This guide is for writers, artists, musicians, filmmakers, game creators, and anyone else who wants to raise money from their audiences. I discuss Kickstarter, Patreon, self-publishing, and many more tactics and tools.
Everyone knows that the creative businesses have changed. You can still get huge book deals, record deals, and other deals — but those business models are not the only answer anymore. Now independent creators can reach their fans directly.
We’ve all heard the Kickstarter success stories. But not everyone knows all their options. Talented creators are using Patreon, self-publishing, and many other tools to raise money one dollar at a time. This guide will explain and describe the best ones!
(If you’re new to my site: Hi! I’m Lydia, a writer and media strategist. I have personal and professional experience with these tools and I’ve helped other people figure them out, too. If you want my advice or help for your project, feel free to leave a comment or contact me directly.)
This Is The Wild West
Before I cover all the options, I’ll point out that these tools are evolving rapidly. And there’s more change to come.
I hear about new relevant startups every week. The almighty Google just announced that they’re developing features that allow fans to fund their favorite creators on YouTube. This is on top of Google’s other new service, which sells music through YouTube.
I’ve heard suggestions that Apple’s $3 billion purchase of Beats happened because Beats could become “a platform for artists to build businesses.” And even Lady Gaga’s social network, Backplane, just recreated itself as a monetization tool for creators.
Meanwhile, over in China, people can already sell directly to their audience on Chinese social media platforms like WeChat. And Twitter will soon offer its users the ability to sell directly to their followers! I’m so excited that this is happening — I’ve been hoping Twitter would do something like this for a long time.
So the future is bright! But let’s talk about what creators can do right now! For each strategy below, I describe some current tools that cover it. Then I give pro tips for using them.