What is Kickstarter and how does it benefit creators and backers? What kinds of projects can you find on Kickstarter?
Plus, why I'm launching on Kickstarter for Pilgrimage instead of the usual stores.
You can watch the video below or here on YouTube.
- What is Kickstarter and what kinds of creative campaigns can you find there?
- Why Kickstarter is great for finding original books, and also helps creators directly
- How a campaign works — and how you can keep buying even when the campaign is fully funded (until it finishes)
- Why I'm using Kickstarter for Pilgrimage rather than releasing in the usual manner
You can find the campaign here on Kickstarter and it runs 23 Jan – 5 Feb 2023. After that period, you can find all the links here once it goes out on other stores.
Transcript of the video
[00:00:00] Hello Creatives. I'm Joanna Penn, and today I'm talking about: What is Kickstarter and why am I launching my new book pilgrimage that way.
I'm talking about this because a lot of people have asked me this question, so I wanted to make a little video about it.
First of all, if you've never heard of Kickstarter.com or never used it before, it is a crowdfunding platform where you as an individual can support creators bring their projects to life.
[00:00:28] Now, there are all kinds of different projects on the platform, from art and design to films and games and music, and of course, there are lots of authors creating beautiful books. Check out the Publishing category here.
If you back a campaign, you can get special editions, bonus content, all kinds of interesting merchandise, bundles, digital specials, print specials, and early access to many of these books.
[00:00:54] You can also support creators you love directly and also find books you are interested in from new creators you might never have heard of before.
It is essentially a different way of shopping for very cool books, and I've supported lots of campaigns over the years and I love finding different projects this way before the books ever make it onto the big platforms and stores.
And of course, many of the special editions and special extras are not available on the stores or in bookstores later. So you can get an exclusive if you back a Kickstarter project.
If you've never used it before, you back a campaign based on the book or the product you want.
[00:01:36] And there are different levels of pledges depending on what type of format you want or what extras you like, but you are only charged when the campaign finishes and it gets what's called fully funded.
You can keep buying during the period of the campaign, so that's really important. Even if a campaign is fully funded, you can still keep buying.
[00:01:56] And then at some point, it closes and it's done.
And then afterward, the creator sends you what you purchased.
It's a form of direct sales and connection with the creator rather than buying through an online retailer or bookstore, which means you are connecting with that company rather than the actual order.
[00:02:16] And this means the author can make more money more quickly and retain a higher percentage of the royalties rather than wait months or years to get paid and have a large percentage taken out.
They can also connect with you directly over time.
It's a really good way of both connecting with creators and also helping them get paid.
[00:02:37] Why am I using Kickstarter for my new travel memoir pilgrimage instead of just launching on the usual platforms as I do normally?
So first of all, the book is very personal. It is a book of my heart. It has excerpts from my journals in, and I wanted to make a beautiful print product that I could be really proud of.
[00:02:57] Now, I'm proud of all my books, but this print product really is the nicest print book I've ever made, and I'm very proud of it. And I don't usually make these.
This is the first one with color pages inside, it's got quote pages. It's very beautiful. I'm very happy with it. It feels nice too. So that was one thing I wanted to make a special book.
[00:03:19] The second thing is I wanted to do a signed and numbered print run. And what this means is I actually have to pay upfront for the printing of the books and you know, it's reasonably heavy. So essentially I have to pay the printer quite a lot in order to get the books printed. Then I'll sign them and I'll number them and then send them off around the world to people who've bought them.
[00:03:41] Kickstarter (and other crowdfunding sites) are the best way to generate this kind of lump sum amount of money, and then I know how many people have bought the print books and I know what order to put in at the printer. Then I can pay the printer and send the books.
And then thirdly, I wanted to do a proper launch for this personal book, as usually I just upload onto the stores and send an email or two, announce it on the podcast and you know, maybe do some social media and then get on with my life and writing the next book.
[00:04:09] But I'm doing this limited-time Kickstarter campaign so I can really get the word out about this book. And. I guess make more of an effort for this launch than I have done for a book in a long time.
Plus, of course, there's also the benefit of getting paid more quickly and connecting directly with you as the buyer.
[00:04:27] So you can find out more about Pilgrimage at www.jfpenn.com/pilgrimage, and the Kickstarter runs 23 Jan — 5 Feb 2023 if you'd like to back my campaign.
Even if this book is not for you, go check out the other wonderful publishing campaigns on Kickstarter because you can get some brilliant books and other products and you can support creators directly.
[00:04:52] And if you are a writer, it might be something you want to consider for your books in the future. You're welcome to leave a comment or a question below, and thanks for listening, and I hope to see you inside my campaign.
Russell Fellows says
Again, as always, thank you for the great content! So informative! I do have a question about Kickstarter – when you start a campaign, do you already have your book/materials that you offer as incentives purchased, or do you purchase them after you are funded? I guess that has always been a question I’ve had for anyone using crowdfunding for their projects (for books at least). I’m guessing that Kickstarter helps you keep records of who donated at what level, so that if you don’t have the merchandise until after funding, you can contact that person to get their material to them once you’re able to purchase? Do any of my questions make sense?
Thank you so much. All the best,
Joanna Penn says
Thanks, Russell, I’d already finished the ebook and audiobook, plus I had all the other editions of the books ready and tested. But I will be putting in the order at the printers once the campaign is done and I have the final lists. This is one of the reasons Kickstarter is so useful!
Stephen W. Hiemstra says
Wow. The poster child for print-on-demand is getting into impress printing. Who’d a thunk?
I actually went a bit down that road a few years back when I learned that I could order a blue-leather edition of my first book through a Chinese printer for about $2 a copy. That is, if I ordered a thousand copies. This compared with a print-on-demand cost of over $4. I was intrigued, but my wife vetoed the project because it would require my keeping an inventory.
The kickstarter idea is interesting because it would presumably allow one to finance an inventory up from before committing to print a batch of books. In my example of the blue-leather edition, I would need to order a minimum of 1,000 books at $2 or somehow raise at least $2,000 to break even on the project. Because I have sold up over 4,000 books over the past decade, I doubt that I could raise that sum, were I able to reconsider the same project today.
Still, I am sure that there are folks out in bookend that would have no trouble with that level of commitment.
FYI. My German translation went live in December and is now one of leading sales items.
Joanna Penn says
It’s still technically print on demand, as I am only printing the number I then need to ship 🙂 The same editions can be bought from the POD printer, Bookvault. I could do it cheaper from China but I love the quality Bookvault produce so I am keeping it in the UK.
Glad things are going well with you, Stephen.