I know that blogging hasn't been something I've committed to do in a while. And even though I miss it, I still won't be resuming posts with any type of schedule. Instead of boring you with the long list of reasons why that's the case, I'm going to introduce the topic for today: Kickstarter. Better yet, I'm going to let my friend and fellow writer tell you about using Kickstarter to raise the funds she wanted to self-publish her novel Vizcaya. Enjoy.
Why Kickstarter is a Great Tool for Indie Authors
by Lina Rivera
For several years as I tried to have my books published traditionally, I bounced around the idea of doing it on my own. Self-publishing has a large stigma attached to it, but with technology changing at such a rapid pace, it seemed as if there was nothing to lose in giving it a shot. The problem was funding my self-publishing project. There are many sites that allow you to self-publish for free. On top of that, you can create your own cover if you have the software and use your own images or artwork. You can even have a friend review your work to find typos. So in theory, yes, you can self-publish your book for free.
However, if you’re looking to give your book a fighting chance in the indie market, then you’re going to have to shell out some money for things like professional editing, a professional looking book cover, and ultimately, marketing expenses. When you go into self-publishing, your book becomes your business, so you have to be willing to invest in it.
Not sure of how to go about raising money to self-publish my young adult novel, a friend referred me to Kickstarter.com. I had never heard of it, but when I looked into it, I realized that I had found a site that was comparable to a modern day, technological version of the de' Medici family. The premise was simple: artists and visionaries put their ideas on the site, and backers who are interested in supporting creative projects select work that they like and contribute money to the cause.
The Kickstarter site explains that this is not a charity. Backers expect something in return, and it’s up to the creator to decide what that is. I put up my proposal for my young adult novel, Vizcaya, and set my monetary goal. I decided to go small based on how other books generally did on the site. I calculated the least I would need to be able to publish my book with basic editing and a professional cover, while also covering the costs of creating a Kindle version. I also wanted to make sure the percentage that Kickstarter takes was covered, as well as the fees for CreateSpace which is the site I had chosen to publish the book. I specified that anything extra would be used for Marketing.
Once it was all set up, that’s when the hard work really began. As a writer, I have a hard time marketing myself. If I felt at all comfortable with promotion, I’d be doing that for a living instead of writing and editing. The journey of self-publishing, however, requires a writer to travel far outside of their comfort zone, so I used as many online resources to get the word out about my project. I advertised it on my facebook, signed up for a Twitter account, joined conversations on LinkedIn, and started emailing everyone I knew, letting them know about what I was trying to accomplish.
What I learned is that it’s those closest to you that will be your biggest allies. They already support you, but they will also be instrumental in getting the word out about your project through their own online connections. You never know who someone you know might know. At first it was difficult to “bother” people you know and ask for money, but that’s when you have to remind yourself, and them, that this isn’t a charity. You’re merely telling them about an opportunity, and they will be getting something out of it. In my case, people who donated a certain amount were given their own personalized copy of the book. For enough money, you received a personal acknowledgment in the actual book.
There is only a limited amount of time that you have to raise your Kickstarter money, and as my time began to dwindle, I made some interesting observations:
- A lot of people will say they will back you, but will never actually get around to it.
- Some people who you don’t expect to back you at all will end up making the biggest and most significant donations out of nowhere.
- Some people that you expect to make big donations will end up making smaller ones.
- Most of the donations will come from people you already know.
- Some people who you thought would instantly be on board with what you were trying to do will end up being your biggest critics and rain on your parade instead of helping.
- A number of people will think you’re wasting your time and that it won’t work.
- Someone who you didn’t know existed, and have no connection to, will back your project.
When it was all said and done, I met my goal. Once you have other people invested in your project, you realize that now you have to see it through. So it literally is the “kick start” of your project’s journey. While using this site may seem a bit risky and scary, you have to remember that it’s just another tool and resource for your self-publishing “business.” What most gave me the courage to use this resource and advertise my Kickstarter project to people was a strong belief in my own work. I knew that Vizcaya was ready to go on this journey. Kickstarter just helped the journey go a little smoother.
Here is the original link to Lina’s Kickstarter project: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/431035277/vizcaya-a-young-adult-novel
You can purchase Lina’s young adult novel, Vizcaya, now on amazon. com: