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About the Episode

What do you do when God has asked you to set everything down for a year? What do you do when God has asked you to dig in and grow without striving and burning out? This year, Erin and Rachel are leaning into creating from rest this year and are inviting you into the conversation.  

    Note: This conversation is broken into two parts: Ep 41 & Ep 42
    Topics Covered in these Episodes:
    • Understanding and apply a “sabbath year”
    • What Erin’s 2024 work-year looks like
    • What Erin has learned so far
    • Applying the lessons of Sabbath to regular work rhythms
    • What Rachel’s 2024 work-year looks like
    • What Rachel has learned so far

About My Guest

Erin Greneaux is a wife and mom to three girls in Lafayette, Louisiana. A graduate of Baylor University, Erin has worked in Christian ministry for over a decade in children’s ministry, missions, education in at-risk communities, and curriculum development. Erin is passionate about applying God’s Word to everyday life in a way that is clear and creative. Her published works include fiction, non fiction, poetry, and even a board game!


Episode 41:

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Episode 42:

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Click for Transcript

Is Kickstarter Right for You and Your Novel?

Emilie: [00:00:00] Some people might hear the term Kickstarter or crowdfunding and think of GoFundMe and Kickstarter is not GoFundMe because that’s a lot of like, Oh, we’re giving from our hearts to support someone. And this is different.

Rachel: I’ve heard you mentioned in the past that Kickstarter is bringing a platform to you and you’re bringing a platform to Kickstarter. And so it’s a way to expand your reach, to a new audience.

[Title Slide]

Welcome back to the Business of Christian Fiction. I’m your host, Rachel Fahrenbach. And joining me today is my friend Emilie, and she’s going to talk all about Kickstarter and using Kickstarter to get your novel off the ground. If you are considering self publishing and being an indie author, you probably have seen many other indie authors use Kickstarter to, um, get their novel out into the world.

And so I know I have contemplated it, and I feel like I don’t really fully understand the benefits or even the cons to it. And so I asked Emilie to come on to the [00:01:00] podcast share with us because she’s actually used it before for her novel Suspended in the Stars and she’s using it again. Um, for her second in the series, Falling through the Black.

Did I get the title right? All right. Awesome. Well, thank you, Emilie, for joining me. Would you just quickly share with the listeners who you are? What you write and then we’ll get into the conversation about kickstarter.

Emilie: Sure. Yeah. So I am an author, a graphic designer who focuses on book cover design. I am a photographer and a podcaster and yeah, so I do wear a lot of hats.

Um, but you will Know me under the name E. A. Hendryx for my, uh, young adult science fiction novel. And then I also write under a couple of different pen names. Well, my actual name, Emilie Haney, I write romantic suspense and cozy mystery. And then under Belle Renshaw, I write sweet romance. Um, and just, I like to write a lot of books.

I think that’s the main thing is just [00:02:00] that I love fiction of all kinds. Um, and as you said, Rachel, I did put out my first, uh, debut young adult science fantasy novel suspended in the stars. I’ll hold it up. Cause I have it here. Um, I was able to design that cover and this is the Kickstarter limited edition, um, book that I was able to produce through Kickstarter, which is really exciting.

And then the second one, Falling Through the Black, It begins April 5th and goes until the 26th. So there’s just a lot of moving pieces, which I’m sure we’ll jump into with Kickstarter. But um, beyond that, I mainly just read a lot of books and walk my dogs quite frequently and then end up with a cat on my lap at most times, uh, because she just loves to be near me.

And I did name her pages. So I was just going to honestly.

Rachel: I know I’ve seen her on your Instagram before and I’m like, yes, that’s such a fun name for a cat to be on. She’s so fun. She’s there with you in your writing.

Emilie: So that’s

Rachel: so cute.

Emilie: Well, and on [00:03:00] the other side of it too, I guess I should probably fill out the bio a little bit.

Um, I have been traditionally published and I’ve been independently published. Um, and then I guess you could say Kickstarter published, but I, I see that along the lines of independent as well. So, um, it’s kind of nice because I have seen both sides of that coin in a sense. Um, and I see the strengths to both.

Mm-Hmm, , uh, but also, yeah, some of, some, I guess you could say some disappointment is what led me to Kickstarter and that was a really good thing.

Rachel: That’s awesome. Okay. There’s so much that we’re gonna get into and a short amount of time, and I know we’re not gonna be able to cover everything, um, but I wanna make sure that.

By the time somebody gets done listening to this, they’ll have enough information to know whether or not they want to continue to research Kickstarter for themselves. And so why don’t we start there with, you said the duration of your Kickstarter was April. 5th through the 26th. April 5th through the 26th.

And, um, why don’t we start there? Cause I have always been a little confused [00:04:00] about the Kickstarter And then like pre sales and publication dates. So can you explain the difference between a Kickstarter campaign that lasts for a short window and like a pre sale window and a publication date?

Emilie: Absolutely.

And it might help to start even before that and explain that I think some people might hear the term Kickstarter or crowdfunding and think of GoFundMe and Kickstarter is not GoFundMe because that’s a lot of like, Oh, we’re giving from our hearts to support someone. Um, and this is. Uh, different. It is like a purchase.

So basically with Kickstarter, um, you can choose, I think your window can be up to 30 days if you choose, but, um, I find a nice three week length of campaign works well for me. Um, and so what you do when you’re starting a Kickstarter, I guess you could even go from backing a Kickstarter, is that you will, um, go to the Kickstarter website and they have a platform for you.

And so that’s where I’ve put in all of my information about [00:05:00] what my book is about, um, the things that will be included in the book, because a Kickstarter edition often tends to have, um, more things or, you know, fun add ons or like, you special cover elements, things like that, but they don’t have to, but sometimes they do.

