Publisher flustering: A book author turns to Kickstarter
One-time fellow editor of TV Squad Kristin Sample is taking to Kickstarter to help self-publish her novel, ‘North Shore South Shore’. Here’s a bit about her experience so far, and how you can help her reach her goal.
It was my husband who persisted, “Finish your book. You can self-publish.” And with that, a project that I started years ago (back when I blogged for Keith at TV Squad) was revisited and completed … finally. Writing a novel couldn’t be more different than blogging. The latter is a fast-paced process: draft-edit-tag-upload. And you get immediate feedback from readers via comments. Novel writing is much longer: draft-revise-draft-revise-stress out-revise. You get the idea.
But I finished North Shore South Shore this summer. I crafted a great query letter that resulted in positive feedback from agencies (both big ones and boutique agencies) and got me several requests for manuscripts. I thought for sure that I’d be agented and on my way to a book deal by Labor Day. I’m even toying with the idea of writing a pilot and registering my book with the WGA.
And then the responses started coming in. The writing is “excellent,” and “the story pulled me in,” and “I read this with real interest.” Clearly I had something but … not quite enough. No one knew who would buy North Shore South Shore. According to agents, the book falls between YA and Adult fiction. The book has too much adult content (don’t worry — it’s no Fifty Shades) to be considered appropriate for young adults. Yet, the characters are college-age, making them appealing to younger readers. Because it can fit neatly, the agents felt that they couldn’t sell it. And if an agent can’t sell it, they’re not interested. I was so frustrated. And it was hard to separate my confidence in the book’s quality from agent feedback about the book’s marketability. How could North Shore South Shore be well-written and compelling and yet no one wanted to try to sell it? It seemed to me like there was a strong opportunity to do something new that no one wanted to jump on. (This realization was also frustrating.) All the kids who grew up obsessing over Harry Potter were now entering their college years. Many of them still love reading and would probably love my book. The 20-something characters lead very adult lives but are burdened by leftover angst from their teen years. I felt like I had something special that was just waiting for a market (or a brave agent).
Labor Day came and went and I had no offer of representation. So I improvised. My blogging experience came in handy here as I embarked on an interactive marketing campaign. In a few weeks I had fans on my Facebook page, North Shore South Shore was being retweeted, my Pinterest page was filled with pictures of character’s clothing and cars, and I launched my Kickstarter project.
Kickstarter — aside from being a hot web property right now — provided a great platform for me as an author (and possibly as a publisher). I used the incentives application to create fun rewards for possible backers. And, thanks to my husband, I have a great video, replete with a guest appearance from my two-year-old son and a gag reel. Moreover, even if my Kickstarter campaign isn’t fully funded, I’ve harnessed a popular site to build awareness about North Shore South Shore.
The campaign ends this week, so go check it out. Check out the rewards. Pledges can be as little as a dollar but a thousand bucks gets your name in my book. Yes, you can be a character in North Shore South Shore! Contribute if you can. Kickstarter’s partnership with Amazon makes pledging easy and safe.