Why Do We Do Kickstarters?

From Dean Wesley Smith:

First off, surface reasons.

1… It gets new books to readers ahead of the publication date and at a discount. Fans of a series or a writer enjoy that. I know I do, which is one of the reasons why I back so many campaigns.

2… It gets our work out to readers we might never find and they might then buy more of our work. This is called discoverability.

3… It is amazing promotion and advertising and you don’t have to pay for it. In fact, if you do it right, you get a lot of promotion and make some money in the process. Sort of like selling a story to a top magazine.

4… Money does not hurt. These are book sales. We hope to do about $150,000 in 2022 in this form of book sales, about the same as last year.

5… We also add in workshops to help writers and help people become aware of the vast resource of writing information we have built on WMG Teachable.

Larger reason…

This is 2022, no matter how many writers still want to live in 1990s. The modern world of publishing is that writers become their own publishers, start their own publishing businesses, and explore all the new ways to get their writing out to readers. And wow, in 2022 there are a lot of ways. Kickstarter is one way.

And right now, at this point in time, it should be the first way.

Here is how it works. 

1… Finish a new book, put the publication date out 4-6 months to take advantage of free promotions during that time.

2… Put the book up for preorder in as many places as you can as soon as you can (after it is finished).

3… Do a Kickstarter campaign for the book giving the backers the book months before it publishes.

(and then go from there…)

Kickstarter is promotion, it is book sales, and it makes you money if you do it right.

Link to the rest at Dean Wesley Smith

3 thoughts on “Why Do We Do Kickstarters?”

  1. I suspect the Kickstarters work well when you’re either well known your self (like DWS) or have a well known publisher that promotes you (like 3DTotal Publishing does for art books), but if you’re an unknown newbie, you’d be better off going with, say, KU.

    • Yes, I believe somewhere between step 1 and 3 should be: have a large enough fan base to advertise your Kickstarter on a regular basis.

      On his YouTube channel Ya Boi Zack always amuses himself when he realizes his IndieGoGo campaign got a burst of contributions after he mentions the campaign on his channel. When he mentions the campaigns every day he gets backers every day. When he forgets to mention the campaign in an episode, fewer to no backers that day. He spots this and comments on it. The difference between daily advertising and sporadic advertising is obvious. Every YouTube vlogger I follow who has a crowdfund campaign (or just work for sale in general) mentions their campaign in every episode. It works.

      Kickstarter and IndieGoGo are distribution channels. They’re not promotion. You still need advertising / marketing to a large customer base. Social media, blogs, YouTube channels, pick one. Those are how you will promote your campaigns.

      • My regular youtube channels always mention and thank tbeir Patreon supporters. There’s a couple that are at permanent war with Youtube that keeps demonetizing their episodes that point out the crappy things the CCP does even though they’re just highlighting factual events and cellphone videos from China. Like the three months of blsckouts lzst summer or the annuso floods because of the dams they built.
        Crowd funding is what keep them alive.?

        It works quite well if you identify a niche and serve it well.


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