The crowdfunding craze is in full-swing, making it a perfect time to plan and launch the book project of your dreams! When it comes to getting together the funding needed to self-publish and launch your professional quality ebook, Kickstarter is a great resource for freelance professionals and authors. It lets you test the market while both gauging and engaging your audience.
This detailed step-by-step tutorial will walk you through the process of creating an account, setting up your book project in Kickstarter's system, and completing all of the other important steps you need to finish in order to get your book campaign approved and launched.
1. Sign up for Kickstarter and Create a Project
Step 1: Check Out Kickstarter.com
Take some time to visit Kickstarter's website and read up on what it's all about, how it works, and what kind of projects are allowed. Be sure to spend time looking at numerous book project across the different publishing categories to get a feel for what others have done. Also, don't miss our strategic resource on how to run a successful Kickstarter for your ebook project.
There are lots of great examples here to check out.
Step 2: Create A Kickstarter Account
Once you're ready to get started, click the Sign Up button in the upper right side of the top menu bar. This will take you to a page where you'll enter you basic information to create a new account. Alternately, you can choose to log-in with your Facebook account.
Step 3: Update Your Profile
Go to the Me tab in the upper right section of the menu bar. Click My Profile and then click Edit Your Profile on the next screen, which will take you to a form where you can add a short bio, a personal photo, your location, and a link to your website. It's important to fill out all of these sections.
Step 4: Start Your EBook Project
To create a project, click the Start A Project tab in the upper menu. On the next screen, select Start A Project.
This will take you to a page that runs down the rules for Kickstarter projects in great detail. At the bottom of that page, select your country, click the box to acknowledge you understand the requirements, and click the Start Your Project button in the lower right.
2. Edit Your Project's Basic Details
Step 1: Access Your Project Page
Click the Me tab in the upper right menu on the main Kickstarter Page. This will bring up a drop-down menu. Select your project under the My Created Projects heading. At this point it should be labeled "Untitled," though if you return here later, it'll list the updated title you've given it.
Step 2: Give Your Project an Image and a Title
Under the Basics tab for your project, you'll be able to fill out all of the important details for your ebook project. Start by selecting an image for your project. This can be your book cover or some other compelling image that relates to your project. Drag and drop the image from your computer to the box to upload a picture.
In the next box, select a title for your project. It can be the title of your book or something more descriptive about the project in-general. Make it snappy and captivating!
Step 3: Pick a Category, Short Blurb, and Location
Note that your key entries will appear as a preview in the sidebar to the right — which is what your project will look when it appears in category listings elsewhere on the Kickstarter site.
Be sure to select a category for your ebook project. Find Publishing in the drop down menu for that item, and select the most relevant subcategory (Fiction, Non-fiction, Journalism, etc).
Next, write a short and descriptive blurb to draw potential backers to your project, and don't forget to pick a location. This helps to group your ebook Kickstarter with other projects in your geographical region.
Step 4: Select a Campaign Length
Now it's time to pick a length for your campaign. Most run about 30 days on average, but you can go longer or shorter. You can either set a specific number of days for the campaign to run once it's accepted and officially launches, or you can use the drop-down calendar to select a specific end date.
Step 5: Set on a Funding Goal
This is a very import step, as it determines the minimum amount of money your project has to raise by the deadline in order to be successful. You can set a placeholder amount for now if you're not sure how much you'll need just yet, but make sure you update it before finalizing and submitting the project. It can't be changed once everything goes live.
Be sure to save your information before proceeding to the Rewards section.
3. Create Rewards for Your Kickstarter Campaign
Step 1: Access Your Project Page
Click the Rewards tab on the dark grey project elements bar at the top of the screen. This will take you to a screen where you can input information on each of the different reward tiers you plan to offer for your Kickstarter.
Step 2: Select a Pledge Amount
For each reward tier you setup, start be selecting a dollar amount for backers to pledge in order to receive the reward. You'll ultimately want to have a wide range of price tiers to entice different levels of backers.
