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Kickstarter Questions

Tolkien

Minstrel
Has anyone here used Kickstarter and would they have any suggestions to a noob before he sets one up?
 

Tolkien

Minstrel
Don't use Kickstarter, they're going to get into using blockchain because marketing terms cool, who gives a hoot about the environment?

Also....what do you need Kickstarter for? What are you trying to raise money for? Why do you NEED it to be crowdfunded?

I am using s elf publishing service and i was trying to both help cover the cost and hopefully reach a few people who would otherwise not have herd of my book.

As for why money? who does not need it? I have saved up cash but not enough to cover all the cost. So i am hoping to get out of debt with the wife lol.
 

Slartibartfast

Minstrel
I’ve used Kickstarter as a backer. This was back in the Wild West days when it was more about indies seeking funding and less about large companies using it as a pre-order system. I have seen the following mistakes more than once. Sometimes they led to delays lasting years. Sometimes to huge costs for the creator. Sometimes they even led to the collapse and non-delivery of an otherwise viable project. In no particular order:

  • Guessing at the cost of production and getting it wrong.
  • Actually getting cost estimates of some sort, but only rough ones, several years earlier, from a company that no longer exists.
  • Not properly accounting for shipping costs, especially international shipping.
  • Getting carried away when a campaign goes well and offering unmanageable 'stretch goals' (e.g. based on guessed costs of production, offering crazy things that will take you years to produce, or adding items that will push shipping into the next weight/price bracket without accounting for it).
  • Getting carried away with the success of a project and deciding that you now can/should totally rewrite or redesign the project from scratch to match your unexpected success.
  • Not properly budgeting for the project as a whole and having multiple complicated steps with no safety margin to keep the project in production when one part of the process inevitably costs more than planned.
  • Using the money for a different project in the hope that your second business venture will, at some indeterminate point in the future, produce enough profit to deliver on the promises you've made.

So as far as suggestions go, don't do any of the above. Luckily, they’re pretty easy to avoid. So easy, in fact, that I’d feel it was a bit condescending to point them out, if it wasn’t for the fact that I used to see otherwise sensible people doing them regularly.

I wish you the best of luck. If you have time, please share how it went (even if it’s just a process of deciding on a different option).
 

Tolkien

Minstrel
I’ve used Kickstarter as a backer. This was back in the Wild West days when it was more about indies seeking funding and less about large companies using it as a pre-order system. I have seen the following mistakes more than once. Sometimes they led to delays lasting years. Sometimes to huge costs for the creator. Sometimes they even led to the collapse and non-delivery of an otherwise viable project. In no particular order:

  • Guessing at the cost of production and getting it wrong.
  • Actually getting cost estimates of some sort, but only rough ones, several years earlier, from a company that no longer exists.
  • Not properly accounting for shipping costs, especially international shipping.
  • Getting carried away when a campaign goes well and offering unmanageable 'stretch goals' (e.g. based on guessed costs of production, offering crazy things that will take you years to produce, or adding items that will push shipping into the next weight/price bracket without accounting for it).
  • Getting carried away with the success of a project and deciding that you now can/should totally rewrite or redesign the project from scratch to match your unexpected success.
  • Not properly budgeting for the project as a whole and having multiple complicated steps with no safety margin to keep the project in production when one part of the process inevitably costs more than planned.
  • Using the money for a different project in the hope that your second business venture will, at some indeterminate point in the future, produce enough profit to deliver on the promises you've made.

So as far as suggestions go, don't do any of the above. Luckily, they’re pretty easy to avoid. So easy, in fact, that I’d feel it was a bit condescending to point them out, if it wasn’t for the fact that I used to see otherwise sensible people doing them regularly.

I wish you the best of luck. If you have time, please share how it went (even if it’s just a process of deciding on a different option).

All great advice and I think I shall easily avoid those Kickstarter sins.
 
I haven't used kickstarter, but from what I gather, visuals help sell the product. Also, you need a reason for people to back you. If all you offer is "cheap ebook by unknown author" then you can find more of those on Amazon then you can read in a life-time. And those are delivered without uncertainty and delay.

One thing to consider is if you need a self publishing service. It depends a bit on what they do and what they cost, but self publishing is easy, you can do all the steps yourself as easily as any service can and you can make it fit pretty much any budget. You biggest expenses will be cover and editor. If you're willing to go with a pre-made cover then you can get them starting at $25. Editors are usually more expensive. But if you only need a copy edit then you looking at a few hundred $, depending on length. My advice would be to cut out the middle man and not use a self publishing service.
 

Tolkien

Minstrel
I haven't used kickstarter, but from what I gather, visuals help sell the product. Also, you need a reason for people to back you. If all you offer is "cheap ebook by unknown author" then you can find more of those on Amazon then you can read in a life-time. And those are delivered without uncertainty and delay.