Um, and you’ll have basically a whole section for rewards, a whole section about what the story is about. And then, um, what we call add ons basically, which would be kind of like a place for your backlist, things like that. So that’s basically it. Basically what you start with, with your campaign and the difference about putting a book on Kickstarter versus putting it up for like a pre sale or like pre orders, um, which will come later in the year for me as well, because I do both is that a Kickstarter edition is allowing people to join you.

That’s that crowdfunding aspect of it. And so they’re committing basically to say, I will back this campaign for whatever tier they prefer. So maybe an ebook tier or paperback or hardcover or a [00:06:00] special, you know, limited edition box of goodies along with the book, things like that. They can choose however they want to back.

Now the key here is that every person who puts their book up on Kickstarter chooses a funding goal. So my last one for suspending the stars, my goal was 2, 000 and that was me saying, Hey, if I can get enough people interested in this project and I can get you to help me fund this, then it’s going to happen.

Um, and that’s key because there are some projects that don’t fund. Um, so people will set their goal very low because they already know they’re going to produce the book. But like me, I was, I was a little hesitant and I wanted to have the bells and whistles. And so I wanted to make sure I could make that happen.

So once that goal is met, that means that after that period of time, so for me, it’s three weeks, but for someone else, it could be 10 days or 21 or whatever. Um, once that period ends and it’s funded, then everyone is charged. So, you know, if you use a credit card, that type of thing, it’ll go through. Um, so that [00:07:00] basically is giving you like the, the reason why, at least for me, you would want to back a Kickstarter is the fact that you get a lot of things way early.

So. As an example with my campaign, it will start in April, uh, will end by the 26th. Hopefully it will be funded and then everything on my end kind of goes into hyper production. So the book is 90 percent written at this point. Um, you know, I already have a slot with my editor. Everything is already Moving and we’re on the track there, um, the cover’s already done, things like that.

Um, but once it funds, then I can start ordering like my fun swag things that I’ve created and things like that. Cause I’ll have the money from the Kickstarter. And then once my book is edited, I can put the book, like the actual book itself into production through a printer that I go through because I do a whole print run.

So yeah. It’s a whole bunch of moving pieces, but everyone who packs the Kickstarter receives the ebook months earlier. So [00:08:00] my release for Falling Through the Black will probably be, I think it’s November, I want to say November 5th, but I’m not, that’s not a hard date yet. Um, so that’s in 2024, but everyone who backs a Kickstarter will receive their book, hopefully from me by at least by July, if not before it all depends on if I get everything done.

That’s on my, my timeframe there. Yeah, but it will definitely be before it goes live. So I guess you can kind of see. Yes. Someone could choose to just wait and purchase the book when it comes out. I would call it wide. So, you know, through any retailer that you would want to purchase it through, but you actually get some extra incentives to purchase that through the Kickstarter.

Not only do you get it early, um, but. Like this cover that I was showing you on the hardback, it’s not available anywhere else in hardback to be purchased. It’s only available on Kickstarter. Yes, it, it is available on the paperback, but it, I changed it for, um, [00:09:00] the, the wide hardcover basically. Um, All of the art things, you know, there’s things called stretch goals, which we can get into, but it makes sense, I guess, a little bit if you’re a fanatic, if you enjoy special editions, if you are interested in, um, reading a book earlier, especially after the slight You know, cliffhanger.

I left people a lot, not too bad, but just a little bit. So things like that, hopefully that it’s a long answer, but hopefully that kind of gives your listeners like a, kind of a concept of what it means to come to a kickstarter that way.

Rachel: I think that’s really good. My question to you is, you know, you hold, held up your book and you have the special edition cover and I see a lot of fantasy sci fi, um, a lot of authors who maybe have like character art or maybe have these, um, things that just, you know, maps and, um, very fun things that visual or like extras that just naturally go with their story.

Do you think that [00:10:00] Kickstarter is good for stories that are just a little bit more like contemporary genres? Um, have you seen anybody? I haven’t seen anybody. I haven’t come across that, but I’m just curious where a story doesn’t necessarily have like all those extras to them, you know?

Emilie: No. And I think that’s a great point.

Um, I know better. I think about the science fiction. Let me put it this way. When I pitched out, um, Suspended in the Stars to publishers, um, I knew it was a risk because it’s a science fiction. Now there’s fantasy elements. So it is like a weird melding of the two. Um, and I think that that may.

Publisher’s afraid. Who should I get it? No, I get it. Will it sell? Type of thing. Um, so if you’re looking at it from like the business side of it, it makes sense why they would say no, but that’s where Kickstarter steps in and is a great place for it. Now that’s not to say that it’s exclusively for those.

I think that my friend CJ and I talk about this a lot because she also ran a Kickstarter as well for her dystopian novels. Um, so. [00:11:00] And we’ve come back to this point, which is, first of all, do your research. I mean, and that’s not to, I’m not just throwing that answer out as like, I’ll leave it there. No, everybody should be doing their research.

Yeah, for sure. Jump on Kickstarter and start searching for things because they do have a wide array of, um, Of projects that come through now, I will say, I know Becky Wade has done a Kickstarter for, I think, was it both of her, her books? She funded the audio books for both of hers. Now I should do it for her audio books.

Rachel: I’m not sure. I

Emilie: don’t recommend a campaign that only focuses on an audio book because those do not tend to do well. Um, you want to be selling something more along the lines of that as well, but I know she was successful on that. Now. She has a great audience

Rachel: I was just gonna say she has a very large platform already.

Emilie: Yeah, you have to look at like who who are you bringing with you in general?

