What service(s) do you recommend for printing a self-published book?
Print on demand has higher unit costs, lower financial risk, and doesn't require a lot of money up-front. If you end up needing more than 500 copies for rewards, consider getting quotes from some offset printers. I've used Worzalla http://www.worzalla.com/, but there are tons of options out there. The downside to offset is that there typically isn't an option to handle distribution, like there is with POD. You need a distributor to get books into Amazon, B&N, etc. If you get a distributor, be prepared for the big ugly secret of publishing... returns. You can sell 1000 copies and get a nice check and then a few months later 600 are returned and you could end up owing money back to your distributor PLUS returns fees. (Getting a distributor is hard. Particularly if you only have a single title scheduled.)Ingram and Createspace are the two big players in POD. It pays to look at the prices and terms and figure out which (or what combination) works best for you. Keep in mind that books through a POD printer/distributor are harder to get into brick and mortar bookstores. Most will only take them as special orders, particularly if you have them set as non-returnable. It does get you into the big online stores. Here, Amazon is critical. You'll make most of your sales here. Sadly, your per-unit profit is lowest with POD, but at least it's all profit and almost no risk.You should be releasing a print book with a digital edition. If you don't know how to make an ebook, find someone who does (same goes for the print book or cover). It's important to put your best foot forward with a book, so work with people who know what they are doing or the project will suffer for it. The last thing you want is to look amateur and you may not be the best judge of that.Once again, Amazon is the big player for ebooks, but other places may be big too (talk to people in your genre). There is no excuse not to put it everywhere. By the way, if you manage to get an offset title into bookstores that will drive ebook sales. I've done both and can speak from experience. Consider the bookstore a marketing opportunity for the ebook. Sometimes that can offset any smaller returns costs.And of course, none of this works without marketing... and that's an even bigger topic for discussion.
Do you send a 'thank you' message to each backer as soon as they pledge?
I wish I could! I've tried to use Project Updates to do this on my own projects.When I back others' projects, it's a mixed bag. With some I'll get what is clearly an automated thank you encouraging me to tweet/share their project. I get the utility of those, but as a backer it leaves me feeling emotionally unfulfilled.Because of my role with Kickstarter I do get a fair number of "oh snap it's YOU!" messages after I back a project. Those I do love and always reply back with a "because yr awesome" response.The perfect middle ground could be some kind of global thank you video that we as creators could make, and the site could host in some kind of way. Good one to consider.
How have you successfully reached new audiences?
Work your project HARD. Email relevant people and companies, find forums, twitter, facebook, contact news outlets and for serious connections, believe it or not, send them a handwritten letter.However you decided to reach out, have a clear message, be polite, understand if they can't get their heads around your idea or product. If they say no it is not personal, don't be offended.And most important, learn from this fish:Dory of Finding Nemo - Just keep swimming, just keep swimming, just keep swimming swimming swimming, what do we do we swim.
How do you decide on your project's funding goal?
Hello everyone,The Kalculator is a proof of concept that I made to help creators budget their Kickstarter project, set a realistic funding goal and estimate how many backers they may need to be successful.I invite you to give it a try! And if you have any feedback, please add a comment below. This is a personal project that I’m building on my own. If you participate, you’ll be helping me—not Kickstarter—understand how to improve this tool.
When is the best time of day / week / year to launch a Kickstarter project?
This is a great question and that's some great data. I'll say that some of it could be potentially skewed. Why?Well if everyone starts to believe that Wednesday is the best day for pledges, then people start campaigns on wednesday, or ending them, and there ends up inflation on that day. What matters is what day is the best for pledges MID-CAMPAIGN and START of Campaign, and END of campaign. So I'd take those daily numbers with a grain of salt.Weekdays are KNOWN for being better than weekend, anyone can tell you that, so Wednesday being at the center gets a lot of "Tuesday Launches" and "Thursday Ends". The differenece from 1 day to the next on those charts are also minimal during the week, so while they're fascinating to study, there's simply not enough information to draw conclusions.FOR YOU...#1) Launch ONLY after your project is fully built and been reviewed and revised at least 2-3 times (by strangers).#2) If your product is seasonal, launch in the same season. It's shown to be better than delivering in the right season.#3) Don't end on a Sunday. It won't kill you, but it won't help. Don't launch on one either.#4) Project length should should stick close to 30 +/- days. It really does help.Best to you!John
How do you get THAT much PR?!
