Crowdfunding pioneer Spike Trotman is launches her own independently run campaign for The Poorcraft Cookbook – the first ever campaign of its kind.
Iron Circus’s website has already crashed under the traffic as news has spread of the move.
The announcement will come as no surprise to anyone following Spike’s Twitter as for weeks she had been strongly hinting at such a move for her Iron Circus publishing company. The move is a direct response to Kickstarter’s announcement that they are planning to move to a blockchain platform at some point in the future.
Trotman explained more of her thinking behind the venture in an interview with Forbes.
Iron Circus is already a Kickstarter superstar, crowdfunding nearly $2.5 million via more than 30 projects over the last 12 years. They were one of the first publishers to fully integrate crowdfunding into their business model. Iron Circus is also credited with pioneering the now widely-adopted bonus model in which creators share in the stretch goal profits, and kicking off the entire business model of alt-comics anthologies.
The first Iron Circus Kickstarter campaign was, fittingly enough, the first edition of Poorcraft. The campaign for The Poorcraft Cookbook campaign will be hosted on the Iron Circus Comics’ website.
As for the campaign itself: The Poorcraft Cookbook is a 200+ page collection of recipes, techniques, and buying tips from cartoonist Nero Villagallos O’Reilly. The original Poorcraft was a guide to how to live frugally (something of a necessity for those in the comics industry) and the cookbook will present an array of recipes that won’t strain budgets.
“The last two years have been eye-opening for me as a publisher and, after a dozen years of corporate crowdfunding, it was time to bring to bring Iron Circus’s DIY attitude to all aspects of our crowdfunding campaigns,” said Trotman in a statement. “The bottom line is there’s never been a better time to launch the first ever independently run Iron Circus Comics’ campaign. I don’t have to worry about being surprised by an announcement or a corporate initiative and we can be directly in touch with backers. Best of all, there’s a nice symmetry here, as the first Kickstarter campaign was for the first ever Poorcraft graphic novel and now the first proper Iron Circus Comics is for The Poorcraft Cookbook.”
Talking to Forbes, Trotman expanded on her issues with Kickstarters blockchain move, while stressing that the platform has been a great partner for her over the years, and she doesn’t begrudge anyone who stays on it.
I want to start off by saying that Kickstarter will always be what made Iron Circus. I bear no ill will to the site or the people who made the site what it is, but they recently made a decision to begin investigating blockchain. While it’s increasingly difficult to avoid interacting with that sort of thing online, regardless of the platform you use, I do not feel comfortable playing a part in directing literal dollars and actual funding towards that venture when there is very little clarity on how it will be implemented. I just don’t want to throw my support behind something I genuinely don’t understand the inspiration behind.
She also spoke for many who are seeking clarity on why Kickstarter would even make such a move:
Blockchain itself is morally neutral, it is a distributed database that that that does not have morality or immorality applied to it, but as it functions now, it is a solution in search of a problem. The doors it opens are not ones that would benefit the user base. If they had clearly explained all the reasons blockchain is going to make Kickstarter better for the user and better for the person who makes the campaigns, I would be singing a different tune.
“The Poorcraft Cookbook was created for anybody living on a budget who wants to learn more about cooking, recipe-building, and kitchen management without breaking the bank. Whether you’re still paying off your student loans, adjusting your family budget, or just cutting back; there’s tips and tricks for every wallet,” said O’Reilly, the Seattle, WA-based, indigenous Latine cartoonist who created the latest Poorcraft volume and who has been published by The Nib, Real Change, Fortuna Media, and Filthy Figments. “The Poorcraft Cookbook has cheap and delicious recipes including sancocho, one pot spaghetti, bean burgers, empanadas and ginger snap cookies. Plus the book features a fully-concealed spiral binding that will look great on your bookshelf and, more importantly, lay flat while you cook!”
“Iron Circus Comics has sold tens of thousands of copies of Poorcraft: The Comic Book Guide to Practical Urban and Suburban Frugality since our first Kickstarter,” said Trotman. “Now, the oft-requested third volume rounds out the Poorcraft series, following Ryan Estrada’s essential guide to traveling with a frugal budget, Poorcraft: Wish You Were Here. It’s impossible for me to think of a better title to spotlight, as we move from Kickstarter to our own independent Iron Circus crowdfunding.”
Trotman told Forbes that she knows the campaign will take a hit moving to a new platform but “we also have a lot of assets.”
The new Iron Circus solo crowdfunding platform is just the latest in a series of reactions in the comics space to Kickstarter’s very unpopular blockchain plans. TopatoGO, a new platform from Topatoco, was just announced last week. Zoop has been trying to scoop up more campaigns. And according to this article, there were already 21 crowdfunding platforms of various types.
In a response to the Forbes interview, a Kickstarter spokesperson pledged that the platform would be more transparent about its moves but it seems there will be more turmoil at Kickstarter as this continues.
Here’s more peeks at the insides of The Poorcraft Cookbook.