I mean I had to do it too, you know, even though I might be publishing in a more popular type of genre I still had to think like are there people who [00:12:00] will go through and you know, actually back the project. Mm hmm I think you know Another thing to think of too, like with what you brought up is you don’t have to have all the bells and whistles.

I have experience in creating merch. It’s part of my job and, you know, and I, I’ve, I’ve done that for years now. So to me, it was actually a fun thing. And it was like, Oh, this is the chance where I can throw stuff out and, you know, see what people want and things like that. Um, but I didn’t need to have all of those things.

Um, I did mention stretch goals before, and if we want to get into that, we can, but

Rachel: why don’t we go ahead and get into that now? Because like, if the. Pretty good spot.

Emilie: What exactly is a stretch goal? Yeah. Um, so that was another thing that I had to like, kind of share with my audience when we first funded, so we got past that 2, 000 mark and I was like floored, but I was like, keep, keep sharing.

Like we need to keep this going. And I’m sure some people were like, well, why you’ve met your funding goal. Um, so oftentimes what, uh, people say about Kickstarter is that your goal is your, what did it say? Like your floor, [00:13:00] not your ceiling. So that’s your bait. Base level, you know, we’re scraping by as long as we hit this.

Some people will go for like a 10, 000 goal because they know they can’t produce what they need to without that. Um, I wanted to go lower hoping that it would go higher and it did. Um, so all of that to say, once you hit that, you know, your funding goal, stretch goals are what takes you hopefully to the next level and the next and the next.

So oftentimes, um, like I will not reveal my stretch goals for probably the first few days, just because you don’t know where you’re going to land. Um, and I want to do things that will entice people at the right levels. So for example, I’ve set my goal again at 2, 000. I think that that was a fair goal for me.

I’ve done the same for book too. Um, so I, I won’t release all the ideas that I have, but once we hit, you know, maybe day three or something like that, we’ll see how long I can hold out. Um, I want to entice people to keep, you know, maybe they bump up [00:14:00] their pledge or maybe they reach out and share with other people.

But, um, the last, my last one, let’s see, I had, um, an enamel pin that I designed. I had a backer. Q and a, which was super fun. So a live, you know, show with people where they were able to ask me questions. I had, um, character art specifically for the book, like commissioned. Um, Oh, and then I reached 10 K and I said that everybody would get.

The additional dust jacket. So basically the new design that I would do, um, wide so that they wouldn’t have to feel like they needed to purchase the hardcover again. It was a mistake to offer that because I had to cut them down by hand, but I have now since found a printer that will do them better than what I could do, but all of that to say, those are some ideas of just enticing things that people wanted.

And so to be able to offer that to them, I love the fact of that because then if you’re purchasing a paperback for like, I think it’s like 25 or something like that. Yes. That’s a little [00:15:00] high and most prices on Kickstarter will be higher than what you’re used to, but you’re getting. No. All of that additional swag, especially if you backed at a physical tier, you’re getting a ton of different things in that package and you’re getting the experience as well.

And, you know, thanked in the back, things like that. So stretch goals are mainly what you want to help keep pushing the envelope, I guess you could say in a sense, but all of that to say, if we’re talking about, um, maybe a campaign that has not a lot of bells and whistles, there’s a lot you can do that doesn’t have to be, um, You know, created based, I guess, like I said, the, the Q and a, maybe it’s, um, more specifically like a spoiler chat type of situation you could do.

Um, you could always add a short story or something like that, which I also included as one of my stretch goals. And that was a really popular one that I hadn’t anticipated. So it is more work for you as the author, but yeah. There’s a way to kind of work around it where [00:16:00] you’re not just flooding the campaign with a lot of stuff.

Um, but it just depends, I think, on who your audience is as well.

Rachel: So that makes a lot of sense. And I think it sounds fun because it invites your readers to participate in like that. Um, they’re part of the creative process. Like they, they get to be a part of that, like getting the thing off the ground.

What my question to you is, is when you’re pricing out your tiers, Is the goal to fund future copies of the book or is the goal to just fund the copies for the people who are backing the

Emilie: Kickstarter? That’s a great question. Um, I think for me it was a little bit of both. Um, So when I did press my campaign, first of all, I did a ton of research and I have backed a lot of campaigns.

It’s kind of addictive was to get into it. You’re like, Oh, that looks amazing. Oh, I want to support them, you know, keep backing and backing. Um, but I kind of tried to [00:17:00] get Mid range, so I wasn’t the highest price point. I wasn’t the lowest, um, but there’s so many things to consider as well. So like for a limited edition, um, hard cover, you know, I don’t even remember specific pricing at this point, but you’re not only taking just the price of the book.

You’re also taking into account. Well, the stretch goals will have to be paid for the, um, um, The time to ship everything out, the shipping itself, which is unfortunately, if you’re going through Kickstarter backed, well, let me put it this way. If you choose to do it this way, it can be backed into the price of your Kickstarter.

So it might look like an impressive number that you’ve reached, but maybe a couple of thousand dollars of that is just shipping shipping. And then they take, yeah, they take a cut off the top, all of that. Um, so those, a lot of, a lot of things you have to think of, um, For me, I did want to be able to purchase a good number of paperbacks, mainly because I knew that’s what I was going to sell the most of, or at least hoped that I would.

Um, [00:18:00] and they’ll be the most, um, I think I could say most profitable for me to sell afterwards. And that’s funding me to be able to write more. So I would say I, I didn’t set out to price my tiers. Like, Ooh, I want to make sure I have X amount of dollars overage so that I can fund this. But when I was able to work at the calculations and everything through that, I was able to see, okay, I can afford to do a good print run.

