Can Kevin Kelly Lead 1000 True Fans to the Afterlife?

on Wednesday, Jun. 27th

I’m a big fan of Wired co-founder Kevin Kelly’s “1000 True Fan” hypothesis. It has influenced a lot of my thinking in the past few years about what is possible and what is sustainable with creative endeavors. So it is heartening– and maybe a little scary– to see Kelly put his money where his mouth is.

He’s released the first book in his graphic novel series The Silver Cord– a sic-fi tale about androids and the afterlife– as a free read online. At a whopping 210 pages it’s a substantial piece of work. Yet if readers want to see the conclusion of the story, Kelly is asking them to contribute to a Kickstarter fund to produce the second half. The perks include physical copies of both books, digital editions and the like.

To run the math: if Kelly can get 1000 fans to kick down $40 a piece he’ll reach the projects goal of $40K. That works out to $20 a book for the two 210 page tomes. Not a bad margin even by current digital comic standards.

So far he’s only got 152 backers in play for this passion project, running in at just shy of $10K. Which means a lot of drama: can the godfather of arts crowdfunding drum up a community on the strength of free goods?

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