The Ingenium Books Podcast: Author. Publisher. Changemaker.

Crowdfunding for Books with Oriana Leckert

August 11, 2021 Ingenium Books Season 1 Episode 30
Crowdfunding for Books with Oriana Leckert
The Ingenium Books Podcast: Author. Publisher. Changemaker.
More Info
The Ingenium Books Podcast: Author. Publisher. Changemaker.
Crowdfunding for Books with Oriana Leckert
Aug 11, 2021 Season 1 Episode 30
Ingenium Books

Writing, publishing, and marketing a book is a big project, with lots of moving parts. Regardless of publishing model, there are costs involved: editing, layout and design, metadata research and preparation, and never mind all the marketing activities that go into building, cultivating, and leveraging a platform. One possible way to get some of those costs covered — and possibly help with the marketing game at the same time — is through crowdfunding. Crowdfunding for books is what we're talking about today - joining me is Oriana Leckert, Director of Publishing & Comics Outreach at Kickstarter. 

Support the Show.

Thanks for listening! Find us wherever you get your podcasts. Subscribe to our YouTube Channel (@ingeniumbooks) or visit our website at


Show Notes Transcript

Writing, publishing, and marketing a book is a big project, with lots of moving parts. Regardless of publishing model, there are costs involved: editing, layout and design, metadata research and preparation, and never mind all the marketing activities that go into building, cultivating, and leveraging a platform. One possible way to get some of those costs covered — and possibly help with the marketing game at the same time — is through crowdfunding. Crowdfunding for books is what we're talking about today - joining me is Oriana Leckert, Director of Publishing & Comics Outreach at Kickstarter. 

Support the Show.

Thanks for listening! Find us wherever you get your podcasts. Subscribe to our YouTube Channel (@ingeniumbooks) or visit our website at


Introduction (various voices) 00:05

Welcome to the Empowered Author podcast. 

Discussion, tips, insights and advice from those who’ve been there, done that, helping you write, publish and market your nonfiction book. 

Being an author is something that you’ve got to take seriously. 

I’m proud I’ve written a book.

What does the reader need, first? What does the reader need, second?

What happens if you start writing your book before you identify your “why”? What’s the problem with that?

You’re an indie author, you take the risk; you reap the rewards; you are in charge of the decisions. You’re the head of that business. 

Every emotion you’re feeling when you’re writing is felt by every other writer.

The Empowered Author podcast: your podcast hosts are Boni and John Wagner-Stafford of Ingenium Books.


Boni Wagner-Stafford 00:58

Regardless of publishing model, there are costs involved in writing, publishing and marketing a book. If you’re listening to this podcast, I probably don’t need to tell you that. Now, we don’t always want to wait for book sales – which are often uncertain – to start to recoup our investments. So one possible way to think about getting those costs covered and maybe help with the marketing game at the same time, is through crowdfunding. Crowdfunding for books is what we’re talking about today. Joining me is Oriana Leckert, Director of Publishing and Comics Outreach at Kickstarter. Oriana, welcome. 


Oriana Leckert 01:39

Thank you so much for having me. I’m excited to be here. 


Boni Wagner-Stafford 01:41

Yeah. So crowdfunding: I, you know, we are all guilty of wanting to find the quickest, easiest way to at least break even with our books and with everything in life, really. But let’s maybe kick this off by getting you to give us a little bit of a window into how popular crowdfunding is with the author or publishing community.


Oriana Leckert 02:08

Yeah. So it’s – that’s a huge question. We could probably spend our whole time just talking about that. What I will start with is I’ll give you some statistics about Kickstarter Publishing. 


Boni Wagner-Stafford 02:20



Oriana Leckert 02:21

So a very cool thing is last November, we crossed a major milestone, which is $200 million pledged to publishing projects on our site in the 12 years that Kickstarter has been active. In honor of that, yeah, I did – we did a couple of things to celebrate that. One thing that we did is we wrote this tremendous roundup: “ 117 Publishing Projects Showing What’s Possible on Kickstarter”. I don’t know if you have show notes but I’m happy to share that article. 


Boni Wagner-Stafford 02:48

I would love it if you would share that. Yes, please. 


Oriana Leckert 02:51

Yeah. So I’m just going to give myself a note about that. But, you know, Kickstarter Publishing, there are a lot of books here. There’s also a lot more than books. We’ve had bookstores and book art and book museums and exhibitions. We’ve had literary magazines and podcasts and all sorts of zines. We’ve had literary festivals, literary spaces, books from indies and major presses and self-published authors and traditionally published authors, magazines, podcasts – I think I said that already. We’ve had journalism, radio shows: really anything that’s sort of even tangentially related to the written word has been funded on Kickstarter. Another thing I will just mention that we did in celebration of our $200 million was we started a little partnership with, the tremendously wonderful online bookseller, which is also – like Kickstarter – a public benefit corporation. Bookshop has affiliate relationships, which anybody can make: you know, if you’re a bookstore or an author or a book club, you know, you can set up a list of books and you know, if people buy them through your affiliate link, you get a commission. So what we did was we made several different book lists of books, comic books, children’s books, cookbooks and art books, all of which were originally funded on Kickstarter and then went on to lead long lives in the trade – in the traditional book trade – which are available for sale on Bookshop. And we structured it – again, because Kickstarter is a public benefit corporation and our goal is almost never about making money and always about uplifting the creative communities that were involved in – all of our commissions on those sales go to NYC Books Through Bars, which is a beautiful sort of like old punk, nonprofit, all volunteer-run organization that sends books to incarcerated people all across the country. So those are a couple of ways that we celebrated our 200 million. Did I answer your question? Who knows? The answer is with the people who like it, Kickstarter Publishing is wildly popular. We have tons of creators who have done, you know, funded not just one book but dozens of books. Some small presses who use Kickstarter as part of their entire business model are running pretty much a project a month to publish their books. So yeah, I’m – certainly a large part of my job is being out in the world of the publishing industry, trying to get more people to love Kickstarter Publishing. But I think we’ve got a, you know, pretty good – it’s doing pretty well over here.


Boni Wagner-Stafford 05:20

Wow, that is really … Those are some – those are bigger numbers than I expected you were going to throw at me. So I’m just going to put my tongue back in my mouth here. So the – I was, I was going to ask you something really benign and boring, like, what’s the average amount of money raised. But I don’t want to go there just yet. I’m intrigued by the breadth of the types of publishing projects that you mentioned. And on one hand, that makes sense. If you think of journalism, for example, the whole funding model for journalists – the internet and you know, social media platforms have changed the whole funding model: there’s, you know, you used to buy a newspaper and there’d be ads in the newspaper which paid for it. That doesn’t happen anymore. So journalism is one of those areas that make sense, they’re looking for ways to fund. And in that sense, as well, with more indie and self-published authors looking for ways to fund their books but, you know, it’s not just the traditional publishing game anymore. But crowdfunding is not necessarily going to be right for every project, every book or every author. What are some of the ways that you would say that an author should think about? And what is a list of kind of things? “Oh, check. Okay, that’s me, check. That’s me. That’s not me.” What would you say?


Oriana Leckert 06:38

Yeah, absolutely. So, you know, everybody thinks about the funding part of crowdfunding; not everybody remembers to consider the crowd. So really, you know, crowdfunding – the way to be successful crowdfunding is having a clearly defined project and knowing how to reach the people in your crowd: the supporters, the audience, the readers who are going to care about what you’re doing. So long before you begin drafting a crowdfunding or fundraising campaign of any kind, you want to build your community. That’s really like, the – before the first step. You know, so if you are someone who writes romance novels, it’s figuring out where are the readers gathering who read these kinds of books? Where are the writers gathering who write these kinds of books? How can you be a generous and compassionate participant in the communities of people where these kinds of books are exciting? You know, this can be anything from building your social media to going to conferences and festivals and, you know, speaking out and listening to panels: anything, you know, to like make inroads into those communities. So that’s the first thing. The second thing is figuring out what your project is and how to describe it in a succinct and compelling way. Kickstarter is, we are – in my opinion, obviously – the best thing for project based fixed funding. So you mentioned journalism: in fact, I was, when I was originally hired at Kickstarter, it was to grow our journalism community. My personal background is about half and half traditional book publishing and digital media. So I had a lot of conversations with folks in the media about the sort of like pros and cons of fixed funding versus sustainable funding. If you’re running a media endeavor, you know, sustainable funding – which means maybe smaller amounts of money but every month – could be far more important for your endeavor than a pile of money right now. Whereas if you’re publishing a book, you know, if you’ve done your homework and you’ve checked, you know, contacted printers and figured out your trim size and your page count, how many cut– you know, if you know that you need $10,000 to print, whatever, 500 copies of this book, project based fixed funding, that’s going to be a really probably a very successful way for you. And so, you know – golly, what question am I answering? What are – right? What are the things that …


