Kickstarter (Photo credit: Scott Beale)
I figured I should type this up since I may be asked to give a talk on it at next year’s EPICon Conference in San Antonio, Texas. Hopefully this post will help those of you interested in creating a successful crowd-sourced funding drive. One of the most common places to do this is on Kickstarter (Sample Link provided), but other commonly used sites are Indiegogo, or GoFundMe. There are many others, but Kickstarter is currently one of the largest.
So what do you need to know before starting out on Kickstarter? First, know the rules. You are not getting free money, and you are not guaranteed success. Just like you have to market your novel, product, business, etc, you also have to market your Kickstarter. Kickstarter is great for novels because you have something tangible to offer people when completed. Kickstarter funds can be used to help cut the cost of certain parts of the publishing process for self-published authors, or to provide additional monies for marketing, development, etc for both self-pub and small pub authors.
Before you start a Kickstarter Campaign, it is critical to do your research.
Look at other, successfully funded books on Kickstarter. What do they do? I can point out a few signs that generally signal a kickstarter will be successful.
- They have a video OR incredibly gorgeous artwork at the top of the page.
- They have a wide variety of rewards, including those starting at just $5.
- They consistently provide updates and check/reply to comments posted by people.
- They promote their kickstarter to friends, family, twitter/facebook followers, on goodreads, etc.
- They don’t ask for too much in the beginning.
“But Daniel, my book cost me about 2k to edit! Shouldn’t I ask for all of that?”
Sure, if you want to fail right away and get nothing. (This may not be true as you will soon see). For self-pub authors, smaller amounts are better, especially if you are a debut author. For my first novel, I was truly blessed because my aunt helped out. A lot. But by the time I ran my second one, I had both followers, supporters, and fans who I could turn to. This is the caveat I wrote about earlier. IF you have a wide backing of support, including people clamoring for your next novel (Not one person, but many), then you can get away with asking for slightly more. I would say the best range to stay in is the 1k-2k range.
Creating a great title is important too. That’s what people will see first and what will grab them. Brass Legionnaire doesn’t tell people anything about what I’m doing. Copper Centurion – the 2nd Roman Steampunk Adventure does tell people what I’m doing.
Finally, justify your costs. What will the money provide? I described how I originally wanted to fund the novel with just my own money, but wanted kickstarter funds to make it better. I shared how I wanted more maps, more artwork, and additional promotional materials. And people understood.
I’ll end there for today. Hope to bring more to you very soon this week!
By the way, just to let you all know, I’ve finished Roma Aeronautica. Now I suppose it is time to start typing Iron Tribune!