Publish & Prosper

Crowdfunding Your Self-Published Book With Kickstarter

April 03, 2024 Matt Briel & Lauren Vassallo Season 1 Episode 19
Crowdfunding Your Self-Published Book With Kickstarter
Publish & Prosper
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Publish & Prosper
Crowdfunding Your Self-Published Book With Kickstarter
Apr 03, 2024 Season 1 Episode 19
Matt Briel & Lauren Vassallo

In this episode Lauren & Matt discuss the whys and hows of using Kickstarter to crowdfund your book. Learn why we think Kickstarter is a great option for self-published authors, what you need to know to get your campaign started, and how successful authors are crushing it with crowdfunding. 

Dive Deeper

💡 Learn More About Kickstarter

💡 Check Out Some of Our Favorite Kickstarter Campaigns

💡 Read These Blog Posts

💡 Watch These Videos

Sound Bites From This Episode

🎙️ [8:57] “Having a thousand people like your LinkedIn post that says that you're going to write a book and that you're thinking about turning your content into a book, that's cool. That's really cool, to have a thousand people see your post. But to have a hundred people pledge $25 towards actually getting a copy of your book that you said you were going to write and publish? That's even cooler.”

🎙️ [15:53] “With any good book campaign, whether it's a crowdfunding campaign or you're promoting your book pre-launch or even post-launch, you should be able to answer the questions of: why are you writing this book? Why will it help people? Why should people want to buy it and read it? Why should they choose your book over something else?”

🎙️ [22:12] “It doesn't have to be this insane number of people backing your campaign or pledging to your campaign, especially when you get creative with those different reward tiers and stuff like that.”

Send us a Text Message.

💀 Can’t wait for our next episode? Check out our Resources page for links to our blog,
our YouTube channel, and more.
💀 Find us on Facebook, X, Instagram, and LinkedIn at luludotcom!
💀 Email us at
💀 Sign up for our mailing list.

Show Notes Transcript

In this episode Lauren & Matt discuss the whys and hows of using Kickstarter to crowdfund your book. Learn why we think Kickstarter is a great option for self-published authors, what you need to know to get your campaign started, and how successful authors are crushing it with crowdfunding. 

Dive Deeper

💡 Learn More About Kickstarter

💡 Check Out Some of Our Favorite Kickstarter Campaigns

💡 Read These Blog Posts

💡 Watch These Videos

Sound Bites From This Episode

🎙️ [8:57] “Having a thousand people like your LinkedIn post that says that you're going to write a book and that you're thinking about turning your content into a book, that's cool. That's really cool, to have a thousand people see your post. But to have a hundred people pledge $25 towards actually getting a copy of your book that you said you were going to write and publish? That's even cooler.”

🎙️ [15:53] “With any good book campaign, whether it's a crowdfunding campaign or you're promoting your book pre-launch or even post-launch, you should be able to answer the questions of: why are you writing this book? Why will it help people? Why should people want to buy it and read it? Why should they choose your book over something else?”

🎙️ [22:12] “It doesn't have to be this insane number of people backing your campaign or pledging to your campaign, especially when you get creative with those different reward tiers and stuff like that.”

Send us a Text Message.

💀 Can’t wait for our next episode? Check out our Resources page for links to our blog,
our YouTube channel, and more.
💀 Find us on Facebook, X, Instagram, and LinkedIn at luludotcom!
💀 Email us at
💀 Sign up for our mailing list.

Matt: You're, you're intro-ing. 

Lauren: Yeah. 

Matt: Okay, go 

Lauren: Hit start. 

Matt: I usually hit start when you start talking. 

Lauren: Alright.

[Publish & Prosper Intro Music]

Lauren: Hey everyone, welcome back to another episode of Publish & Prosper. It feels like it's been approximately 84 years since we recorded our last episode, which is factually untrue. We recorded one literally last week, but… we did. Matt's looking at me like, did we? We did. 

Matt: I don't think we did. 

Lauren: We did. We recorded one on Monday of last week. 

Matt: Did we really? We had just gotten back from London. 

Lauren: Yeah, that's when we recorded the one… 

Matt: Oh, about London. 

Lauren: About London. 

Matt: Oh, yeah. Okay.

Lauren: Which. Fun fact, shout out to my mom, because she texted me the day the episode came out when I was driving up to New York for 10 hours and said, ‘hey, I'm going to listen to your podcast episode and then call you to talk about it.’ And she did. So we have at least one extra listener. 

Matt: Good. 

Lauren: Thanks, Mom. But now I'm back and we're back and we're here to record a brand new episode. 

Matt: Awesome.

Lauren: Maybe we should get started on it. 

Matt: Yeah, sorry. I was distracted. I'm on Kickstarter looking at all the projects and books that are happening. 

Lauren: What are you doing on Kickstarter? 

Matt: I just told you. 

Lauren: Why are you on Kickstarter? 

Matt: I mean, there's just always a lot of cool projects, like different books. People are trying to get funded, or podcasts, or stuff like that. And so sometimes I like to go to Kickstarter and see what's going on. 