Boni Wagner-Stafford 08:58

Who’s the appropriate person? Yeah, who’s the appropriate person for it? Because they’re not for everybody. And I think you did answer that question.

Oriana Leckert 09:04



Boni Wagner-Stafford 09:05

And I was so intrigued by, of course, everybody thinks of the funding. Just think about the intro that I wrote: what did I talk about? I talked about the funding. And, you know, we need to remember the crowd. Let’s pause for a moment for a message from our sponsor.


Commercial 09:19


Boni Wagner-Stafford 09:54

So a crowdfunding campaign that is not necessarily for the person who comes in and says, “Hey, I’m going to build my network and my platform through a crowdfunding – a Kickstarter campaign,” that’s not necessarily the best thing.


Oriana Leckert 10:07

You know, it could be. I would say, if you are an emerging writer, you do not want your first campaign to have a $50,000 goal. You know, you want to be really realistic, both about what you need and about what you can get. People who do – you know, we have a lot of numbers to indicate that your second and third and 12th campaign become more successful each time. So you absolutely can use a site like Kickstarter to build your audience but you have to start with at least something and you have to be really, really realistic about what’s going to be possible for you. So you know, if you want eventually, to do a high-end, deluxe, leather-bound omnibus of, you know, your trilogy, maybe the first thing you run is a small, you know, a campaign for your first set of short stories, a small paperback. Maybe you’d fund you know, several books, one after the other with ample time in between, to delight your audience by fulfilling the campaign and, you know, get making good on all the promises you made for the books that you were going to publish, you know, in each one. And by the time you get to, you know, your 10th campaign, you have demonstrated to your audience, to your backers, that you absolutely are, you know, doing the things that you say that you’re going to do: creating beautiful books; delivering them on time. And so it can be an effective part of your broader strategy for audience building.


Boni Wagner-Stafford 11:35

So if we talk about the crowd for a minute – because I have a million questions going in, through my mind about getting into the, you know, how you create a campaign and run a campaign and what to do afterwards. So I – we are going to get there. But thinking about the crowd for a minute – before we go back to the authors – what are, what is the crowd? The people who actually help fund the campaigns: what are they looking for?


Oriana Leckert 12:00

Well, I don’t think that Kickstarter backers could be considered to be any kind of monolith. Certainly, you know, we’ve got – I think we have 15 creative categories on our site: everything from, you know, design to technology to dance to music. So even, you know, backer behavior across categories is wildly different. But even among, you know, within categories, there’s not one kind of Kickstarter Publishing backer. You know, there’s not one sort of – one way to define the person who comes to Kickstarter, looking for new books to read. So I think knowing your personal audience is always going to be fundamental to figuring out what are going to be the best practices for running your campaign. One thing – you know, a cool thing about Kickstarter is that it gives you a direct line to those backers: you get to talk to them during the campaign and long after. So one cool thing that we see a lot is people kind of like designing the actual book product through the campaign, saying, you know, to your 100, backers, “Would we like a blue cover or a red cover? If I can raise another $1,000 over my goal, I will add French flaps, a little string bookmark, you know, a color insert,” things like that, you know, so that you can have your backers really be part of the entire creative process of designing your book and not, you know, not only makes your backers feel really, really connected to the work that you’re making together, it helps you understand what your readers want and what your audience is looking for so that you can kind of tailor your own vision to match that of the people who are supporting your work.


