How to Crowdfund a Book on Kickstarter

Kickstarter is used by a wide range of entrepreneurs looking to design, build, and sell innovative products that require upfront funding. Many of the most popular Kickstarter products to date have been technology related, such as ways to improve the iPad experience with a keyboard, or a watch connects to your smartphone, alerting you of incoming calls, emails, and messages. (Notably, Pebble amassed the most Kickstarter funds ever with over $10 million raised.) Other Kickstarter projects include raising funds for a fashion, music and art project. The application process is easy and quick, and most campaigns are approved within 24 hours.

This process has inspired several writers to use the platform to fund their own self-publication efforts. Ken Chapman, co-founder of League Entertainment, co-author the sci-fi thriller, Simon Vector under the penname Jak Holding, used Kickstarter to cover the costs of “about 95% of the total development of Simon Vector and accompanying eNovellas, from copyediting to publishing.”

Jon Singer, author of Driven: A Father’s Unrelenting Crusade To Help His Daughter and Help Change the World, is another writer who has  successfully funded a book on Kickstarter. Singer raised over $18,000 on Kickstarter in just 34 days.

Chapman and Singer both point to several key strategies they implemented that helped them achieve success with Kickstarter.

Use Social Media To Promote Your Campaign

Chapman advises that those who use Kickstarter need be “prepared to utilize social media, to include Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Digg and others to reach as many people as you can.” He added that “99% of all successful campaigns follow the same course: During the first third of your campaign, most, if not all pledges will come from your network. The middle third of your campaign will be tumbleweeds, but you must continue promoting it every single day. The last third of your campaign will consist of pledgers who are outside of your network, who either saw it in a blog post or news story, or are regular pledgers on Kickstarter and came across your project on the Kickstarter site.”

Make a Video

Additionally, both Chapman and Singer are strong proponents of creating video as part of a Kickstarter campaign. For his project, Singer made a concerted effort to get on the Daily Show, which created some great visual content for people to share. Chapman also added that “we chose not to (make videos), which I believe made our work more difficult.”

Offer Rewards

One of the keys to a successful Kickstarter campaign is offering rewards to those who back your project. Singer says one of his other mistakes was making his rewards too expensive to obtain, and instead advises others considering Kickstarter to offer more rewards at lower levels, which he thinks would have actually attracted more backers.

If you decide to use Kickstarter to fund your self-published book, you don’t necessarily need to start writing it before your Kickstarter campaign is complete. However, be sure you can deliver your book if your campaign is in fact successful. We can only imagine how unhappy your backers – and Kickstarter – will be with you if you flake after receiving your funds.

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