Fear of freefall

On my way to work three or four days a week I pass Gothenburg’s Liseberg funfair and hear the happy screams – I must suppose they’re happy – as people drop in freefall or spin around at multiple gravities or turn upside down as they loop the loop. It’s a good 40 years since I last experienced any of the more extreme rides at a funfair, and longer since I enjoyed any of them.

Fear of freefall
Fear of freefall
About 10 years ago, having refused to try out any of the real rides, I was persuaded by visiting friends to go on Liseberg’s virtual rollercoaster. Along with about 40 other people I was strapped into chairs that moved and vibrated facing a wide projection screen, and taken on a ride through a fantasy gold mine, spinning through tunnels, leaping over broken bridges, plunging down shafts. I spent most of the time with my eyes closed, teeth clenched and fingers clawing at the armrests, willing it to stop.

I am put in mind of all this because, ever since I started writing about crowd funding, I’ve had the sensation of being once again strapped into that chair as the ride takes me ever closer to a cliff edge.

I’ve not written about crowd funding for a couple of weeks partly because I had other things I wanted to say, partly because the ride hasn’t picked up much speed yet. But I can feel an acceleration and there’s no getting away from it any more.

Having rejected Unbound for the time being, I’ve been focusing my attention on FundedByMe.com.

One of the main contrasts between the two crowd funding websites – apart from the fact that one is dedicated to book publishing what the other is open to all sorts of campaigns – is that the FundedByMe site sets a 45 day limit for any crowd funding campaign. In other words from the day the campaign starts, a campaigner has 45 days to attract the financing he or she is seeking. By contrast Unbound has very open limits (which they do not share) which mean that campaigns can take months or even years. I don’t like the idea of a campaign that just drags on into the sunset, but I have to say that 45 days strikes me as a bit restricted.

However, I have now been thinking in terms of a 45 day campaign for a couple of weeks and I’m coming around to seeing how I might manage it.

As all this is in aid of publishing a photo book about Gothenburg, it makes sense to start the campaign with Gothenburg’s Planket in mid-August and end with the Gothenburg Book Fair at the end of September. Just about 45 days.

Planket is an event run annually by Gothenburg’s Photo Club in association with Göteborgs kuturvecka. The photo club hire the palings around Trädgårdsföreningen Park and then rent out three-meter-wide sections to photographers where they can display their work. I took part last year and it was great fun. Suppose I was to take part again this year and exhibit not only some of my photos, but also have a dummy of the photo book to show off, and advertising for the campaign?

And then if I took part in the Book Fair, perhaps as a member of Egenutgivarna, and again was able to show the dummy to anyone who was interested?

I’m already booked to take part in Planket, but that only costs 200 Skr. Participating in the Book Fair and getting a share of the stall that Egenutgivarna run costs rather more – 3750 Skr – so I haven’t taken that step quite yet. I’m hyperventilating before I release the brake and let the rollercoaster roll.

It’s also difficult to make up my mind what my financial target should be for the campaign. I have written a description of the book as I would like it to be, and a letter to various printers asking for quotes, but as yet I haven’t received any replies. I have used a couple of websites to make a rough calculation, though, and I think that I’m looking at a target of 150,000 Skr. That’s 21,880 US dollars, 16,300 euros, 12,850 British pounds. Sometimes (usually as I’m falling asleep) that seems like hell of a lot of money.

At other times it seems quite reasonable. If I can persuade 1000 people to pledge me 150 Skr I’ll be home and dry!

Except of course that I won’t be home and dry, because if I reach my target within 45 days it means I’m committed to printing the book and distributing copies to everyone who has pledged money. I have to be very careful not to make promises about when the book will be published since I have absolutely no idea how long it’s going to take from the decision to go to print to getting the final version in my hand.

Of course, if I don’t reach my target within 45 days I won’t have to do anything. The whole project will be cancelled, everyone who pledged will get their money back and I’ll be left with fond memories and small debts.

The only fly in the ointment regarding this 45 day period between Planket and Bokmässan is that I have a 10 day holiday planned in England right in the middle. Perhaps I can try marketing the project also while I’m in London.

Anyway, that’s where I am at the time of writing. For more on this, check back later.

This article was written for the #Blogg52 challenge.