Kickstarter for Authors
A Kickstarter First: Selling space in books using Kickstarter for Authors!
By Lori Fettner
I am cursed to be a picture book author who can’t draw. My first two published books were for adults, but I always wanted to write children’s books, even when I was a child myself. I managed with my first two picture books by using photo images and some simple illustrations that my husband managed to put together. These have done well, particularly No Place Like Earth, which uses beautiful images from NASA. I’ve written a picture book about a child’s bad dreams. We’re talking dinosaurs, dragons, monsters. I need an illustrator! Use of Kickstarter for Authors is becoming more and more popular as a way to raise funds. But now I’ve done it!
I just wanted to jump in and say that this is a pretty awesome idea! I’m not sure about other authors, but I for one will be looking into Kickstarter for Authors when I plan out my next children’s book! ~ Ben Jackson co-author of the My Little Fart Series.
I’ve been a self-published author for a few years now and am just beginning to make a profit. It’s nice to see this upward spiral, but I’m not yet at the point where I can pay $1,000 plus for an illustrator and expect to make that back in the foreseeable future, especially when factoring in all the other usual fees I have…purchasing books, shipping costs, proofs. That’s why I decided to try Kickstarter.
If I was going to go through with asking others to help me pay for art, I was going to create some great rewards. I came up with the idea of treating my books like a playbill or construction project, and I’m giving contributors ad space in the book, much like a “buy a brick” campaign. For $54 an author can list their books, website, Facebook page, etc. on the acknowledgments page of my book. This will appear in every printing of the book forever. This being my fifth book, I have a nice following, and my books are in multiple brick and mortar stores, including Barnes and Noble. Even in cases where people don’t buy the book, they often flip through it, and your books may catch their eye. I’m still in the first week of this campaign, but indie authors seem interested. This offer is open to all authors (picture books are read by the adults, and adults read adult books,) and it’s open to all businesses. A local store with the same audience base (in my case a toy store or child’s clothing store, etc.) may be interested. For a lower contribution of $36, I’m offering parents (or gift givers) the opportunity to print a name on the acknowledgments page. As a kid, I would’ve loved to have my name printed in a book as having helped the author! A signed copy is one thing, but your name actually printed in every single copy, being acknowledged, that’s pretty cool!
So, the most unique advice I can offer to those considering Kickstarter for Authors is come up with something different, offer something great and then find people who would be interested in that reward. One friend told me people contribute to Kickstarter because they want to be part of helping someone reach their dreams. I would love for this to be true, but I’m more inclined to think people want to be rewarded for spending their hard-earned $$. And the greatest part for me is the opportunity to help others while they are helping me.
When people have asked me how to self-publish, I always say it’s very easy to upload your book to Amazon and have it be “published,” the difficult part as any self-published author knows is having people know it’s out there. I’ve found the same to be true of Kickstarter. The platform itself is easy to set up, but it’s what you put into the campaign that matters.
Other than rewards, a big decision is the goal. The goal I set is much lower than any others I’ve seen for books. The way I see it, I really want this project to happen. I set the goal at the minimum amount for it to be funded, and I can either hope to exceed the goal or am willing to pay the remainder out of pocket. You see, if you don’t reach your goal, all the money you’ve raised goes back to the contributors. You lose nothing, but you gain nothing either. If your goal is reached, people can keep contributing. So, the only downside to a low goal is the chance that people will stop contributing once the goal is reached.
Other things you’ll need to think about: an author bio that shows you know what you’re doing, an eye-catching cover image or even a video, and an audience. I began advertising my new project and my campaign weeks before I launched. I’ve been posting updates on my blog to show the progress from sketches to art, and have been writing other posts about bad dreams, the topic of the book.
A final decision is how long you want the campaign to run. Kickstarter says 30 days tends to be the most successful, so this is what I chose. So, if you are interested in the ad space in my book, or in any of the other rewards, the clock is ticking!
I am no expert, but feel free to reach out to me with any questions about Kickstarter or my campaign.
Thanks so much for taking the time to write this awesome guest post about how an author could use Kickstarter to help make their dream book a reality! Check out Lori Fettner, her books, and her Kickstarter project out on the links below! If you would like to write a guest post, just Contact Us At Indie Publishing Group!
Lori Fettner Author Kickstarter
Lori Fettner Author Facebook
Lori Fettner Author Amazon Author