put a sample of my poetry up, which is quite unusual, it’s quite Spike Milligan. My poetry, it’s not very airy-fairy. And I think a lot of people responded to it because they liked the poem, so that was a good idea as well I think.
Yes, you’re giving them a direct taste of what they’re supporting.
Do you know what percentage of the projects that are put up get supported?
Well, it’s actually increasing. I think in the early days it was quite low because not many people had heard about Pozible, but it’s kind of growing and growing, word of mouth virally, and I think now they’re up to about 50%. And I think, as I just wrote in my article today, it’s about, again, setting the right target, you know, not setting it too high and being too greedy and also not setting it too low, having realistic expectations. And putting work in, I mean it is work, you have to sort of update the page and thank everybody and promote it and annoy your friends a bit. So it’s not just set and forget, you do have to work at it.
So you’d do it again, Kate?
Oh definitely. I’ve got another project I’m hoping to kick off next year to make a little short film of one of my plays, so I’ll give my friends time to relax for a little while and then I’ll start bombarding them again.
So it’s people who might know you or might just support what you want to do, people who may not be overly creative themselves but want to feel they have a part in the creative process, or people who have done well and want to give something back. I suppose there’s a myriad of reasons why people would kick in?
Well that’s it, I mean a lot of people have said that they maybe don’t have time to indulge in creative pursuits but they want to feel part of it and, you know, that’s what I’ve enjoyed most about the project, the engagement with the people who’ve joined my project. You know, I’ve sent emails, we’ve talked, they’re following me on Twitter and it’s like they’re part of it. I sent out the cover and asked for opinions on things like the back page and what I should put, and they’re all contributing. So it’s almost like a communal project, it’s fantastic. I’ve had some great advice as well.
Well best of luck with it Kate.
Thanks very much.
And thanks so much for sharing your thoughts with us this afternoon.
END OF INTERVIEW.
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