Announcing the Seattle Review of Books Kickstarter Fund

Each week in 2016 we are going to invest $20 in a Kickstarter project. On Saturdays, starting tomorrow January 9, we'll be reporting on the Kickstarter we back, and how the fund is going.

That gives us 52 Saturdays in 2016, so the fund is 52 x $20, or $1040. If a Kickstarter we back fails, we'll put that $20 into another project, allowing us to increase our pledges if we deem a project worthy.

Why are we doing this? We're in a new age of publishing. Kickstarter is sometimes self-published authors, but sometimes it's boutique publishers. Sometimes it's poets trying experiments, sometimes it's comic artists trying to use money to create space in their life to work. We are big fans of small independent publishing, and we wanted to find a way — even if it's modest — to support this scene.

We hope you follow along, and maybe inspire you to invest some money in projects that look interesting to you. Let us know if you do.

Here's some anticipated questions answered:

OMG, please cover my Kickstarter!

No guarantees, but please tell us about it. Email kickstarter at this domain. Please keep in mind we're only going to be backing projects related to publishing in some way. Projects unrelated to publishing will be ignored. But comics! We're into you! If you're not in the "publishing" category, you still count.

You'll be getting a ton of rewards!

We'll be backing at a non-reward level. We want all of the money to go to the creators.

What's your account on Kickstarter?

Does the project have to be from Seattle?

No, but it certainly helps if it is.

Are you just trying to pick winners?

No, we're trying to find projects we think are interesting, or doing worthwhile projects. Some of these will be popular projects, no doubt, but we hope to back lots of smaller projects as well, doing our part to bring attention to neat projects that may be flying under the radar. We're not scared to back projects that might fail, but of course, we hope the money goes to the creators.

What are you looking for?

A certain level of professionalism, a dedication to craft and experimentation, a spirit of artistic adventure, a bit of verve and daring is nice to see. We like projects that are likely to deliver if successful, and seeing a nicely prepared project is a good signal for that.

And, of course, we're looking to highlight projects that may not get much attention. Maybe the creator could use a little marketing boost. We hope that being on the site here will help, in some small way.

Only Kickstarter? Why not IndieGoGo?

We'll consider any crowdfunding project. Personally, we like that Kickstarter forces creators to reach a minimum before a successful funding. In fact, we think it's crucial to the success of projects. It helps creators focus more clearly, and learn to promote themselves more creatively, and it's a conceptual proving ground — after all, if you can't convince your audience your thing should exist, then there's a possibility that it shouldn't. But, we've seen some important, and interesting, projects on other sites, so although Kickstarter is our default, a good project on another platform is certainly eligible for consideration.

So tune in here tomorrow, and every Saturday, around 9am, and let's see if we can't explore some cool projects together.