Challenge,  Licensing

4 New Videos

On Kickstarter Best Practices

That is a free service that Loren Coleman and I are doing on Teachable, trying to help fiction writers get started and understand fiction on Kickstarter.

Right now, Brandon Sanderson is over 5 million in three days on his fiction Kickstarter. So this is worth studying and looking at, even as a new writer with no fans.

I have seen new writers make nice money on Kickstarter. Just have to know what you are doing and follow some best practices, and that is what Loren and I have done on that location, detail out and talk about the best practices for fiction writers on Kickstater.

Again, it is free and I just added four videos talking about the implications of Brandon’s campaign and licensing in general.

And the July workshops are still open to sign up for on Teachable, even though they have started, including Licensing 101 class. Brandon is exercising a license, by the way.


  • Julie

    The first update on Brandon’s Kickstarter says that they fully funded their $250,000 goal in three minutes and that they were hitting their stretch goals faster than they could update the graphics.

    That must have been fun!

    I’ve wondered why trad-published authors don’t at least publish a short story or two independently, just to test the water, or try things like Kickstarter for new series that aren’t covered by their trad contracts. Unless they sign contracts where their entire output, not matter what stories they’ve contracted for, isn’t under their control?

    • dwsmith

      Julie, you are thinking like an indie writer, where we are used to be in control of our own work and doing things for ourselves. Traditionally published book writers think everyone else should do everything for them. Never crosses most of their minds that they publish things themselves in one way or another. Brandon is an exception. Thankfully.

  • Britt Malka

    Thank you for the free course, Dean.

    I’m surprised to learn that Kickstarter can work for new writers as well. That’s good news.

    • dwsmith

      See my answer to E.R. It very much can work for new writers, if the writer knows what they are doing. Fails if not.

  • E. R. Paskey

    Aside from the fact that I love Brandon’s work, I was excited to see this Kickstarter because of the possibilities. I know how huge this is for fiction!

    You’ve mentioned several times that you don’t understand why more writers aren’t attempting Kickstarters. Well, in the Kickstarter Pop-up you did last year or so, you suggested that writers should probably hold off on attempting a Kickstarter until we have a decent amount of product available and at least a small following of fans buying books somewhat regularly to advertise it to.

    For me personally, I’m not there yet. While I’m slowly ramping up after taking time off for babies and to learn and clear out myths, I only have 9 titles (though I should have 3 more up before the end of the year), and I’m barely making coffee money right now. I haven’t considered myself ready to attempt a Kickstarter yet. (Granted, I am a little behind on the videos.)

    Now, I *have* been brainstorming and planning for an eventual Kickstarter. I’ve started the last book in my space opera series and I would dearly love to get the whole series in hardcover when I’m finished. (There are jewelry options I’m looking into for campaign rewards, as well as the possibility of writing some short stories and/or novellas to include. Still have a long way to go, but… I’m planning. *grin*)

    I’ve just thought (perhaps *assumed* is the better word) that I wouldn’t be able to run a successful Kickstarter until I’m farther down the road. If things have changed and that’s not necessarily the case, particularly if I set modest, somewhat attainable goals, that’s fantastic news.

    • dwsmith

      But now, E.R., that’s the point. With Brandon doing what he has done, readers will be going there more and looking for new authors, so now it is a place to build fans and readers. The key for newer writers is a number of factors, including what they are offering, professional look, and the ask.

      Now that this has happened, Kris and I have decided we will launch a six week regular workshop that has been on our list and sort of waiting, and that is Building a Kickstarter Campaign. From the first detail to how you deal with it after it is finished. It will take six weeks, lots of stuff.

      The Pop-Up only covered a tiny bit. This will be step-by-step through every detail. I will announce it here on my blog when set. It is time.

    • Denise Gaskins

      Go for it, E. R.! I’ve seen a few examples of even first books that look professionally done. And you can always pull the campaign if it looks like it’s going nowhere.

      For example, here is a book I spotted today that looks very interesting: It seems to be his first book, but the presentation is fantastic, and he made his goal with five days yet to go. (Though his pledge levels are rather high — $13 for a first-time indie ebook?! He would have had me for sure if he’d offered it for $5.)

  • Kate Pavelle

    I’m really excited about this, and your and Loren Coleman’s dissection of what Brandon had done right had turned a Kickstarter to finance my audio books from a “should” into a “want” category.
    Currently my big stumbling block is my website situation. An author website was easy – PayHip attached, and so on. But a publisher website for 2 pen names and 2 other projects is in the “groan” category, much like doing my taxes and I’ve been procrastinating this one for way too long. But it occurred to me that I could loop my Kickstarter supporters to a freebie on my PayHip (at least “for now,”) which would let them opt into my newsletter… so there are ways.
    Unofficial, less perfect ways.
    And perfection kills, right?

    • dwsmith

      Also keep in mind that Kickstarter campaigns for audio books are a steeper hill to climb and so far haven’t done that well. Audio cuts down the audience by a factor of ten at least. And if you are starting with a smaller audience, cutting it by a factor of ten makes it really hard to fund at a level that will actually help with audio. A few have done it, but very few so far.

  • Lorri Moulton

    Dean, I finished the course last night and submitted my Kickstarter project a few minutes ago! I’ll let you know as soon as it’s approved and add it to the teachable list. Thank you for all the information and encouragement! It is appreciated!!!