How to Raise $500,000 on Kickstarter for Your Book

In this post, you’re going to learn how to offer compelling Kickstarter rewards for your book.


This will improve your odds of getting your book funded, as Kickstarter backers will be more likely to purchase what you’re offering. This post will also steer you away from “time wasters” — the rewards that don’t move the needle, and ultimately hurt your campaign.

Ever since helping with the launch of The 4-Hour BodyI’ve come to think of Kickstarter as THE ideal platform for launching a book. Kickstarter allows authors to earn an advance from their readers, while simultaneously marketing their work before its release.

This is far more efficient — and fulfilling! — than getting a book agent, shopping a proposal around to traditional publishers, and getting ignored because you don’t have 100,000+ followers online.

The Best Kickstarter Rewards for Authors

In order to find the most compelling rewards for Kickstarter books, I assessed three hugely successful launches:

The Leader’s Guide by Eric Ries

The Golden Ratio Coloring Book by Rafael Araujo

The Freedom Journal by John Lee Dumas

Here are the breakdowns…



Raised $588,903 from 9,677 backers


Best Performing Bonuses:



Raised $483,479 (AU) from 8,297 backers


Best Performing Bonuses:



Raised $453,803 from 7,063 backers

Best Performing Bonuses:




Key Takeaways

  1. 50% of your Kickstarter funds will likely come from bonuses that cost $20-75. Impulse purchase prices (less than $50) will have the highest conversion rate, so it behooves you to make those bonuses super valuable. Don’t lose focus by offering as many different rewards as possible. Just get the essential offers right, which are…
  2. Bonus #1: “The Early Bird.” Your backers are funding your project because they want to get in on the ground floor of something new. Give them what they want most: early access to your book. It will likely be your most lucrative offer.
  3. Bonus #2: “One Physical + Digital Copy.” It costs you nothing to send a PDF or Kindle version of your book to backers, so be sure to include it as additional incentive to purchase the physical copy.
  4. Bonus #3: “Two Physical Copies.” Your backers will want to give your book away as a gift. Encourage them to spread your message!
  5. Offer Two Premium Bonuses. Come up with two packages that are valued between $300 and $10,000, then limit their availability. If you’re a speaker or consultant, you can offer keynotes, workshops, promotions, consultations, or 1-on-1 time as a reward for $5,000 to $10,000. Check with your existing clients before launching to see what would be a no-brainer for them to purchase.

Deciding on your Kickstarter bonuses doesn’t have to be complicated. Just focus on the critical few — the 20% that will drive 80% of the results — and avoid offering tons of different packages that will be a nightmare to fulfill.

After you’ve launched, promote like hell!

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Charlie Hoehn is the author of Play It Away, Play for a Living and Recession Proof Graduate. His work has been featured on NPR's TED Radio Hour, Forbes, Fast Company, and Harvard Business Review. Previously, he was the Director of Special Projects for Tim Ferriss. Currently, he is the Head of Video at Book In A Box. He lives with his wife and daughter in Austin, Texas.

This Post Has One Comment

  1. Peter

    Thanks for the tip! I plan on doing this for my next book. When you say promote like hell, I assume you mean to do paid and unpaid advertising? Any idea how much of a promotion budget is needed to get results like the examples you shared, when you don’t have a huge following yet or a big budget to work with? Thanks!

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