Kickstarter has been a boon to Cloudscape’s publishing wing. Since 2014, Cloudscape has published eleven books in ten separate Kickstarter campaigns, raising a total of $154,441 Canadian* over those five years from generous supporters of our work. Three of those campaigns have been in the last year alone (raising $44,017), and we’ve got one more campaign we plan to run in 2019. All of which puts us in a difficult spot when the management at Kickstarter has recently announced that they are dead set against the efforts their employees have been making to organize a union, including the apparently unwarranted firing of union organizers. None of the success Cloudscape has had with the Kickstarter website would have been possible without the hard-working, professional employees who work there. It is honestly the most user-responsive site I’ve ever used. The Cloudscape board fully supports those workers in their unionizing efforts, and calls on the management at Kickstarter to voluntarily recognize the nascent Kickstarter union.
As of this writing, the workers have not asked either creators or users to boycott using Kickstarter. Cloudscape will carry forward with our planned projects both this year and next (we have at least two projects in the works already for 2020). A petition has been circulated for creators to sign, expressing solidarity with the workers. I will be signing it on behalf of Cloudscape and I encourage our members and readers, if you have ever run a Kickstarter campaign, to do the same. Kickstarter management has set up an email to “welcome your feedback” at email@example.com and I will be using that as well.
That said, we will be following the news as it develops, and in the event that the workers DO call for job action that involves creators who use the site, we will be respecting their wishes. Cloudscape does not cross picket lines. We have existed as an organization longer than Kickstarter, and managed to raise the money to print seven books before the site was available to Canadians. We have successfully received publishing grants in the past and have an extensive network of followers. Kickstarter is a fantastic service to have at the disposal of a small press publisher, and we hope to keep using it uninterrupted for the forseeable future. But our access to the service is not more important than the well-being of the people who built and maintain it.
Jonathon Dalton, president of the Cloudscape Comics Society
*-For those keeping track, that means Kickstarter has made approximately $7,700 from our use of the site.