Kickstarter: Getting your self-published book funded

With websites including Kickstarter, it is now easier than ever to “crowdfund” a project, be it a film, art exhibit, or book. “Crowdfunding” is the process of asking for small donations from a group of people to support your artistic endeavor. In the case of The Order of The Stick, a comic book by Rich Burlew, a lot of small donations added up to quite a lot.

Burlew was able to “crowdfund” over $1 million to print a compilation of his web-comic about geeky topics such as role-playing games, especially Dungeons & Dragons. So just how did this low-profile, non-mainstream author generate over $1 million in donations? And how can I do that for my book about less geeky things?

As Suw Charman-Anderson points out in her article for Forbes, Burlew has a massive, motivated, and technologically savvy fan-base. For “crowdfunding” to be effective, an author needs to be able to cultivate a lively online presence, so they can easily funnel them over to their Kickstarter page. In Burlew’s case, his demographic was gamers and web-comic aficionados, which worked perfectly to motivate his readers to not only contribute to his Kickstarter, but to promote it themselves through myriad internet communities. That’s not to say a writer has to be on the nerdier-side-of-the-spectrum to be able to “crowdfund” — but it sure helps to have a significant online presence before starting a Kickstarter or similar fundraising initiative.

An example is Lulu author Lori Lemon-Geshay, author of Dating Diva Adventures, who has created a Web presence at and in her YouTube video.

The idea that self-publishers can now receive an “advance” on their written work, something that only the publishing industry was once able to bestow on a writer, entirely changes how many will approach self-publishing. By “crowdfunding” before putting the pen to the paper, a writer who self-publishes will be able to either take off the┬ánecessary┬átime from work or be able to gauge their audience. By putting up a sample chapter or by generating interest solely based on past work, writers can now find the time and reward that was once offered by a publishers “advance.”

“Crowdfunding” is a path many self-publishing authors could take in the future, and the viability of this model, and whether it completely revolutionizes the self-publishing industry, will depend on just how committed writers are to self-promotion and to connecting with potential readers.

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  1. Thanks for the inspiration. My project was accepted yesterday!

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  4. Peggy Perry

    I am just starting to actively write. I have been writing poetry since I was 8 yrs. old. I’m told they are very good and I should pursue my writing. I would like to write an autobiography, because I have had a very interesting childhood filled with depression, alcoholic parents, unkept home, etc. I am having a little trouble getting started,and thinking of a title for my book.