Now, also the higher number that you order, the less amount you are paying for your books. So. My hard covers, I only bought, I think it was like 125 of them, um, and that’s all I could afford to purchase. And that’s all that was covered, you know, and I have some extras, of course, for this next Kickstarter, but not a large number.

And so I was able to kind of funnel in more for the paperbacks. I won’t probably do as high of an order of Book two, just cause that’s kind of how things go. You just, you know, I was going to sell book one type of thing. Um, but yeah, so it’s not, it’s not maybe the best answer to your question, but I think it [00:19:00] depends on how you’re approaching your campaign.

Um, you can expect, I mean, like we said, with the fees of Kickstarter and the fees of processing credit card fees and things like that. Um, and then in, in addition to that, like, will you make anything as, cause I think people see the, High number and they immediately think, Whoa, you know, I funded over 10, 000.

She made 10, 000. No, I did not. I made a very, very small portion of that. And most of it honestly went to paying for the artists that I, I’ve paid for out of my own pocket, paying for the, actually, if I include in my editor, I made nothing technically because I paid for the editor in advance. So, you know, it’s just stuff like that.

I don’t say that to be like, whoa, is me. It’s just like,

Rachel: no, I think it’s important to say that to mention that reality, because I think we forget that, um, that with the low cost of books, authors really aren’t making a high profit margin off of books. [00:20:00] It’s just not a reality. Um, and so. When I look at these Kickstarter tiers, that’s something that I’ve been curious about because some of the tiers can be a little bit bigger, but you’re giving them these, um, additional things.

And that’s all costing, you know, unless it’s a digital product, it’s probably going to cost shipping. It’s a material cost to it. And so it’s neat to be able to kind of like. Bring the, the, um, the price point of the book up a little bit with those, but really at the end of the day, are you really making that much more of a profit margin?

So I guess it goes back to, um, like goals that you set for yourself of Kickstarter. I would assume, and this may be, uh, not a good assumption, but, uh, that really the goal of a Kickstarter is not to make a ton of money off the book, but rather to just gauge interest in the book, um, get a community around that book that can maybe then go out and share about that.

I know that I’ve heard you mentioned in the [00:21:00] past that Kickstarter is bringing a platform to you and you’re kind of bringing a platform to Kickstarter. And so it’s a way to kind of expand your reach, um, to A new audience essentially, um, but it’s really probably if you’re going into Kickstarter with thinking, it’s going to help you make a ton of money off your book, probably not going to be the case, but it could be a really vital way to, legitimate way to gauge interest and get it going and getting it out there. That first layer of releasing it. Would you agree with that?

Emilie: I totally agree. And I think it was the question that I had, right? I mean, I could have just taken it and put it out there. Uh, independently published.

I mean, I’ve done that for my other sweet romance book. So it was not something that was out of my grasp, but I had watched my friend CJ go through it. And I was like, wow, first and foremost, and I think you already mentioned this, but the community aspect of just people coming around. I really try to focus, especially on this next campaign and just saying like, this is us together producing this book.

Like, yes, I wrote it [00:22:00] and it does benefit me, but. I want it. I want it to be a great experience for the reader as well. And so that’s an aspect of it for sure. But then also just kind of that, that it’s a wider net, right? Like anything that can help you, especially you as an independent author, spread your net is a good thing.

I mean, as long as it doesn’t cost you, you know, hundreds of dollars or whatever, um, you know, marketing can. Um, but yeah, that was, that was a big part of it. And I mean, I’ll be honest. I had my husband sit down with me cause he’s not a book person, but he is a math person. And so I was like, okay, what, you know, what am I going to be able to charge for these tiers?

That makes sense. And I had, I had other people who had run campaigns also look over those and actually they told me in some of them I needed to raise my tiers because, and it’s, it’s that weird part, right? But people who come to Kickstarter are expecting to pay more. You’re probably going to lose some of your original readers or maybe people who thought they were your readers and they’re like, [00:23:00] Oh, I can’t pay that much for a special edition.

Totally get it. And that’s where you can offer them. Don’t worry. It will be out later this year. You can purchase it this way. But part of that is just understanding like, okay, this is kind of the mentality of Kickstarter and the people who are consistently backing on Kickstarter, they get it and they’re, they’re there for it.

Right. So it isn’t a sure thing, but. More than likely, as long as you’ve done your due diligence on your campaign, Kickstarter will say, Hey, check out this campaign to other people. You might like this. And that is awesome. Like that’s the best part is because it’s like this inner, inner marketing type of thing that they have going on, which is very helpful.

Rachel: I can see how that could be really beneficial. So at what point would you suggest a person is ready for a Kickstarter? At what point should they make an announcement that their, their Kickstarter campaign dates?

At what point in the [00:24:00] writing, publishing process would that be ideal.

Emilie: Mm hmm. Uh, I’m gonna say, initially, it kind of depends, um, it depends on what kind of writer, writer you are, because for me, I can say, I mean, I just finished a crazy week of, like, writing ridiculous amounts of words, uh, to get to what I might do next.

Rachel: I’m gonna interrupt you here because I have been following Emilie doing this this week, where she’s writing, literally writing two books at the same time.

Emilie: It’s, it was bananas.

Rachel: How are you even doing this?

Emilie: I, uh, not well. I like, I joked on like, I think it was on a threads thing. I was like, I haven’t seen my husband in a week.

Like, it’s not true, but like, it’s kind of like, Hey, you know, and just go back to writing. Um, but I mean, thank the Lord that that one book is off my plate. So now it’s just one, but I see that. A little tongue in cheek, but honestly, I know I can get it done. I know I can have my book now. It does not need to be to my editor by the time my campaign starts.

