Crowd-funding a book on Kickstarter

by Kelly Pratt
(Big Bear City, CA)

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Kelly Pratt Kickstarter mini-bio

Crowd-funding a book on Kickstarter...right now! As I write!

Webmaster's note: June 4, 2013

Well, this is exhilarating!

Kelly Pratt is using Kickstarter to crowd-fund a picture book she co-authored. The campaign started on May 31st; it must end on June 30th.

As of this writing, there are 26 days to go. She has raised $745.00. Her goal is $7000.00 If she doesn't make it to goal...

The funding disappears.

Like I said: exhilarating! This is happening in real-time!

Crowd-funding a book on Kickstarter

A crowd-funding project is very much a campaign. It has a specific start and a specific end, and you either "win" or you don't. (And if you exceed your funding goal, you get to keep that money too!)

If you have a book that needs funding, you're going to want to read this, and you're going to want to follow along to see how Kelly does.

If you have questions about the project for Kelly, use the Comment form at bottom. Time permitting, she'll try to get to them. And here's something important that you'll learn as you keep reading...

If you're considering crowd-funding for your book - via Kickstarter or something else - it actually behooves you to send a few dollars Kelly's way! Not just to express your thanks for her sharing her experience with you, but because crowd-funders like to see that you're a giver, not just a taker.

You'll find the link to Kelly's Kickstarter project at the bottom of her article. If you're reading this after the campaign has run, you'll still want to check out how it went!

Take it over, Kelly!...

Crowd-funding to Market and Publish Your Picture Book

When you have an amazing idea and want to share it with the world, it’s actually surprisingly difficult! Anyone trying to self publish gets caught in the same cycle – you need money to market, and you need to market to make money.

My mother and I have been working on a children’s book series off and on for a couple of years now.

The idea has evolved as we’ve noticed the huge gravitation toward electronic media and web-based books and games for kids. We altered our design to incorporate both print and e-book formats, and we also are designing an app to go with our books.

We’ve finally succeeded in creating the first sample of our series, but have been having a really hard time getting the word out there about what we’ve done.

About nine months ago, I learned about crowd-funding.

Crowd-funding a book on Kickstarter

For those who haven’t heard about it, there are websites you can go to where creative projects and inventions can be posted. Once you post a project, you can advertise, market and do whatever it takes to bring people to your page.

On the page, they’re able to donate money and receive rewards for contributing to your project.

Authors, musicians, inventors, dancers, and more have all crowd-funded successful projects by relying on thousands of people to donate $5 - $25... instead of trying to find one or two people to invest thousands in their project.

One of the biggest crowd-funding sites is Kickstarter. Since their launch in 2009, more than 4.2 million people have pledged over $641 million, funding more than 42,000 creative projects. We decided that this would be a great place to start.

Creating a Kickstarter project is almost as hard as writing the book itself, especially if you want your project to get noticed and funded. You have to drive traffic to your page, and then you have to be able to convince someone who comes that you are trustworthy and that your project will succeed.

Let’s take a look at the steps to creating your own crowd-funding book project.


The first step is writing your “story.” No, not the book you’re already written, but the story about your book! Your inspiration, your journey, and, most importantly, why your book needs to be published and spread around the world!

You need to make sure that you clearly illustrate your passion for your work. Crowd-funders can tell if you’re trying to sell them something, so it’s important to write your story in a way that lets your potential backers know you’re a real person who has a dream that they can make come true. You also need to clearly explain why you’re on Kickstarter and what you're going to use the money for.


Next, you need to think of rewards for people who back your project. These Backer Rewards let people know that when they invest in you, they’ll get something in return. Here are some tips for creating rewards:

1. Browse other crowd-funded books or projects similar to yours and see what they’re offering. Note the donation level and what they offer for each contribution amount. You want to make sure that you’re within the same range. For example, if the project is giving away a copy of the book for a $25.00 donation, you probably don’t want to give away your book when someone donates just $5.00. Or maybe you do! But...

2. Remain cost effective! If it is 3.00 to print your book, and 5.00 to ship it, you definitely don't want to give away your book at the $7.00 contribution level. Be sure that you’re still making money!

3. Be CREATIVE! You were creative enough to write a book; be creative in your rewards as well. Collectables (postcards, bookmarks, stamps, signed editions) are very popular. Exclusive art, or things that ONLY your Kickstarted book's backers can get, are also highly prized.


The most successful Kickstarter campaigns - even for books! - have a short video explaining the project. These videos can be funny, cute, straightforward, scary, or anything you can think of to draw attention to your project!

Watch videos from other projects that are related to yours and see if you can get any ideas.

Having a professional-looking video is definitely not required (but doesn’t hurt!). It’s more important that people see you as personable, relatable, and sincere. You can run a project without a video, but having that personal touch is important to backers!


This is the hard part – and the part that is very similar to marketing your book! It takes effort, but being prepared is what counts. Here are a few ways you can market your crowd-funded book:

1. Back other projects. Sounds costly and counter-productive, right? However, by backing projects similar to your own, potential backers see that you’re committed to the crowd-funding cause. Start browsing book projects and throwing $1-$10 toward ones you’d like to see succeed. When you go to create your project, it will show how many projects YOU’VE supported, and that goes a long way with the community.

2. Talk. Talk. Talk. Write a few articles. Some long, some short. Have them ready. Scour the web for sites, blogs, and other media outlets and submit your articles to them. Do this before and during your project so that when someone searches for more information in Google, they find you everywhere.

3. Social Media. This is a no-brainer at this point. Have a twitter, have a Facebook…and if you can manage, have a Pinterest and LinkedIn as well. It’s important to do more than have them – USE THEM! Find interesting things to post related to the theme of your book. Ask your audience questions to elicit participation and response. Run contests and challenges to get your followers involved. Follow OTHER creative people and form relationships with them.

I really hope that these tips help! I’m so very proud to be a part of the self-publishing community, and I wish all authors success and joy in their work! Our Kickstarter campaign ran through June 30th, 2013.

Feel free to contact me (by commenting below) with any questions about crowd-funding or online marketing. I’m always happy to help!

Kelly Pratt

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Jun 04, 2013
One More Thing!
by: Kelly Pratt

One thing I did forget to mention in my article is a handy website: . This website has a great plug-in you can install that will show the Trending graphs above each kickstarter project you look at. It will also give you all kinds of stats on past projects and your projects so you can get a good idea of what works and what doesn't. It's truly an invaluable source of information!

Jun 04, 2013
Thanks, and Contact me if you have questions!
by: Anonymous

First off, thanks to Steve for publishing this article! I truly hope that it helps other authors use this new and exciting method to raise funds for their dreams!

If anyone has any questions or comments, please feel free to contact me directly at:!

Jun 04, 2013
Crowd-funding in action
by: Steve B. (webmaster)

Kelly, thanks for all that great info! Writers, this page shows active picture book campaigns on Kickstarter.

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