Hey everyone -- Stephanie from Kickstarter here. We just posted a whole slew of new videos from workshops and talks we have hosted here at Kickstarter HQ over the past year on the Advice playlist on our YouTube Channel. There are two short video clips that made me think of this excellent conversation in particular -- linking to them below. Hope its insightful!1) In this video clip, early entrepreneur Kit Hickey from Ministry of Supply talks about how they built their PR list before they launched their campaign, and how they pivoted once they went live.2) In this video clip, Heather Delaney from Dynamo PR (has worked on numerous Kickstarter campaigns), shares some very sound strategies for getting and working with press.(Chris Birch: If you are still reading, check them out -- Love your take on this advice!)
How did you estimate the amount it was going to cost to do your project? How close were you?
How to estimate? Build a detailed honest budget. How close were we? Within 1%.I built our budget for our first Kickstarter in 2013. 2.5 years later when the project came to completion we were within 1%. .7% over budgeted to be exact. That's about $900 in extra profit! Woohoo! : )Update - June 2016: I just updated the budget spreadsheet below to better explain, and with updated formulas.Go here (and click for "Kickstarter Advice Panels" - Go to Article #7) for information on how to budget for a Kickstarter. It contains a Kickstarter budget spreadsheet that you can download and use for your own project. (Free!)It's geared toward Board Games, but should work fairly well for just about anything. All you need to do is change the titles.Let me know if you have any questions. I'm always open and available to answer any specific questions I can. You can contact me here if you like or in the comments below. Have a great project! Heart if this was helpful.John Wrot!Gate Keeper GamesKickstarter Campus Community Adviser
What do you wish you had known before you ran your first project?
Kickstarter cannot deliver that *initial* audience.Once you have enough backers, and a REASON to promote your project (making your goal, then stretch goals and freebies), you hit a certain point where your backers will promote the project and you can, in principle, sit back and watch the money roll in. But you somehow have to hit that first critical mass. We thought we'd be visible on the front page for a day or so - but we were only there for a matter of a half hour or so...and then you had to already know that we existed or you'd never find our project. We didn't expect that...we thought we'd get hundreds of page-views per hour...what we actually got was crickets!Our first Kickstarter failed horribly because we didn't understand that. But after we retreated, re-tooled and did some up-front promotional work - the second one took off nicely. The backers from that first successful one then formed the core of people who started the third and now fourth (and soon FIFTH...you heard it here first!!) projects - so we don't need to be so concerned.But the first time out, it's tough. Nobody knows who you are, whether you'll deliver (lots of projects don't!) - whether you can deliver on time - whether the quality of the rewards will be up to your claims. Nobody is searching for your keywords - and initial failure gets you pushed down the search further and further. Unless you get a "Staff Pick" (we never did) or somehow find out how "Sort by Magic" works and exploit it - you're not going to get an audience.So the first Kickstarter is without doubt the toughest...and the only defense is to pre-promote it somehow.
Any tips on what to do 48 hours after launch?
Bjorn please don't buy services from people who solicit you through the KS message system. In fact, I'd go further and report them as spam using the facility provided. This will help KS to weed out the accounts of people who do this.(Edit March 2017) I see the question has been edited to remove references to marketing solicitations. Well they were there when I originally answered the question. Also - I've got a campaign ongoing at the moment and am receiving a lot of solicitations. I'm in the "flatlining" middle period which is pure agony, but I'm holding onto my own advice and reporting every single one. But I really really understand why some people might actually be desperate enough to be tempted by these offers. Don't buy from spammers! It really is that simple. :)
Alex Eames - RasPi.TV
What is on your how-to Kickstarter reading list?
I'm currently on my 15th Kickstarter project, so I don’t read anything about crowd-funding anymore. But initially, for my first few Kickstarter projects, I read and reread all the info on the KS site. I mean everything. There is plenty of sound advice scattered there.I haven't found any crowd-funding bloggers that have content that helps me. They often seem to be focused on blockbuster technology projects. That's not me.Let me explain where I think I learned the most about running Kickstarter projects. I supported several projects before I even thought about doing my own. I'd say the best way to learn about doing Kickstarter projects is to support Kickstarter projects and pay attention to what people do well. Copy the stuff you like. But more important, I learned from the mistakes of others. Pay attention when you see updates complaining about schedule problems, wonky prototypes, manufacturing fiascoes, shipping delays, and problems with customs inspectors. These are vital lessons from the front lines. Much better than some author or blogger pontificating about their theories. Plus, these glimpses behind the curtain can be highly entertaining.