That’s more of a me [00:25:00] goal. Um, and I mean, I’ve seen several campaigns who they don’t send it to their editor until the campaign has funded it and they have their funds because that’s how they’re paying for their editing. I do think that is valid. I think you have to ask yourself, well, if you have to decide, first of all, how long is my window?

And this is something you just communicate to your, your readers, your followers, whatever is like, Hey, As an example, with my campaign being in April, I am guaranteeing loosely, you know, June, July, somewhere in there, the latest August to get my book out ebook to everybody. Now the print is very dependent on time schedules and things like that.

But, um, that was my decision. I, it would be totally fine if I said, you’re not going to get your book until January, 2025, you know, just like letting people,

Rachel: you’re letting people, I get. I would say that the key here is that you set the expectation and people can then choose to join in that they can [00:26:00] opt into it, whether or not they’re like, yeah, I agree to this.

These are, this is the expectation I’m going to, I’m going to come alongside of you.

Emilie: Now I would caution for maybe someone who’s never published before. It’s a lot, like it’s a lot to learn. Even if you’re just going to source your books through IngramSpark, you still have to make sure that your designer has all of their, you know, things together and that everything is right.

So I would say make sure that when you do decide that you’re, you know, gonna launch that you have kind of, at least in your mind, maybe written out somewhere to, um, uh, this is how it’s going to go. Like a roadmap type of thing. Um, I’ve seen, I think the most successful campaigns have something that’s like that.

I didn’t on my first one, just cause I didn’t really realize how much I told people, you know, this is what I see happening, but I’m going to do a graphic this time. So people will be able to see very specifically my goals. Um, and if those things. You know, are going to stray one way or the other, then it’s just letting people know.

And I think that’s probably the other side of it is [00:27:00] communication is really key. Um, that might be something we touch on in a minute, but all of that to say, when you’re starting, um, or deciding to start, I guess, your, your campaign, um, I would suggest making sure that you have a nice long window of like a, I think they call it the pre launch page is having that pre launch page up.

I’ve had mine up for a couple of weeks now. It should have been longer. Okay. How long, how long would you suggest? Um, I mean, I want to say they let you do it up to. I want to say it’s six months. It could be a year, but I’m not positive on that. I would need to check on the Kickstarter website, but you can have it up for a good long while.

So the thing that you do is you might write in, like I said, I think I will be publishing on, um, April 5th, but I don’t have to, I could, I could decide to delay that. It’s mainly on me to press that I’m ready to launch button. Um, so having that page up, it just has a header [00:28:00] where I don’t show my cover yet because I do my cover reveal on the day of launch, which I think is very like, it creates a lot of stir, right?

You’re like, Oh, you know, I want to, I want to get this book. So it has that, uh, cover up. And I think it maybe has, I don’t even know if it has a line about your book at all. It’s just kind of there. And then there’s a button that says, Click to notify me on launch, and that is key to get people to follow you for that.

So wherever you’re at, make sure you have that up for a good amount of time, because the more people that you have that are notified, being notified when you launch your project, the better.

Rachel: This is, um, a concept I read, um, in a book called how to launch anything.

I think it’s what it’s called, um, it’s written by, and now I’m totally spacing, but I’ll put this in the show notes, um, because it’s a very short book, but it’s about the guy who kind of, um, started, I guess you could say, the idea of launching stuff online. Oh, yeah. And so he talks [00:29:00] about creating that runway and that the longer of a runway you have, the better you, you have for takeoff.

And so it kind of goes along with what you’re saying. The more you can generate a buzz about this before you actually go into the launch, it’s better for you because it, it takes a bit to get people to notice, you know, I think they say something like, you have to say it 20 times before somebody even, you know, you

Emilie: It’s funny to me because it’s like, I’ve told, you know, I’ve mentioned it in my stories.

I mentioned it on my page, but I underestimate, and I’m sure that most people who are listening do as well. The, like the amount of actually how annoying you need to be for everyone to be able to see something. Cause I hate it. I really don’t, don’t like promoting myself so often, but it always reaches a level of just a slightly different subset of people.

And so the more you share, the more that people are being directed to that page, which is really helpful. Um, but yeah, to know if you’re ready, I, you know, [00:30:00] you have done your research, you’ve set up your page to the best of your ability. There is a really great Facebook group called Kickstarter. What is it?

Kickstarter for authors, I think. And then there’s a, an advanced group as well. Something like advanced Kickstarter for authors, something like that. They’re free to join, but there is so much knowledge in those groups and people will willingly go and critique your prelaunch page before I should, I should say your actual campaign prelaunch page.

Um, you can allow people to see it. And make notes and things. That’s a good idea. Very helpful. And they’ll tell you, you might want to add more photos or this part isn’t clear. And I’ve done it for some people just as like, you know, kind of give back type of thing in the group. Um,

Rachel: so that’s really wise it’s because I know I have seen people’s Kickstarters, like I have had a couple of friends who have done it and, or even just come across it, you know through like people’s reels and things. And there’s sometimes I get on there and I’m like, I don’t even really understand what your [00:31:00] Kickstarter is for. It’s not, it’s probably really clear to them because the product, I mean, it’s always clear to us, right for our own things. But when it’s a complete stranger who is completely new to you, um, it’s always good to have a second couple, second, three, four pairs of eyes looking it over and just saying like, this is clear.

This is not clear.

Emilie: Yeah, absolutely. And so I think if you’ve had those things and you, you know, your book is in a good place, whether it, you have secured an editor or I would, I would have have somebody on tap if you have not yet already, you know, sent them to it, then I’d say you’re probably ready to go for it.

