How Authors Use Kickstarter to Fund Their Books
In Renaissance times and during other eras it was common for artists, sculptors and other
creative people to recruit patrons and sponsors to fund their works so they could create masterpieces
without worrying about such trivial matters as making a living.
Today it also is important for creative people, such as writers, to recruit sponsors
and patrons - not to help make a living but to promote their latest book in need of a boost
to climb up the best-selling lists.
To take the greatest advantage of the technology of the 21st Century a tool some authors
are turning to is Kickstarter. Kickstarter is a virtual place where authors, musicians, app
developers, inventors and others go to recruit people to support their creative project.
Based in New York City's Lower East Side, Kickstarter is a for-profit company that exists
to support creative projects (for a 5% fee against the funds collected) because they believe
creative projects make for a better world. Since starting in 2009, five million people have
pledged $826 million to fund 50,000 creative projects.
Project creators joining Kickstarter set a funding goal and deadline and if people like
your project, they donate money to support it. An author can use the money for publishing or
distribution costs, to upgrade a better distributor, or to pay for the costs of the book promoter
hired to give your book the push it needs.
One great thing an author can do is to give a free digital copy of his⁄her book to anyone
making a contribution. This is a great way to promote your book by getting it into the hands
of committed readers interested in your writings.
Kickstarter has an all-or-nothing policy that states you must reach your goal before
receiving any money. But don't let that be a concern because even if you don't receive a penny
you have the opportunity of placing your book into the hands of a few dozen or few hundred
more readers and that's a good thing.
While many authors have benefited from Kickstarter, a lot of the campaigns flat out failed,
especially when the creative person tried to run their own campaign without first researching
what works or without professional assistance.
As a book publicist I have been involved on both sides of a Kickstarter campaign and
have seen firsthand how authors have used the platform to attain the funds needed to publish
and promote a book. In one case one of my author clients funded a campaign to launch his book
into outer space on a balloon. I kid you not!
I have not had a single author share with me that the efforts put into Kickstarter were not
worth their time. In fact, all of them gained from enrolling in Kickstarter in some form or another.
Author Andrew Peterson of Nashville, TN, used Kickstarter to recruit almost 1,300 supporters
who pledged some $72,000 to support his book The Warden and the Wolf King, the fourth and final
volume of the award winning Wingfeather Saga. The minimum bid for each supporter was $1.
When Peterson filed his project with Kickstarter his goal was to raise $14,000 to issue
his latest book as a high-quality paperback and to deliver an early pre-release digital copy
in time for Christmas sales. The author also promised supporters if he exceeded the goal of
$14,000 he would add more illustrations to the book, if he exceeded $25,000 the book would
be published in hardback, and if he exceeded $35,000 an audiobook version would be made available.
All goals were met and exceeded.
In a video presentation Peterson explained where he was at in writing his book and what
his hopes were before introducing the illustrator who would be used if $14,000-plus were raised.
Peterson told listeners he always wanted to publish hardback but could not afford to and added
that he would personally narrate an audio-version.