I must admit that crowdfunding is a foreign topic to me, but I came across this subject while doing some research on my new novel and thought I would share what I learned. Crowdfunding may not be new to you; however, have you ever thought about using it to fund your novel? This may seem like an impossible task, but many have done it and done it successfully. Below are some articles I found exciting on this fascinating subject that gives some invaluable advice. If this is something you wish to explore further then keep reading.
The whole idea is captivating, to say the least, and I am seriously thinking about trying it out just to see what happens. After all, you never know until you try, and it might just be the answer to all your publishing needs. As always there is a video on crowdfunding below and it walks you through the ins and outs of crowdfunding your book. I hope you enjoy and use what you learn to sell more books😉
Crowdfunding for Authors: Should You Use Kickstarter to Fund Your Novel?
You’ve probably heard of crowdfunding before, but have you ever thought of crowdfunding your novel?
Crowdfunding is a way to get others to directly fund your passion project.
At first, it sounds like a weird idea: Asking strangers to invest in your artistry. But when you really sit with the idea, is it any different than marketing your book to an agent and then asking that agent to market your book to a publishing house? They’re strangers too, and they’re financially investing in your artistry. The only difference is that you’re appealing directly to the public and not to the publishers. Instead of embracing the “how it’s done” model of traditional publishing, you’re a grassroots rebel.
Let’s discuss how to get started with crowdfunding for authors.
Every crowdfunding campaign should have a personal video– here’s what to include in yours.
Now that you understand how it works, you may be wondering why it works. What are the benefits of using crowdfunding for your novel?
Let’s discuss two of the most important reasons to consider crowdfunding:
- Financial Support
No one wants to be a starving artist. But as a writer, you’re often put in the miserable choice between following your passion and paying your utility bills. Unfortunately, and certainly as a new writer, the two choices rarely align. Writing your novel becomes a passion project. You labor away in obscurity, with the hope of one day getting reimbursed for your time, effort, and imaginative storytelling.
However noble your efforts, it won’t matter much to your creditors. You must pay your rent and other utilities now, not after your novel is published.
Wouldn’t it be nice to have extra financial support to help you complete your novel so that you can get to the business of marketing it? Although crowdfunding isn’t meant to sustain your lifestyle indefinitely, it will give you the support that you need to finally get that novel published.
- Validate Your Book Idea
Another huge benefit to crowdfunding is idea validation. You can use your crowdfunding campaign to test the buying public. If you can sell your novel idea through a crowdfunding campaign, it bodes well for your novel’s viability.
The One Major Drawback of Using Kickstarter
When you think crowdfunding, you probably think “Kickstarter”. Afterall, it’s the most popular crowdfunding platforms out there. Because of its popularity, it’s not a bad idea to start a crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter. You’ll potentially get a lot of exposure for your campaign.
However, there’s one major drawback to using Kickstarter: If your campaign doesn’t meet its goal, you don’t get any of the money. For example, if your goal is to raise $1000 but you only get $987, you get nothing. Yikes.
Even worse, the odds aren’t in your favor to meet your goal. On Kickstarter, two out of three campaigns fail.
But that’s not all. Your failed Kickstarter campaign will live forever, in infamy, on the Internet. Kickstarter doesn’t delete failed campaign pages. So, let’s say that you go on to write your book, and one day a prospective reader searches for reviews of your book on the Internet. They find your failed Kickstarter campaign, which negatively impacts your book’s credibility. Double yikes.
Not only will have you have to live with the shame of not meeting your goal, you won’t get the money that you actually raised, and your book will forever be associated with a failed crowdfunding campaign.
There’s nothing worse than a failed Kickstarter campaign, so if you go that route, do everything you can to succeed.
Is Kickstarter the Only Crowdfunding Option?
Whichever platform you choose, remember to research them well before you start your campaign. Check out reviews for each platform to know what to expect. You may need to set up an account that has to be approved several days/weeks ahead of time, which may spell bad news if your project is time-sensitive (i.e. hiring an in-demand cover artist). Some platforms require that you back other campaigns before starting your own.
Figure Out How Much You Need
Here’s the hard part. How do you determine how much you should ask for in your crowdfunding campaign?
If you ask for too much, you probably won’t meet your goal. But then again, how much is too much?