Boni Wagner-Stafford 13:43

Which is a whole new way of thinking about a book project, which is so fascinating. So let’s, let’s now talk about some of the nitty-gritty. Somebody decides, “Okay, I think this crowdfunding thing is for me; I’m going to go talk to Oriana” – not that people are going to come and talk to you directly to launch their campaign. But somebody is getting ready: what, how long in advance of their ideal launch date of the campaign do you recommend that people start to think about the campaign? And what are some of the first details that you want to think of? And you’ve mentioned those already: thinking about, you know, what your goals are and where your network is. But so beyond those, those first steps.


Oriana Leckert 14:28

Totally. So any answer I give you probably from here on is going to be a little bit squishy because everybody’s project is different and everybody’s way of building it and figuring it out is different. In general – depending, of course, on your bandwidth and your abilities and your et cetera – we tell people you probably want about four to six weeks to prepare your campaign from like the moment you’ve decided, “Yes, I’m going to go forward with this,” to the moment you press that launch button. Most of what you’re going to be doing in advance is making your life easier while the campaign is live. So, I will touch really quickly on, you know, the main elements of a Kickstarter campaign. You want a video, a story, your rewards and a promotional plan, right? That’s really, that’s both all there is to it and a whole lot of work. So, you know, your video should be short, bright, compelling, maybe about a minute long. People – we have metrics that show backers stop watching Kickstarter videos after a minute or two. So do not try to cram everything about your entire literary journey into a 10-minute production – you know, high production-value video. That videos can be done very cheaply: you don’t need fancy cameras, Hollywood-style editing. You can do it with your camera or your – with your phone or your computer. So the video should just be a little teaser, inviting people into your story. Their story section, that’s where you’re going to really talk about, you know, what you’re doing, why you’re doing it, what is this book, what brought you to wanting to write it, where are you in your process, what are the specs of what this book is going to look like? All of the sort of – that’s when you can really relax into all of your nuance and detail. Do always keep in mind, Kickstarter is on the internet and the internet is a visual medium. So if someone opens your campaign and sees a gigantic wall of text, they are going to leave the page. Try to make it dynamic: even if your work is all prose, you should be able to come up with some kind of imagery. If you truly cannot come up with any images, use bulleted lists; make, you know graphic style headers with sections. Just keep it interesting as someone is kind of moving down the page. The other major element is the rewards. To my mind, the rewards are sort of like, this is what makes this kind of fundraising so compelling: in addition to offering of course, your book as your main reward tier, you can think about all kinds of other things to offer that will delight your backers. You know, for smaller digital rewards, you can do a custom playlist of songs that you listen to that inspired you; you can do a pretty PDF of like “further reading” for books that you were, you know, books in other media that you were looking at while you were putting things together. For higher-end stuff, you can do, you know, deluxe prints of the art on your book’s cover. If you are an editor, you can offer one-on-one editing sessions. If you are a journalist, you can offer like “notes from the field” or outtakes from the book or a Zoom launch party or an IRL launch party. There’s all kinds of things that you can do to, you know, surprise and delight your backers and make them really feel part of your journey. Should I briefly touch on promotion? Or should I stop talking? 


Boni Wagner-Stafford 17:39

No, yes, no. Let’s come to promotion in a minute. And I think when I was communicating with you and we were setting up this podcast, I was saying, “You know, I’ve done one crowdfunding campaign for one book. And it was really fun. And it was so much work. And just that business of coming up with the rewards.” I love the ideas that you threw out there because they’re, you know, we got stuck in the, “Oh, well, this person at this reward level is going to get three paperbacks and one hardcover and then the next person is going to get six paperbacks and three hardcovers,” and then we got really stuck into the routine thinking of that, you know, what else could we do besides actually offering different versions of the book. So some of those ideas are really, I love that you can be creative about that. But so – and still, before we go to promotion, this business about the rewards, it’s tied with – correct me if I’m wrong – it is usually tied with a funding tier that you set. So you’re – when you’re thinking rewards, it literally, the reward is what they get for the money that they’re going to put in. 


Oriana Leckert 18:50

That’s absolutely right, yeah.


