Crowdsource Funding Basics

Jeff Montgomery -

Crowdfunding Fulfillment With OneBookShelf

Getting ready to fund your next title through a crowdfunding source such as Kickstarter, IndieGoGo, or GameOn Tabletop?

We have lots of options to make it easier and more economical for you to deliver your digital and physical rewards to your supporters.

Why Fulfill with OneBookShelf?

"Thank you very much!  As someone who has worked in customer service for 20+ years, you've exceeded my expectations and I want to thank you and commend you on not only prompt attention but near-immediate resolution to my issue.  Have a great day and thank you again!"

"Fast and exceptionally good customer service. Thank you very much!"

"The support was quick and responsive, the issue was resolved, would always recommend DriveThruRPG thanks for the service."

Everything is all taken care of right on site. 

When you fulfill with us and complete your order, whether it's print or digital, our customer service team is with you every step of the way around the clock. Our team is efficient, quick to respond, and always available for any questions your customers might have. One of the benefits of having great customer service is that people feel comfortable coming to them for help - which is exactly what we want and what customers want. Whether the customer is unsure of when the order was placed and needs to learn more about the location or there is an issue with the coupon you sent to your customer, our Customer Service team is ready to make sure your Kickstarter Rewards are fulfilled to every single backer.

Before Your Project

Before you launch your crowdfunding project, we suggest doing adequate research to make sure that all aspects of your project will be covered and that you avoid any snags along the way.

Things to consider:

  • What formats will your title be offered in? Hardcover vs. softcover, premium cardstock vs standard, etc.
  • What will be the estimated print cost for each copy?
  • Will you be asking backers to cover all costs up front, or some now and some later?
  • How much time will you need to fulfill your backer rewards?

DriveThru research links:

If you have any questions as you work through your pre-launch research, contact us at We’ll be glad to help you out.

Setting Up Your Project

If you’ll be promoting your project and fulfilling your rewards through DriveThru, you’ll want to make sure you have clear wording or imagery on the project page that explains your intent to use DriveThru.

You may use any of the images at the bottom of this guide.

Please allow enough time for fulfillment on each of your reward tiers and your project timeline. We suggest a minimum of six weeks time to prepare for print fulfillment, but you may wish to allow for more, especially if this is your first time using our print programs. It can take a couple iterations of files and proofs to make sure everything is just right.

Even if the print process goes off without a hitch, you’ll still need time for your files to be approved and proof(s) to be ordered, shipped, and reviewed—all of which takes time!

Promoting Your Project

Now that your crowdfunding project is underway, it’s time to get the word out!

While on-site advertising is reserved for those titles actively available for sale in our marketplace, you can contact Publisher Services to have an email sent out to your DriveThru customers to alert them to your crowdfunding project. The requirements for project promotion emails:

  • You may have us send up to two emails via DriveThru’s customer email tool during your campaign (usually one at the beginning and sometimes one at the end).
  • Crowdfunding promotion messages will be sent as soon as possible, but please allow ample time for them to be sent, with at least 24 hours’ (1 working day’s) notice.
  • Only projects being fulfilled through DriveThru may be promoted via customer email.
  • DriveThru reserves the right to deny that any email be sent for any reason.

Want to promote in other ways? You are more than welcome to create a free download as a sample to use in conjunction with your campaign, and may include a link to your crowdfunding project in the purchase notes for that title for the duration of the campaign. 

Fulfilling Your Digital Rewards

Why use DriveThru to deliver your digital files to your backers?

  • It’s FREE!
  • We’re set up to handle thousands of backers.
  • Security. Every backer gets his or her own unique redemption code.
  • Backers appreciate it. Many backers already have accounts and digital libraries at DriveThru, and they appreciate having their new PDF added to their existing digital library.
  • Updates are easy. As your files go from alpha to beta to final, you can easily update the file and push new versions out to your backers.

If you have a large number of backers, our Complimentary Copy Tool features the ability to paste in a list of emails or upload a CSV file your backers into a Group and then send to that Group.

Where to Find It: Click “Send Complimentary Copies” under “PROMOTION” on the publisher hub.

When sending Complimentary Copies to customers, whether they are digital or print on demand, there are a few key piece of information to remember when communicating with your customers. 

My customer didn't get their digital comp copy.

When a publisher sends a large comp copy mailing, naturally not every customers will get an e-mail from our server due to spam filtering. When updating your customers on the sending of their digital rewards, you should be notifying them as soon as it has finished sending. 


We’ve sent out the digital reward through DriveThruRPG. You should have now received an email with instructions for claiming the reward.

If the email does not arrive then please check your spam folder. 

If you still do not get the email, and you have a DriveThruRPG account (under the email you provided us with your backer pledge), then you can go to this page on DriveThruRPG:

And find the free download link in your DriveThruRPG inbox there.

If you don’t have the email and you do not have a DriveThruRPG account, then you contact us. We have a log of everyone’s unique download code.

Fulfilling Your Physical Rewards

Physical rewards require some planning and time to make sure that everything looks excellent before being shipped out to backers. As mentioned previously, we suggest a minimum of SIX WEEKS be allowed to prepare your print versions; you must allow time to upload and submit your file and then have it go through a pre-media check (books only), then have a proof copy shipped to you for review (books and cards).

