crowdfunding for your book

How to Run a Successful Crowd-Funding Campaign

Crowdfunding

In this series how you can earn more money as a writer, the following Crowdfunding article is NOT about getting rich, but rather how to get funds for your publishing project. It’s not meant to improve your personal income.

Crowdfunding is an amazing opportunity for authors to focus on: raising funds pre-publication, collecting pre-orders and testing market viability, finding their first readers and fans, getting feedback and future book reviewers.

Crowdfunding is an alternative way to bring in money for your book project. It could be for the print run; the layout and design; a marketing or publicity campaign; research that requires travel… just about anything. It’s free money to you, with a few strings attached…
For example: making sure rewards get out to donors in time,  and that you do what you say you are going to do, and certainly to declare it as taxable income and to pay your taxes. The expenses that authors incur in creating a book should more than offset the income so don’t get hung up on this. The good news is that you don’t have to pay it back and you have money to invest further.

Most business ideas in the world are funded because they have the ability to make someone else’s money. That’s what investment is, what lending is. If raising money isn’t your strength – and you don’t have access to a favorite grandma with oodles of cash to spare – you may just want to set your sights on becoming the next crowdfunding success story.
Supporters of your crowdfunding campaign are your (future) customers!  Crowdfunding is a way to pre-order books before they are produced and invaluable for a startup author-publisher.  Too often, authors write books before knowing the depth of their reader base. Crowdfunding means you have readers before your book is published.

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Create Buzz for Your Book:
Conducting a crowdfunding campaign is a great way to land interest and support around a book pre-publication, an essential part of the overall success of a book. This allows authors to collect pre-orders for their book during their crowdfunding campaign.  The ability to collect pre-orders provides authors with an already active audience – and often reviewers – to jumpstart the success of their book once it’s published. Top crowdfunding sites are Kickstarter, https://www.Kickstarter.com

Indiegogo, https://www.indiegogo.com/

Crowdfunder, https://www.crowdfunder.com/

RocketHub, http://rockethub.org

Crowdrise https://www.crowdrise.com

Fundrazr    https://fundrazr.com/

GoFundMe. https://www.gofundme.com/

Since the site launched in 2009, Kickstarter projects have attracted total pledges of over three billion US-dollars.  The second successful site is IndieGoGo.
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Carefully Read the Instructions!
You might have followed this IndieGoGo crowdfunding campaign where 108,654 people raised €1,930,577 – almost 2 Million Euros in only 8 days.  On the second day, the IndieGoGo server broke down from the number of visitors to Thom Feeney’s site.  It could have been one of the most successful campaigns if … Yes, if Thom Feeney would have chosen “flexible funding”, one of the greatest features on IndieGoGo – and available at IndieGoGo – not on Kickstarter for example.
Using “flexible funding”, allows you to receive at least the funds that are donated, even if the target could not be reached.  So, DO READ their user tips before you sign up.   The same is true for funding of a non-profit cause.  Why pay high fees at Gofundme if you can get the same campaign at IndieGoGo and collect donations for a cause, without having to pay a high fee?
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Success: How to Promote Your Crowdfunding Campaign

Quite a few authors had a successful campaign, securing funds to self-publish and print their e-books for the paper book market, others to print beautiful “coffee table books” featuring stunning photos.  IndieGogo takes 4% of your earnings if you reach your goal and 9% if you don’t.  Kickstarter is all or nothing.  If you don’t reach your goal – no money is exchanged, and backers receive their money back.  But if you do reach your goal you get the full amount minus 5% (and mines the bank transaction fees).

A successful crowdfunding campaign is a proof that a readership exists for your book.  Publishing means you have to sell books, and a crowdfunding campaign is a cheap way for you to test the waters.  If you create an interesting campaign, crowdfunding sites will promote it additionally and let the message go viral.

The term is crowdfunding means: You need a crowd to fund your idea.

There are several groups you’ll need to include in your marketing strategy, and each of these will require a different approach:

  • The new reader audience you want to attract
  • Any subscribers, followers, or fans in your social media world
  • Your existing personal network of friends and family
  • Acquaintances like co-workers and neighbors

Checking your email contacts, Facebook and Twitter friends and Google+ or LinkedIn communities for those who may help to support your campaign.  Make sure you are reaching out in a personal way and month in advance to genuinely reconnect.  No one would want to get an email from somebody they haven’t spoken with in three years, asking to “please support my campaign.”

Divide your lists between friends, family, acquaintances and business associates. Send different messages to each of these groups.  You wouldn’t send the same note about supporting your crowdfunding project to a business associate as you would to a family member or a good friend.  Evaluate who could help to spread the word about your campaign.

Identify people who could help promote your campaign. Maybe they are willing to post your campaign on their Facebook page, or mention your campaign in their email newsletter.  Try to find groups that have the same goals as you do. They’ will be the most motivated to support your efforts.