Lauren: What kind of books are people getting funded on Kickstarter? 

Matt: Oh man.

Lauren: I'm so distracted by this now. 

Matt: Yeah. I don't know if we have enough time to talk about all of them, but suffice to say there's quite a wide range of topics and or… I'll just leave it at that. 

Lauren: Okay yeah maybe that is the content best saved for off air.

Matt: I think so. 

Lauren: Okay.

Matt: Yeah. 

Lauren: But incidentally - you probably picked up on this already if you've seen the title of this episode - but that is what we are going to be talking about today. We will be talking about using Kickstarter to crowdfund your book publishing efforts because crowdfunding is perfect for self published authors. 

Matt: Yeah, and it's the easiest way to experiment with selling direct. 

Lauren: Yes it is. So you want to talk a little bit more about that? 

Matt: Sure. 

Lauren: And explain how that's true. 

Matt: Yeah, it is true because you are creating the Kickstarter because you want to fund your book. Presumably the production of your book, you want to be able to get some money together for an editor, for a designer, for those types of things that you can create a really good piece of content to put out in the world. But what you're essentially doing is establishing a direct connection to supporters, right? New and existing. And so what happens is, you know, you post your project and you try to get backers to pledge money, to support your project. You have a goal you want to hit. But at the end of that, if you hit or meet your goal, you'll be given kind of a CSV file of everybody who pledged for your project. 
What used to happen, until recently, was that you would then take that CSV file, and using whatever print facility you were using or platform… um, let's just stick with Lulu cause it's the easiest, you'd come over and you'd have to hand-enter each one of those. So it was a very long and tenuous process. Uh, we built something recently called an Order Import tool that basically allows you to just upload that CSV file and we print and ship every line item that's on there that's associated to a book in your account, thereby automating the entire process, uh, after you upload the spreadsheet. So it really kind of was a game changer for people who use tools like, or platforms like Kickstarter, and even subscription platforms like Patreon and some of the others the ability to just take that file and upload it and just automate that whole process. 

Lauren: Yeah it's become this really powerful - I don't want to say two-step process, because it's not a two-step process, but this like two-pronged approach with Kickstarter and Lulu Direct. 

Matt: Mmm you mean selling direct, yeah. 

Lauren: Yes. 

Matt: Yeah.

Lauren: Yeah. 

Matt: Sorry I just realized I didn't fully answer your question but you're right, yes, it's an easy starter way, yeah. 

Lauren: When have we ever actually directly answered a question one of us has asked? 

Matt: That's fair enough. Me especially, I'm notorious for not directly answering a question, but.

Lauren: That's okay. I think that's part of our charm. 

Matt: That, I would use that term loosely, but go right ahead. I appreciate it. 


Lauren: Look, we're doing our best. But, I think that Kickstarter can be a really cool way for people to experiment not only with selling direct, but also experiment with figuring out their book and the viability of their book and whether or not people are interested in it. So that can be really helpful. We've talked a lot in other episodes about the idea of being public with your process as you're working on your book, as you're writing it, as you're editing it, building a fan base based on writing in public, and this is kind of another way to do that. 

Because we've also talked in the past, and I'm sure we will continue to talk in the future, about the idea of finding a niche to write in and like finding specifically - whether it's fiction or nonfiction - finding a void in the market in the area that you're interested in, or the area that you're an expert in and really narrowing in your focus on that and saying like, I'm going to fill this void. I'm going to create the content and provide the book that doesn't exist, that I can be the subject matter expert on this. And as much as that's like a really cool idea and definitely the right thing to do, it can also be a little bit daunting to be like, well, what if, what if this doesn't exist because nobody wants it? Like, you know - 

Matt: Well, yeah.

Lauren: What if nobody's written this yet because nobody cares about it. 

Matt: Well. So when you said earlier about testing the market, that is a great way. I mean, it's a very honest way to get proof of concept, right? 

Lauren: Yes.

Matt: So you list a project up there and you get zero pledges or backers for the entirety of the campaign. Yeah. I mean, that's a pretty stark answer to the question of does anybody want this content? I think there are a lot of reasons why you would want to use Kickstarter. And I think that again, as a stepping stone to selling direct, it is a great way to do things like test the viability of your topic, your content, your book, whatever it is you're doing. And then if you do see that it's getting traction, great. You're now actually raising some front-loaded funds to help make sure that you put out the highest quality book. 

Lauren: Yeah.

Matt: And then at the end of it, you now have a great dedicated way to directly fulfill those orders, not relying on a third party retailer platform. So again, it is an easy way to experiment with print, with selling direct, but also again, yeah, test the market and see like, is anybody willing? I mean, there are clearly some stuff that I'm looking at where this has to be people testing the market because listen, I'm all for everybody doing their thing. But man, there's some projects on here and it's like, wow. 

Lauren: Yeah. I'm afraid to ask, so I'm not going to do that. 

Matt: No, let’s not do that. I don't want to. 