REMEMBER: Even the most experienced publishers occasionally see things in their early proof they would like to correct before having copies sent to backers, which requires the process to be started over again.

Shipping and Payment Options

If you will be printing your books or cards through DriveThru, you may choose to either cover the cost of printing and shipping as a part of your crowdfunding project, or pass a portion of the cost on to the customer. Publishers have been using DriveThru in three different ways so far:

1. Backers Process Their Own Orders: During your crowdfunding, you specify in your project that backers are supporting you for a lower amount because they will need to later pay the base printing and shipping costs of the book or cards at DriveThru. (They effectively buy the books/cards—but at cost—from us, plus pay their own shipping.)

When your book or cards are proofed and ready, you can use the Complimentary Copy Tool to send your backers a discount that allows them to purchase the print format of your title at the cost of printing. Each customer then inputs his or her own address and pays shipping charges during checkout. This means your backers pay the absolute base print cost plus our shipping charges (which are actual charges, not inflated), but you put the onus of having the correct shipping address on your customers and do not have to handle fulfillment beyond sending the Special Discount to your backers.

Note that currently with this approach the customer could increase their quantity ordered in their Cart and buy multiple copies of your book or cards at cost. In practice publishers using this method have not experienced this to be abused.

2. You Process the orders on DriveThru: If you’d rather cover the cost of printing and shipping in your Kickstarter, you may ship out copies to your backers (again, at cost) as if you were purchasing them as proofs for yourself, but just selecting that group of backers.

You can process the orders with a few simple clicks through the Send Complimentary Copy Tool. When you select this tool under PROMOTION on your Publisher Hub, you will be able to design the order and then select one of your groups (you can edit, delete, and add Backer information into a CSV file for upload) and then send them off to your backers. You will be charged for the print cost + shipping of each order into one final cost.

3. You Order in Bulk and Fulfill Yourself (or through a fulfillment service): If you’d rather handle all of the shipping on your own, or if you have other rewards you need to combine in your shipments, then you can easily order multiple copies of your title to be delivered to you, so that you can ship them out to backers on your own.

Considering a bulk order? One advantage to this method is that you have the possibility to qualify for bulk discounts on books and high volume discounts on cards if you have a large enough order. We do suggest weighing the savings of bulk discounts + shipping + re-shipping versus processing each order individually on DriveThru.

My customer received a damaged print on demand book.

If the customer receives a damaged book, we are happy to replace it. 

We will need:

  1. The order #
  2. The address of the customer
  3. The Batch ID # (this number is found on the second to last page on the bottom left corner) 
  4. Pictures of the damaged book(s).

The customer can contact Customer Service to issue a replacement copy.

My customer didn't receive their print on demand book and their address is incorrect. 

OneBookShelf is not responsible for replacing print on demand books or cards if the customer's address is typed incorrectly. Please make sure to double-check addresses with your backers or replacements will be at the cost of the publisher.
We will, however, replace books that did not make it to the address entered, are damaged, or are printed incorrectly. 

My customer didn't receive their print on demand book and their address is correct.

We ask that your customer waits a maximum of 14 business days before contacting us. Our printer will not issue a replacement until the 14 business days has been met. Sometimes, shipping and printing delays occur due to a variety of reasons. If it has been 14 business days, we will need:

  1. The order #
  2. The address of the customer (to verify we are sending it to the right place)

My book has some errors but I already sent out the print on demand comp copies. Can I upload a new version for them to receive instead?

No, print on demand orders begin processing the same day you submit them. The process is highly automated and there’s no cancelling orders once placed.

I put in the wrong address for a customer.

We are happy to try and change the address for the customer but we have a small window of time to do so. Book orders are dispatched to our printer twice a day. If you contact us immediately, we will do our best to change the address but there are no guarantees. 

Ongoing Projects

What if your project is ongoing, such as with Patreon or Drip? We are still happy to work with you to help your customers. But relative to other crowdsourcing or crowdfunding campaigns, here there some slightly different options to take into account.


You can still use our tools and services, such as the complimentary copy tool to fulfill titles to your backers. After doing so, your title will already be set up, so we recommend making it public for sale on our site. For some titles, it may make more sense to have them as Pay What You Want titles.


You can send up to one email per year using the Publisher Hub email tools on our site promoting your project. As with other crowdfunded projects, contact your customer service representative to get these messages sent out.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Do I need to fulfill my crowdfunding project via DriveThru in order to email my customers via my publisher tools and alert them to the project?

A: Yes. You must be fulfilling at least the digital portion of the project through DriveThru if you intend to notify your customers via DriveThru customer email.

Q: Is Kickstarter fulfillment considered a violation of my exclusive contract?

A: No, but we do expect that titles fulfilled to backers through DriveThru by exclusive publishers thereafter are exclusive as normal.

Q: Is there a charge to send out complimentary copies of digital files to my backers?

A: No, there is no charge for this service to you or your backers.


You may use any of the images below on your crowd-funding page as appropriate to how you will fulfill or print your product.

Books are printed in USA and Europe. IMPORTANT NOTE: Cards are currently only printed in USA. So the first image below only applies to book product shipping.














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