Finishing a conlang is a lot of work. So can fans provide an incentive to new language creators to finish it, say by pledging $ in return for a variety of prizes to be given to the fans?
The foundational documents in paper or ebook format- dictionary, reference grammar, canonical corpus.
Educational materials. Graded reader, workbooks, flash cards.
Educational services, like tutoring, classes, in person or online.
Artwork. (Posters with script)
Symbolic gestures– all the things that are not *really* related to fake languages, such as “your name on the list of contributors, a tote bag with the language name or logo.
Inclusion in the creation process: e.g. your name will be come an epoynm and it will mean “chunk style”
…. something else.
A reference grammar isn’t too exciting for fans. Fans, for the most part, are there for the community.
Scale- If you get 2 sales, that’s better than zero, but doesn’t cover your fix costs of doing anything. If you get 2 million sales, you probably don’t have access to the loans, staff and what not you need to actually fulfill what ever you were promising. There is some sweet spot for sales, above or below that and this kickstarter is just a headache.
Not actually providing any motivation. A successful kickstarter might promise $9000– enough to motivate someone to ship a few hundred copies of an already written book, not sure if it is enough to motivate me (as a language creator) to write a reference grammar, dictionary, invest the time to become competent in a new language, etc. This would lead to fans being upset about unmet promises.
Oh. Intrinsic rewards. I’m reading a book right now that implies that if money gets involved in an activity you used to like intrinsically, they you become less motivated, especially when the money goes away. I.e. a lot of people do this conlang thing for free. If we paid them, they would probably get a burst of energy while being paid, but after the money goes away, they would be less likely to continue to work on it. I wonder if this has any application to movie languages– did Okrand, Peterson or Frommer work less on their languages when between movies? The guy that did Loglan worked on it till he died– he hoped to make money on it, but AFAIK, never did. Maybe that accounts for the lifetime, intrinsic motivation.