Saturday, September 06, 2014

Is Kickstarter for You?

A Kickstarter campaign is a great way to raise funds. It helps generate sales quickly, as well as establishing whether or not there is interest in the book. It also creates pre-sales, allowing you to cover the price of publishing the book. However, it may not be right for you.

If you are planning on selling the book in a brick and mortar store or at a convention, then a Kickstarter campaign may be right for you. Kickstarter is the most economical way of raising funds; you do need to set up tier rewards, but that can actually be sort of fun. If you do decide to go this route I'd suggest getting a calculator as you need to make sure that you can buy all of the books you want to. The base pricing should be at least twice the cost of publishing the book; this ensures that you can buy one book for the donor and one you can sell later on. For each tier you need to make sure that price covers all applicable rewards, plus at least one book per tier.

In other words, let's say that you decide on a total of six tiers: bookmark, book, poster, credit, honorary certificate, and press kit. Let's say that the prices to create respectively are $1, $5, $12, free (but ego appealing), $3, and $10, and bear in mind that each tier is cumulative. This means you should price each tier at $6, $11, $28, $33, $41, and $56 respectively and minimally.

Now let's say that you wanted to come up with 1000 books, or about $5000. If you sell nothing but Tier 2 (book+bookmark), well, you'll find that you miscalculated; you'll sell roughly 455 book+bookmark pairs, and have 455 books to play with. Conversely, if you sell nothing but Tier 6 (everything), that's roughly 90 sets, but you have 540 books to play with. Of course, that doesn't cover shipping costs so you may want to re-visit the tier prices with that added in. You can pay for the shipping yourself, of course, but that sort of defeats the point.

But...the bottom line is that you have X number of books, and they're paid for. You can do whatever you want to do with those books, but most people do sell them. Or at least try. However, because they are paid for this means that you can do whatever you want with them such as offer them for prizes. Also, it means you will feel the last hour con crunch less than others; when everyone else is debating how far they can discount their books versus the cost of shipping them home, you can give them away for free. Having paid-for books gives you options.

However, if you are merely trying to make your books available for readers, you don't need a Kickstarter campaign; you can set up a POD shop and sell your books that way. If all you are trying to do is sell books, then just giving them a link to where they can buy them works as well, and you only need to upload your books to the POD publisher of your choice to make that happen. No muss, no fuss, and it's a lot easier to sell a link.

So, summing up: If you are trying to sell to a brick and mortar, at a con, or just need a huge number of physical books for whatever reason, use Kickstarter. If you just want to sell books, go POD. The choice is yours. 

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