The best way to tackle this part is to look at current, similar crowdfunding campaigns. What is the campaign’s monetary goal? What will the author do with that money?
Here are some of the most popular reasons you may need financial assistance:
- To support your life for the next 6 months as you write the novel
- To self-publish the novel
- To promote the novel online in ads
- To go on a book tour
- To print the novel
- To distribute your novel
- To commission an artist for your cover art
- To pay for editing services
- Some combination of the above
Your goal will dictate how much you need. Supporting your lifestyle for half a year may cost $20,000. Affording a 10-city book tour may only cost $5,000.
Decide How Much You Need to Give Your Supporters
What will you give your supporters for their donations? If you’re not sure, here are a few ideas:
- An ebook – Every supporter should get an eBook
- A cover art book poster signed by you
- Signed copies of the physical book
- Invitation to attend your launch party
- Special recognition in your book
- A lunch date with you
Set a Time Frame for Your Campaign
The best campaigns are time sensitive. The crowdfunding platform may impose a specific amount of time, but even if they don’t, it’s highly recommended that you shorten the length of your campaign. It’s better to campaign for two months than for 12 months. Your investors will lose interest. Your campaign won’t feel as urgent and necessary.
Also remember that the bulk of your investors will join at the start of the campaign or in the final moments. There’s usually less growth in the middle section of your campaign. This is another reason to keep it shorter. Social proof can impact your ability to attract others to your campaign. Show steady interest to keep interest steady.
Write Your Passion Story
The foundation of your crowdfunding campaign will be your story. Why should investors fund your book, especially if they’ve never read it before?
You’re going to have to create a compelling story to market your book. It may sound easy, but copywriting is a different skillset than creative writing. You’ll need to find a way to appeal to the reader directly.
To effectively copywrite your crowdfunding campaign, remember these tips:
Be relatable – You’re a human appealing to other humans. Show your personality.
Be honest – Transparency is important when you’re asking people to invest their money, so explain exactly how you’ll use the money.
Edit your work – Typos distract.
Crowdfunding Isn’t Just for Raising Money
Use crowdfunding to raise awareness for your book. Crowdfunding is a great way to market your book and build a list of interested readers before you even publish.
Don’t just focus on the money, but focus on the community-building aspect of it. Think about your funders as potential readers, and it will shift your campaign in the right direction.
Promote Like Crazy
You’re a writer, not a marketer, but guess what? You’ll need to market your book whether you crowdfund or not. The biggest difference is that when you crowdfund, you’ll market before you actually publish your book.
Once you set up a crowdfunding campaign, it’s go time. Reach out to your friends and family and any random acquaintance that you’ve saved in your phone. This includes folks that you haven’t spoken to in years. Leave no contact unreached. Tell them about your novel and direct them to your crowdfunding campaign’s homepage. It may feel awkward at first, but after a few calls, you’ll get over it. The worse that can happen is that they don’t support you.
Keep Your Followers Updated
Because your funders are literally invested in your novel, it’s important that you keep them updated about your progress. Remember to update your investors frequently throughout the campaign on the status of your project. After the campaign is over, continue to share news and exciting updates. Do so frequently. This keeps your investors engaged with your project, and inspires them to share your project with others.
It’s also important to build an ongoing relationship with these investors. Your crowdfunding investors become part of your tribe. They should get special recognition because they were the first to believe in and support your vision as a storyteller.
Here is a COMPLETE GUIDE to crowdfunding your novel:
How to crowdfund your book
By Ben Galley
Indie bestseller and self-publishing expert Ben Galley shares his top tips for crowdfunding your book.
Looking to self-publish but tight on funds? Want to build a fanbase before you’ve even released a book? Or, perhaps you want to fund a special project like a graphic novel or audiobook? If that’s you, then crowdfunding might just be your new best friend.
Crowdfunding is a great way of raising funds using the power of the crowd, acting almost like an advance that you can channel in to publishing costs or new projects. Better still, that crowd can become your loyal fans as well as your investors, meaning you’ve got contacts already ready and waiting before you’re even on the shelves.
- So what exactly is crowdfunding?
- Crowdfunding is a method of fundraising whereby you can fund projects, startups, and ideas using a crowd – an online community that pools resources such as skills, advice, or in the case of crowdfunding, funds! In essence, it’s a way of bringing together people who need to raise money with people who want to donate it, and invest in backing new, interesting projects.