Lauren: But no, I agree. And I think that's one of the things we've again, we've talked about this before, we'll talk about this again. Matt and I are both big advocates, I guess, of the 1,000 True Fans theory, of the idea of having super fans. And I think a Kickstarter is a great - I'm jumping so, so far ahead of my outline right now, but most famously in the last few years, New York Times bestselling author, Brandon Sanderson did a Kickstarter campaign. He wrote a bunch of books over quarantine and he didn't really have any intention of traditionally publishing them. So he did it instead as a, like, quarterly subscription basically where he had a book come out every three months and get sent directly to backers as part of this whole thing. And in… I think it was like 72 hours or something like that, it was some insane turnover time, it became the most successful campaign to ever be run on Kickstarter. It was something like $41 million from 185,000 backers. 

That's, I mean, the ultimate proof of concept and the ultimate proof of true fans. And something like that, I mean, you know, not saying that every single one of us has 185,000 people that are going to contribute to our campaigns or back our campaigns on Kickstarter, but we did a webinar a couple of years ago with Oriana Leckert from Kickstarter. And she mentioned in that webinar that the average pledge on Kickstarter is about $25. That might've changed in the last couple of years. So, sorry that I didn't fact check that before doing this episode. But, you know, assuming it's still relatively close to $25, having a thousand people like your LinkedIn post that says that you're going to write a book and that you're thinking about turning your content into a book. That's cool. That's really cool to have a thousand people see your post, but to have a hundred people pledge $25 towards actually getting a copy of your book that you said you were going to write and publish. That's even cooler. 

Matt: Yeah. It's almost like a form of pre-order too, right?

Lauren: That's exactly what it is.

Matt: If people are actually interested and then they're pledging to get the book, it's a pretty big win-win situation. As long as you make enough to cover your costs, the fees associated with the Kickstarter, and some of the other things, it's kind of a way to do pre-ordering with selling direct, with crowdfunding. Like it's a way to compound all these really cool things to help get your book into the market.


Lauren: Maybe let's back up a step because I feel like we're both operating under the assumption that people are following along with the idea that we're laying out here that we haven't actually put into words. So, what we're talking about when we're talking about crowdfunding, the publication of your book is basically the idea of you saying, I'm going to write this book. I'm going to self publish this book. I'm gauging interest in potential backers, readers, buyers. And part of the exchange here is people that are gonna back your campaign are going to get a copy of your book. I feel like that's clear, but I just wanted to like, actually lay it out. Another thing that's notable about Kickstarter campaigns is that they are all or nothing when it comes to funding. 

Matt: Yeah. 

Lauren: So if you don't reach your goal, if you set a goal and you don't reach it, the money gets returned to all the backers. So, that can be a little scary for you if you were really counting on that money to help you get published and you didn't reach your goal. But it can also mean that if you reach a point where you can't deliver, that's okay. That pressure goes away. And it also means that your potential readers and buyers have a little bit less of an obstacle to fund your book, because the end result is they get a copy of the book or they get their money back. So it's a lot less risk for them than some of the other crowdfunding platforms where you could throw money into a pit and then never see it again and never see any other rewards that you were potentially promised. 

Matt: Yeah, definitely. I think crowdfunding is a safe way for both parties involved. I do know you just outlayed some of the risks and things like that, but, especially for newer creators and authors maybe, who are still sort of feeling out all of this and trying to figure out exactly how they want to go to market with not only this one but subsequent titles and things like that. It is a nice way to be able to front-fund those activities that you need to happen like the editing and cover design and some of the other things, and in a risk-free sort of way. Like you said, if you don't meet the goal that you put in front of everybody, then no harm, no foul, the backers, the pledges, they get their money back. And it's not like you came just shy of it, but you're still expected to now fulfill and you might not quite have the money to fulfill. So it can be a good way for people to take a risk as well. And I kind of like that idea. 

Lauren: Yeah. And it's also as in many other things with self-publishing and with selling direct, it's still something that you can follow through on even if you don't meet your goal. You know, if you say like, mmkay, well, I fell short of reaching my fundraising goal, but I still do want to write and publish and sell this book. I will just sell it directly to my customers or potential readers instead of trying to crowdfund it ahead of time. You can still do that. You're not giving away the rights to your content or the rights to publication of this book by deciding that you want to try crowdfunding it first. 


Lauren: But let's talk a little bit about how to actually go about doing this. And I don't mean necessarily the, like, super nitty gritty step by step how to, but I just want to talk a little bit about the general overview of how an author would go about running a crowdfunding campaign from start to beginning. From start to beginning. We're off to a great start. 

Matt: From start to beginning. 

Lauren: I want to go home. I’m done. Done with today. 

Matt: You can go home when we start. 

Lauren: Great. 

Matt: You can go home at the beginning. 

Lauren: Great.

Matt: Since we're not finishing or there is no end. 

Lauren: There is never an end. 

Matt: Yeah.

