kickstarter for authors

Kickstarter for authors. It’s a popular topic these days, but creating a Kickstarter campaign for your book can seem like an intimidating task. Luckily, we have Gina Soldano-Herrle visiting the blog today and sharing a behind-the-scenes glimpse into the Kickstarter campaign for her children’s picture book, Nia’s Rescue Box.

It all started with some moldy strawberries, or maybe they were blueberries. At Vindeket Foods, where I worked as a service participant (like a volunteer) every Tuesday night, I started telling myself stories.

Why A Food Rescue Picture Book?

Vindeket Foods is a food rescue and unlike any place I’ve ever been. It’s not just about any one thing; it’s much much more. So, I decided I’d combine it with my other passion, writing.

I wrote Nia’s Rescue Box in fall 2022 and queried for a minute before I decided to publish the picture book myself. With the encouragement of Vindeket’s founder and community support, I ran a Kickstarter the next spring so I could bring Nia’s story to life and share Vindeket’s philosophy with the world.

I could go on all day about their mission, but it’s basically about revaluing food and people providing a dual purpose solution that solves food waste and food insecurity in communities.

Kickstarters For Authors Done Well

There are A LOT of Kickstarters out there and many of them are done well. Below are a few that I’ve noticed, followed, or learned about that I think are examples of utilizing the platform well.

1. Rachael Herron’s Unstuck: An Audacious Hunt for Home and Happiness. Funded within a day at over 300% of target goal.

2. Joanna Penn’s Writing the Shadow: Turn Your Inner Darkness into Words. Funded at 729% of target goal.

3. Alice Oseman’s Heartstopper: Volume One. Funded at 655% of target goal.

Pre-Campaign Marketing For Kickstarter Books

This is the number one thing you can do to get your campaign up and off the ground. By marketing before you need any actual money, people will hear about your project with time to decide if they want to back it or not. And if not, they still might share it with a friend, coworker, or relative who could turn into a backer.

Pre-campaign marketing comes in a variety of ways. It could be webinars, social media posts, blogs, interviews, and more. Your focus will be determined by you, your project, and your target audience. No matter what your focus is, create your Kickstarter page as soon as you can.

The pages are editable and you can change the launch date as many times as you like before going live with the campaign. Once backers have picked certain rewards is when you need to stick to deadlines. Try to get your page published at least a week but up to a month in advance. Kickstarter has the option to “follow” a project. This lets you email potential backers to let them know your campaign is live. Also, having followers appears to help with the site’s algorithm.

Publicity For Kickstarter Author Campaigns

You know more than you think you know. For my own campaign, I was anxious about reaching out to people to publicize the project. I did what I could, but I know I could have reached out to way more networks than I did (think college, high school, home town, family, special interest groups).

I contacted some local news stations and was interviewed by a local paper. Other than that, I relied on grassroots support and my immediate networks through social media. Research who would be interested in your book, then reach out to those individuals, organizations, and news outlets to let as many people as you can know about your project. They can’t back it if they don’t know about it.

Community And Grassroots Support

Do NOT underestimate this powerful force. Community support is one of the biggest keys to having a successful Kickstarter.The campaign examples I mentioned above all had strong bases of support through readers, clients, and fans.

But, don’t worry. You don’t need to be famous to fund your book through Kickstarter. What is priceless are true fans.

Know the individuals who support your work. Reach out to your target audience. If you have a community-based project (like mine), let your community know exactly what you’re trying to do and what the rewards are for backing the project.

Rewards For Kickstarter Backers

Rewards can be tricky to figure out and I know now that I made a million mistakes. Lean into what you can offer that is a high ticket item and get people excited about it.

That could be “Ask Me Anything” calls in your subject of expertise. It could be a writing retreat, hiking retreat, meditation retreat, or online event. Offer classroom visits, guest speaker spots, special editions (Joanna Penn really nailed this one), whatever you can do that will be worth a backer’s dollar and fund your project.

Platform For Kickstarter Authors

You don’t need to have a huge platform, but you want people to be able to find you. Build that excitement like I said above before you launch your campaign. If your project doesn’t fund in time for your goal, you get $0. The stakes can feel impossible sometimes, but each campaign is a learning experience and you can always try again.

Although, you might as well take the time to do everything you can. It’d be way more exciting to hit your goal the first time, right? Use your platform on social media, email lists, and in local specialty organizations to build support and keep your project top of mind.

Updates And What Comes Next

Once your campaign funds (and even before), you’ll want to put out updates. For me, my first update went out when I decided on an illustrator and shared her first design. Updates can be once you have a cover or find a printer. Look at the examples above (all updates are visible to the public) for further inspiration.

You can also publish updates when timelines change. I originally told backers I’d publish in July 2023, but that changed to November 2023 because of a variety of factors. Don’t be afraid to be honest. Be human. The updates are also a great way to keep your project in front of people even well after it’s funded. You want to keep selling your book beyond the preorder, don’t you?

Keep updates coming as long as is reasonable or expected for backers and at least until they receive your book in their hands.

About The Author

Gina Soldano-Herrle is a professional core story consultant, ghostwriter, and author. She’s an active member of SCBWI (Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators) and was recently awarded a 12×12 Picture Book Challenge scholarship for 2024. Her debut picture book, Nia’s Rescue Box is available at most online booksellers. You can also listen to recent author interviews about “Why We Write” on her website or your favorite podcast platform.

Hot tip: Listen to Gina interview Stacy on this episode.

Why we write

About The Book

kickstarter for books

Ashamed of her newfound food insecurity, Nia leaves the local food rescue with an empty box. Afterward, when confronted with the reality of food waste, she reconsiders accepting help and becoming a part of something greater. In this picture book, children learn about food rescues, food waste, food insecurity, and what they can do about it.

Buy it on Amazon.

 

 

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