Goodbye self-publishing. Hello crowd-publishing!
Kickstarter has swept the tech and fundraising worlds with its innovative crowd-sourced funding model. And it turns out that authors—especially those who grasp the advantages of self-publishing—are quickly adapting the platform to launch their next eBook projects. Vook authors Kate Milford used it to fund The Kairos Mechanism, and Manoush Zomorodi used it to fund Camera Ready. The always inspiring Seth Godin—for whom we produced an enhanced version of Unleashing the SUPER Ideavirus—recently deployed Kickstarter to fund The Icarus Deception: Why Make Art? and raised $287,342!
Here's how authors can succeed with Kickstarter:
Incentivize backers with relevant rewards: free eBook downloads, signed print books, or an opportunity to meet the author depending on the dollar amount. Kate offered signed posters and “weird knick-knacks.” Manoush offered one-hour video consultations and exclusive cover editions.
“Have a plan and budget accordingly,” advises Kate, who recommends adding an extra 10% for the fees, and make sure you take into consideration the cost of paying out rewards.
Make a video for your profile. It drastically improves your chances that Kickstarter includes your book in their Publishing Staff Picks. Kate says that “it’s a way to talk directly and personally to your potential backers and a way for you to demonstrate to them that you're willing to do whatever work the project needs.”
Don’t be shy! Reach out to friends, family, fans, colleagues, and social media followers. Kate said that about 50% of funds came from people she knew. Take advantage of fellow authors and bloggers to spread the word.
Engage your audience from the beginning. It helps raise more funds and builds your audience for when you need to market your completed project (remember, building an audience is key). Manoush tells Vook, "it forced me to create a marketing plan since I didn't have a publisher to do it for me!" Plus, who knows what additional help you’ll get out of it! “Engaging the backers in discussion helped to make it feel like a group effort…People would send questions, suggestions, concerns—it was great,” says Kate.
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