Lauren: This is an infinite podcast. It's fine. Anyway, quick overview. How to go about running a crowdfunding campaign. Step one, it's my favorite step. Plan ahead. 

Matt: My least favorite step. 

Lauren: I know, but you know I'm right. Couple of ways that you can plan ahead for your crowdfunding campaign. First and foremost, Oriana in the webinar that we hosted - which I will link in the show notes if you're curious about watching it - recommends that you start building your audience before you start a campaign. You need to have at least a few people to start pitching your campaign to so it can have some traction. So, you know, you do wanna start your audience building before then. That being said, it is a lot harder to pitch the abstract concept of a book to an audience than it is to pitch like a, ‘hey, I'm doing this crowdfunding campaign,’ or ‘hey, I'm taking pre-orders for the book that I'm writing.’ So if you can figure out a way to do these things hand in hand, go for it, do it, figure out a plan ahead of time. 

Another thing that you will definitely want to do ahead of time is research your platforms. If you're using Kickstarter, you know, you want to make sure that you understand what they require for campaigns and make sure that you can meet those requirements and make sure that you have the assets that you'll need to set up your campaign. You're also going to want to make sure that you have some understanding for yourself when people ask you about your campaign. You want to be able to answer the why questions and you want to be able to answer them in a way that is appealing to a public audience. Like the why can't be ‘because I can't afford editing services on my own so I want you to pay for them for me.’ 

Matt: Well, to be fair, I think you, I think you can also be honest and transparent in a way that is acceptable and professional to a degree. So there are Kkickstarters on there, tons of them, where they do state, listen, this is going to be a great book, but I want to make it even better. And to do that, I want to hire this particular designer. And to do that, I need to do this Kickstarter so that I can get some of those funds up front so that I can make this the best book possible for all of my fans and readers. 

Lauren: And that's what we call marketing spin. 

Matt: Well, there you go. Okay, fair enough, yes. 

Lauren: No, but you're right. You're completely right about that. Having that transparency and being an authentic person with your fans is the correct way to go about doing it. But also in a way that doesn't make it sound like you're pawning off the publishing costs - 

Matt: Yeah, I mean. 

Lauren: - onto other people, even though that is what you're doing. 

Matt: You're right. There is such a thing as too transparent at times. So yeah. 

Lauren: But also, you know, with any good book campaign, whether it's a crowdfunding campaign or you're promoting your book pre-launch or even post-launch, you should be able to answer the questions of: why are you writing this book? Why will it help people? Why should people want to buy it and read it? Why should they choose your book over something else? And as always, this is applicable to both fiction and nonfiction. If the answer to why it will help people is because it will entertain them when they're bored on a rainy Wednesday afternoon, that's a good enough reason. But you have to have that reason. You have to know what you're providing your readers and why you're providing it and why they should choose your book. So these are all things to consider ahead of time. 

And then not the last thing, but like the last important thing that you're definitely gonna wanna do is setting your goals for your campaign. You need to know ahead of time what your costs are gonna be for your book production, whether that's your printing costs, the editorial services that you want to pay for cover design, formatting, anything like that. If you're hoping to make a profit on this… if you're just trying to cover the production costs of your book, you can do the math on that, versus if you're trying to make a profit in addition with your Kickstarter campaign, you know, you need to figure out exactly what you want to set your goal to be, with Kickstarter being an all or nothing kind of platform, you know, you want it to be a realistic goal. It's not like you can say I'm going to make it a hundred thousand dollars. And if I get that, great. And if I don't, I'll publish the book anyway, because you will lose any money if you don't hit that lofty, outlandish goal. 

Matt: Yeah, absolutely. And ideally, when you talk about profiting from a Kickstarter, the profit, I think for the most part, should be built into the actual print book side of what you're doing, versus trying to profit off of the amount of money that you need to pay your service providers. It's pretty easy to calculate what your cost is going - your manufacturing cost per book - is going to be, and then you can just add whatever your percentage of profit that you'd like to make on top of that to get that number. 


Lauren: Yeah. One of the ways that you can also kind of build, I don't want to say build profit in, but maximize the revenue that you're gonna get from this. maybe. is by having more than one reward tier.

Matt: Yes. 

Lauren: For people. 

Matt: Yeah.

Lauren: So let's talk a little bit about that, because that's going to be step two, I think, once you're done planning ahead and figuring out your details, is you're going to want to figure out what kind of content you can offer within your campaign that will entice people to want to actually...what did we say? Pledge money to your campaign. 

Matt: Pledge, yeah. 

Lauren: Pledge money to your crowdfunding campaign. So, you know, like we already said, basic, entry level premise of this or basic entry level, like this is what we're going to do here is I'm going to offer you money to pre-order a copy of your book. But you can do more than that too. Like if that's the basic one, let's take it up a couple of steps. What else can you offer people? What other kind of unique, exclusive, exciting content can you offer people? 

