kick starter

Using Kick Starter to Fund Your Next Book

Salmaan Ahmad

Salmaan Ahmad

May 4, 2023

Have you always wanted to publish a book but knew you needed funding to bring the project to print? Then a Kick Starter campaign might be a solution for you to consider.

Creative projects like writing a book, making a movie, or even game development are all typical projects that have utilized the Kick Starter platform to get the word out about an upcoming project with an appeal to financial backers to help provide the necessary funds to complete the project. This unique method of seeking backing for bringing a book to print is gaining popularity and might be something you should consider to help pay for the publishing costs of your next book.

How a Kick Start Campaign Works

While many people have heard of sites like GoFundMe, Kick Starter takes a different approach to facilitate appeals to secure financial backing for a project like writing a book. The primary focus of the business is to connect those with established and defined creative projects with people who want to fund them instead of offering funding opportunities to anyone who needs money.

This initial requirement means that the site is tailored to support the creative community, and will bring credibility to an author who chooses to use it. Additionally, unlike other funding sites, projects must meet the Kick Starter projected funding goal (or exceed it) to receive the money.

This all-or-nothing approach is unique to Kick Starter campaigns, encouraging campaign creators to be realistic in their calculations as well as be ardent supporters of their campaigns to engage contributors within 60 days of kicking off the campaign.

But these two basic tenets of developing a Kick Starter campaign are typically a benefit of working with this company for writers since their project – a book – is likely already well-defined and their funding needs can be concretely established by requesting a print estimate from their printing partner.

Additional Kick Starter Rules

This platform has four other expectations for campaigns they run that must be met or the creator risks losing the jumpstart to their funds for the project.

  • Shareable: All projects that are proposed must be something that will ultimately be shareable with others and not made or created for a private purpose. Books that will be sold commercially qualify as shareable.
  • Non-charitable: The funding resulting from a Kick Starter campaign must go directly toward the project and not be earmarked for a charitable cause.
  • Transparent: Creators must be fully transparent in their descriptions of the project and how the money raised will be used.
  • Non-equity: Projects can not be funded on a promise that donors will be given a portion of the project, its ownership, or its value in return for a donation.

Creating Your Kick Starter Campaign

Authors can kick off their Kick Starter campaign with a few basic steps that will help them to run a successful appeal for funding to friends, family, acquaintances, and anyone who wants to fund creative projects by reviewing the Kick Starter website list.

Define Your Project

The first step for a Kick Starter campaign is to clarify exactly what your project is. Writers will want to develop a concise description of their book and what it will take to finalize it so it can be sent to the printer. This plan should also include any anticipated steps like engaging a professional editor or cover designer to transform the book concept into a final draft, ready for printing.

Set a Fundraising Goal for Your Kick Starter Campaign

Next, authors should lay out exactly what the project will cost. This budget will be the basis for determining the fundraising goal that you will set for the project. Since Kick Starter campaigns are all-or-nothing, meaning if your campaign doesn’t raise at least 100% of its funds, then the project is considered unfunded, and no money will be collected and given to the creator.

Since setting a realistic fundraising goal is critical to making sure that your project will ultimately be funded, Kick Starter provides tutorials to help creators set reasonable goals.

Consider Adding Rewards

A fun way to encourage people to pledge their support to your project is to consider gifting a reward to those who support your project. As an author, you have an ideal built-in reward option: giving a copy of your book once it is published.

You can develop different levels of rewards to encourage larger donations as well, so if you have published previous books, sending those out to donors might also be a potential reward opportunity.

The platform requires that the rewards if used, be concrete and not abstract like “naming rights” or some other non-quantifiable gift. Not all creators use rewards, but they can be a compelling addition to your campaign.

Develop Your Story

Before launching your Kick Starter campaign, you will need to hone the “why.” Think about what makes your book project special, what you as an author have to bring to the book, and why donors should choose your project to back.

Whether you are a new writer with a unique book concept, you think your book idea is destined to be the next bestseller, or have a personal backstory that makes a chance at funding your dream intriguing, work on fine-tuning your personal story so you can present it to potential donors.

Create Your Video

One of the unique elements of using a Kick Starter campaign is that creators make a personal video to present their story. For a writer who is likely more comfortable using the written word to persuade and explain, this requirement might seem like a dealbreaker.

But most project creators on the platform are not expert videographers either and may feel the same anxiousness you do about the prospect of filming yourself talking about your project to strangers. The purpose of project videos is to provide a way for a creator to demonstrate their enthusiasm and knowledge about their proposed project.

This personal touch allows you to make the project come alive to potential donors so they will feel your excitement and energy about it, learn more details and ultimately decide to pledge their support to your funding.

You will have the chance to include photos with your video, so you may decide to prepare high-quality photos for potential donors to see work that you have completed on your project already, pictures of past books you have written, or any other photos that might show off your project’s purpose to those considering helping you.

Write a Compelling Bio

Authors may have an advantage in this step of the project over other creators since they may feel more comfortable writing about themselves than others do. But writing an interesting and informative creator’s bio is key to letting potential donors learn more about you and why they should back your project.

This bio is an opportunity to explain what makes your motivations and ideas the best use of their funding (or at least worthy of their consideration.)

Launch and Hype Your Project

When your campaign page is just about ready to launch, you can pre-launch it about a week ahead of the “official” launch date to build excitement around your Starter campaign. Not only will your page on the Kick Starter website appear in the pre-launch section but you can also use the link to begin advertising your campaign on your own website, social media, email promotional lists, or through other marketing methods.

When the official launch day arrives, be sure to let everyone know that they can now officially back your project. Let them know your timeline, as well, to help create urgency and get those backers on board so your project will ultimately be fully funded when the project ends.

And even though you can choose between one and 60 days for the project to run, projects that launch and conclude in 30 days or less typically fare better and are more likely to hit their fundraising goals.

Applying Funding to Your Book Project

A successful Kick Starter campaign can be a fantastic way for you to secure the needed funding for your next book project. With a little preparation ahead of time and plenty of encouragement to those who might consider becoming your project’s backer, you can help defray the costs associated with being a self-published author while also building up a community of people who are excited about your upcoming book.

And while not everyone who creates a Starter campaign becomes fully funded, every author that uses a platform like Kick Starter has the chance to increase their potential readership in the process of advertising their project and promoting their campaign.

But once the book is written, regardless of how funding is secured, engaging the services of an experienced printer will help you turn your campaign vision into the book of your dreams. Publishing Xpress has been helping authors print their manuscripts with high-quality materials at a reasonable cost for decades and we are ready to assist you in printing your next book.

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