Boni Wagner-Stafford 18:51

Correct? Yeah. So thinking of, you know, scaling and creating those rewards: there’s a couple of practical things that I think people want to be aware of, which is, how much time is it going to take you to create all those fantastically creative ideas? Doesn’t have to be a lot of time, but there are impacts. Do they all need to be created before the campaign goes live, would you say?


Oriana Leckert 19:15

So this is a great question. I will – before I answer it, I’m going to say you will probably notice if you go back and listen to all the things I just listed, I did not talk about swag. I didn’t talk about T-shirts or tote bags or mugs or stickers, which a lot of people – even, you know, after 12 years of Kickstarter being alive – still think that if you’re going to run a campaign, you also must turn yourself into a swag production facility. I am here to tell you that you must not. You do not need to do that. In fact, you should not do that. It will absolutely ruin your life. The worst thing, you know, would be to get the $10,000 and now it’s time to make this book that you’ve been wanting to make for all this time. But before you start, now you need to figure out how to produce and ship a bunch of mugs and shirts and things that you have not thought through in any way. That’s how to get yourself in a lot of trouble and not be able to ultimately fulfill your project, which is a very bad outcome. So, yes, please think deeply about every reward that you’re going to offer: the cost in both time and labor and money to both create and ship that item. I also emphasized a lot of digital rewards for exactly this reason: doing a Zoom editing session is not the same kind of onerous hardship as figuring out how to make enamel pins. You know, like, really think about your capacity and your abilities. So in answer to your actual question, do the rewards need to all be produced beforehand? I would say no. But like one thing that you really want to do in all elements of your Kickstarter campaign is set your backers’ expectations. So if you’re going to put together that Zoom, put that digital playlist, but you don’t want to think about that until after you’ve produced the book, you can set a delivery date of six months in the future. You know, if you want to like have your launch party but you don’t want to think yet about the date, the invites, you know, the location, et cetera, you can set – and really like whatever fulfillment date you set for any reward, add a couple of months on it. Because it’s always better to overpromise – or underpromise and overdeliver: you definitely want to give yourself tons of buffer. Listen, we’re living through a global pandemic: you never know what’s going to happen to delay your fulfillment. So give yourself extra time.


Boni Wagner-Stafford 21:30

Perfect. So you wanted to go to promotion – and I do want to go there. Is it dovetailing with – because in my head, the next thing I want to talk about is what can authors and or publishers think about? What are they going to be doing while the campaign is live?


