Late last year, Web cartoonist Ryan North launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund To Be or Not to Be, an illustrated “chooseable-path adventure”—pardon the copyright dodge—version of Hamlet. Thanks to media attention and a viral spread that attracted an audience beyond fans of North’s popular Dinosaur Comics, it became the most funded publishing project in Kickstarter history, surpassing its initial $20,000 goal by more than half a million dollars. (It has since been beaten, barely, by a Planet Money campaign to fund a T-shirt picturing a squirrel drinking a martini.) North’s campaign was very close to perfect, one that should serve as inspiration to anyone who wants to crowdfund a creative project: The concept was innovative; the reward tiers were thoughtfully designed; North communicated clearly and enthusiastically with backers at every step of the process; and the project not only delivered what was promised but improved upon the initial concept. As the book arrives in backers’ mailboxes this month, it’s worth asking: Is it a good book? Is it $580,905 good? North certainly worked hard to make the campaign live up to every penny its backers spent. Kickstarter has no rules about what’s done with money raised in excess of a project’s initial goal, but rather than […]
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