Kisckstarter can help you drive pre-sales and awareness for your book project if you do it right. According to Kickstarter, just a little over 30 percent of publishing projects get funded on their platform, so there are definitely right ways and wrong ways to crowdfund a book project. I always thought of Kickstarter as something only appropriate for selling gadgets and other consumer devices, but my eyes were opened when a friend decided to use Indiegogo for her new film, and another friend had a successful Kickstater for his book project. I was like, "Wow! You can do that?"
I discussed the idea of a Kickstarer with my book publicist. Based on her experience, she was skeptical, but fine with me proceeding. She told me, "Don't be disappointed if it doesn't do much."
I did a lot of research about what has worked for others in crowdfunding campaigns. There were some good general tips on the web, but not much specific on book or publishing projects. As such, I've created this list of seven keys to a successful Kickstarter for a book based on my own experience.
1. Do the Pre-Work
One of the keys is to get early momentum, which is difficult, if not impossible, without planning and work prior to the launch of your campaign. Just like any product launch, you need to develop your product positioning, and have a deep understanding of how your book will positively impact your audience. Communicate to your audience that you are launching a Kickstarter.
2. Work Your Network via Email, Phone, and LinkedIn
I segmented my business email list into two groups: Groups A and B. My A-List are people that I know well, who know me well, and whom I thought would be my biggest supporters in a project like this. I made a personal email outreach or phone call to each of these people. My B-List was of everyone else on my email list. I contacted these people with a general broadcast email letting them know about the book and the target audience to solicit their support of the Kickstarter campaign. In addition to my business email list, my LinkedIn contacts were a great source of supporters of the project.
3. Set the Right Goals
My goal was to raise more than $5,000 over a 30-day campaign. Based on everything that I read, you shouldn't run a campaign much longer than 30 days, and you should set a funding goal that is achievable within the first half of the campaign. Why is that? It is important to establish momentum against the goal, and with Kickstarter, if you don't reach the funding goal, then no one gets the award packages.
4. Create a High Quality Video and Kickstarter Page
Spend some time on creating a video script, and don't just be a talking head. Keep the video focused on your audience and the value to them. On your Kickstarter page give some thought to the names and contribution levels for your packages. I used this as a vehicle for promoting my consulting and video services, and offered them at deep discounts. I also had a landing page that connected directly to my Kickstater page.
5. Use Your Social Media Channels to Generate Awareness
Make it easy for your friends and supporters to share on social media. I created a support page with some sample Tweets, Facebook posts, and LinkedIn posts. On the page, I had some images that my network could use on social media that were sized properly and the right resolution for the various social media channels.
6. Work Everyday of the Campaign on Doing Outreach
During the 30 days of the campaign, I spent at least a couple of hours every day promoting my Kickstarter. I did outreach via email, LinkedIn, Facebook, phone calls, texts, Facebook Live, and Kickstarter Live.
7. Give Regular Updates and Stay Enthusiastic and Optimistic
I sent out regular updates via Kickstarter to my supporters, and a few blast emails updating my followers and newsletter subscribers. Expect that you might get a small percentage of people that unsubscribe. If it isn't massive, don't worry about it. Be bold, and focus on adding value to your audience. Be gracious and express your gratitude for any level of support. Don't complain, and don't get hurt or frustrated with rejection or negativity; it probably has nothing to do with you. People are busy and stressed.
In the Kickstarter, I raised $12,000, 240 percent of my goal, from 120 people in 10 countries. The Kickstarter campaign generated a lot of awareness about my book, and I developed some new client relationships and partnerships. Overall, it was a tremendous experience. It helped me with the positioning of my book, generating awareness, and creating new business.