Many authors (me included) who experience success on Kickstarter and build a large audience will then launch subsequent books directly to Amazon or host pre-orders on their websites.
Mostly time and effort.
Kickstarter campaigns require a lot of organization and it’s very tempting to skip over all of the hype building and coordination of multiple stakeholders and publish directly on Amazon via Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) so that your book is available TODAY and ready to buy.
Children’s book author Leigha Huggins, raised nearly $14k for her first book, Love Lottery, on Kickstarter and recently released her second book, The Giving World, in October 2021 directly on Amazon.
I asked her what her honest experience was launching in both methods and she generously shared her true feelings on a Kickstarter vs. traditional book launch.
The following is from an interview with Leigha in her words.
What results did you see in a 30-day launch on Amazon vs. a 30-day Kickstarter campaign?
To be quite honest, the traditional book launch has been a bit of a letdown. I haven’t been really impressed with the soft launch of The Giving World on Kindle Direct Publishing.
I think we broke $100 in sales during our first week, but it was nothing compared to the excitement of reaching a goal of $4,700 on day one of my Kickstarter for Love Lottery. (See Fully Funded in 24 Hours for how Leigha did this.)
What are three pros and three cons you’ve experienced launching your book traditionally compared to your previous Kickstarter campaign?
Traditional book launch on Amazon
Pro #1 – I don’t have to fulfill orders (I’m printing with KDP so orders are all handled by Amazon).
Pro #2 – I didn’t have to create a promo video.
Pro #3 – Instant availability – readers don’t have to wait for the campaign to be over or for a print run of books.
Con #1 – There is no urgency. It’s one of those things that I think people will just check it out at some point on Amazon, but there’s no incentive for them to do so during launch week.
Con #2 – Just hitting the publish button (well a bit more than that) is kinda like getting a high-five as opposed to throwing a party!
The excitement with an Amazon launch just wasn’t as grand as having launched a Kickstarter for Love Lottery.
Both books were equal in terms of the love and the intention of bringing both books to life but the feel of the launches was very different.
Con #3 – You can’t do a Kickstarter once you publish… or could I still possibly run a Kickstarter for The Giving World hardcover edition?
(Lisa’s answer: Yes, you can run a Kickstarter campaign for a hardcover edition or limited-edition print run.)
Con #4 – You wonder what your Kickstarter launch would have raised…
Ha… one more …
Con #5 – You have no idea who bought your book on Amazon so you are unable to follow up with your customers when you launch books in the future.
Would you say that your pre-launch time and effort for a traditional book launch was more, less, or about the same amount as your Kickstarter launch?
Not at all close.
Where you put effort, you usually see a reward.
Let’s just say I put a lot, lot, lot of effort into the launch of Love Lottery – and still a good amount of time for The Giving World.
What would you change about your traditional book launch (if anything) to have more of a Kickstarter-like effect?
I wish I would have done a launch date or even promoted a date for a “Now Available on Amazon” launch.
I could have then built up some excitement with a countdown.
Do you prefer the Kickstarter model or the traditional book launch model? Does it depend on the title you’re releasing?
I’m sure it would depend on the title and the purpose of the book, but hands down the best way to introduce something into the world is with the support of other creatives, not just your book in the sea of Amazon listings.
I would 100% recommend running a Kickstarter – especially if this is your first book. But in the same breath, a traditional launch has its place too.
Would you do a traditional book launch again or do you prefer Kickstarter?
I think it would depend on the situation. Kickstarter is my preferred method of introducing my passion project into the world.
But timing and urgency – and just time, in general, lead us to launch our newest release on Amazon.
Anything else you want to mention?
I have had mixed feedback on the cover of The Giving World.
With Love Lottery, I loved the interaction on Kickstarter and allowing backers who supported you to vote and have feedback on things that were still in progress.
It would have been wonderful to have people give their insights and let them give us feedback on the cover options.
With love, purpose, and warmth, Leigha Huggins invites you into her world with her heartfelt stories. Leigha believes intention and words are the guiding force in life. Visit her website to learn more about The Giving World.
More Books by Leigha Huggins
I too, had some regrets about launching my book directly to Amazon. Watch the video below for more:
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