Only a small percentage – maximal 20% of any fan base – will actually donate.  So, the more followers and fans you can gather, the better your chances of success. Spend time to build a larger following. Google+, Facebook,  and Twitter are the key channels for the promotion of your campaign.

Once you collect the first 30% of your goal from your inner circle, cast your net wider to capture more influencers and target-audience members.  Be sure to include the media in your hard launch.  Offer a free article or small excerpt of your book to your local newspapers and neighborhood weekly’s, and include a line or two about your campaign.   Use press releases, social networks and buzz, created by early supporters to help increase your exposure and attract more backers.

New supporters will be more likely to contribute funds, once they can see that you have momentum and a solid base of donations.  Good luck!

 

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5 Rules for Success at Crowd Funding

Author-Earnings
People who support your crowd-funding campaigns aren’t just money suppliers or future customers; they are also your mentors and teachers – comparable to Beta Readers.
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Just because you love your product or idea, doesn’t mean everyone else will “get it” straight away and open their purse.  Here are some tips on how to have a successful campaign on Kickstarter, IndieGogo and other idea incubators:
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1. Start Your Online Presence Early!
Plan at least 4 – 6 months time to prepare your website, blog and social media platform.  Start networking, write lots of blog articles, upload images from your work to your website.  Start also to collect sign-ups for a future newsletter on your website. You will need it as soon as the crowd funding process starts!
Start creating and producing videos about your writing or production process, or show what problems your product will solve, along with life references from leaders in your field.  Be funny, for goodness sake!  Worst mistake is having a boring video.
But don’t load it up yet, wait until you can show it on the crowd funding site, only then placing it online and link from the newsletter to potential backers.
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2. Make a Business Plan.
YES, you need to start your crowdfunding organized!  This is a business!  Find out who are your potential readers – and your competition?   Too often, authors write books before knowing the depth of their reader base.

Also, check out your suppliers – for authors: editors, layout-ers, formatters, printers etc. – calculate conservatively the money you need a sufficient cushion for hidden or for unexpected expenses.
For Authors: Crowdfunding is a way to pre-order books before they are produced – invaluable for a startup author-publisher.  Crowdfunding means you have readers before your book is published.
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3. Create a Media Kit.
Dedicate a page of your website as a media / press page. Generating publicity for your crowdfunding pledge, using a press kit / media kit is essential, even if it is only one page.  You will be much more attractive as an interviewee, event participant or having your book reviewed when your press kit can be downloaded by anyone who takes an interest.
The goal of the press kit is the same as of all other marketing tools: It should grab the reader’s attention, and provide media people with information and images in a variety of sizes and formats.
Copy your media kit, including images, add a business card to be prepared, if you should meet members of the media or other influencers in person.

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4. Tell the Story of Your Project.
Don’t forget: 80% – 95% of all consumer decisions how to spend their money, is done by emotional motivations.  Write your pitch not like a technical business letter, but rather a story, or a letter, you would write to a friend, and with the “big picture” in mind.  Gear you pitch more towards the “who” and “why”.   For the “how” and “what” and all the technical details, point readers toward your website.  Let your potential backers know who you are and why you want to write the book, create the documentary or manufacture the item.  Who will benefit from your work and how does it change something?
Writing your pitch will take a while, let beta-readers tell you their impression when reading it, and certainly give it to an editor.   You could also use the help of copywriters who offer their services at freelance sites, such as Elance or Fiverr.

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5. Gather Your Friends.
Gather your friends and followers and ask them who might be willing to give your crowd funding campaign a push.  Be aware that you need these friends to help create your successful pledge – and maybe also to jump in when you are short of volunteers.
There is a lot of competition on these crowdfunding sites, so if you want to stand out, use not only your social media platform, but also your real-life contacts, your own networks and their networks’ networks.  If you want people to back your project you have to tell them about it.  More than once… Folks have to hear a message about seven! times, before they act!
Writing teacher Jane Friedman reminds also: “If you are going to ask others to help you, you need to return the favor. And the ideal scenario is if you’ve already been helpful to people in the past—that you don’t turn up only when you need something. Be sure to reach out to your captains and thank them, but also ask how you can help them. Make a thank-you list and post it on your Facebook page or website. Throw a thank-you party.”
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Raising funds pre-publication can help authors to produce a higher quality book.  Crowdfunding offers an opportunity to prove market viability for a book, find readers, reviewers and influencers.
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Kano, for example, who became the Great Britain’s most crowdfunded idea ever, advices: “Give people reasons to care and share.  These folks threw money at you when all you had was a good idea.  They’re willing to wait months for your idea to arrive.  Give back what they gave, and then more.”
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More about this topic:
https://savvybookwriters.wordpress.com/2014/08/03/crowd-funding-more-than-money-for-your-book/

https://www.theguardian.com/books/2016/sep/14/how-kickstarter-became-one-of-the-biggest-powers-in-publishing-crowdfunding

