Quality Printing and Fulfillment for Authors: The Porchlight Book Company

books with a yellow background

In the realm of self-publishing, authors often find themselves defaulting their publishing options to print-on-demand like Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) and Ingram Spark, because breaking into the publishing supply chains is dominated by traditional publishers.

Not only that, but most companies who work with traditional printers have zero interest in working with indie authors. That is, until now. 

In the past year, we have seen an incredible shrinking of the traditional publishing world. That means, fewer traditional publishing offers, smaller advances, and smaller print runs. None of which is great news for authors.

Many authors don’t really know the process for printing and distribution once their books are published, which is why the Porchlight Book Company would like to help.

Empowering Authors Beyond Kickstarter

Kickstarter and other crowdfunding platforms are invaluable tools for creators, but they lack infrastructure to support authors specifically. The Porchlight Book Company has worked with traditionally published authors to fulfill pre-orders as well as deliver book swag bags to large conferences. They understand the complex world of distribution, and have been doing it for decades.

Dan Brouchoud wants to help more independent authors level up from the low-quality options offered by print-on-demand and assist authors with the printing and fulfillment.

However, there is one limitation; authors must have a minimum of 250 book orders. Beyond the 250 book threshold lies significantly more affordable printing and fulfillment costs. Beyond that, they are ready to collaborate with any author, ensuring the worldwide fulfillment of Kickstarter rewards or pre-orders.

This means they can report all sales to The New York Times and NPD BookScan, offering authors the recognition they deserve and sales evidence for future manuscripts.

Moreover, they offer the invaluable service of helping authors obtain quotes from printers or utilize their established relationships within the printing industry. 

So, if you’re looking to move away from the print-on-demand model, this option might be a more reliable and quality-focused solution for you.

Bestseller Reporting

In addition to their distribution services, Porchlight Book Company offers a unique advantage. They provide bestseller reporting, a service that authors haven’t yet been able to utilize in connection with crowdfunding. 

Previously, all of those books pledged during a Kickstarter campaign would count as one order, but Porchlight can show the proof that the books were indeed ordered and shipped to individuals worldwide and contribute Kickstarter pre-orders into the bestseller status. This means they can report all sales to New York, offering authors the recognition they deserve.

While smaller authors may not hit the bestseller list with just a few hundred sales, bestseller reporting should no longer serve as a barrier for traditional authors to pursue crowdfunding.

A Scalable Solution for Every Author

If you’re an author looking to take your self-publishing journey to the next level, Porchlight Book Company is here to help. You can contact Dan at dan@porchlightbooks.com for printing and distribution services tailored to your book project.

For more information visit their website: https://www.porchlightbooks.com/

Top 10 List of Books on Crowdfunding Platforms—April 26, 2019

In an effort to bring more book lovers and readers to platforms like Kickstarter and IndieGoGo on a regular basis, here is my list of Top 10 campaigns for this week (in no particular order).

Be sure to visit them TODAY as these campaigns are time-sensitive and the opportunity might be gone if you wait too long.

Click on the images below to check out these fun books.

#1 A book about global solutions you can do in your backyard

#2 Chapter One

#3 Don't Give In!

#4 Cafe Macabre

#5 A Bestiary of Fantasy Creatures

#6 Resilient ME Journal for Kids

#7 Sleeping Around America: Revisiting the Roadside Motel

#8 The Moon is Following Me

#9 Echoes of Silence

#10 Femme Type Book—Women in the Type Industry

There are so many awesome, innovative, and exciting books available only on Kickstarter and IndieGoGo that not only deserve extra eyes but will help improve the diversity we see in literature.

Supporting authors on Kickstarter and IndieGoGo helps these books come to life in ways they can’t via traditional publishing.

Every week, I’ll post my Top 10 List of interesting and unique books that are on Kickstarter and IndieGoGo. The list is curated and covers a variety of genres.

You cannot buy your way onto this list—these are books that I’ve found organically while searching the platforms.

Kickstarter vs. IndieGoGo for Indie Authors—Which one to choose?

You can successfully crowdfund books on either Kickstarter  and IndieGoGo platforms. In this article, I will make suggestions to help you decide which one is best for you and your book. 

Be sure to read the “About us” part from both websites bearing in mind that they are giving you the FAQs with a natural bias to promote their platform.

Writing and Publishing projects on both platforms

Kickstarter does a great job of making their statistics on successful and failed projects easy to find. See their statistics for publishing projects here: https://www.kickstarter.com/help/stats?ref=about_subnav

Kickstarter has launched 42k projects in the Publishing category with a success rate of 31%.  

IndieGoGo is much less transparent about their stats and requires a bit more digging. 

Here’s their comparison chart between IGG and Kickstarter.

I often get frustrated with IndieGoGo because they bury their Writing and Publishing projects on the front page of the website. One has to know exactly where to look to “stumble upon” those projects whereas Kickstarter makes it very easy to navigate from the homepage.

I have no idea how many Writing and Publishing projects have been launched on IndieGoGo because they haven’t published category-specific statistics and many of their campaigns are acquired through their InDemand program (described below).

