There are two ways a book can earn $100,000: An author can sell 10,000 copies for $10 or 1,000 copies for $100. The former is what big publishing is trying to make happen, the latter is what’s happening on Kickstarter.
When I was deciding how to publish my utopian novel Oblivion, I knew I would be more likely to reach a 1,000-person market than I would be to reach a 10,000-person market. I also knew I wanted to do more than write a book. So I was enticed when I learned that, on Kickstarter, 663 publishing projects have earned more than $50,000 from only a few thousand backers.
When I asked, the company even sent me a spreadsheet of every single project that earned more than $50,000, which I then spent way too much time filling with links and backer counts, calculating the earnings per backer for each project, and ranking the whole sheet by dollars earned so I could analyze exactly what made each of those authors so successful (linked at the bottom of this post).
As I started poring over that spreadsheet, I realized there were a few authors with repeat successes, like Joshua O’Neill, founder of Beehive Books, who has earned $2.5 million across 14 Kickstarter campaigns. I reached out to him to learn more about how authors are finding backers, developing collectible books, and earning $50,000+ on Kickstarter.
Here’s what I learned.
I’m writing a utopian novel and sharing my process in public right here. Join me as a free or paid subscriber ✨