Imagine finding hundreds of people eager to read your book. Now—are you ready for this?—imagine those same people financially backing you to write it.
Enter the crowdsourcing awesomeness of kickstarter.com, faithfunder.com, and indiegogo.com. These sites are funding platforms for creative projects. But their concept isn’t centered on folks just handing you money—it’s centered on connecting you with people who want exactly what you’re creating.
Like your work in progress.
SIX WEEKS, $10,000
I started my Kickstarter campaign after learning that enthusiastic backers pledged $100,000,000 to projects in 2011, a 300-percent increase from the previous year.
How amazing, I thought. People believing in what their artists believe in. Tribes supporting their advocates.
I did some digging and discovered that when the production team of Blue Like Jazz (the movie) ran out of funds, Kickstarter saved the film—to the tune of 4,495 backers raising $345,992 … of a $125,000 goal.
Below, I’m going to break down the basics of Kickstarter, then reveal some of the secrets that helped me raise $10,000 in six weeks.
Here’s what you’ll do to start your Kickstarter project:
1) Make a page for your book project on Kickstarter.com (free), detailing your vision and personal investment in your Work-In-Progress. The goal here is passion, clarity, and to connect your audience to why your book must be written.
2) Launch it and spread the word via email and social media to friends, family, and complete strangers (who just might make up the largest percentage of your supporters, as was the case with my campaign).
1) Your Kickstarter campaign doesn’t begin when you launch—it begins the second you decide to do a campaign
Let people know about your Kickstarter project right away, even if it’s a year in advance. Mention it in your family newsletter or blog or just conversations with friends. This helps you stay accountable to run the campaign while also educating potential backers about the crowdsource concept.
2) Don’t wait for backers to find you—find them
Find people who want to jump on board even before you launch. This lets you gauge how much momentum your project will have out of the gate—and momentum is everything.
Even if you have a fabulous idea, few are eager to fund your project if it doesn’t already have backers. Great idea, they think, but why waste my time if it isn’t going to get funded?
That said, if you meet 30 percent of your goal, people are much more likely to jump on board. Kickstarter claims that 90 percent of their projects that reach 30 percent of their goal—succeed.
3) Use Facebook strategically
If you’re not sold out on the power of Facebook, now’s the time. I couldn’t believe how many pledges I received from Facebook. Not from people I know well, but rather from acquaintances who read my newsfeed without my knowing.
I also highly recommend Facebook Ads. This is a bit of an art form, learning how to make your ads cost-efficient and worthwhile, but it’s worth investing a day or two Googling “Facebook Ads” or taking an online class on the subject.
4) Best tip ever: You gotta believe
If you’re serious about crowdsourcing your book, you need to believe in it. Just liking your book won’t do. You have to be able to say, with conviction: “This is my message, and I believe it will make a difference in this world.”
People don’t like backing projects just for charity. They want to birth art that will make the world a better place. Does that describe your book?
YOUR NEXT STEP
Caleb Jennings Breakey is an ACFW Genesis Winner (Speculative Fiction), visionary, and author of two books with Harvest House Publishers (Following Jesus without Leaving the Church, September 2013; Falling in Love without Falling on Your Face, January 2014). He teaches at conferences throughout the country, and likes to explore the how of following Jesus, healing the church, and glorifying God. Check him out on Facebook, Twitter, or Youtube.