Matt: Yeah. And so I think somebody who's doing it really well right now is a guy we work with. His name is Johnny Truant. Some people may already know of him. I mean, he's written a lot of stuff. One of the things he's more well known for lately is one of his books got picked up by Hulu and was made into a TV series. That book was called Fat Vampire, and Fat Vampire was picked up by Hulu. And so now Johnny is back wanting to basically explore the idea of Kickstarters and direct sales, and he's doing a really good job of pushing the envelope on exactly what we can do with print-on-demand for different options based on different tiers of pledges and he's done a really good job putting together different levels - pledge levels - and packages and tiers. And what he does is he also includes some of his other back catalog content at certain of the higher level. Like if you go to his premium rewards tab there's a $250 premium tier and basically you get everything that's in the $100 tier but then you also get the signed copies of the new book he's pushing, which is called Gore Point - which I can't wait to read, by the way, so shout out to Johnny and Gore Point - but you also then get I think it's like 80-something ebooks of his back catalog of the things that he's written over the years. 

Lauren: Oh, that's cool. 

Matt: And a bunch of other things. So there's so many ways that you're able to stack your pledge tiers that don't necessarily have to involve just the new book that you're pushing or the new project you're pushing, including all kinds of cool things. I think he also includes access to a book club that he runs or something like that. You can do all kinds of really cool - he's got a $1,000 tier, by the way, which he limits to only 12 backers. And that includes obviously all kinds of stuff, which that's the one that includes access to his personal book club. And then he'll, that $1,000 tier, one of the things he also offers is he'll name one of the background characters in Gore Point after whoever you want. 

Lauren: Oh, that's awesome. 

Matt: Yeah, so I mean, you know, you're talking about what are the different things you can do to incentivize and motivate people in creating multiple tiers. And I just think that Johnny, he's doing a really good job of that right now. So if anybody needs an example, go to Kickstarter and look up Johnny Truant. Gore Point is still active. I think he's exceeded the goal he set, but he's just doing a really good job. But he's also a good example of transparency. So he's being very transparent and talking about 'if I hit this stretch goal, then I'll automatically upgrade all hard covers to include, you know, something like embossed UV spot printing on the cover so it's really cool, the dust jacket or whatever, you know, he's doing a really good job of talking about the things that are possible and encouraging people to help him hit these stretch goals because they will also in turn get a better cooler, more limited edition product. 

Lauren: Yeah, that's awesome. I did just look it up on Kickstarter. I will link to his campaign in the show notes if anyone wants to check it out. Although it does look like it's actually gonna end before this episode airs. 

Matt: Oh, does it? 

Lauren: So yeah, oh no. No, I'm sorry, it ends the week that this episode airs. Sorry, I have no idea where I am in space and time anymore. 

Matt: Me either. So I can't help you.

Lauren: It's fine. I thought it was April already. It's not, April is next week. 

Matt: It - almost, but no. 

Lauren: It's in my head it's already April. But yeah, his campaign for Gore point is 200% backed already 

Matt: Yeah.

Lauren: With 68 backers. So as cool as it is to say that Brandon Sanderson had 185,000 people back his campaign. This is clearly an example of an author who can do that with under a hundred.

Matt: Yeah, no, absolutely. Yeah. 

Lauren: It doesn't have to be this insane number of people backing your campaign or pledging to your campaign, especially when you get creative with those different reward tiers and stuff like that. When I was working out the details for this episode, I was thinking about the author that you were telling us about a few episodes ago that was doing the half hour zoom calls -  

Matt: Oh yeah.

Lauren: With people. 

Matt: Yeah.

Lauren: That could be a really cool thing to offer. You don't have to put any money into that. You don't have to lay out any money to have an artist design a cool cover for your book or have some extra art prints printed that you then have to figure out how to ship them out to the people or something like that. This is just a little something that you can do. And, you know, like Matt mentioned with what Johnny is doing for his, you can limit -

Matt: Yep.

Lauren: The number of people that are allowed to pledge or claim a certain reward.

Matt: And you probably should. 

Lauren:  Yes, absolutely. Especially for some of the higher tier ones. So if you say, you know, like I'm going to offer five of these 30 minute Zoom sessions with people and sell five of them. That's great. That's great. That's pretty low lift on your part, depending on how much of an introvert or extrovert you are.

Matt: Yeah.

Lauren: I mean, it sounds like my personal nightmare, but other people for other people, that's like a Saturday afternoon for them, and it's fine. 

Matt: Yeah. 

Lauren: And that's a really cool way to entice people to contribute to your campaign. 

Matt: Yeah, but on the flip side of that for people like you and I, this idea of potentially, you know, you pledging at this certain level, limited to a certain amount of people, and you get to be included in a private book club. 

Lauren: That would be amazing. 

Matt: That's a little bit different than saying, hey, you'll get a half an hour, 45 minutes or an hour of my time on a private Zoom call one-on-one to talk about whatever you wanna talk about or, you know, things like that. So… I think the things, I think the point here is the things that you can offer are limited only to your imagination and probably some of the terms and services

Lauren: Yeah.

Matt: on Kickstarter. But yeah.