You really need to head over to the Writing and Publishing category and poke around to see what the average funding levels are for books in your genre.

Winner: Kickstarter

Coming soon landing pages

IndieGoGo wins over Kickstarter in this category. IndieGoGo provides a landing page where you can collect emails from people who are interested in your book. 

This is just a screenshot—don’t enter your email here 🙂

 

Not only will they help you collect emails but they feature your landing page on their website under “Launching Soon.”

Pretty cool, right? 

Creators on Kickstarter will need to collect emails using a separate lead generator or on their own websites. 

Winner: IndieGoGo

Pro tip: Don’t lose your emails!  IndieGoGo creators need to grab those emails before your campaign goes live because that same page turns into your campaign page and those emails disappear. Grab those emails and enter them into your newsletter provider like Mailerlite or MailChimp if you want to hang onto them.

IndieGoGo’s InDemand Program

If you launch on Kickstarter your Kickstarter page will no longer accept backers once the campaign ends.

IndieGoGo wisely sees this as an opportunity to swoop in and acquire successful projects to their platform.

You’ll be contacted by IGG to feature your campaign as part of their InDemand Program.

The InDemand program allows you to redirect backers who missed your original campaign to order your books through their website.

It won’t really hurt you to do this, but I’d rather direct folks to buy my book directly from me using PayPal or Stripe and pay those fees (~6%) rather than the IndieGoGo platform fees plus payment processing fees.

Either way, when you’re on IGG doing research on books in your genre, be sure to look out for books that were actually acquired through this program. Those books were not successfully funded on IGG.

Here’s what it looks like—you have to hover over the question mark icon to get the truth about where that author found success.

 

Winner: IndieGoGo

Name recognition factor

A lot of people mistakenly think that the general population has heard of a Kickstarter more often than an IndieGoGo campaign and therefore, they are better off launching on Kickstarter.

Not so! 

Most people who you will want to support your campaign have zero clue what crowdfunding is and will need a step-by-step explanation. They really don’t care if it’s on Kickstarter or IndieGoGo because it’s all foreign to them anyway.

Choose the platform that feels right for you since you’re going to be directing your audience to that page anyway.

Winner: Draw

Featured rewards

Rewards on Kickstarter are listed in ascending value (cheapest reward is listed first) which means that more backers are going to select the first thing they see unless they scroll down.

And who wants to scroll down?!? Such work.

IndieGoGo campaigns have a neat “Featured Reward” designation that pins whatever reward you want to the top of your campaign so people are more likely to select that reward.

Winner: IndieGoGo

Pro tip: Set your featured reward to the average pledge you’d like to have for your campaign. Don’t set your reward value too low and lose out on awesome conversion opportunities.

Setting rewards too low is a common mistake that indie authors make

Backend Analytics

Kickstarter and IndieGoGo have similar analytical features on the creator-side of their projects but Kickstarter creators can utilize Kicktraqa Chrome extension plugin that provides predictions for how a Kickstarter project will ultimately end. 

IndieGoGo’s backend analytics are pretty cool but they won’t show you how your campaign is trending into the future—only past contribution levels.

Winner: Kickstarter

Grabbing backers’ emails

Communicating with your backers is a huge part of engaging and encouraging your backers to share the campaign. Unfortunately, Kickstarter holds your backers’ emails hostage during your campaign and only allows creators to communicate using the Kickstarter platform itself. 

In doing so, Kickstarter backers (usually a distant relative who has never backed a campaign before) thinks that they are getting emails from Kickstarter itself and not you directly. They generally ignore these emails and wonder why you’re not communicating with them (insert eye roll emoji here).

Kickstarter also has a new “anonymous backer” option which allows backers to hide their identities from creators.

This anonymous feature may result in more backers but it also makes it impossible to properly thank your Aunt Mary for generously contributing to your campaign. 

 
IndieGoGo gives you backers’ emails as the pledges come in, which is great for adding them to your newsletter provider and communicating with them directly.  

Kickstarter has added a “Live” feature which is similar to Facebook Live videos but I don’t think they are very helpful for indie authors’ campaigns who are relying on readers from outside of the platform itself.

Winner: IndieGoGo

Running a referral contest

IndieGoGo has a great feature that automatically makes every backer into a referrer if they share the project link when they are logged in. Here’s more information on their referral program. 

Kickstarter doesn’t have this feature built into the platform so you’ll have to do it using another referral program. Here’s how one Kickstarter creator incentivized shares via a referral contest.

Winner: IndieGoGo

Overall results

Which platform you choose is really up to your personal preference. When I launched my second book on Kickstarter, I was wholly convinced that it was the platform for me. 

When My Super Science Heroes found amazing success on IndieGoGo and I got to see firsthand how the email capture, Featured reward, and referral options worked, shockingly, I discovered that I preferred IndieGoGo’s features over Kickstarter’s.

But don’t take my word for it. Hop over to both websites, back a few projects, and decide for yourself.