Further With the Moneyed Crowd

By Lisa Dempster

Crowdfunding is a new form of fundraising - a way of raising money to fund a private venture, allowing individuals or organisations to conceptualise, fund and run their own projects. For the literary industry, that might mean a writer raising money to assist in the research phase of their work, or a publisher creating capital to print or distribute their titles.

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. As such, we have entered a partnership with Pozible, an Australian-based platform that enables artists and organisations to run crowdfunding projects.

We became interested in Pozible because of the potential we see in it for literary creators of all kinds, and the ability for crowdfunding to connect those creators with patrons. In Australia we’ve seen this kind of fundraising run successfully by organisations like New Matilda and This is Not Art, and recently music writer Elmo Keep crowdfunded the capital she needed to go on a journalistic adventure.

When an exciting opportunity to take part in Queensland Writers Week came up, we decided to go ahead and put up our own crowdfunding campaign. Digital Writers is a conference aimed at equipping writers with ideas and inspiration about writing and working in the online space. Although we have strong partnerships with Queensland Writers Centre, If:Book Australia and Avid Reader, there is a shortfall that we need to make up in order to be able to deliver our event in Brisbane in October.

Crowdfunding enables a creator to test whether there might be market interest in their idea. For us, reaching our $4000 target is not just about raising the money we need to run an interstate roadshow, it’s also about knowing that there is a desire in Brisbane for our Digital Writers event. When a crowdfunding project is underway there are multiple ways for people passionate about the project to support it – they can donate a lot or as little as $1, or help to promote the campaign.

One of the fun elements that comes out of crowdfunding platforms is the ability it gives project creators to offer ‘rewards’ for anyone who donates. In our Digital Writers campaign we’re showcasing the work of some of our artists as rewards, offering LEGO poetry by Daniel Donahoo and handwritten postcards from our writers.

We are excited by the potential of crowdfunding to connect the arts with patrons, and we look forward to seeing how literary types use it to fund the creation of new works and events.

Lisa Dempster is the author of Neon Pilgrim and editor of the Australian Veg Food Guide. She is also the director of the Emerging Writers’ Festival.

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