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Kickstarter Basics

Updated: Aug 19, 2021


My goal is to publish a book that looks and feels as professional as possible. That is why I have hired professionals to help me edit, illustrate, and design The Train Rolls On. These services, however, cost money. With the help of my family, I have already funded the editing and a portion of the illustration costs. Now, I am organizing a crowdfunding campaign through Kickstarter to help fund the remaining portions of the illustration and design services. (To meet the illustrator and view samples of her work, check out my Illustrator Spotlight blog here. To meet the designer and view samples of his work, read my Book Designer Spotlight blog here.)

My Kickstarter campaign will launch in October, so I will provide more information as the launch date approaches. In the meantime, I’ve summarized the basics of crowdfunding and Kickstarter’s platform below:

What is crowdfunding?

Crowdfunding is a means of funding a project by raising small amounts of money from a large number of people.

While anyone with internet access and a major debit/credit card can pledge money to a campaign, most projects receive much of their support from family and friends.

What is Kickstarter?

Kickstarter is a crowdfunding platform that is specifically for creative projects (books, films, music, art, design, technology, etc.).

Every Kickstarter project must have a clear goal, and something tangible (such as a book, album, etc.) must be produced by it.

Since Kickstarter launched in 2009, more than 18 million people have backed creative projects, over $5 billion has been pledged, and more than 183,000 projects have successfully reached their funding goal. (For the most up-to-date Kickstarter stats, click here.)

How do Kickstarter pledges work?

People (called “backers”) pledge money to support the creative process and to join creators in bringing their project to life. (In order to pledge money to a project, a backer must create an account with Kickstarter.)

Kickstarter funding is all-or-nothing. No backer is charged for a pledge unless the project reaches its funding goal. This model is designed to reduce risk for both project creators and backers.

If a project reaches its funding goal, all backers' credit cards are charged once the campaign time expires. If a project falls short of its funding goal, no one is charged.

Kickstarter funding is all-or-nothing. No backer is charged for a pledge unless the project reaches its funding goal.

What do backers get in return?

Project creators design unique rewards to thank backers for their support. When backers pledge money to a project, they can choose which reward they’d like to receive and pledge the corresponding amount. (If desired, backers can also pledge money without selecting a reward.)

Rewards vary by project but usually include a copy of the item that is being produced (book, CD, DVD, etc.), a signed or limited edition format, and/or a one-of-a-kind experience related to the project.

Upon completion of the project, the project creator fulfills each reward and ensures that they are successfully delivered to each backer.

What are the benefits of organizing a crowdfunding campaign?

The obvious benefit of a successful campaign is raising the funds needed to bring a creative project to life.

A less obvious benefit of running a crowdfunding campaign is building a community of people who are interested (and invested) in the success of a creative project. This network is valuable whether or not a campaign reaches its funding goal.

Let's Summarize

In short, crowdfunding makes a big expense smaller by splitting it among many people, and Kickstarter is a crowdfunding platform that is dedicated to raising money for creative projects like books. My Kickstarter campaign will allow supporters an opportunity to purchase The Train Rolls On before it’s been published, and their pledges will then be used to help publish the book. By the time it is released next spring, there will hopefully be a community of supporters who are excited to read it and ready to help spread the word.

Go On...Check It Out

Honestly, I didn’t know much about Kickstarter before deciding to publish a book. Since then, I have learned a lot about it, have pledged money toward several authors’ Kickstarter campaigns, and have purchased another book that was originally published with funds raised through Kickstarter. There are some really neat books (and other creative projects) that are being funded through Kickstarter, so I encourage you to check them out. For more information about Kickstarter, go to their website here or read their answers to additional FAQs here.


For more information about my upcoming Kickstarter campaign for The Train Rolls On, read My First Kickstarter Campaign here. To read more about my self-publishing journey, click here to read my welcome blog. If you’d like to learn more about self-publishing in general, click here to check out my two-part blog series explaining what self-publishing is, its pros and cons, and why I chose to self-publish The Train Rolls On.

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