Crowdfunding Your Book Project
As a self-publishing author, you take control. You choose who to work with and what to write, make the final design decisions and take charge of the editing process – a liberating experience! With independence comes the price tag of great responsibility. Self-publishing is no exception; and in addition, self-publishing may carry an actual price tag of publishing expenses.
Publishing a book is comparable to launching a business – you need start-up funds! You invested great amounts of time writing, and the finished product should represent the depth of your effort. Whether you choose to partner with a self-publishing company or go at it alone, consider an alternate, ever-popular money-raising option:
Crowdfunding your book project.
Crowdfunding raises small amounts of money through online pledges from a large number of people: namely, “the crowd.” For those less familiar with the concept, crowdfunding skips the traditional money-raising roots and appeals directly to the customer. Your crowdfunding campaign is based on donation, not investment, from people who support your work.
Ultimately, your success in crowdfunding comes from creating and growing a large following, most successfully through social media. Social media is where “your crowd” will find and connect with you! Other means of creating a following include email lists, blog and personal websites, friends and family connections and local interest groups.
Crowdfunding websites exist for personal, charitable, local, or project-based campaigns. Project creators are required to define their fundraising goal and timeline in order to launch a funding campaign. The ones detailed below are among the most popular, project-focused crowdfunding platforms.
In 2009, Kickstarter launched as a means to fund creativity and became the crowdfunding pioneer. To date, Kickstarter has the largest user base with $3.5 billion pledged to Kickstarter projects, almost 140,000 successfully funded projects, and over 14 million backers.
Focused solely on creative projects, Kickstarter works with an all-or-nothing framework. If campaigns close even $100 short of the fundraising goal, all pledged money will return to the backers. The all-or-nothing framework ensures creators can complete projects at the end of their campaign with adequate resources.
Read more about running a Kickstarter campaign.
Similar to Kickstarter, Indiegogo accepts creative, personal, or charitable projects on a large-scale, although smaller than Kickstarter. The major distinction between the two platforms, Indiegogo offers options for all-or-nothing or flexible funding. Flexible funding allows the campaign creators an opportunity to keep the money raised, even if it is not the full funding amount. Unmet goals do incur higher processing fees.
Smallest in size, RocketHub is a more personal, flexible funding platform, best for users who have an intimate following. This platform appeals to users with its limited restrictions. RocketHub secures association with A&E, and A&E offers potential funding for projects of interest and a spotlight for unique campaigns.
Benefits of Crowdfunding
The first benefit, although obvious, you get funded! Much needed funding for you to carry the weight of your expenses, and cross the finish line to published. In addition, crowdfunding is marketing. Crowdfunding your project creates a following of people not only interested in your work but also invested in your success. You have more than just a fan club! Your supporters become “lifers,” “your platform,” “your tribe.”
What do you have to lose? If the fear of failure holds you back, Kickstarter ensures a 0% processing fee for failed campaigns! Additionally, consider the exposure to groups of people who may not have known you before.
Success in Crowdfunding
Since failure is not the goal, consider the following tips to establish a successful crowdfunding campaign.
Create excellent rewards!
The success of your campaign falls on your ability to entice donors. Create different rewards for various tiers of donations, or dedicate a week of your campaign to offering one-of-a-kind rewards. Create a reward for someone who promotes your campaign, or for a company whose staff offers a combined donation.
The rewards for your campaign should align with the goal of your campaign. Reward ideas include a copy of your eBook (for say, a $10 donation), a signed, physical copy of your book ($30 donation), exclusive bonus chapters, study guides or group discussion guides (+book for a $60). For larger donation amounts, consider tickets to an insider event or catered book launch, their name published in your book, or a hosted book club invitation. Pull connections, be creative – the reward possibilities are endless!
Promote, promote, promote.
Email lists, inner circles, Facebook likers, former coworkers, high school connections, college professors, the mailman, your cycling partner – get them on board!
Also, think through when to best start your campaign. You may love 5 am and consider that the best time to launch, but consider your target audience. You want them to be anticipating and alert. Consider starting your campaign at night and spend the day counting down to the launch.
Do your research.
Look into failed and successful campaigns. What was the cause of success or failure?
What types of campaigns resonate with audiences? What was the average length of time and set funding goals of the successful campaigns?
Consider the interest level, the explanation of the campaign, the presentation, the promotional video, the donor rewards, and marketing strategies. Why were people interested in certain campaign categories over others? Review the stats and make sure your project descriptions are simple and searchable!
Count the cost.
In addition to the cost needed to complete your project, be sure to estimate the cost of hosting fees, marketing expenses, rewards, and tax liabilities. Calculate, but do not over-calculate your needed funding amount. Setting an unreachable and unreasonable goal may hinder you from receiving any funding.
Crowdfunding seals the deal. What you promise, you must deliver! Spend time evaluating your promises; remember it is always better to under-promise and over-deliver.
[bctt tweet=”Wondering how you will pay for publishing your book? Learn more about crowdfunding your book project. #crowdfunding #pubtip #amwriting #selfpublishing” username=”loishoffmande”]
Mapua, Jeff. (2015). Making the Most of Crowdfunding: Digital and Information Literacy.
New York, New York: Rosen Publishing Group, Inc.
Ennico, Cliff. (2016). The Crowdfunding Handbook. New York, New York: Amacom.
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