 

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Free Market Research for Authors

Authors who use crowdfunding to finance the production costs of their book get for free what industries pay hundreds of thousands of dollars for: MARKET RESEARCH

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Crowdfunding

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Proponents of the crowd funding approach argue that it allows good ideas – which do not always necessarily fit the pattern, required by conventional financiers – to break through and attract cash via this funding method.  It is certainly an amazing opportunity as one of the starting steps in the publishing process.
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Many Benefits, Beyond the Financial Gains:

  • Marketing – project initiators can show there is an audience and market for their project.
    In the case of an unsuccessful campaign, it provides good market feedback.
  • Profile – a compelling project can raise an author’s profile and provide a boost to their reputation.
  • Audience engagement – crowd funding creates a forum where project initiators can engage with their audiences. Audience can engage in the production process by following progress through updates from the creators and sharing feedback via comment features on the project’s crowd funding page.
  • Crowd funding often grows the overall number of books sold.
  • Feedback – offering pre-release access to content or the opportunity to beta-test content to project backers as a part of the funding incentives provides the project initiators with instant access to good market testing feedback.
  • Bringing passionate readers along for the publishing ride and creates deeper relationships and reader engagement.

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Quite a few crowd funding services are available, best known and trusted are Kickstarter and IndieGoGo  – see also a comparison table on Wikipedia.

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Support From Your Customers
Too often, authors write books before knowing the depth of their reader base.  The supporters of your crowd funding campaign are your future readers / customers. Crowd funding is a way to pre-order books before they are produced – invaluable for a startup author-publisher. Crowd funding means you have readers even before your book is published.

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Nothing New …
The idea of funding books by subscriptions is actually something that was already popular in the 18th century.  Now we are really going back to a time before we had big, trade publishers who used to give writers large advances in the past.  These days authors are using the web to attract readers to their own book project.

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Readers and Reviewers
Authors can offer copies of their book to supporters. Let’s say an author’s book campaign gains the support of a hundred people who will receive a copy of the book as a reward. On launch day the author will already have access to those hundred readers, who will be able to review the book on Goodreads, Amazon or B&N, Kobo or Apple and generate attention and momentum immediately after publication.  If the book is sold in print through bookstores, it has only a couple of weeks to succeed and with an initial boost its likelihood of success is much greater.

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Key to Campaign Success
The author’s knowledge of the audience of their book and how to reach them is the key to success in publishing. Crowd funding means, an author is able to test the market for the book and find and connect with their audience pre-publication, which gives them a tremendous advantage when the book is published and promoted to a large audience of readers. Get lots of tips for a successful campaign from a former blog article.  Important is that such a campaign is well planned and that authors create a relationship with their backers.

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Read more:

https://savvybookwriters.wordpress.com/2012/06/17/crowdfunding-success-with-kickstarter-or-indiegogo/

https://savvybookwriters.wordpress.com/2014/08/03/crowd-funding-more-than-money-for-your-book/

https://savvybookwriters.wordpress.com/2012/08/04/startnext-crowdfunding-jetzt-auch-in-deutschland/ (German)

https://savvybookwriters.wordpress.com/2013/10/13/great-news-for-canadian-authors-kickstarter-is-here/

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If you would like to get a mentor and our support in all things publishing, have your book intensively promoted and learn how to navigate social media sites – or learn how you can make yourself a name as an author through content writing: We offer for three months all this and more for only $179 – or less than $2 per day!  Learn more about this customized Online Seminar / Consulting / Book Marketing for your success: http://www.111Publishing.com/Seminars

 

To learn more about professional book marketing and publishing, please read also
“Book Marketing on a Shoestring”
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00UAVL3LE

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Crowd-Funding: More than Money for Your Book

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Marketing-Crowdfunding

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The Guardian, while mentioning the Karen-Klein-Bus and the Tesla-Museum projects, wrote about Crowdfunding: “It’s quickly becoming the world’s incubation platform, changing the role of gatekeeper and finally giving the world true choice in determining which ideas come to life. Such meritocracy has never existed in the world of finance before.”  Crowdfunding for your book offers an amazing opportunity as one of the starting steps in the publishing process. You heard it so often here on this blog: Marketing your books should start well before publication. When using crowdfunding, authors can focus their marketing efforts, while reaping the benefits of a successful crowdfunding campaign: raising funds pre-publication, collecting pre-orders and testing market viability.