One thing to consider is if you need a self publishing service. It depends a bit on what they do and what they cost, but self publishing is easy, you can do all the steps yourself as easily as any service can and you can make it fit pretty much any budget. You biggest expenses will be cover and editor. If you're willing to go with a pre-made cover then you can get them starting at $25. Editors are usually more expensive. But if you only need a copy edit then you looking at a few hundred $, depending on length. My advice would be to cut out the middle man and not use a self publishing service.

Thanks for the advice but i already did the service. As my first time publishing i thought it would be nice to have it done and be walked through the process. I also am working on two other books at the same time so that would be allot to juggle.
 
Ummm, good luck. Unless your name really is Tolkien or you have a knack for Kickstarter or very low expectations... Yeah. And what service did you use at what cost?

Editor, Travel, Pro Reviewers, Contests, and ads, promotions, ads, promotions, ads, promotions, ads, that might include a Publicist... Those are about the only things I'd recommend for cash burn.
 

Tolkien

Minstrel
Ummm, good luck. Unless your name really is Tolkien or you have a knack for Kickstarter or very low expectations... Yeah. And what service did you use at what cost?

Editor, Travel, Pro Reviewers, Contests, and ads, promotions, ads, promotions, ads, promotions, ads, that might include a Publicist... Those are about the only things I'd recommend for cash burn.

I dont have any expectations, just hope.


i used CFP publishing they provide all services such as editing, cover, formatting, promotion and so on
 
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My educated guess is you will receive editing, a cover, formatting, and as promotion, a Press Release (Because that's free, and real promotion takes time and money) and it will be offered through Ingram Spark which sounds way more impressive than it is, because yes! thousands of stores can order and carry your book, but without cause, 99.9% won't. Target carried my print books for a short time online through Ingram, and yes I make sales through them for hardcover only (I don't do paperback and digital through them), but those retailers are a bit like libraries, they aren't going to carry something nobody is asking for. Depending on what you spent, I'd say your money is going almost entirely to the cover and editor (which may or may not be worth it), and an editor you don't know is an editor you might not want working on your book. Is it a full story edit or just the basic corrections? How much control over the cover do you have? $600 is a good to great pro cover from a graphic designer like Damonza.com. A serious hand-picked editor is in the thousands depending on the size of book, depending on the level of edit.

I hope it turns out well, just know you're most likely going to be handling the promotion unless you hire an actual marketing firm and/or publicist.
 

Tolkien

Minstrel
My educated guess is you will receive editing, a cover, formatting, and as promotion, a Press Release (Because that's free, and real promotion takes time and money) and it will be offered through Ingram Spark which sounds way more impressive than it is, because yes! thousands of stores can order and carry your book, but without cause, 99.9% won't. Target carried my print books for a short time online through Ingram, and yes I make sales through them for hardcover only (I don't do paperback and digital through them), but those retailers are a bit like libraries, they aren't going to carry something nobody is asking for. Depending on what you spent, I'd say your money is going almost entirely to the cover and editor (which may or may not be worth it), and an editor you don't know is an editor you might not want working on your book. Is it a full story edit or just the basic corrections? How much control over the cover do you have? $600 is a good to great pro cover from a graphic designer like Damonza.com. A serious hand-picked editor is in the thousands depending on the size of book, depending on the level of edit.

I hope it turns out well, just know you're most likely going to be handling the promotion unless you hire an actual marketing firm and/or publicist.

Yes I think your assessment will be mostly correct. I knew going in that it was not the best money wise rout to take but given many variables, i did go through with it. The good news is my next work that i just finished has an interested traditional publisher who wants me to resubmit in the fall when they can accept more works.
 

Mad Swede

Maester
Um. CFP Publishing? If that's Christian Faith Publishing then you should be warned that they're on the Writer Beware list of (vanity) publishers to be avoided. Good luck. I think you'll need it.
 

Chasejxyz

Inkling
Yeah I was gonna say. In Real Publishing (it's "trade", not "traditional", btw, so beware places that make that mistake) all money flows TO the author. YOU do not pay for the cover, editing, promotion etc. The publisher takes on the risk/costs of getting your manuscript to a finished product to market. The size of your advance is based on how well they think it's going to do, because that is also an investment that they're making in you. If your book makes 0 sales, then the publisher is out a lot of money. They don't like that, which is why they (mostly) only accept manuscripts form agents, which act as a form of quality control. THEY work hard to get your book sold because THEY are the ones that suffer if it does not sell well. No matter what happens, you still have your advance. They need to make sales to make up for that advance and all the costs to get it publishable.

However. For vanity publishers, YOU are paying for everything. If your book sells 0 copies, well, they don't care! They already made money off of YOU for all those "services" they did! So they have no reason to hustle and market your book. Also I noticed that they pay you NET royalties, and the % sounds high....but do you actually know what net royalties means? The % per book you're going to make is probably going to be way less than whatever gross royalty you can get.