And I think the. The hardest part, especially for creative is to say yes to something and then have it fail. I don’t like that term fail. We don’t like rejection. We don’t like, you know, criticism. But I, my friend Amanda Aller, she has done a couple of very successful campaigns with her books, uh, [00:32:00] children of the earth and.

I always get them mixed up. What is it? I have them over here on my shelf. There it is. Daughter of the Sun, Children of the Earth. There we go. Um, but her first campaign for Daughter of the Sun, it failed. Now I say that in quotation marks. I think she raised over 7, 000, but at the end of it, she didn’t make her 10K mark.

And so it was not able to find. So I’ve heard her talk about kind of the struggle of that, and people still reached out. They still supported her, even though the campaign itself had like, not gone through, basically hadn’t funded. Um, and then she went back and she did another campaign and it was successful, but she took that as a learning experience.

She didn’t take that as, Oh. Nobody wants to support my book now, right? If you set your, I mean, seriously, 7, 7,

000 people. Like people were willing to give her money for it. Yeah.

Oh, absolutely. So I think, I think if you set your goal very low, which some people suggest like 500. [00:33:00] You’re kind of telegraphing.

Like this is going to happen no matter what, you know, obviously depends on your audience. Um, and that is a great mindset to have. If you already know that you’re going to be putting your book out and you already have everything taken care of, that’s an even better place to be in.

I think if you’re going to want to do a Kickstarter, because at that point it’s all gravy, right? Like you’re just like, I’m just adding more readers into this whole thing that we call, you know, book launching and whatnot. Um, I think it’s a little bit harder if you’re looking at like, I need 12, 000 or I’m not going to make this project happen.

That’s just a different place to be in. So. All of that to say, don’t look at, uh, you know, not making your goal as like a failure. See it more as like a learning experience.

Rachel: I think that’s, that’s very wise of you to say that. And I think that’s, um, something that we should really probably embrace in anything that we’re doing with our books, because it can be so easy, like, like you said, getting rejection from a publisher, or maybe [00:34:00] you’re talking about on social and nobody’s really engaging with you about your book, like it could be in a couple different avenues, that idea of like failure, but it doesn’t mean you should just give up.

Like, it just might mean adjust, recalibrate a little bit, and try again. So, you had mentioned earlier about communication being really vitally important in having a Kickstart campaign. Can you go into that a little bit more for us?

Emilie: Yes. So, one of the things I heard, now, again, I went into my Kickstarter a little blind So, yeah.

Um, I had backed, like I said, several Kickstarters, but even backing my friend CJ, like, I saw a lot of the process. I was able to ask her a lot of questions, but you kind of don’t know something until you’ve really jumped into it. And so just even setting up the page was like overwhelming. I just spent a lot of time up till 2 a m. like doing little details. I’m very, I’m very like, uh, what’s the word? Like perfectionist. Yeah. So, uh, so that’s a problem, but, uh, yeah, it was not great. You’re a [00:35:00] designer. It makes sense. Yeah. It’s true. It kind of comes with the territory. Um, but once all that was done, then it’s, it’s out there. Right. So at that point, it’s, it’s a little like you’re, you’ve put out your book and you’re kind of like, I hope people buy it type of thing.

Um, so that’s when it, it jumps into this next level. So there’s communication on Kickstarter. And then of course there’s communication on every other channel that you have. And goodness, people probably got a little sick of me saying Kickstarter this and Kickstarter that, but I warned them. I warned my newsletter subscribers.

I warned them. Kickstarter or excuse me, my Instagram followers. I warned literally everyone. This is going to be a very heavily saturated time of promotion for me. I’m sorry, but you’re going to have to deal with it. Yeah. We’re very kind and they totally understood, um, and they’re much more willing to go along with that knowing there is an impact, end date insight in a sense, I’m always going to talk about

Rachel: because it’s only in like three weeks that you’re really

Emilie: Yeah, exactly. So I’m sending more newsletters than I ever would, you know, things like that. [00:36:00] So on that side of it, my regular channels, um, they were kind of flooded in a sense, but I tried to make it very personal.

Um, um, You know, a little bit more about like, how am I handling these things? Not just, Hey, will you buy my book or whatever, more like the experience now on the Kickstarter Kickstarter side of things. Um, it’s a lot of fun because they have the chance for you to do updates that go out to everyone who’s backed the project.

There’s, there’s like a 1 tier you can back at. So you’re receiving those updates. If maybe. Maybe there’s that one stretch goal that you’re like, okay, if they hit this stretch goal, I’m gonna back it, you know, that type of thing, those people will like kind of follow along and maybe they might become larger backers.

They might just stay at the dollar tier, but those updates became kind of like, I don’t, I wouldn’t call it necessarily a lifeline, but they were fun. And I just had a blast with them. I used memes, I used silly gifs, I used weird pictures of myself, you know, all my animals, all those things. [00:37:00] Um, because I really wanted me to shine through because that, at the heart of it, yes, we are producing a product together.

Um, but. I am the mind behind it, and I have found, I believe this is true for all of marketing, you market you, and then all the things that you do tend to kind of, they’re easier, I guess, for other people to pallet. Pallet? Yeah, in a sense.

Rachel: It reminds me of like, you know, when a certain sneaker drops and people will like stand in line for it, and it’s like, they, They didn’t come up with the sneaker. They didn’t, you know, they’re not like benefiting from it other than they get to wear these cool shoes. Right. But they like have this affinity for it and like affection towards this brand. And they’re willing to spend hours of their life for it because they like the brand, they like the thing, the ideas around it, the community around it.