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Is there a Market for Your Book?
A successful crowdfunding campaign is proof that a market exists for your product or service. Publishing means you have to sell, and a crowdfunding campaign is a cheap way for you to test the waters. If you create an interesting campaign, crowdfunding sites will promote it additionally and let the message go viral. Indiegogo, for example uses an objective algorithm called the “gogofactor” to ensure crowdfunding campaigns earn exposure based on the community’s response to them.
Raising funds pre-publication can help authors to produce a higher quality book. Even if an author tends to go with a traditional publishing house, crowdfunding offers an opportunity to prove market viability for their book.
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Create Buzz for Your Book
Conducting a crowdfunding campaign is a great way to land interest and support around a book pre-publication, an essential part of the overall success of a book. This allows authors to collect pre-orders for their book during their crowdfunding campaign. The ability to collect pre-orders provides authors with an already active audience – and often reviewers – to jumpstart the success of their book once it’s published.

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Get to Know Your Readers

Once your book is sold in retail shops, on- and off-line – these sellers have your customer’s data, and you have very view possibilities to get to know or to communicate with your readers. Maybe when they write a review, but not even then … However, crowdfunding gives you the opportunity to build a long-term relationship with the people who fund you. The reward of crowdfunding is not just in Dollars, Euros or Pounds, but in access to your readers’ contact information.

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Readers and Reviewers
Authors can offer copies of their book to their supporters. For example, let’s say an author’s book campaign gains the support of a hundred people who will receive a copy of the book as a reward. The day the book debuts, the author will already have access to those hundred readers, who will be able to review the book on Goodreads, Amazon or B&N, Kobo or Apple and help to generate attention and momentum immediately after publication. If the book is sold in print through book shops, it has only a couple of weeks to succeed and with an initial boost its likelihood of success is much greater.

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One author explains it: “Kickstarter provided effective market research and publicity for us. We developed an audience that cares about our product, who can convince others to be excited about it too.”
Danae Ringelmann, co-founder of Indiegogo, said: “It’s time to fund what matters to you.”
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Believe-in-Yourself

Photo Jennifer Pugh

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More Benefits Beside the Money
Crowdfunding for authors could quickly become the natural and necessary step between the writing and publication of a book. Even if an author believes they don’t need the money, the other benefits are immeasurable. Plus, authors can come up with many other enticing ways to allocate their funds if they don’t want to use them for the publication of their book.

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How to Organize Your Campaign:

  • Make a business plan. YES, start your crowdfunding organized! This is a business! Check out your suppliers (funding companies), calculate conservatively the money you need and a little cushion for hidden expenses.
  • Create a compelling pitch. Your fund-raising pitch should focus on emotions and get donors excited about your business, your product or service and your entrepreneurial passion. Decide the length of your campaign. If you go too short, it might not be enough time to get the word out, most campaigns are between 30 – 45 days.
  • Prepare at the same time your update strategy – and prepare help to send out mails, either friends or a professional mass mail company. Don’t stop with one initial offer, your funders love to hear frequently from you, how the funding process and later the implantation process goes along. They love to see a result!
  • Create attractive rewards for your funders – it must not be neccessarely monetary, at least not for the under $50 funds, but it should be a customized gift or one that shows your appeciation, such as a mentioning in a book or a film.
  • There is a lot of competition on these crowdfunding sites, so if you want to stand out, use not only your social media platform, but also your real-life contacts, your own networks and their networks’ networks. If you want people to back your project you have to tell them about it. More than once… Folks have to hear a message about seven! times, before they act!
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Answer these Questions for Yourself:

  • Who is my audience for the whole publishing project?
    What is the uniqueness of my publishing project?
    Why should people donate to your publishing project?

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Conclusion:
The supporters of your crowdfunding campaign are your customers. Crowdfunding is a way to pre-order books before they are produced – invaluable for a startup author-publisher. Too often, authors write books before knowing the depth of their reader base. Crowdfunding means you have readers before your book is published.
In other words: The author’s knowledge of the audience of their book and how to reach them is the key to success in publishing. Crowdfunding means, an author is able to test the market for the book and find and connect with their audience pre-publication, which gives them a tremendous advantage when the book is published and promoted to a large audience of readers.
Let us know: How did YOU promote your crowdfunding project – besides Social Media?
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More Sources:

Kickstarter Crowdfunding in More Countries
http://savvybookwriters.wordpress.com/2013/10/13/great-news-for-canadian-authors-kickstarter-is-here/

How to Organize Your Crowdfunding Campaign
http://savvybookwriters.wordpress.com/2012/08/08/12-tips-for-your-crowdfunding-project/

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If you would like to get more support in all things publishing, have your book intensively promoted and learn how to navigate social media sites – or to learn how you can make yourself a name as an author through content writing: We offer all this and more for only $179 for three months – or less than $2 per day! Learn more about this customized Online Seminar / Consulting for writers: http://www.111Publishing.com/Seminars

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Tagged: crowdfunding for your book, crowdfunding platform, Crowdfunding tips, fund your publishing project, how to organize a crowdfunding project, IndieGoGo, Kickstarter


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