How Kickstarter Can Fund Your Next Book Project | Write Brilliant
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How Kickstarter Can Fund Your Next Book Project

by Ryan Sanders

How Kickstarter Can Fund Your Next Book Project

Meet Ryan Sanders. He’s innovating the way we get published.

Ryan Sanders wanted to write a book ever since he was in high school. After an English teacher praised an essay he wrote comparing Dead Poets Society to Jesus’ passion week, Ryan knew that writing was in his bones.

Ryan enjoyed writing, the problem was that Ryan had no clue where to start. He was happy as a writer; frustrated with publishing.

“I was having a blast with his blog, swapping ideas with a very small audience of faithful readers, but I wanted to write a book. I heard the same feedback from multiple publishers and agents:

‘You’re a good writer with good ideas. But you don’t have a platform. Come back to us when you have lots of email subscribers.’”

Then Ryan discovered the Write Brilliant Academy where he learned how to overcome these publishing obstacles with the help of Jonathan and Margaret.

Ryan soon learned one of the core principles of the Academy.

I am the plan!

“That was the kind of straight-shooting I wanted,” Ryan says. “But I also found a supportive community. My prayer going into Write Brilliant was that I would find my people.

I tend to write in isolation, and I don’t have the kinds of relationships with writer friends where we sharpen one another. Write Brilliant turned out to be chock full of open, thoughtful, eager, honorable, encouraging, generous writers that make me better. 

I also learned that I was not as far behind as I thought. I learned that there’s no magic query-writing formula. I was in the same boat as the others in the community.”  

As a Write Brilliant graduate, Ryan decided to used Kickstarter to launch is book, Unbelievable.

Unbelievable - Ryan Sanders

Thirty-three people donated more than $2000 to see Unbelievable in print.

The project reached its goal in just 48 hours, and gave momentum to the entire publishing process.

“Each of those backers got a copy of the book (my first 33 sales) and felt that they were involved in something special. Imagine if, instead of talking to readers about ‘my book,’ you could talk to supporters about ‘our book,’” Ryan said.

“This is the biggest advantage of using Kickstarter for self-publishing. Backers are invested in your book, both financially and emotionally.”

“The campaign helped me defray the cost of printing books. But more importantly, it got people involved.”

He made a big mistake…

“One of the mistakes I made was in selecting a publisher. If I had asked better questions during the selection process, I could have saved myself a lot of expense and frustration.” 

His life is better for having written the book…

“Most of the feedback has been very positive — friendly pats on the back. But the feedback that stands out is the more honest kind.

Unbelievable is designed to stir up some messy issues and ask some hard questions. I know it’s doing its job when someone tells me they’re struggling with it. This Sunday, someone stopped me at church and said, “Your book has me asking myself, ‘Why the hell am I a Christian?’” I told him to put that in his Amazon review. 

“I think most writers have a neurotic relationship with the idea of other people reading their words. It’s terrifying! And essential. It’s like a Neanderthal waking up every morning to go hunt wooly mammoths. It’s the scariest thing in the world, but if you don’t do it you’ll starve.”

Using the techniques and methods from the Write Brilliant Academy helped…

  • Average monthly blog traffic has increased 317 percent.
  • Twitter following has increased by 20 percent.  
  • Email list has grown 10 percent. 
  • My Facebook presence has gone from zero (I didn’t even have an author page before Write Brilliant demanded it) to a few hundred. 

But the more enjoyable change has been increased interactions through Ryan’s writing.

“When people know you have a book coming out, they are more attentive. They post comments on blogs and Facebook posts,” Ryan says. “They tweet and retweet.

“They stop you at church and talk about doubt instead of talking about the weather. I have been involved in more discussions about interesting ideas since the Unbelievable project started than ever before. And that’s what gets me excited.”

Ryan Sanders writes about scripture, culture and civility at



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