Angela Castillo has authored 30 books ranging from Christian fiction, random fairy tales, and now children’s fiction.
She decided to launch her latest children’s book on Kickstarter with a modest goal of $1200 and I wanted to find out more about her experience.
But even modest goals require a TON of work and effort and Angela details her work below.
You’ve successfully published a lot of other books—mainly adult fiction—what made you decide to set up a Kickstarter campaign for your children’s book?
I chose to launch a Kickstarter for this book mainly because kid’s books are more expensive! Since I’m not an artist, I needed help with funding for art and formatting. Also, I’m a marketer at heart, so I saw Kickstarter as an excellent way to reach a new audience.
What type of research did you conduct before launching?
I grilled authors who had done crowdfunding projects similar to mine. I also spent hours and days scrutinizing other Kickstarter campaigns, studying their reward tiers and videos.
The great thing about Kickstarter is they keep a project up for all eternity after it ends so that you can look at thousands of projects relating to yours.
I also read tons of very helpful blog articles, including several by an amazing Kickstarter Queen. Lisa, what was it? Ferland? You might have heard of her. Anyway, she’s great.
What was the most time-intensive part of the planning or crowdfunding process?
My established audience was primarily adults, so I started from scratch to find an audience interested in children’s books.
I spent about five months before my Kickstarter campaign launched creating giveaways, writing blog articles geared toward parents, and sending out a kid-related newsletter.
I was building my kid-focused audience while trying to maintain my adult audience. Not easy!
What surprised you the most about crowdfunding on Kickstarter?
Even though my goal was to reach new readers, I was amazed by the number of backers who were drawn in by Kickstarter alone–about 60 percent.
(Lisa’s note: 60% Kickstarter-only backers is fairly high for books. Most book campaigns garner 1%-20% new folks from Kickstarter)
You received a Kickstarter Project We Love recognition—do you think you saw an increase in backers due to that?
Kickstarter has a nifty tool that shows you where your backers are drawn from. I had exactly one supporter because of the Projects We Love. Not complaining—every supporter counts!
Even though it was an honor to be chosen, it’s something they give out to a lot of people, so you end up being one of maybe a dozen per day. I was still thrilled to receive it. Very validating after working your guts off on something.
What advice would you give someone considering crowdfunding their book?
a. Listen to advice from people who’ve had success and failure.
b. Make sure you have an excellent product with commercial appeal.
c. Do the math. Have someone help you run through every possible expense.
d. Prepare for international backers. I charged extra for international shipping and I had over a dozen backers from other countries who paid way more than I would have expected for a little paperback book. But you have to prepare; otherwise, international shipping can eat up your profit very quickly.
e. Set realistic goals. For instance, let’s say you want hardcover copies, but that would add 3,000.00 to your budget. If you think it’s doable, go for it. But publishing your book and paying for illustrations out the gate is more important, set your focus on that. You can always do hardcover as a stretch goal.
f. Remember, you have to deliver. I only had to ship out about 50 books but manually package, address, and stick on the postage. It’s a lot of work and was rather daunting.
g. Set aside a few months of your life. It takes a ton of time and effort to do this right. Don’t expect to launch it and let it run by itself.
Do you think you’ll crowdfund your books in the future?
I’m too fresh off this one right now. Ask me again in a year!
If you could do anything over again, what would it be?
I would not stress so much in the middle. I was freaking out because I hadn’t fully funded in three days.
It’s really a marathon, not a sprint.
Anything else you’d like fellow authors to know?
This publishing journey is an expression of art and creativity.
When we get caught up in the finances of fundraising, I think we can lose sight of that.
It’s important to take time and remember why we are creating this book. In my case, it’s because I love it. I don’t ever want to lose that passion because of stress.
Angela Castillo is an Amazon best-selling author from Bastrop, Texas who loves to ramble in the woods and explore eccentric shops. She writes Christian fiction, children’s fiction, and random fairy tales, as well as freelance blog articles. Her work has appeared in publications such as Thema and The First Line. She homeschools four little explorer/creators. Click here to find her books on Amazon.
Click here to check out her Kickstarter campaign.