Recently, I had the pleasure of working with Samita Sarkar, on the topic of crowdfunding to self-publish a book. Since she was the one writing the article, I didn’t know what quotes she would use from me versus other people who also had experience in crowdfunding, so it was interesting to see the end result.
In her article, “Crowdfunding Your Self-Published Book? Here Are 3 Things You Need to Know” the latest Kickstarter stats show that over out of 349,504 campaigns, just 123,447 succeeded – a 35% success rate. Some 14% of projects finish without receiving a single pledge.
In the three tips listed, lessons learned includes preparing a lot of videos and illustrations prior to the campaign start, then using social media a lot for the duration of the campaign. I talk about how I’ve mastered more software skills – quite frankly, this is because some people that I’ve hired in the past weren’t that great. Sometimes you just have to roll up your sleeves and do things yourself!
With Kickstarter campaigns there is always a risk that it will fail. But obviously I believe this is a risk worth taking as I’m slowly becoming a serial Kickstarter campaign runner! At dinner tonight I warned my friends that I will be emailing them once again to ask for support for the Trump anthology. There was a lot of moaning about how they were tired of Trump, but they were intrigued anyways! (or so I think)
It’s been about two weeks since the Kickstarter ended and I still haven’t recovered. In hindsight, doing National Novel Writing month at the same time was not a good idea as combining the two took up way too much energy!
I learned that a campaign was actually a 3 phase thing: beginning, middle and end. During each phase, I worked madly to build and keep up momentum of the campaign going. It’s a really hard thing to do as you will find out that lots of people really don’t give a crap and will tell you to your face. So you learn to develop a thick skin because for every nice person, there is also a super nasty one who will hate you because you are in front of their faces.
Lessons learned, tips and resources were written into an article called “Tips for Running a Crowd Funding Campaign” and submitted to a site called “Authors Helping Authors“. Lots of excellent resources here for people who are interested in writing and publishing!
A book as a product is more difficult to sell on Kickstarter. Innovative thing-a-ma-bobs are easier to sell because they are quirky and general. Books are aimed mainly at readers and there are so many of them listed under publishing that it is mind boggling. I could barely find my own kickstarter campaign when it was running under the category of “publishing” and had better luck looking for it under “Toronto” projects.
Will I run another Kickstarter in the future? Well, it depends on how well the book sells in general. People that have a lot of readers and press tend to do very well with their Kickstarter projects. Also, for a third or fourth book, authors tend to give the first two away, which makes better incentives as well. I should never, say never to anything, as I might become involved in other projects. Who knows what the future will bring?!