Since it’s been a while since I’ve done an analysis of Kickstarter-funded anthologies (aka back before I started this blog), I decided it was time for a new one. If life permits, I will try to make this an annual analysis.
This post is long and very stats-heavy, because these are the kinds of questions and data I would want to have on hand if I were looking at starting a Kickstarter campaign to fund a genre fiction anthology. I plan to do a shorter follow-up post that will be more focused on anthology topics and genres at a later time.
I hope you find this helpful. If you have questions or comments (or requests for additional types of analysis of this data), please let me know, and I will try to address them in future posts! If you have similar analyses you’d like to see, tell me!
SAMPLING DATES: 1 July 2019 – 1 July 2020
I decided to examine all successfully funded Kickstarter anthology projects that launched on or after 1 July 2019 and ended by or on 1 July 2020. I define “successfully funded” as a Kickstarter campaign that hits or surpasses its goal funding amount during the campaign’s active dates.
Please keep in mind that the COVID-19 pandemic spread in the beginning of 2020 probably skews some of this information–I know of at least one single-anthology genre fiction Kickstarter campaign that opted to cancel and try again later, once the pandemic is stabilized or under control, rather than risk failing.
Most successful genre fiction anthology Kickstarter campaigns raised roughly $8,000, had about 290 backers, and raised over 280% of their goal funding. The majority of these campaigns were for single anthologies, but a couple were intended to fund 2 or 3 anthologies.
Almost 60% of these campaigns were designated “Project We Love” by Kickstarter, and a little over half of them provided at least ballpark figures for the number of stories they would contain.
Tuesday still seems to be the day successful anthology Kickstarter campaigns most frequently start on, and these campaigns usually run for about a month.
A word to the wise: Don’t start your anthology Kickstarter campaign during the December/January holiday season!
I looked through all projects in Kickstarter that were tagged “publishing”, “anthology”, and “successful” and sorted them by “End Date”. Then I started opening campaigns one by one until I realized I was going past my date range for this analysis.
As I read through the campaigns, I narrowed my focus to just those campaigns that were multi-author anthologies of fiction stories. I elected not to include anthologies of art/comics/graphic novels, because although I love comic anthologies, their production costs are different from a simple print anthology with little-to-no internal illustrations. I also tried not include Kickstarter campaigns intended to just pay for part of production (i.e., just paying an editor or graphic designer or other production team member).
I decided to focus on campaigns that explicitly indicated the anthologies were speculative or genre fiction (science fiction, fantasy, horror, romance, mystery, magical realism, etc.). This only eliminated a couple examples from my sample pool, as genre fiction seems to be the majority of multi-author fiction anthology projects on Kickstarter. I did not consider creative nonfiction or other nonfiction anthologies.
For the purposes of easy number-crunching, I converted all campaign goal and final funding amounts from their original currencies to USD using exchange rates as of 12 July 2020. All amounts cited in this post are in USD.
The methodology detailed above left me with 26 different campaigns to review. Of that number, 3 campaigns were to fund more than one anthology, and 1 additional campaign received some outside grant money prior to its launch.
Campaigns that raised the most money:
1. Silk and Steel ($54,372 raised)
2. Zombies Need Brains’s campaign for 3 anthologies ($26,272 raised)
3. A Secret Guide to Fighting Elder Gods ($13,221 raised)
4. Love After the End ($11,750 raised)
5. The Shapers of Worlds ($11,750 raised)
Campaigns with highest success rate (goal amount vs. funding raised):
1. Sherlock Holmes and the Great Detectives (1180% of goal raised)
2. Silk and Steel (907% of goal raised)
3. A Secret Guide to Fighting Elder Gods (661% of goal raised)
4. Sherlock Holmes: Adventures in the Realms of Edgar Allan Poe (583% of goal raised)
5. Love After the End (399% of goal raised)
Campaigns with the most backers:
1. Silk and Steel (1,757 backers)
2. Zombies Need Brains’s campaign for 3 anthologies (680 backers)
3. A Secret Guide to Fighting Elder Gods (612 backers)
4. Love After the End (569 backers)
5. Where The Veil Is Thin (552 backers)
- The average success rate of all 26 campaigns was raising 283% of their goal funding. The average success rate for single-anthology campaigns was raising 287% of their goal funding.
- The average amount raised by all 26 campaigns was $8,460. The average amount raised by single-anthology campaigns was $7,971.
- The average goal amount for all 26 campaigns was $4,126. The average goal amount for single-anthology campaigns was $3,438.
- The average number of backers for all 26 campaigns was 292 backers. The average number of backers for single-anthology campaigns was 289 backers.
- The average campaign length for all 26 campaigns was 30 days. The shortest campaign length was 16 days, and the longest was 48 days.
- 58% (15 of the 26) campaigns received Kickstarter’s “Project We Love” status.
- 54% (14 of 26) campaigns specified the number of stories they would include in their anthologies or gave ballpark figures. The average number of stories (from those that specified or ballparked it) was a little over 16 stories per anthology. The minimum quantity of stories per anthology was 10, and the maximum was 34. The majority/median quantity of stories was above 10 but less than 15.
- 27% (7 of 26) campaigns were in currencies other than USD: 3 in Canadian Dollars, 2 in British Pounds Sterling, 1 in Australian Dollars, and 1 in Euros.
Fun Correlations and Tidbits:
- The most popular months to start successful anthology campaigns were September 2019 (6 campaigns), October 2019 (4 campaigns), and February 2020 (4 campaigns). NOTE: Based on this sample pool, I would advise against starting a campaign in December or January, as 0 genre fiction anthology campaigns started during either month were successful. I think this is because your target audiences are busy with holiday-related events and vacations.
- The most popular day of the week to start a successful anthology campaign was Tuesday (9 campaigns)! NOTE: This is consistent with the research into successful anthology campaigns I did several years ago. The runner-ups were Monday (5 campaigns) as well as Wednesday and Friday (4 campaigns each).
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