Kickstarter for Authors: How to Crowdfund a Book

books displayed on a table

Estimated reading time: 6 minutes

A successful crowdfunding campaign allows authors, businesses, artists, creators, charities, and others to raise money for specific projects. Individuals and organizations can donate to projects via crowdfunding platforms like Kickstarter in return for rewards, recognition, and the satisfaction of supporting a cause or endeavor they feel strongly about. Here, we’ll discuss how to crowdfund a book and the intricacies behind a crowd funding campaign.

Crowdfunding for books is a great book publishing option for authors and publishers with an engaged fan base anticipating a new book release. A successful campaign in a crowdfunding platform is usually short, specific, and launched with an exciting video highlighting your book publishing project.

You’ll also want to spell out why your project matters, why your readers will love it, and what they can expect after they contribute to your book’s crowdfunding campaign.

Does crowdfunding books work?

There are plenty of success stories when it comes to books launched via crowdfunding campaigns, and BookBaby makes it easy to print and deliver your crowdfunded short story or books, short story collection, poems, et. al. to your Kickstarter contributors. Contact our publishing support team as you plan your book’s crowdfunding campaign so we can help you establish your project details — including book specs and pricing — so you can make an informed decision about your fundraising goals and position your project for success!

Authors and publishers raise money and interest ahead of their book release with a campaign page in their crowdfunding platform of choice that includes different rewards for various contribution levels (here’s one from a BookBaby author).

Kickstarter for authors

You might set up your Kickstarter contributor reward tiers like this for an interested reader:

  • Contribute $25: Receive one book copy.
  • Contribute $50: Receive one book copy PLUS a special 11″ x 17″ poster.
  • Contribute $100: Receive two book copies, two special 11″ x17″ posters, PLUS six limited-edition bookmarks.
  • Contribute $500: Receive three book copies, three special 11″ x17″ posters, a dozen limited-edition bookmarks, PLUS a special thank you in the book credits.

Once your Kickstarter campaign is over and your book project is fully funded, collect your funds and work with BookBaby to print your books and posters for your contributors.

Not every Kickstarter project raises tens of thousands of dollars, or even needs to. Many first-time authors will seek to raise a smaller amount of money — like $2,000 or $3,000 — from their closest friends, families, community members, and business associations. In these cases, you can keep your rewards simple and just focus on one or two contributor levels.

For example:

  • Contribute $25: Receive a signed book copy and a bookmark.
  • Contribute $50 or more: Receive a signed book copy, a bookmark, PLUS a personal note from you thanking them for their generosity.

Kickstarter for cookbook authors, photographers, and more

kickstarter for authors cookbookThere’s no limit to what type of book projects can raise money with Kickstarter. Successful projects can come from any genre, including everything from photo books and cookbooks to novels and memoirs. Kickstarter is a crowdfunding option that all authors and publishers should consider to help bring their book projects to life.

Kickstarter for business

kickstarter for authors business bookMany startups use Kickstarter to get their businesses off the ground, and many of these projects will include a book about their products or will commemorate the process of developing their new products as part of their contributor rewards.

Photo journals are also a popular reward for business contributors. Perhaps you’re using Kickstarter to crowdfund your new restaurant or food truck. You might create a special cookbook for your contributors and for sale at your place of business. The possibilities are endless!

If you’re struggling to think of an idea, contact our publishing support team and we’ll help you develop a commemorative book that your contributors will love.

What you need to know about a Kickstarter book project

Crowdfunding platforms like Kickstarter offer authors, artists, and creators a way to minimize financial risk by raising funds and gauging market viability for their creative projects.

1. Most of the work of crowdfunding happens pre-campaign

By the time you launch your crowdfunding campaign, you should have already built your network and developed a clear and proactive marketing strategy. One way to do this is to develop a week-by-week plan prior to the launch of your campaign. You can’t expect to throw your book up on a crowdfunding site, sit back, and have people financially back you. Networking and planning are keys to crowdfunding success.

2. Know your costs

If you want to fund a full-scale book publish — complete with book printing, eBooks, and audiobooks — you will to need to raise more than an author who just wants to sell eBooks on Amazon. In addition to thoroughly researching the costs involved with designing, editing, and publishing a book, it’s important to take the costs of producing (and shipping) your rewards into account when creating your funding goal.

3. Make it simple for people to support you

Whether it’s a personalized email or outreach via social media, include the link to your crowdfunding campaign page so your audience can easily find your campaign and support you. When reaching out to people in your network, ask them to spread the word about your campaign. Make it as easy as possible and provide them with an email they can copy and paste and send to their own network. The easier you make it for people to help you, the more likely they will.

4. Maintain personal contact with your supporters

When reaching out to your network, the more personal you are, the better. People appreciate a personal message as opposed to a general email blast. The more connected people feel to you as the author, the more likely they will be to support your efforts. Also, once someone supports you, don’t forget about them. Keep your supporters updated throughout the entire crowdfunding and publishing process.

5. Know your audience and find them

Your book has a target audience that will be more likely to support your efforts. Knowing your audience is key, but seeking them out is essential.

The key ingredient to running a successful crowdfunding campaign is taking the time and putting in the effort. You are your own advocate when it comes to crowdfunding, so plan, network, execute, and don’t be shy. Like any other marketing and promotional effort, crowdfunding takes planning and effort, but when successful, the results can launch your career.




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