Lauren: Yeah, I'm trying to think of other things, because I've definitely backed some Kickstarter campaigns for books before. I'm trying to think of other rewards that I've gotten. Some cool exclusive editions of books, which is always, you know, we've talked about true fans wanting exclusive editions of books. I'm always a big fan of that. You know, if you can have one designed that has a cool cover or unique end paper. If you're offering the book only in paperback for regular tier or regular buyers after the crowdfunding campaign is over. But for a certain tier, they can get like a nice hardcover. 

Matt: Yeah.

Lauren: Even that is something special. It's something that's rare, something that they won't be able to get after the campaign is over. So it's kind of like a fun enticement in that way. There's also some pretty easy deliverables with things like a cool custom bookmark. It's not super easy to do signed copies of books, whether that's print-on-demand or traditional publishing. Like it's… a lot of times when you see authors doing, like, signed books for traditional published books, they still have to go to… It's like through a bookstore. Usually it's through like a local bookstore to them will be fulfilling orders and shipping them out and the author still has to go in person to sign all those copies of books.

Matt: Yeah.

Lauren: I can say that as somebody who used to have to stand in the back of a bookstore and pull the books from people as they were signing them, which is a very tedious and annoying process, especially if you don't like the author.

Matt: I can imagine.

Lauren: What I have seen authors do and is very easy to do is sign bookplates. If you're not familiar with what a bookplate is, you can get a sticker that you can use something as simple as like a plain white name badge sticker, or you can have some really nice custom ones made that kind of match your cover art, might have the title on it, your name on it, something like that. Sign a bunch of those with a Sharpie and then mail them out to people that pre-ordered your book, people that backed your campaign. People use them as rewards. I have a bunch of books at home that have nice pretty bookplates. And I even have some actually that I've gotten bookplates that I like so much that instead of putting them in the book, I frame them and they're on my, like I have a big gallery wall in my apartment. And I have a couple of bookplates that are signed by authors that I, instead of putting them in the book, I put them in a frame and stuck them up on the wall.

Matt: I am both in admiration of that and concerned about that. 

Lauren: You are also not the least bit surprised by that. 

Matt: No, not at all. 

Lauren: Because you do know me.

Matt: Not at all. Well. 

Lauren: I broke Matt a little bit.

Matt: Just a little bit. 

Lauren: It's fine. It's okay. Anyway, I think we all got the idea when it comes to setting up compelling rewards. And as always, you know your audience a lot better than we do. We can give you a bunch of abstract ideas, but I guarantee you that you could come up with something more unique, more applicable than anything that we could come up with. 

Matt: For sure. 

Lauren: Off the cuff, without knowing the kind of content that you're creating. 

Matt: Yeah. 


Lauren: So this is your opportunity to get creative and have fun with it, which of course is going to lead us to step three, which is going to be promoting your campaign. 

Matt: That's the fun part. 

Lauren: That is the fun part. It's also the part that we're going to talk the least about. 

Matt: Maybe because it is the fun part. 

Lauren: Because it's the fun part and also because we just did like a four episode series - 

Matt: Yeah. 

Lauren: - on how to promote your book. 

Matt: Yeah. I see what you're doing here. 

Lauren: This is, this is more or less the same thing. 

Matt: Go back and listen to the other episode. 

Lauren: Yes, exactly. Go back and listen to... 

Matt: Lauren's promoting us. 

Lauren: I am. You know what? 

Matt: We got puns on top of puns. 

Lauren: Doing my best. 

Matt: I like big puns and I cannot lie. 

Lauren: I had a tote bag for years that said I like big books and I cannot lie. 

Matt: Yeah, I like big puns better than big books. 

Lauren: Yeah, that's probably for the best. I also don't read a lot of big books. 

Matt: I get bored if the book's too big. 

Lauren: So do I. So do I. Tells me a lot about my attention span. 

Matt: I think I'm going to make a t-shirt that says I like big puns and I cannot lie. 

Lauren: A Lulu t-shirt? 

Matt: No. 

Lauren: Oh, disappointing. 

Matt: Well, I don't want to get fired. Actually, I don't think I'd get fired for that. It’d probably be the least offensive thing -

Lauren: I'm wearing a shirt that says Luluminati right now. 

Matt: Eh, it's fair. 

Lauren: That was made for the whole company and given out to the whole company and nobody batted an eye at that, so. 

Matt: That's true. 

Lauren: It's a great t-shirt by the way. Anyway, promoting your crowdfunding campaign is a lot like promoting your book, especially the pre-launch part of promoting your book. So if you really want to kind of like, deep dive into that, I would recommend going back and listening to the episode that we did on pre-launch, at-launch, and post-launch book marketing. 

Matt: Yeah. 

Lauren: Because there will be a lot of stuff in there. The point is that you do actually have to promote your campaign. You can't just throw it up on Kickstarter

Matt: Yep.

Lauren: And then hope that people that are browsing Kickstarter are going to find it. 

Matt: So your one main takeaway here is don't rely solely on Kickstarter. 

