If you have a book ready for publishing and the only thing holding you back is money, then Kickstarter might be a viable solution.
Kickstarter is an online vehicle for collecting funds over a short period of time for the benefit of a product.
The rules of Kickstarter are simple:
- Projects must create something to share with others.
- Projects must be honest and clearly presented.
- Projects can’t fundraise for charity, offer financial incentives, or involve prohibited items.
Your self-published book is a perfect fit. Just think of the times you’ve told friends and family that you are interested in getting your book published and they ask how they can help. Kickstarter is a great way for people to donate a small or large amount toward your ultimate goal of taking your book from an idea to something readers can hold in their hands!
It doesn’t cost anything to set up a project. However, you will need to be prepared with some information in order to completely create a project profile:
- An image to represent your project. If you don’t have a cover yet, select some image or art that will represent your book.
- An idea of how much you will be asking for. Kickstarter recommends the following:
- Your funding goal should be the minimum amount needed to complete the project and fulfill (and ship!) all rewards. Because funding is all-or-nothing, you can always raise more than your goal but never less. Once your project has launched, it will not be possible to change your funding goal.
- A brief description of your project – and I mean brief. There are only 135 characters available; the amount of about two sentences.
- A longer description of your project that will go on the Story page of your Kickstarter form.
- Information about you as the author and your goals for this project. Why are you collecting funds, why should someone donate to your project? It is one thing for friends and family to donate, but why should a total stranger want to help you achieve your goal.
- Awards – this is an optional incentive that you can offer people who donate. You can determine different levels of awards. Think of the PBS channel and their annual fundraising campaigns. They usually have different level gifts like a t-shirt when you donate $25, a DVD collection when you donate $50 and your first born child if your donate $100 or more. Wait – that might not be accurate. However, think of things you might be willing to award those who donate:
- An e-version of your book for donations of $10
- A signed paperback copy of your book for donations of $25
- Three signed copies of your paperback book for donations of $50
- You determine what makes the most sense for your project.
- A video. If you are so inclined, you can create a video and post it on your project page. Perhaps you will want to video a short message that you record directly into your computer. Or maybe you want to be a little cleverer and have a friend interview you about the book. Make it short, interesting and relevant.
You won’t be charged anything by Kickstarter unless you actually reach your financial goal and then their fees are as follows:
- If your project is successfully funded, the following fees will be collected from your funding total: Kickstarter’s 5% fee, and payment processing fees (between 3% and 5%). If funding isn’t successful, there are no fees.
How to Be Successful on Kickstarter
There are tons of articles and YouTube videos offering suggestions for how to be successful but it all boils down to this one thing:
You have to market the heck out of the fact that you have a Kickstarter campaign:
- Announce it on all of your social media accounts
- Give daily updates and reminders to visit the Kickstarter page
- Put it on the home page of your blog and website
- Ask friends to share the Kickstarter link
- Write and publish a press release about the campaign
- Send an email to all of your contacts – not just once, but once every week for the four weeks of your campaign with an update.
- Stop people on the street
- Make up inexpensive business cards that provide the Kickstarter link
A Kickstarter campaign only has a limited number of days –the recommended length of any project is 30 days. The immediacy of your end date should inspire people to donate as soon as you ask, but often people need to be asked multiple times before they actually pull out their credit card.
So tell them. Tell them again. Tell them you told them.
We have had Halo authors who have used Kickstarter successfully, most recently Miguel Coppedge, author of The Adventures of FireMan. His mom, Yolanda Coppedge, set up the account and successfully collected the money to publish his picture book.
Bottom Line: If you need to raise funds to promote, publish and produce your book, consider Kickstarter as a community vehicle to help gather the funds.