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.
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
Since the site launched in 2009, Kickstarter projects have attracted total pledges of over three billion US-dollars. The second successful site is IndieGoGo.
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?
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!