A Lesson in Marketing

I first wrote about using Kickstarter to fund a publishing project back in September 2010 (see Creative Funding for Publishing a Book). In a nutshell, Kickstarter is a fundraising website where authors and publishers can try to raise funds to publish a book (or fund another type of project).

Just how successful are authors and publishers at raising money using Kickstarter?

The answer depends on who you talk to.

Kickstarter reports that they have over 7,000 projects posted on their website that failed to generate a single pledge. On the other end of the spectrum, more than $215 million dollars have been pledged on the site to successfully funded projects. Seven projects have even raised more than $1 million dollars.

As for authors and publishers using Kickstarter to fund a publishing project, less than 32% of these projects actually get funded. That means that close to one-third of all publishing projects do get the money they need to proceed.

Seth Godin is one of the successful ones. Seth is a very popular marketing guru who has written a number of books. Recently, he posted a publishing project for a new book titled The Icarus Deception on Kickstarter. The book he wants to publish is about “the mythology of success (and failure) and how our economy rewards people who are willing to stand up and stand out.”

Seth Godin’s goal was to raise $40,000. In less than three hours after he posted his project on Kickstarter, he raised that amount of money, and by six hours after he posted his project, he had raised over $90,000 ($50,000 more than his goal). With 22 days to still go in his campaign, he had raised over $232,000 to publish his book.

So, what does Seth Godin have over the 7,000 projects that didn’t get funded?

I can define it in one word: Marketing.

Whether you post a project on Kickstarter or you just fund your own publishing project, both require marketing to sell. Seth Godin is a master marketer. He knows how to develop a fan base and create a tribe (people who are not just fans, but natural promoters who spread your message).

Marketing is essential not just for selling books, but for selling ideas also.

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