- How does it normally work?
- Generally speaking, you post a project on a crowdfunding platform outlining your goals, plans and why people should back you. Then, by the strength of your idea, your rewards and your marketing, people will back your project. Normally you have to raise a certain amount of money within a certain time limit. If you’re successful in that time, the funds are transferred to you and you can get cracking on your project.
- What’s in it for the backers? Why would somebody crowdfund me?
- On most crowdfunding platforms, you can offer rewards to your backers in return for investment. Rewards can vary from project to project, but usually include a copy of the finished product, or something unique and exclusive to the project itself, like merchandise or signed copies.
People who support a crowdfunding project also get to help bring it to life, and get an inside look at the creative process. In short, they get to be involved, and that’s a great feeling on its own.
- Can authors use crowdfunding?
- Yes indeed. Crowdfunding offers a unique opportunity for independent authors, in the way that you can raise money ahead of publishing a book, funding your time and your publishing process ahead of release. You can also use it to gather fans before your book is out, as well as use it testing out the commercial potential of ideas for new books.
- How much can I raise?
- The amount will vary from project to project, and whether you reach it depends on what you’re trying to achieve, the strength of your idea, and also your outreach and marketing (see below). It’s not uncommon to see successful book projects raising between £1,000 and £5,000.
- Does crowdfunding take a lot of work?
- If you want your project to be successful, then yes. Crowdfunding should be given us much work as the actual publishing of the book itself. The success of your project doesn’t just depend on your idea, your concept, and your passion, but also on your ability to market and drive people to your project.
Successfully funding a project requires a lot of thought, time and effort. You need to be able to reach out to people n the right places, using online communities and social media to drive traffic and interest. A couple of tweets here and there doesn’t quite cut the mustard. You’ll need to be marketing constantly before and during the project.
- Does it cost money to crowdfund?
- Usually, no. The main crowdfunding platforms at our disposal simply take a percentage of the money raised. And, if you aren’t successful, there are usually no fees at all.
- Do I have to give away any rights?
- Not at all. Crowdfunding platforms allow you to keep 100% ownership of the finished product, though you do have a responsibility to use the funds in an appropriate way, and of course deliver a product at the end of it.
- What can I crowdfund?
- The world of crowdfunding is vast, weird and wonderful, but is centred on the completion of a goal and the creation of a product. This could be a film, a game, a gadget, an album and, of course, a book. The most successful projects do tend to have an X factor, an element of cool about them, or be clever, so try to give your project a little twist, and describe it as compellingly as possible.
- Where can I start crowdfunding?
- There are a few major crowdfunding platforms that you can use. Here’s a breakdown of their details:
Kickstarter has raised over $1 billion from over 7 million projects since its launch in 2009, funding more than 77,000 creative projects. 44% of Kickstarter projects reach their goals, and millions of people visit Kickstarter every week. 6703 publishing projects have been successfully published on Kickstarter.
- Great organic traffic
- Easy-to-use dashboard, both for during and after your projects
- Easy to contact if you have a problem
- All projects must go through an approval process
- Fees: 5% of the funds raised, plus payment processing fees of 3-5%.
- Website: www.kickstarter.com
Indiegogo was launched in 2008, and has a wider remit than Kickstarter, allowing people to back creative projects as well as charitable causes and startups. From aggregated data their overall success rate is 34%. Indiegogo will also pay out on partially-funded projects, called flexible funding, but this incurs a fee of 9%.
- Projects don’t have to be approved by Indiegogo
- Varied and wide project types
- You can offer multiple or bulk quantities of a reward
- Campaigns are very easy to launch
- Fees: 4% (or 9% for part-funded projects), plus payment processing fees of 3-5%
- Website: www.indiegogo.com
Pubslush is a niche crowdfunding platform that focuses on the literary world, providing services to authors, publishers, and literary projects. Projects can be launched with a top goal and a minimum goal, giving you flexible funding. All projects must raise a minimum of $500. You can also offer rewards, and the dashboard is very similar to Kickstarter’s.
- Easy-to-use dashboard, both for during and after your projects
- Campaigns can be approved within 24 hours
- Post-project benefits include a sales page and in-house literary agent
- More specific audience thanks to literary focus
- Fees: 4%, plus a 3.5% processing fee
- Website: www.pubslush.com