Kickstarter for Authors – Might Crowdfunding Work for Your Book?

Kickstarter for Authors – Might Crowdfunding Work for Your Book?

November 21, 2023

Authors: have you considered crowdfunding your next book?

Yes, we can write for ourselves (in journals, notepads and via keyboard), and for family and friends via email, cards and letters, but if we want a wider audience to read our words – whether that be customers and colleagues right through to booksellers, librarians, reviewers and book-loving strangers across the world – it means as authors we need to understand the various ways to raise visibility and awareness of our books.

For me lately, that’s meant not just ‘normal’ author PR and book marketing opportunities but also taking a serious look at Kickstarter and setting up my first campaign for my planned non-fiction book for authors ‘Built-In Book Marketing’. Yes, it’s all about how authors can easily build marketing opportunities into their book well before launch day! (Thanks for the prompt Orna Ross…more on that below!).

You can follow my Kickstarter campaign here to be notified when it’s ready to go live. (The image below includes the exciting snippet of approval in the email from the Kickstarter team which means the project is approved and can go ahead!).

I’m planning the campaign to combine all sorts of tiers and options specifically for authors (and authors-to-be!) that I hope you’ll enjoy and benefit from. The campaign itself is also a real-world example of building marketing into a book well before book launch day.

Though I’ve already written about crowdfunding in ‘Look-It’s Your Book!’ as a potential way to lock in distribution and marketing opportunities for your book BEFORE it’s even launched, for my previous books I just wasn’t ready to do a Kickstarter. I don’t think I had the right books for it or enough headspace to carry it off, and perhaps I was afraid of public failure, but this book is different, and I can clearly see the bonuses I can add in to make it fun and worthwhile for backers. Not everything’s riding on the campaign either, so that takes the pressure off and makes it a fun experiment (that you will also be able to learn from for your own book/s).

So, what are the four prompts recently that made me finally take the author plunge with Kickstarter?

  1. The book I’m developing is for a global audience of writers, and Kickstarter is a global platform – it’s also a fascinating alternative publishing route.
  2. I hosted a Global Mindset Panel for SelfPubCon and was super inspired by NZ author and panellist Steff Green (writing as Steffanie Holmes) and how she interacts with and builds value in for her readers, including via Kickstarter.
  3. I dived in as a virtual attendee to the 20BooksVegas conference, listening to various writers, including Russell Nohelty, author and the Kickstarter Adviser to the Alliance of Independent Authors (ALLi), speak passionately about Kickstarter as a platform for authors. It was also great to hear Joanna Penn discussing the campaign she’s planning for her next non-fiction book too.
  4. And finally, I’ve been closely following Orna Ross (the founder of ALLi) as she created her first Kickstarter campaign ‘Creative Planning for Indie Authors and Poets’. Her enthusiasm made me want to give it a crack and showed me how achievable it can be. Note: In breaking news, Orna recently announced me as Non-Fiction Book Advisor to ALLi and as we pre-recorded a podcast for ALLi last week together (air date tba), it was the final kick I needed to get started on the campaign planning. Thanks Orna! You can back Orna’s campaign here (or, if the campaign has ended by the time you read this, you can see how she structured it and what was on offer).

I also love learning and doing things I’ve never done before, so giving Kickstarter a crack for my next book is a bit of fun!

Yes, it’s been a lot of work over the last week or so doing the planning, creating the basics of the campaign, the images, and reading everything I could find about best practice etc – but that hard work has now been vetted by Kickstarter and landed me my pre-launch promotion page! This is where you can sign up to find out when the campaign goes live.

Setting up a Kickstarter is not a simple process, it requires a lot of thought (and then plenty of admin on the fulfilment side) – but I’m also finding just thinking about the needs of backers, means my book will also be better because of it!

One of the first steps I needed to take to get set up with Kickstarter was get a mocked up image of the cover for ‘Built-In Book Marketing’ so here’s a massive thanks to book cover designer Tess McCabe (author of Self-Promotion Without Social Media and founder of Creative HQ), who turned around a draft cover for ‘Built-In Book Marketing’ at super short notice!

And also, thanks again to Orna Ross for her encouragement and education. I love the writing community, love the sharing and encouragement that goes on, and I’m loving backing some of the campaigns on Kickstarter – it just feels great to be backing other creatives in such a non-traditional way. If you’d like to potentially back my campaign when it launches, just sign up for notification on the pre-launch promotion page for ‘Built-In Book Marketing‘.


** As per my affiliate disclosure, I may receive a small amount of income for referring authors who decide to become ALLi members. That said, I’ve been referring authors to ALLi for years as I love the organisation and have received no fees, so don’t worry, just believe me, it’s worth joining for the extensive knowledge indie author knowledge you’ll benefit from.**