Oriana Leckert 21:46

Yeah, that’s exactly what promotion – or that’s how I consider promotion. Absolutely. So let’s see: a brief overture, a brief overview of promotion. What you’re going to do while the campaign is live is tell everyone you know. You’re going to spend about 30 days shouting from the rooftops to both the audience that you have and the audience you want. How are you going to do that? So you’re going to start with your inner circle: everyone who has ever even made a passing remark about being interested in your literary endeavors, you’re going to want to tell them about it. And some people come to me and say, “Oh, I don’t know, I’m shy. I don’t like begging for money.” Please let me emphasize: that’s not what you’re doing. A Kickstarter campaign has nothing to do with begging and it has nothing to do with charity. You’re inviting people onto a creative journey with you and you’re giving them things for coming along. You know, there’s no – you can’t use Kickstarter for charitable donations, for investment funding, for medical bills: it is only for bringing creative projects to life. So the tone you’re going to take with all of your outreach is, “Guess what? I am doing this incredibly cool thing. I would love for you to be a part of it.” Okay, so we start with our inner circle: you want individual emails. The highest conversion rate for any kind of promotion or outreach is individual emails that can also include newsletters. So all of the six weeks before the campaign, you’re going to be making lists, you’re going to be thinking about who are you emailing? How often during the campaign will you email them? What will you say? What will you say on day one? What will you say on day 12? What will you say on day 29? Pre-write all of those emails; design all of those MailChimp campaigns; make all of these lists. So email, that’s the first step. And by the way, going back just very briefly to building community: that whole time that you’re figuring out who’s going to be supportive of your work, have an email capture on your website. Start sending out a somewhat sporadic newsletter. Don’t wait until you’re ready to like ask people for money to send your first missive. Make sure that, you know, folks are – you’ve got a regular cadence where folks are excited to hear from you. And you have other things to talk about before the time when you’re saying, “Guess what? It’s Kickstarter time.” So that’s email. Another major part of any promotional strategy is going to have to do with social media. You know, my advice here is: use a platform where you’re the strongest or you’ve already been doing work to build your community and your audience. Do not, you know, on the day you launch your Kickstarter, start that Booktalk campaign only in order to promote your project: it’s going to feel inauthentic; it’s going to take a ton of time that you could be using, you know, to be communicating with the Facebook groups that you’ve been in for years or, you know, on the various other ... So whatever platform where you’re the strongest, that’s where you want to be. You’re going to probably be wanting to talk about your campaign, if not every day, certainly every couple of days. So this, again, is your sort of like pre-launch work. What are you going to say? You can’t just tweet day after day, “Have you backed my campaign yet?” So think about elements of the campaign that you can elaborate on. You know, if you have contributors, do tweet threads highlighting their work, which they will hopefully boost to their audiences. If there are elements of your own journey; if there are things in the news that are relevant to what you’re writing about: think about all the different ways that you can talk in an interesting, unique way about what you’re doing and why you’re doing it. And finally, no matter how big your personal audience is, it is always ultimately finite. So the other major thing to think about with your promotional plan is amplifiers, signal boosters, who do you know who’s got – I’m not talking necessarily about influencers – but who do you know who’s got an audience that’s adjacent to yours, in your genre or in your world? And would they be willing to, you know – even if you’re just asking for a retweet or a mention in their newsletter. Maybe they want to have you on their podcast; maybe they’ve got a YouTube show. You know, anything that you’re – that other people are doing. And, you know, what kind of reciprocity can you offer? Do you know other people running Kickstarter campaigns or similar fundraising endeavors? Can you cross promote one another? You know, all of these things are going to combine to like spread the word broader and broader and broader. And that’s the basics of a promotional plan for your literary Kickstarter.


Boni Wagner-Stafford 26:09

Also, not a small piece of work but clearly so important. So let’s talk about money as we head down the homestretch now. So two things I want to see if we can get at in our last few minutes. One is, what is the average – now you talked about the $200 million raised with creative projects; that’s cool – but is there an average size of a project, thinking maybe for publishing project-specific books? And then the next thing is, how does the money work?


Oriana Leckert 26:45

Totally. Yeah. So two things I’ll tell you: the average backing amount all across Kickstarter, in every category, is $25. And the tier at which creators tend to make the most money is 100. So when you’re building out your reward tiers, those are two spots where you want to put – or close to that – things that are easily replicable; that are, you know … So, which is not to say if you’ve done your budgeting and your P&L says that your book needs to cost $30, I’m not suggesting you should make it 25 to hit those averages. But that’s, you know, how to think about, you know, the sort of like main tiers and how to build above and below them. You had asked me the average: it’s a little bit, you know, it’s kind of hard to parse because as I’ve said, you know, there have been – what – there have been a total of 54,000 successful Kickstarter projects in publishing. So an average, which includes Brandon Sanderson raising $6 million, as well as, you know, an endless array of like teenagers running $500 campaigns for their little zines, is going to be slightly misleading. But I did do an average: $10,500 is our overall average for publishing projects on Kickstarter. 


Boni Wagner-Stafford 28:04

And when you say successful, you mean they achieve the goal? 


Oriana Leckert 28:08

That’s right. Yes. Yep. 


Boni Wagner-Stafford 28:10

Okay. Alright. Very cool. Well, so that’s some good information. And yeah, average is always a little bit difficult because there are outliers on either end that could skew it. But so …


Oriana Leckert 28:21

But I will – we’ve before – just very quickly, I will say, one way to think about this – some back-of-napkin math – is that, you know, again, if $25 is your average backing amount and $10,000 is your goal, that’s – if everybody only backed to you at 25 bucks, that’s 400 backers. So this is where you need to think about what does your audience look like? And does that number seem achievable? If not, maybe you want to scale down your goal, fund only a part of the project, maybe you want to take some more time to build your audience before you launch or maybe if your audience happens to be too skewed toward deep-pocketed folks, maybe you just want to like skew your rewards to fewer, higher-dollar items and hope that you will get to your goal that way.


