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5 Tips for Kickstarter success for writers

Earth Joy WritingI recently completed my third successful Kickstarter campaign to help promote my new book, Earth Joy Writing: Creating Harmony through Journaling and Nature, which will be released on Earth Day, April 22nd.

In all three cases, my books were published by small, independent presses that didn’t have funds for promotional campaigns, publicity, or book tours. So I used the Kickstarter funds to promote my books in these ways.

Often people shy away from Kickstarter and prefer to use other crowdfunding programs because of the requirement that the funding goal be met in order to get any funds at all. In my experience (and we know this as writers), having the goal of completion can spur us to take bolder action. A half-written book isn’t really a book, is it?

But in order to do the necessary actions to meet the goal, you must call upon a kind of courage and assertiveness that we can lack as reflective, quiet writers.

When I would send out follow-up emails to my list, I would have a sense of a bully over my shoulder saying, “What are you doing? Stop bothering people. Good girls don’t do this.”

I pressed ahead anyway, and the bully quickly went away as I saw people join and support the campaign just minutes after sending the email.

So that’s my first, most important tip for using Kickstarter to fund your book project:

1. Be Courageous.

Here are some more:

2. Prepare your platform. Kickstarter success relies heavily on having a large network. How many times have you given money to someone you didn’t know? Are you active on Facebook? Twitter? Do you have a blog? You basically need to have a group of people who already know and support your work before you can ask them to open their wallets.

3. Plan ahead. The most successful Kickstarter campaigns last only 30 days. This is because the sense of urgency with a deadline creates an incentive for people to support you right away. You need to do some legwork first – creating your video, writing the description of the project, deciding on rewards, making a budget – long before the campaign launches.

3. Get help. For my first two campaigns, I blogged every day and shared a poem from the books and embedded the Kickstarter video in the post. For this last campaign, I used a service called Green Inbox that sent messages to my contacts. This helped immensely to remind people of the project in a personal way.

4. Believe in your work. For me during this last campaign, moving from the earlier goals of $1101 and $2200 to a $5000 goal was possible because I believe so strongly in the message of my book. People sense this. They know that when you’ve written something that can have a big impact on the world, they are not really funding you but the work itself. So, whether or not you decide to do a Kickstarter project, I would advise you to start with this premise in all your writing: Write what matters to you. Write what you think will matter to the world.

Here are some links you might find helpful:

My first Kickstarter campaign for The Pomegranate Papers, poems about mothering and creativity

My second Kickstarter campaign for Wednesday, the world’s first Facebook co-created book of poetry

My third Kickstarter campaign for Earth Joy Writing, the book that believes you really can save the Earth 

Get free audio meditations and songs and learn more about the book tour

And celebrate Earth Day with a copy of Earth Joy Writing!

Cassie Premo SteeleCassie Premo Steele, Ph.D., is a three-time Pushcart Prize-nominated poet and writer and an award-winning teacher with almost two decades of experience teaching in university and community settings. She is also an accomplished scholar who has researched and written about how poetry can be a unique way of healing from traumatic histories. She has brought these talents to bear in her Co-Creating practice, through which she coaches individuals and leads workshops on using creativity and interaction with nature to bring about balance in personal, professional, and community contexts. Her website is

The views and opinions expressed in this article are that of the author and do not necessarily reflect that of the Text and Academic Authors Association. Read more about TAA guest posts here.