In Part 1, we offered a brief introduction to Kickstarter and the current state of its publishing projects–how many projects are being backed, how much cash is going around, and what the trends over time have been. Today, we’re going to take a breif look at who is using Kickstarter to publish books.
Who Is Doing It?
The usual suspects, of course, are accounted for: individuals self-publishing novels are there, and they tend to be among the more knowledgeable in marketing their books. More and more we’re seeing small presses and periodicals jump into the game. Notably, Fantagraphics, an indie comics publishing company, Kickstarted its entire 2014 line of products (nearly 40 titles), amassing $220,000 for the campaign. Lit journals and indie presses are doing the same thing: raising a budget for an entire year’s worth of offerings, then delivering those books to their backers throughout the year. As an independent author, that means you have options to consider: you can run a campaign as an individual, under your own name, or you can run it under the name of your own publishing company. Both ways have their advantages and disadvantages, and the right route for you depends largely on your style: does it benefit you to take a more personal, single-author approach, or to approach your audience as a brand, as a business entity? The book itself may lend itself more to one style of presentation than another, too.
A lot of the projects that are getting great funding are different, ambitious, and unique. Browse Kickstarter’s Publishing category yourself for a few minutes, and you’ll see that the projects that are real home runs tend to be quite unlike anything else. Books with a visual element–photographs, beautiful illustrations, etc.–do well on Kickstarter, perhaps better than any other self-published medium.
Right now, in January of 2015, we’ve got an art book made by an artist in the aftermath of a stroke. We’ve got a quirky illustrated children’s book called Inspector Pancakes Helps the President of France Solve the White Orchid Murders. Projects that stand out from the pack get the most attention, as this is one of the few contexts in which your book is essentially competing with other books before it even exists.
What all successful Kickstarter books have in common is great presentation and a high production quality. Across the board, the projects that look cheap or unprofessional don’t make the mark. Still on the fence about whether or not you should try to crowdfund your book? We’ll convince you otherwise in Part 4.
But what about crowdsourcing platforms apart from Kickstarter? There are other options, check out Part 3 to take a closer look at them.
Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you’re interested in getting help with your next crowdfunding campaign.