In Renaissance times and during other eras it was common for artists, sculptors and other creative people to recruit patrons and sponsors to fund their works so they could create masterpieces without worrying about such trivial matters as making a living. Today it also is important for creative people, such as writers, to recruit sponsors and patrons – not to help make a living but to promote their latest acim in need of a boost to climb up the best-selling lists.
To take the greatest advantage of the technology of the 21st Century a tool some authors are turning to is Kickstarter. Kickstarter is a virtual place where authors, musicians, app developers, inventors and others go to recruit people to support their creative project. Based in New York City’s Lower East Side, Kickstarter is a for-profit company that exists to support creative projects (for a 5% fee against the funds collected) because they believe creative projects make for a better world. Since starting in 2009, five million people have pledged $826 million to fund 50,000 creative projects.
Project creators joining Kickstarter set a funding goal and deadline and if people like your project, they donate money to support it. An author can use the money for publishing or distribution costs, to upgrade a better distributor, or to pay for the costs of the book promoter hired to give your book the push it needs. One great thing an author can do is to give a free digital copy of his/her book to anyone making a contribution. This is a great way to promote your book by getting it into the hands of committed readers interested in your writings.
Kickstarter has an all-or-nothing policy that states you must reach your goal before receiving any money. But don’t let that be a concern because even if you don’t receive a penny you have the opportunity of placing your book into the hands of a few dozen or few hundred more readers and that’s a good thing. While many authors have benefited from Kickstarter, a lot of the campaigns flat out failed, especially when the creative person tried to run their own campaign without first researching what works or without professional assistance.
As a book publicist I have been involved on both sides of a Kickstarter campaign and have seen firsthand how authors have used the platform to attain the funds needed to publish and promote a book. In one case one of my author clients funded a campaign to launch his book into outer space on a balloon. I kid you not! I have not had a single author share with me that the efforts put into Kickstarter were not worth their time. In fact, all of them gained from enrolling in Kickstarter in some form or another.