Lauren: Yes. 

Matt: Perfect. 


Lauren: Exactly. Step four, last step. Once you've done your successful campaign, you've set it all up, you've got really cool rewards, you have succeeded in getting it backed by the number of people that you needed to meet your goal. Now you have to actually fulfill those rewards. Depending on whether or not, or depending on where you did this in your book publishing process, you might have to start with be- finishing the book. 

Matt: Yeah, well - 

Lauren: I almost said beginning the book again, which maybe - maybe you have to begin the book. Maybe that's where you're at. Please don't. 

Matt: That's not advisable, by the way. 

Lauren: Yeah, no. 

Matt: At least have a finished manuscript at least

Lauren: At least have like, most of a finished manuscript. If you don't finish it, fine. 

Matt: Well, theoretically, you're gonna need a fairly, if not completely finished manuscript and some actual concept art or cover designs and things like that, because to build an effective campaign, like you were just saying earlier, you're gonna need some compelling copy, some very visually pleasing graphic assets and things like that. So you really can't just stroll up to Kickstarter, throw a paragraph of a treatment that you have up there to an unfinished manuscript, no graphic design assets or anything, and expect that you're gonna get any sort of pledges. 

Lauren: Yes, for sure. 

Matt: For sure. 

Lauren: Oh, damn. It's fine. But I think we’re also… Oh my God, I just completely forgot where I was going with that.

Matt: So we were talking about -

Lauren: I got distracted by us both saying -

Matt: - fulfilling your rewards, yeah - 

Lauren: - the same thing at the same time. 

Matt: For sure. 

Lauren: Oh, well, it's gone. It's gone forever. 

Matt: That's alright. 

Lauren: When it comes to. Oh, I remembered what it was. See.

Matt: Perfect. 

Lauren: If I just keep talking, it eventually comes back to me. One of the things that you will need to consider when you're setting up your campaign is there will be an expectation of delivery time. So you will have to have some kind of timeline in mind. So even if you're saying, like I was looking at a campaign yesterday that is happening now, it ends next week. and the expected delivery is November of 2024. 

Matt: Right.

Lauren: So you don't have to say, I'm going to have this turned around to you by tomorrow. 

Matt: Right. 

Lauren: But you do have to give your backers some kind of timeline. And I do believe that Kickstarter does hold you to that timeline to a certain extent. Like I do think you are expected to deliver if you say you're going to, and if your campaign is fully backed. 

Matt: Yeah. And I think the point here again, it's just that you're communicating effectively and clearly with your pledges and in your audience that, and - by the way, most of these things people expect there to be some delay between when the campaign ends and when they actually receive whatever it is they're supposed to receive. Even if it's an ebook, I mean.

Lauren: Yeah.

Matt: That thing might not be done. You might have to now go and have a graphic designer create really cool graphics and things like that for the ebook as well. So people are used to that, I think, especially anybody who's backed or pledged for a project on Kickstarter before. But you just want to be very clear, yeah.

Lauren: Yeah, absolutely. And we did kind of already talk about the idea of how to fulfill those book orders. If you're taking book orders for your campaign, we've made it nice and easy for you with our Order Import tool. 

Matt: Yes. You need to think about how you're going to fulfill these things. I will tell you that nobody else will help you fulfill your print the way that we do, our Order Import tool is the first and only way to do that right now. I'm sure somebody will copy us soon, but the ability to bring a CSV file, you know, or multiple CSV files based on the hardcover paperback, whatever that might be, upload those and have us print and ship those automatically for you. The convenience there can't be overstated. You know, and then your other products, whatever it is that you're fulfilling on top of that, you'll be working with other suppliers for those things, as well as any of the cool stuff that you are offering. And side note, I happen to see that Johnny has a $5,000 tier way at the bottom. Like that's the-

Lauren: Oh. 

Matt: And the $5,000 tier includes like a hangout time in Vegas. I'm assuming around the Author Nation event and dinner on him at Nobu, which is a pretty tasty restaurant and very expensive and swanky. So there's literally no limit to what you can offer and how you fulfill that. So. Yeah.

Lauren: I'm trying to think if there are any authors that I would spend five grand on the opportunity to have dinner with them. The answer is probably. 

Matt: I would absolutely spend five grand to be able to have dinner with Stephen King or…

Lauren: Oh that's a good one.

Matt: A handful of others. Yes. 

Lauren: That's a good one. 

Matt: Yeah. I absolutely, would. 

Lauren: Okay. Alright, that's fair I can think of a couple.

Matt: See? Now no offense to Johnny, but I'm gonna see Johnny anyways I'm not gonna give him five grand. But nonetheless, Johnny does really good work, his books are pretty cool. And I'm sure he's got a plenty of fans who would spend some money to to do things like that.

Lauren: Yeah.

Matt: But I would absolutely spend that money to have dinner with Stephen King or I might even spend three grand to have dinner with Grady Hendrix and talk about some of his books or…

Lauren: I mean, there are definitely, you know, thinking about it. Like how much money would you spend to have dinner with Joe Rohde? Imagineer Joe Rohde. 