Honestly, dude, if you have not signed a contract with CFP yet, don't. They are not offering you anything that you can't do yourself with a little effort. There are a TON of resources out there on how to self-publish, too. There's people here who can help you with that. I get the desire of wanting a physical copy of your book, of being "really published" and seeing your book in stores...but this isn't the way to do it. The more people who fall for these companies and give them money, the more of these predatory "publishers" crop up to take advantage of people. It's a vicious cycle.
 

Tolkien

Minstrel
Yeah I was gonna say. In Real Publishing (it's "trade", not "traditional", btw, so beware places that make that mistake) all money flows TO the author. YOU do not pay for the cover, editing, promotion etc. The publisher takes on the risk/costs of getting your manuscript to a finished product to market. The size of your advance is based on how well they think it's going to do, because that is also an investment that they're making in you. If your book makes 0 sales, then the publisher is out a lot of money. They don't like that, which is why they (mostly) only accept manuscripts form agents, which act as a form of quality control. THEY work hard to get your book sold because THEY are the ones that suffer if it does not sell well. No matter what happens, you still have your advance. They need to make sales to make up for that advance and all the costs to get it publishable.

However. For vanity publishers, YOU are paying for everything. If your book sells 0 copies, well, they don't care! They already made money off of YOU for all those "services" they did! So they have no reason to hustle and market your book. Also I noticed that they pay you NET royalties, and the % sounds high....but do you actually know what net royalties means? The % per book you're going to make is probably going to be way less than whatever gross royalty you can get.

Honestly, dude, if you have not signed a contract with CFP yet, don't. They are not offering you anything that you can't do yourself with a little effort. There are a TON of resources out there on how to self-publish, too. There's people here who can help you with that. I get the desire of wanting a physical copy of your book, of being "really published" and seeing your book in stores...but this isn't the way to do it. The more people who fall for these companies and give them money, the more of these predatory "publishers" crop up to take advantage of people. It's a vicious cycle.

I did already sign but thanks for all the advice and help. If my other two books are not accepted by a trade publisher, then I will likely self-publish.
 
As long as you know what you're paying for and what you're getting then you should be fine. Good luck with putting your book out there and let us know when it's out. I'm also interested in any kickstarter results (if you go that route). It's a way of doing it which works well for a few people, and I'm always interested in learning more.
 

Tolkien

Minstrel
As long as you know what you're paying for and what you're getting then you should be fine. Good luck with putting your book out there and let us know when it's out. I'm also interested in any kickstarter results (if you go that route). It's a way of doing it which works well for a few people, and I'm always interested in learning more.

I will keep you updated on both.
 

skip.knox

toujours gai, archie
Moderator
I don't make money on my books. I spend somewhere around $1000 to $1500 a year. I probably make a third of that back in sales. I figure a grand a year is pretty cheap for a hobby and it's immensely gratifying and it gives me bona fides for hanging out in some excellent forums among excellent folk.

Writing is free, but publishing costs money. IMO, it's worth it if you can afford it, but if not then not. Just write, accumulate works (you can still solicit beta readers and gain valuable wisdom and experience in critiquing the work of others), and save your sheckels for a bright but expensive future.
 

Tolkien

Minstrel
I don't make money on my books. I spend somewhere around $1000 to $1500 a year. I probably make a third of that back in sales. I figure a grand a year is pretty cheap for a hobby and it's immensely gratifying and it gives me bona fides for hanging out in some excellent forums among excellent folk.

Writing is free, but publishing costs money. IMO, it's worth it if you can afford it, but if not then not. Just write, accumulate works (you can still solicit beta readers and gain valuable wisdom and experience in critiquing the work of others), and save your sheckels for a bright but expensive future.

Sounds like wise advice.
 

Solusandra

Minstrel
Also....what do you need Kickstarter for? What are you trying to raise money for? Why do you NEED it to be crowdfunded?
Advertising.
Yeah I was gonna say. In Real Publishing (it's "trade", not "traditional", btw, so beware places that make that mistake) all money flows TO the author. YOU do not pay for the cover, editing, promotion etc. The publisher takes on the risk/costs of getting your manuscript to a finished product to market. The size of your advance is based on how well they think it's going to do, because that is also an investment that they're making in you. If your book makes 0 sales, then the publisher is out a lot of money. They don't like that, which is why they (mostly) only accept manuscripts form agents, which act as a form of quality control. THEY work hard to get your book sold because THEY are the ones that suffer if it does not sell well. No matter what happens, you still have your advance. They need to make sales to make up for that advance and all the costs to get it publishable.

However. For vanity publishers, YOU are paying for everything. If your book sells 0 copies, well, they don't care! They already made money off of YOU for all those "services" they did! So they have no reason to hustle and market your book. Also I noticed that they pay you NET royalties, and the % sounds high....but do you actually know what net royalties means? The % per book you're going to make is probably going to be way less than whatever gross royalty you can get.
yeah, those are problems, but trade publishers also do massive amounts of gatekeeping.

Amazon and Kindel are a good middle ground.
 
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