Sue Burke (mount_oregano) wrote,
Sue Burke

Crowdfunding: the good, the bad, and the ugly

I’m part of the team organizing a crowdfunding campaign to pay for the translation of a science fiction anthology, Castles in Spain / Castillos en el aire, from Spanish to English. (You can see it here. Please donate and help spread the word.)

It launched on January 19. I’ve already learned some important lessons.


We’ve received a lot of help and interest, and contributions have been sent from the United States, Spain, United Kingdom, Germany, Netherlands, United Arab Emirates, Finland, and Croatia. More than 2449 people have looked at the page from all over the world, including Indonesia, Egypt, and Korea. Facebook and direct email have brought in most of the donations, and mentions on websites have helped, too.

Still, a lot more people are looking than giving. Advice from Indiegogo and Kickstarter says that people hesitate to give until the campaign looks like it will succeed. We’re up to 38% now after two weeks, so it’s looking good.


Relatively few people have heard about us in the English-speaking world. Language is a barrier. Although our authors are well known in Spain, who’s heard of them in the US? And since most donations come from direct solicitations, and few of them know anyone in the US, they can’t rely on mailing lists or wide-branching English-language friend networks. Science fiction has fans worldwide, but fans can’t necessarily talk to each other.

Physical barriers limit the campaign, too. I’d have preferred to use Kickstarter, but it doesn’t operate in Spain. In any case, moving money from one country to another involves extra fees that eat into the net result. International postage costs are high, too, which limit the kinds of gifts we can send to donors at different giving levels.

It would be a lot easier to run an in-country campaign, but then we wouldn’t need to translate the anthology, would we? Countries really are isolated from each other, no matter how much we wish they weren’t.


Spam! Within the first three days, we received sixteen comments like this:

Can We help you with your campaign?
We can share your campaign on facebook with 27000+ active users,friends and fans of crowdfunding campaigns from many countries.Spread the word about your thing.
It will help your campaign get more views and potential backers,get a better position here.Raise your gogofactor.
If people dont know about it,they cant contribute.
We will also give you few tips how to be successful.
Over 200 satisfied customers,see the reviews.

Someone who writes like that can hardly help us with our “thing.” Spam comments get promptly terminated with extreme prejudice.

Meanwhile, I have barriers to overcome.

— Sue Burke

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