And so the same thing’s true when we’re marketing anything that we’re putting out there, you know, we [00:38:00] have to be authentically us because people are buying into who we are as well as the products that we’re creating, right?

Emilie: Yeah. Absolutely. So those are a lot of fun. And I think like, that’s something that you may not think of, I think going into a Kickstarter, especially if you’ve never run one before, um, you’re like, okay, yeah, I need to do backer updates, but thinking about, well, what do I say in them?

What do I share? What’s too much? What’s not enough? How many times do I send it? Things like that. Um, yeah. I don’t have a perfect algorithm, but I just know that it was a ton of fun. And I, I decided to just let my, what I would call my nerd flag fly. I put in as much Star Trek and Star Wars in there as I liked.

And people seem to like that.

Rachel: Yeah. Oh, that’s fun. That’s fun. So for somebody who is contemplating doing a Kickstarter, what would be your like, Top level advice for them. Like your number one thing that you would tell them to pay attention to.

Emilie: Ooh, boy. [00:39:00] Um, well, after do your research, cause that we already said that one.

Yeah. Um, Oh, that’s a great question. It’s a hard question. Cause there’s like a lot of, a lot of levels there. Um, I mean, I, I feel like this is part of the, do your research, but I would say become a backer to a couple of different campaigns and spend like a good amount of time on the Kickstarter website.

Because I think knowing anything about what you’re doing, whether like that was for me, like figuring out, okay, how do I use IngramSpark to produce my books after, you know, so the, the, the ones that were not part of the print run, well, I had to figure out how do I do my hard covers for them and things like that.

I had to spend time in IngramSpark to figure it out. And I worked with some friends who knew stuff and things like that. So I would say along the lines of researching, make sure that you’re part of it because I don’t think it’s great to go in because it’ll show it’ll say like Emilie. Um, I think it says like EA Hendryx or [00:40:00] something like that.

And then it’ll say like how many campaigns I’ve created and how many I’ve backed. So people are going to know, Oh, you know, if it was just, Emilie down the block zero campaigns backed. I’m not really part of the community of Kickstarter and people will notice that. And then in addition to that, make sure that you have somebody that’s like either has done one or is willing to like walk through it with you because I definitely needed advice from people.

I needed, well, obviously that Kickstarter group was extremely helpful, um, but. More than that, I just needed people that were there that were cheering me on, on the side. I’m just saying like, you’re doing great. Don’t let the numbers like ruin you. It’s very easy to be like, Oh, we’re up, you know, 50. Oh, we’ve lost a hundred.

It’s not healthy. And, uh, I guess my final piece of advice also would be like, you’re not going to get a lot done during the weeks of your campaign. Cause there’s just a lot of like, oh, I had [00:41:00] to promote this and oh, I have to do this and that and the other. So like, don’t plan on doing a lot of things while you’re kickstarting.

Rachel: Yeah. Makes sense. For somebody who’s listening to this and they’re like, okay, I kind of like what she’s saying about Kickstarter. I think this might be a good thing for me to look into for my book.

First of all, before I ask this next question, would you say that, um, somebody needs to understand the self publishing process, like for going wide, you know, or even if you’re just on KDP or IngramSpark, should they understand that process before they try to do a Kickstarter, or do you think you can kind of figure those out side by side?

Emilie: Um, I think you can figure them out side by side. I think that Kickstarter does actually give you a little bit of leeway. If you’re taking the route that I am now, some people might, they might, I think there was a woman who I just backed her Kickstarter. Um, she went extremely viral on Tik TOK. And so she used that to channel into.

Promoting her [00:42:00] book on Kickstarter. And I think she raised over 60, 000 or something like that. 900 people backed it, which I thought was awesome. Now that’s a, that’s a fraction, right. Of what she went viral with. So that’s something to consider too. She had like 12 million followers on her, you know, so numbers are there are there.

Yeah. Um, but all of that to say, I think she released. I think she was going to release the book within a few weeks of the campaign ending and then release the actual wide book right after that as well. I’m not quoting it great here, but it was a very rapid thing. It was not, Oh, like me, I’m going to give myself until November to put on the book.

So if you chose to do it similar to what I’m doing, You’re still having to figure out things like how do you deliver an ebook to someone when you’re not publishing it. And I use book funnel, but things like that. Um, so you have to figure out those things, but as long as you’ve given yourself some time in between that, and you have a plan for at least how you’re going to get the Kickstarter people, their books [00:43:00] start there.

If you need to push your release date back and you’re independently publishing, No problem. Right. Now, the only problem would be if you set up a pre order, you have to make sure you hit that window. That’s the only thing that I would caution people against, but if you have time, give yourself some time, you know, figure out the Kickstarter stuff first and then move on into the next vein of, Oh, all the self publishing things.

Rachel: Right. Okay. Yeah. I

Emilie: think you could, I think you could do it. I mean, I say the more, you know, early on is always a good thing, but you know, if you know the time, then it should be okay. Right.

Rachel: Okay, so for the person who is listening to this and they’re like, you know, kickstart sounds like it might be a way to go for me.

Do you know of any other resources that they might be able to tap into a course or, you know, somebody that might is kind of like can you walk them through, say they don’t have a friend who has done Kickstarter, who, you know, can give them that this is the next steps that you do with it.

Um, do you know of any resources that they could look into? [00:44:00]

Emilie: Uh, well, first of all, I am actually going to be doing a course with my friend CJ. I was, I was like trying to set you up for that one. Um, we are still working out the details, but I can get you a link to drop for people to join our sub stack, which is just a free newsletter, um, that you’ll know when everything is ready to go.

But CJ. I are both like very busy. So just like we’re planning it, but it’s like on the back burner while we both run

Rachel: very low, low on the priority of getting done yet.