Matt: Honestly, none. 

Lauren: What? 

Matt: It's funny, because Jen and I were just talking about him the other day. He annoys us. Now, if I could have dinner, there is no limit to the amount of money I would pay to have dinner with Rolly Crump. 

Lauren: Oh my God. Same. 

Matt: Or, you know. There's a handful of other Imagineers from the early days that were involved in some of those projects like Haunted Mansion or Pirates of the Caribbean where yeah, obviously no limit, if I had no limits, and then clearly, you know, Walt Disney, I would probably sell one of my children to have dinner with Walt Disney. 

Lauren: Well, we would also have to raise them from the dead first. 

Matt: Well, I mean. There’s also that.

Lauren: A lot of these old school Imagineers have passed.

Matt: Yeah.

Lauren: And Disney himself, of course, obviously. Good point, good point. Okay, fair. But yeah, no, great idea. Actually, that's really cool. 

Matt: Yeah. 

Lauren: So yeah, whatever creative rewards you come up with, whatever creative ideas you come up with, obviously we could just go back and forth with these all day. Make sure that you are prepared to fulfill those rewards.

Matt: Yeah.

Lauren: However you can, whether they are books, we can help you with that or something else.

Matt: Yeah. 


Lauren: I think that's really it when it comes to like how to actually do this. You know, we've seen people do these successfully. I'm going to link a couple in the show notes if you want to check it out. I've referenced the Brandon Sanderson one that was pretty big news a few years ago. We've also had, there's a Lulu author who has done a few very successful Kickstarter campaigns. He actually has the record for the most successful art books campaign in the history of Kickstarter. This is an artist named Lorenzo Etherington. He does these really cool - his Kickstarter campaigns are all a series of How to Draw books that are awesome. He's got one that's live right now that actually that's the one that ends next week and has the fulfillment date of November of this year. So I'll link that if you want to check it out. I think we've referenced him in the past on this podcast too as just having some really cool books on the Lulu bookstore, but he's a great example of somebody who's had some really great success with campaigns. He's got some really cool tier options set up if you wanna check those out for ideas on how to do that. And then he does still sell books on Lulu as well. So he's a good example of an author that's utilizing multiple different sales platforms and sales channels for getting his books out there in the hands of his fans. 

Matt: Yeah, I didn't realize he had a current one going right now or I would have mentioned him as well. He always does some really cool stuff and I don't know if this is the first time, but it's certainly one of the first times that he's now also offering his books in hardcovers. And they look really, really cool. 

Lauren: Yeah.

Matt: And then he's got one that's going to be 3D that comes with 3D glasses. And so he's also doing some really cool things with his Kickstarter and the pledge levels. But yeah, he's been doing it for a while and his stuff is beautiful. And the way that he structures his campaigns is another great example of somebody you might want to look at. He also set a very low goal in the beginning. I think his goal was 12... Actually, his goal was $1,261. 

Lauren: I think he's based in the UK or Europe or something. 

Matt: He is in the UK.

Lauren: So that's probably it's probably a number that makes more sense in like, pounds or Euro.

Matt: It's £1000 is what he was looking for. 

Lauren: Got it.

Matt: He's at $494,000 right now. I think he met his goal. 

Lauren: Yeah. You think? 

Matt: Yeah. So anyways.

Lauren: Wow. 

Matt: Again, if you need examples and inspiration to draw from, these will be linked in the show notes. These are great examples to pull from. These creators and authors, they know what they're doing and they've found a way to make it work for them on Kickstarter in a way that nets them what seemingly looks like better profit margins than some of the retail game you could be playing right now, but also allows them to sort of front load and be able to get the resources they need to provide the products that are going to make their fans happy and come back. 

Lauren: Yeah, for sure.

Matt: Yeah.

Lauren: I'm also really curious now because we've kind of put a timestamp on this in that we're recording this episode exactly one week before it comes out. And you know, you've just said exactly what his backer amount is right now. So I'm curious to see what it looks like by the time the episode airs, which will be a few days before the campaign ends.

Matt: I'll leave these tabs open on my laptop.

Lauren: Same and like I said I will link to them in the show notes so y'all can check them out if you want to.

Matt: Actually, I'm gonna go back both of them right now.

Lauren: Do it.

Matt: Alright, well, if there's anything else you'd like to hear us talk about, please email us,, or if there's just questions, or if you're just tired of hearing us talk about Disney, either way, shoot us an email. We'd love to hear from you. We also have multiple other ways you can reach out to us.

Lauren: Like what? 

Matt: Carrier pigeon? 

Lauren: This is Matt’s attempt to get birds in the office, and the answer is still no. 

Matt: That's right. 

Lauren: Try again. 

Matt: Alright.

Lauren: No, you can always find us on Lulu social media, @ luludotcom. Or like Matt said, best way to get us, shoot us an email. We'd love to talk to you. But until then, thanks for listening. 

Matt: Later.