Step 3: Write a Description
Create a description that includes both a short title for the reward tier and a description of what backers receive for pledging that amount. This sometimes includes "Everything in [previous tiers] plus X, Y, Z". Also, be sure to indicate whether backers should pledge extra money for a certain tier to cover international shipping.
Step 4: Set an Estimated Delivery Date
Backers will want to know when they can expect to receive their rewards. Enter that information here.
Step 5: Select Shipping Details
If your reward will be physically shipped, indicate whether you're willing to ship anywhere in the world or only within your country. If your item is digital or in some other non-physical format (a thank-you in the back of the book, for example), select No Shipping Involved here.
Step 6: Select Limited Quantity (Optional)
Only plan to offer a reward tier to a limited number of backers on a first-come, first-serve basis? Click the Limited Quantity box and include that amount here.
Step 7: Repeat for Additional Rewards
Click the Add Another Backer Reward box to create additional rewards tiers for your project. Rewards will automatically be saved once you add them.
Save your changes before moving on. You can always come back and edit your rewards later too.
4. Create a Story for Your Project
Step 1: Access the Story Editing Page
Click the Story tab on the dark grey project elements bar at the top of the screen. This will take you to a page where you can add a video and text to give backers more details about your project and try to sell them on the idea.
Step 2: Upload Your Video
Select the box labeled Choose A Video From Your Computer to upload the video you've created. It will then begin to upload for processing, appearing once that has been completed.
Step 3: Create a Detailed Project Description
Either copy-paste a description for your project or write one up from scratch in this space. Ideally, you'll want it to be long and detailed enough to help explain why people should back your project. You can easily include headlines, lists, images, and other content to spice it up.
Step 4: Explain the Risks and Challenges
Kickstarter requires you to lay out potential risks and challenges associated with completing your project and fulfilling rewards. You're asked to explain how you'll overcome any challenges that arise. Here's the spot to do that.
Save your work before you continue!
5. Finalize Your Account Details
Step 1: Access the Account Editing Page
Click the Account tab on the dark grey project elements bar at the top of the screen. This will take you to a page where you can setup your Amazon Payments account for Kickstarter funds process, and confirm other important details.
Step 2: Connect to Your Amazon Payments Account
You'll have to create an Amazon Payments account in order to receive funds once your Kickstarter succeeds. Once you set it up, return here and click the Connect to Amazon Payments box to link it to your project.
Note: this is a multi-step process through Amazon, and it can take up to seven days for your account to be verified.
Step 3: Verify Your Identity
In this step, you must enter your legal name, birthday, and home address before clicking the Verify Identiy Box.
Step 4: Verify Email and Phone Contact Info
The email you provided during the signup process should appear in the upper box here. Click the Send Verification Email box here and follow the steps in the email it sends you. Then enter your phone number and click Start Verification on the lower box to receive and a phone call or text to complete that process.
Save your work and hit continue.
6. Preview and Review Your Project
Step 1: Preview Your Project
Click the Preview tab on the dark grey project elements bar at the top of the screen. This will let you get a preview of what your final Kickstarter project page will look like once it goes live.
Step 2: Review Everything and Adjust
Go back and double-check each section of your project to make sure your information is accurate and setup the way you want it before proceeding. Make any final adjustments before you move forward.
7. Submit It For Approval
Once you've checked everything over thoroughly, hit the Review tab in the upper grey menu box. At the bottom of the screen, hit the button marked Preview & Submit. If you've completed the full process and there aren't any errors, this will send your project to Kickstarter for approval. Once you're approved, it's time for launch!
8. Launch Your EBook Project!
After you've been approved and everything is ready to go. You can make final non-critical tweaks and then formally launch your campaign into the wilds! Congrats on getting this far and good luck along the way to being fully funded!
Now that you have the mechanics down of how to launch a Kickstarter, don't miss our post that covers strategic advice on how to run a successful Kickstarter for your ebook project.