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  • Writer's pictureIndie Publishing 101

Why are Authors Doing Kickstarters?

Updated: Dec 24, 2023

Have you noticed the recent trend of established and even new authors doing a kickstarter? Have you ever wondered why? 

In this blog I will attempt to explain this recent phenomenon.

I follow quite a few Indie and Traditionally Published authors and have noticed that more and more are selling direct to their audience and are leveraging the platform Kickstarter to reach out to them as well as create new interest. 

Below are a few author examples:

Brandon Sanderson

Sara Rosett

Lee Strauss

Why Kickstarter?

In a nutshell it all comes down to the potential to make more money and differentiate themselves from others.  If you have read my blog “Why are Authors Selling Direct?” you will learn that there are some limitations when selling your books via Amazon such as having to wait 60 days to get your money, limited Sales Visibility (you may know how many books you have sold in a day but you do not know who bought it, where they live or what demographics they make up),  basic pricing capabilities (no buy one get one 50% off) and no bundled sales (bundling t-shirts, coffee mugs, stickers, etc., with your book). 

In other words, authors are not able to have add on sales to increase their revenue when selling a book on Amazon.  Some authors such as Brandon Sanderson have been wildly successful in their Kickstarter projects where they could probably leave traditional publishing altogether with the success of their Kickstarter projects.  It would take a lot of crowd funding and interest to get to this point but it is possible.

"It is an easy way to make millions" wished every author on Kickstarter.

What is Kickstarter?

Kickstarter is a funding platform for creative projects. Everything from books, film, games, music to art, and technology can be funded on Kickstarter. Kickstarter helps creatives in taking an idea such as writing a new book and getting it brought to life through the direct support or pledges of others.  It is a great way take an idea or product you created from concept to execution while getting others to pledge different amounts of money to help fund it.  Through Kickstarter authors can share extra insights and merchandise that they cannot through selling a book on Amazon.  For example, some authors offer digital rewards such as an electronic signature or autograph, a free ebook or audio book based on how much one pledges.  Another example can be a physical book with a hardback cover especially made just for those who pledge even more money.  Authors are trying to create a one-of-a-kind experience to connect with their audience through different rewards based on how much someone pledges.  Some authors are writing books that will only be available based on how much they pledge via Kickstarter.  I have heard of other authors willing to name a new character in their new book after the person who pledges the most money.  From my three author links above you will see the creative ways authors are pitching their Kickstarter projects to their audience.

Is this Something all Authors Should do?

The answer goes back to what I said in the last paragraph of my other Blog “Why are Authors Selling Direct?” it depends.  It depends on your strategy, name recognition, your uniqueness, how much you hope to earn and your follower’s enthusiasm to be your champion.  If you are just starting out as an author you may need to re-set your expectations as I am not sure you will “move the needle” creating a Kickstarter for yourself.  What you promise to deliver could be a lot of work for very little upside but only you can answer that. 

Planning to go Traditional Publishing?  Please read this blog for fantastic insight.

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