As I ran my first Kickstarter campaign for my book Olly, the Lone Red Squirrel from February 20 to March 18, 2022, I had to learn about marketing. I was never good at sales and I didn't even like to share much on social media.
To succeed with a Kickstarter campaign, you need to put aside your fears, embarrassment or low self-esteem to be able to find supporters who will help you in your dream of self-publishing your book.
They will need to know about you, see your face, hear your voice, and know who you are.
Why do you want to self-publish a book? What is your mission? Why is it so important to you? What do you want to accomplish with it?
Supporters are making an investment when they buy your product before you produce it. They are believing in your mission, empathizing with your work, and helping you achieve your goal.
In my case, I want to share important messages with children in a sensitive and artistic way. My first book "Olly, the Lone Red Squirrel" raises awareness about bullying, showing the importance of kindness and friendship.
If people, who don't know you personally, are being so kind to spend their money on your dream, the least you can do is engage with them.
This is the way to build a following of people interested in your work. People who will always be there to support you.
Here are some quick tips I learned during my campaign:
1- Be active in authors groups on Facebook.
Authors help each other. There are several groups where they constantly share tips, showing their progress, what they are doing, how they manage to sell their books and so on. Be active by liking, commenting, asking, and you will gain many author friends who will help you.
Facebook groups I recommend:
Children's Book Authors and Illustrators: Publishing, Marketing and Selling
From Anonymous to Author Publishing Group
Kickstarter Made Simple (Children's Books)
2- Create a launch group.
I didn't and I regretted it. I've seen many authors saying how much a launch group helps. Basically you create a Facebook group and invite people to join it. You will give them your eBook and they will review it for you, share your posts on their social media, some of them will also support your Kickstarter campaign by buying the physical book. You will need to be active in this group, do giveaways, make it worthwhile for them to be helping you. Next time I run a campaign, I will create a launch group!
3- Go live every other day.
This was difficult for me. I'm a little shy and English is not my mother tongue. I'm Brazilian and my mother tongue is Portuguese. So I have an accent and I speak wrong sometimes. But going live on your social media and those Facebook groups I talked about is the best way to get supporters. People are happy to see you, see what you are accomplishing and are more likely to help you if they like you. And what better way to like you than to see you and hear your voice as you talk about your dream? It's very inspiring!
4- Send message to all people you can think of.
Send messages to all your friends, family, everyone you know. But be prepared for rejection. Many of them won't even answer you and that hurts. Just know that they are not your target audience. But you should still send them a message as some will definitely support your dream with a warm heart.
I had some friends supporting my campaign. It was nice to see who are the people who go out of their way to help me, even when they are not in a good financial situation. It strengthens our friendship even more. And if they ever need me, I'll be there for them too.
5- Cross-promote with other authors who are also running a Kickstarter campaign.
As I said in the previous blog post "Kickstarter campaign success", during your campaign, you need to engage with other authors. Agree with them to cross-promote. How it works? When you both have a good amount of backers, you can send them an update and add the other author's campaign at the end of your update, suggesting they check it out. It is likely that some backers will look and if they like the project, they will also support it. It's a win for everyone.
6- Teach about Kickstarter, how it works and how people can support your project.
It's very time consuming, but necessary. Most people won't know anything about Kickstarter. You need to teach them how to open a free account. How to read your campaign and understand what you are offering. How they choose a reward. How they pledge. That they will need to add their credit card which will only be charged on the last day of your campaign if you reach your goal. And that their address will only be asked in a survey after your campaign is over and you've reached your goal. These are the main doubts of first-timer supporters.
7- Make it clear that it's not a donation.
Kickstarter is not for donation. It's a platform for artists who want to produce a product and need funds to do so. People pre-order your product, but you have to produce and ship to them. Although it is possible for people to add bonuses and not want a reward in return. Also, even a $1 pledge helps your campaign with the algorithms (making your campaign more visible). Let it clear that any support is appreciated.
8- Offer deals on your rewards.
Kickstarter campaign is not necessarily about making profits. It is a place to raise funds that you will use to produce your products. Usually authors profit from the books left over from the campaign. For example, let's say your campaign funds were enough to buy 1000 books and you sold 200 in your campaign. You will have 800 books to sell later and make some profit.
If you can offer promotions on your rewards, you will have more supporters. I hit a plateau in my campaign where I couldn't get any more backers. I added a "1 Book Special Free Shipping" offer and that boosted my campaign.
I will have to use the money to pay the shipping and I won't make a profit on this deal, but it helped me reach my goal and be able to receive the funds (minus Kickstarter fees). So it's a win for me and for my supporters.
I would love if you become my supporter too! Here is the link for the book: Olly, the Lone Red Squirrel
Please add your marketing tips for Kickstarter campaign in the comments. Let's share our knowledge so that more authors can benefit from it!
Your author friend,
I thank you for posting the Kickstarter tips. Would I need my book cover and or the whole book to be produced before tackling a Kickstarter fund? I tried a GO fund me a few years ago and that went nowhere. Bust!! I hope your well and thank you for the information. Best Regards, Kim
Reach out to target audience way before the campaign starts. Do in person visits to schools or organizations that might benefit from your book