Kickstarter is the favorite crowdfunding site for authors. It’s been around a few years, raising millions of dollars for writers seeking to defray costs for printing, promoting, and marketing. A good source for learning how to use Kickstarter would be www.kickstarter.com and another useful tool is Kickstarter for Dummies. I read the latter recently and am happy to share with you the basics of how to get started, run a successful campaign, and use the seed money to grow your publishing empire!
“Successful publishing campaigns on Kickstarter raised nearly $22 million in 2014,.” according to Publishers Weekly. Not all listed projects were successful. In fact, 72% of the 7050 campaigns launched failed to secure the goal for funding, which meant no money was received by the campaigner. Still, over 2000 projects were successful, raising on average, $10,000 per campaign.
So how does it all work?
First, understand that if you don’t raise the amount you set as a goal, within a prescribed period of time, you receive nothing. That’s right, if you raised $8,500 but your goal was $11,000, you walk away penniless.
Second, Kickstarter only makes money when you do. It’ll take a cut of about 5% - and tack on around 3% for credit card transaction costs. So keep that in mind when figuring out how much you really need.
Third, you can promote your Kickstarter campaign to others – friends, family, media – so they can help you raise funds.
Fourth, keep in mind Kickstarter funds projects, like books, but not a cause or charity fundraiser. If you aren’t sure what your campaign falls under, consult www.kickstarter.com/help/guidelines.
Fifth, your campaign consists of nine key areas:
a) Defining your project
b) Creating rewards for donors
c) Setting an achievable goal
d) Making and posting a video
e) Building your project
f) Promoting and marketing your project
g) Issuing updates on your progress
h) Fulfilling the rewards to donors once your goal is met
Sixth, come up with a catchy name for your project – one that is memorable, easy to spell/say, and something that could be searchable. For instance, someone may want to support books about dogs or health and when they search Kickstarter for such a word or term, your campaign should come up.
Seventh, though you only get 135 characters – shorter than a Tweet – to describe your project, you must be crafty and strategic in your word usage. You need to say what it is – and express it in a way that you differentiate yourself from others.
Eighth, utilize multi-media to support your campaign. There’s an area for you to add photos, audio, and videos. Keep these clips short. Use these images and sounds to make people feel at ease with you. They can’t meet you in person, but they can sense if you’re someone they like, trust, or find interesting by listening to and viewing you.
Ninth, spy on competing campaigns. See what they offer and how they present themselves. Learn from what you think are the do’s and don’ts. All projects are listed on the site.
Tenth, you need to do a good job of describing, with passion and vision, what you need money for and why the book is so important or interesting. Friends and family will give to you just because they love and know you, but you need to convince strangers they need to invest in you.
Eleventh, the rewards offered could act as an incentive to give for some. You can have different price points for rewards. For those who give $5 or less, they may get a thank you on your website. For a $10-$20 donation, they could get a free resource that you can email to them. For $21-$30 they get a printed book. For more money, they get multiple book copies, signed copies, or access to other vents or resources. For even bigger amounts, you can offer gifts from other people. Maybe you can offer a friend's ebook or another’s audio book. Or access to a seminar. Maybe you can get a company to offer special coupons or gifts, giving itself free advertising and you a gift of value.
Twelfth, you can advertise your campaign on FB or with Google Adwords or your blog. Like promoting a book, promoting the fundraising campaign requires an all-out effort. Good luck – and be sure to spend some of those funds that you raise on book publicity!
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Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at email@example.com. He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2015
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