By Eric Ralph
Let me get one thing out of the way: Kickstarter is tremendous. I love that it and similar sites have democratized raising funds for virtually anything. It just isn’t tremendous for authors. I present five reasons why you should not Kickstart your book.
- You lose momentum. There is no good time as a writer to Kickstart your book. If you do it before you write it, you spend your timing raising money, not writing. If you do it after writing, you spend your time raising money instead of promoting your book.
- It’s just as expensive as marketing a book. Most of the things you need to do to market your Kickstarter campaign for your book are the same things you need to do to market your book. Kickstarter campaigns work better with video trailers, great cover images, and great marketing copy. If you don’t have money to market your book, you don’t have money to market a Kickstarter project for a book. Kickstarter also takes some of the proceeds, which raises the goal you need to hit.
- It encourages bad publishing behavior. If you raise the money, you’ll feel pressure to publish soon, to fulfill the pre-sales you’ve gotten. You might put less time to cover design or editing than you should. Your book will not be as good as it should be. If you get into heavy editing and realize you have six more months of work to do, you won’t want to go back to your backers and tell them.
- It encourages meddling. If people you know contribute a non-trivial amount, it might give them a feeling of ownership. Uncle Milt, so kind as to donate, might want input into your cover design. Would you give it to him?
- It can be demotivating. Publishing your book is hard enough. You’ll face a bunch of obstacles. You’ll get disheartened. You don’t need a Kickstarter campaign that isn’t going so well (most don’t) to kick you when you are down. Kickstarter can be yet another metric to obsess over instead of doing something productive.
Put together, these reasons suggest writers should not use Kickstarter to fund their book because it is a hinderance, not a help to getting a quality book published. Don’t waste time and energy fundraising for your book. It will cost you just as much to fund a quality Kickstarter campaign. Just focus on doing what you do best. Write a quality book, pay for great cover design and great editing, then market the heck out of your book.