Self-Publish With Kickstarter: How it Works

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Note: This article is part of a series on Book Printing for Kickstarter. See more on our Kickstarter mainpage.

Kickstarter makes it easy for you to sign up and walks you through the process of creating a project. While these simple steps are the same for all campaigns, there are a few particulars you’ll want to keep in mind for a Kickstarter book printing project.

Set a Realistic Funding Goal

“Realistic” does not just refer to setting a monetary goal you think you can actually meet, but also the amount that will actually cover the various costs of your project.  Keep in mind that if you don’t meet your goal, you don’t receive any money.

Carefully consider all costs associated with your project. In addition to obvious direct costs like book printing and Kickstarter fees, you also may incur indirect costs such as marketing, distribution, shipping and more.

Kickstarter fees are 5 percent or the total amount you raise, provided you meet your goal. If you do not meet the goal you don’t pay anything to the site.

When setting this goal, keep in mind that you can earn money beyond your goal if your campaign is successful. This has allowed many creators to print more books than originally planned and offer their backers even more (and/or better) rewards.

You’re a Writer: Don’t Scrimp on the Description

While it can be tempting to just include a one-paragraph synopsis of your book for the description section of your new Kickstarter page, you’re most likely going to need to do a little more for a project to be successful.

Think of this way: if you’re a relatively unknown writer, you’ve got just the small description space on your Kickstarter project page to convince strangers why they should give you their money.

Find something that makes your book – or you – stand out and focus on that to gather attention to your project. If you don’t, you risk fading into Kickstarter obscurity.

Making a Video May Be More Important Than You Think

Many products on Kickstarter need to be seen in action to generate interest, and the optional video is a must for these projects. But the advantage of using video to support book projects can be less obvious.

Creating a video gives you yet another outlet to describe what distinguishes you and your book. When it comes down to it, all you are doing is asking people for money. A video gives you a chance to convince them why they should give their money to your project.

Need more encouragement to get in front of the camera? Kickstarter reports that projects with videos have a much higher success rate (50 percent) than those without videos (30 percent).

So get creative. Show your audience why you are unique and why your project deserves to be funded – why your book deserves to get made.

Don’t Set It and Forget It

Writing great descriptions and producing intriguing video is essentially meaningless if no one is on your project site to see them. So you’ll want to begin your marketing strategy well before you launch your project. And once your project is up and running, it’s time for you to go into full-on marketing mode.

One of the biggest marketing tools you have available today is social media, which is one of the best ways to advertise any project. Best of all, it costs nothing but your time.

While you should not be afraid of shameless self-promotion on your social networks, keep in mind that the ultimate goal is always to generate interest. Sending a ton of uninspired, uninteresting notes hawking your product will likely turn people away instead of bringing them in.

Other types of marketing you’ll undertake depend on you and your project. Just remember to present your message to your target audience, wherever that target audience may be.