I always knew I wanted to write children’s books but needed a way to fund the project to make it happen. My dream became reality when I discovered Kickstarter and started my campaign.

Founded in 2009, the website serves as a meeting point for artists to find project backers. Kickstarter has already connected more than 5 million donors to contribute over 800 million dollars to 51,000 projects around the world. Helping independent artists, musicians, film makers, authors, and all sorts of creative people, I knew it was my way to get self-published.

Having published 20 books to date, I am excited to share with you a few best practices for planning your successful Kickstarter campaign.


Deadlines are an important part of Kickstarter. They are an all-or-nothing funding system. The project creator must raise 100% of the funds needed to get funded. Project creators who do not meet 100% funding do not receive any funds. People who backed (pledged financial support for) the project will not be billed if 100% of the funding is not met. I find deadlines to be motivating. They encourage me to take action immediately.

Social Media

Social media is one of the best ways to gain attention. Some unique products go viral on Kickstarter. The project spreads like wildfire on the internet, television, and social media like Facebook and Twitter. I have not had major world-wide viral explosion with my projects (yet).

Kickstarter also has an email newsletter in which they suggest three awesome projects each week. This newsletter is sent out to many people and increases the likelihood that more people will know about your project and potentially back it. Great projects are more likely to get this kind of attention. Based on my experiences, I have had to reach out to my own network. Broadcast reguarly and don’t be afraid to share with all of your social networks!


Enlist your tribe. Tribes, as coined by Seth Godin, represent a group of people who are connected to each other.* Successful project creators are leaders of their tribe.

Here is an example: a band that has played several shows monthly for the last several years may have built up a group of followers who would pledge financial support for a new CD. They have a tribe of followers. Think Dead Heads following the Grateful Dead, or Parrot Heads following Jimmy Buffet. If Jonny-Nobody releases a CD, he will have a more difficult time getting people to pledge because he does not have a group of followers. The tip is to become outstanding in your field, wether it be writing books, playing music, creating a fashion line, making a movie, creating a video game, etc.

Authors need a tribe. Famous people like J.K. Rowling, Dean Koontz, and  Suzanne Collins have their own group of people who follow them. People will line up for their next release. The rest of us have to start working on building a group. It can start small (for example, 10 people that consist of similar interests). I have a small group of followers who back my creative book projects on Kickstarter. Most people have backed more than one or all of my book projects. I send out free information to people in my group through social media like Facebook, Twitter, Blogspot, and email-newsletters, that people who love books are interested in knowing about. It would do no good for a Country Music Band to reach out to a group of people who are not interested in country music. It is best to create social media pages and newsletters based on one main topic.

Do you know your topic, niche, or specialty?

Once you know your expertise area, you can start building a social media platform that will help you to become more successful at raising funds for creative projects.

Best wishes in giving Kickstarter a try and creating a group of backers!



Danny Pettry is a book creator. He loves coffee and conversation. He also loves reading dystopian novels. His favorite food is cookies. His nephew calls him “Uncle Cookie.” He lives in West Virginia. Danny invites you to receive his book club/book therapy email newsletter and access to download several e-books that you can print and use. Connect with him on LinkedIn, Twitter, or Facebook to ask him questions about his work.

*Godin, S. (2008). Tribes: we need you to lead us. Portfolio

photo credit: Barta IV