I think it’s important that we kick off this Book Campaigns I Love with a quick admission that something exciting is happening with Kickstarter. What was first a way to fund your idea to save the world has turned into…a book project crowdfunding tool/marketing site.
In fact, in case you missed it, in February the founder of Kickstarter announced that they would likely fund more arts projects in 2012 than the NEA. Since that announcement, there has been much hand-wringing and parsing of data but the takeaway is, they fund a lot of arts projects. Period. And this is significant because anyone can do it.
About Kickstarter: If you have yet to interact with Kickstarter, here’s a quick overview of it. Anyone with a bright idea can hop on the site and create a quick page about their project. This page can include video, pictures, and text explaining why the project is a good idea and why you should help fund it.
When the Kickstarter page is created, the fundraiser must set a monetary goal. If this goal is met, the project is funded and he/she will receive all the pledged donations. If it is not met, he/she does not get the money.
To persuade people to donate, the founder will usually create incentives at certain pledge levels. For instance, a project might offer a signed bookplate for a $5 donation, a free copy of the ebook for a $10 donation, an entire prize pack for a $50 donation, and their first-born child for a $1,000 donation.
About Wollstonecraft: I first discovered the Kickstarter page for Wollstonecraft on Sweetney. I watched the video and was hooked. Wollstonecraft tells the fictional adventures of Ada Byron and Mary Wollstonecraft when they were children in 1826. They decide to open a detective agency and solve crimes, meeting plenty of real historical characters along the way.
The Kickstarter page belongs to a user named “Airship Ambassador” and when you click on his bio you see that his real name is Jordan Stratford. Jordan has been writing for 25 years and he’s passionate about this project. And he did an incredible job of setting up his Kickstarter page. As you watch the video, it’s all you can do not to reach for your wallet. This has to be one of the most effective book fundraising videos of all time.
Not only does he clearly sum up his book idea–but he makes it about more than the book. Wollstonecraft is on a mission to bring better fiction to girls, fiction featuring real historical heroines who love math and science.
In fact, his Kickstarter page is so good that I would encourage people to use it as a template for their Kickstarter projects. He answers all your questions about the project. He clearly explains the book’s idea. And most importantly, he inspires you. In fact, he fully embraces that artisan spirit that I believe is so often lacking from writers today.
Even better, his incentive levels build pre-orders right into the deal. The lowest incentive level was $10–and if you donated that much, you would receive a copy of the ebook. $9.99 is the default price for an ebook from a major publisher so this feels like a fair deal. (Side note: The average price for a self-published ebook is typically much lower, more like $1.40.) And as you can see on his page, you actually get the ebook at all incentive levels. I quickly tallied up all the donors, and he has essentially pre-sold 2,852 copies of his ebook. That means no matter what, Wollstonecraft is going to be off to a great start.
But to me, the most valuable thing he has done with his Kickstarter page is kick off the marketing for his book. He is only in the process of writing it and already he is building a groundswell of interest for it. In fact, just check out the Updates section for a full explanation of all the exciting inquiries he’s received thanks to the attention generated by his Kickstarter page.
A huge congratulations to Jordan for getting this exciting book off the ground and let me just say I can’t wait to see what he comes up with to actually launch the book! (Also, I can’t wait to see the book. I think it’s going to be incredible.)