Kickstarter: Is it right for you?

Visitor M.C.A. Horgath graciously shared her Kickstarter lesson:

Many authors are using Kickstarter and other crowdfunding platforms to connect with fans and fund their work. But how can you tell if Kickstarter’s for you?

You need a project. A nebulous “pay three months of my expenses while I write something” notion is not a project: at the end of the campaign you need to have a deliverable for your backers, something you’re all excited about. So have a clear goal in mind: you want to write a specific novella. You want to produce an audiobook edition. You want to get one of your out-of-print editions back online. You want to publish an anthology.

You need time. Preparation for a Kickstarter requires scheduling, accounting, planning prizes and pricing them, recording a video, writing your marketing materials, planning publicity and asking your test audience for feedback. Running the actual campaign will take at least half an hour a day of writing updates, keeping up with publicity requests and managing your prize production. And then if your Kickstarter succeeds you’ll be spending time fulfilling your backers’ prizes. Make sure you’re ready to commit that much time for the next 20-40 days of your campaign, and enough time afterwards to do what you’ve promised. Remember to plan for unexpected success: fulfilling prizes for 50 backers might not take long, but what if 1000 show up?

You need a fanbase. Statistics show that most Kickstarters attract 10% of their browsers from Kickstarter’s site. All the other backers are going to come from your efforts, and your fans’. If you don’t have a broad or energetic fanbase, keep your goals reasonable, and remember that 90% of that money is going to come from your marketing efforts.

Link to the rest at SWFA

And here’s some additional advice on Kickstarter for authors

4 thoughts on “Kickstarter: Is it right for you?”

  1. Great post (and much more on the links) from someone who knows what she’s talking about.

    A Question for MCA Hogarth: I notice that in the KS Fiction section the header image/video is all over the place. Everything from a single illustration, to the author’s voicing over a static illustration (you do that some), to full-on video productions. Any guidelines on how to handle that top spot depending on the type of project?

    • It’s been a while since I messed with it–I usually use the book cover and/or any advertising imagery I’ve commissioned for the header graphic, but if you upload a video, the video will “cover” the splash screen and after people watch it once, it’ll always be there as a replacement. (At least, that’s how it was last time I checked.)

      I actually no longer do videos because the audience I’m tapping has told me they don’t care about them, and the statistics bear them out. I’m talking to my core superfan audience, and they are less about the video (which is more about engaging curious people, and strangers, and people on the fence) and more about the engagement *after* the project begins, in email, project updates, and discord/social media. So mileage varies; once you get a feel for how it plays for you, you’ll be able to tell what bits you can save time on and which you need to pay attention to. 🙂

  2. Thanks for linking this, PG. I’m glad to have a chance to offer an alternate perspective on the “but Kickstarter is the next golden ticket” thing. :,

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