Emilie: Yeah. But I mean, another, this is on a very different vein, but that woman that I just mentioned, actually, she chose to go with, it’s called Merrick.

Books M E R R I K, I believe. And what they’re doing for her is they actually ran the campaign for her from what I understand. Um, now they get a percentage of how that works out. I don’t know exactly. Um, but they will actually handle the distribution. So they’ll be bringing in her books from the printer that she’s chosen.

She’s obviously handling all of the like, Oh, she’s working with this designer and those things, but those [00:45:00] books will be shipped to them. And they will handle fulfillment. So that’s an option. Now, I would say that’s a good option for someone who assumes that they’re going to sell a good quantity of books.

I don’t know what that number would be, um, but you just have to make sure it’s worth it for you. Um, and then also another thing I mentioned, uh, shipping as either being handled with Kickstarter or there’s other options. And it. Backer kit is another option. So if anyone is familiar, if you’re not in the science fiction world or fantasy world, you may not know this name, but Brandon Sanderson is massive and he did a very large Kickstarter.

I think it was like 46 million or something. So he actually is doing, I think his campaign is still running, but his campaign this time is on backer kit. So I don’t know why, I’m not sure what made the change, but they’re hosting it. So you can actually run a Kickstarter. I call it Kickstarter, but it’s not really.

It would be a. I don’t even know where to get crowdsourcing on, on backer kit, but backer kit will also work with you. If you’ve done your campaign on [00:46:00] Kickstarter, they will handle, um, the shipping and like taking, like they’ll do add ons and stuff past the campaign. That’s something to consider. I am still on the fence.

Um, I don’t think I will use them for this campaign. I’ve pretty much worked in all of my pricing anyways to include shipping, which is still insanely expensive in America and even more so for over, you know, us or excuse me, international. But with backer kit, you would see more of a genuine number of what you’ve made on Kickstarter, knowing that shipping would be added later.

You just have to make sure that your campaign backers know that because you don’t want to surprise anybody thinking, Oh, I paid this much for this book and now I have to pay more. So that’s maybe a downside, but those are the first two websites that come to mind as just like additional things. There is, Oh, I’m not going to remember the name of it.

I did read a book on Kickstarter that I thought was helpful. It’s eluding me now, but I can send you the name of it. It’s in my Kindle.

Rachel: Yeah, please do. And then [00:47:00] I’ll put it in the show notes for everybody. But well, before we go, please just give us a little brief blurb of your next Kickstarter, your book that’s coming out.

I know it’s the second in the series, but people still could like go get the first one and back your second one. So yeah, why don’t you like just tell us a little bit about this Kickstarter that you’re going to be doing? Doing this this episode will probably come out right around the time that the Kickstarter goes live.

So let us know

Emilie: Yeah, so to give a little background the first book. I have to like look out of here The first book by like kind of little tagline area said a girl in hiding a boy in the run the fate of the galaxy between them and I have just finalized my title tagline area for book two, which is she survived the desert. He re entered the fight and the rebellion is rising through it all. So a word to the wise, they are different main characters, um, for each book, it’s going to be a trilogy. So [00:48:00] the first book was just two characters. Uh, the second book actually has five points of view. I love books like that, but it expands the world much more.

Okay. And it actually gives me a chance, because I love romance, it gives me a chance to do a new romance for every book. Um, so like, it kind of just, I don’t have to break up the original couple, because I don’t like doing that. Um, so this second book is actually about, um, I don’t know if I’ve actually said this, but people are going to find out anyways.

It’s about Tally’s sister Merit, and then a character from book one, his name is Leaf. And so it’s their story, but Tally and Runners still show up there from book one, they still show up. And then there’s an extra character’s point of view in there too. So the world is expanding the rising, which is the resistance, uh, in the book, like kind of like your Star Wars resistance as part of it as well.

So I. Great. I say, and it’s not, this is not a hard line. Book one was, uh, the Greatest Showman meets Star Wars. And I would say book two is more of like Dr. Who meets [00:49:00] a gender bent Aladdin, but with war, I don’t know. And more Star Wars, I guess you could say so.

Rachel: That sounds fun.

Emilie: Yeah. So it’ll, it’ll all come out on April 5th, uh, with the cover reveal and it’ll last, you’ve got like three weeks.

If you, if you decide that you would like to back, you can go check it out. And then eventually by the end of the year, it will come out, um, in all other forms wide, which is exciting.

Rachel: So if somebody is interested, where do they go to? I know it’s on Kickstarter, but how can they easily get there?

Emilie: Yeah. So you can go to Kickstarter and just in their search bar, search bar, type in Falling through the Black and it will come up.

But you can also go to eahcreative. com and then you do have to do a little navigating because I have a lot of passions, but at the top it’ll say writing and there’ll be like the Zerus galaxy saga, which is what we’re talking about. So it, you can find it on there.

Rachel: Well, thank you so much, Emilie, for coming on today and giving us all that really [00:50:00] interesting, really helpful.

I I’ve learned a lot through this. Um, so I think this will be helpful for somebody who might be, um, might not have really understood what Kickstarter was or how it could benefit them. So I appreciate you sharing your time with us today. And, we look forward to seeing your book coming out in November and this Kickstarter kicking off.

Emilie: Thank you so much for having me. This has been super fun. I hope people at least maybe start to venture into Kickstarter and see what it’s about.

Rachel: thank you for listening today to the Business of Christian Fiction. Join us next time as we continue this conversation about what it means to write and publish

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Hey! I'm Rachel and I'm so glad you're here today!

I help Christian fiction writers figure out how they can make an impact and an income from their storytelling while keeping rest a priority. 

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