Boni Wagner-Stafford 29:05

Makes total sense. So the mechanics of the money – and there are different types of crowdfunding campaign: you talked about fixed project – so if we’re – and whether it’s Kickstarter or other platforms; I don’t want to mix and match here – but fixed projects is where you say, “I’m after this many dollars,” Let’s just use the round 10,000 figure. Is there something that comes into play there where, if you don’t meet it, you don’t get anything? Or like how does that work?


Oriana Leckert 29:41

Totally. Yeah, so Kickstarter, alone among the crowdfunding platforms, we are all or nothing. That’s correct. If you set a $10,000 goal and you only raise $4,000, you don’t get any of the money. This, I will just mention, was designed to protect creators. I know a lot of people think it sounds scary but, you know, I talked a lot about sort of like the importance of fulfilling the promises that you make with your campaign. So if you were to run a campaign for $10,000 to print 500 copies of your 200-page book and you only raise four grand, you’re in a bad spot: you know, you now told people you’re going to print this book in this way and deliver all of these rewards and you don’t have enough money to do it. So that’s why we’re designed that way: to make sure that, you know, one of our … An early adopter of Kickstarter on the comics side – this incredible woman, Spike Trotman – she has said, “A failed Kickstarter is a dodged a bullet.” That means something didn’t work. So you should take a look; figure out what didn’t go the way you wanted it to; learn from it; and, you know, make better, different choices the next time. I do want to just say the technical element of how the money works, this is also different company to company. Kickstarter, if I pledge $25 to your campaign, our payment processor, which is called Stripe, at that moment, they take a look into my bank account; they see that I have $25 and that’s it: no money actually moves until the campaign closes. So if the campaign does not meet its funding goal, no money has changed any hands. So there’s no question of like money being returned, money being owed; it just never went anywhere. Once the campaign is successful and closes, then Stripe takes two weeks figuring out, like kind of grabbing all that money from all of the different places and putting it into your bank account. Kickstarter takes five percent of successful projects. So again, if your campaign doesn’t fund, you don’t owe us or anyone any money. And Stripe’s fee is three to four percent variable, which has to do with where in the world all the bank accounts are. So if you’re, you know, when you’re budgeting, budget ten percent for fees. You will be more than covered and you will have no surprises.


Boni Wagner-Stafford 31:51

Awesome. That is such good information: the whole kit and caboodle. So to summarize – because we’ve now, I can hardly believe that we’ve been talking about this for 30 minutes; it goes by so fast so fast: there are options to help you fund either specific elements or your entire book project from a crowdfunding perspective. But remember, the crowd comes before the funding. They – just look at the way the word is structured. And then all kinds of elements to think about, which is make sure that you’re planning your promotions and your rewards and what the fulfillment is going to be. And then, if you don’t – on Kickstarter, if you don’t meet your project goal, you both don’t owe any money or are – and you’re not on the hook for fulfillment of any of those because it wasn’t a successful campaign. And that is designed to protect people. That’s fantastic. Anything that we didn’t get to that you think we must address before we say sayonara?


Oriana Leckert 32:55

I’ll just tell you two quick things. If we have a whole page dedicated to creator resources for publishing, you can find that at There’s all kinds of, you know, webinars and panels and discussions I’ve done, like this one, and I and my colleagues and my predecessors. There’s tons of articles about how to build your audience; how to plan, you know, your perfect size book; how to run a project in comics or poetry or zines. There’s how to – best practices for social media and writing a press release. Really everything we could think of that would be helpful for creators setting out on this goal. And if you want to talk to me, you can find me on either Twitter or Instagram at Oriana – O, R, I, A, N, A, B, K, L, Y, N – because I am always representing Brooklyn. If you have specific questions, I would be happy to see if I can answer them for you in either of those places.


Boni Wagner-Stafford 33:53

Awesome. Wonderful. Oriana, thank you so much for joining us today.


Oriana Leckert 33:58

Thank you so much for having me. This was a delight.


Boni Wagner-Stafford 34:05

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