Can Crowdfunding Help Publish Your Next Book?

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What is Crowdfunding?

Throughout the history of mankind people get together to support and achieve common goals. They support individuals or groups who are making a change in the society or people who create new and cool things which would change the world they are living in. This support came in many different forms, while some gave financial back up, others joined by offering their time and expertise or even labour  With the burst of online social media. This act of giving took a new turn at the beginning of the new millanium and today we know it by the term “Crowdfunding“.

Crowdfunding is a way to raise small amounts of money from a large number of funders to finance projects, usually via the internet. This is a growing trend because it provides a direct connection with funders/fans. Crowdfunding creates a relationship—rather than a transaction—between the producer and consumer. For authors, it could be a way to make the production of the book possible or publish earlier than without funding.

There are different ways to carry out crowdfunding campaigns. This article will focus on ways with which authors can fund book projects. Incentives to funders can be one or a combination of the following:

  • Donations: The funds are donated to facilitate the project by tapping into the spirit of gifting.

  • Rewards: Perks are provided for different levels of donation, with escalating value or exclusivity. What can you give away? —Gifts create a sense of gratitude.

  • Pre-Orders: The product is sold ahead of production. This is often coupled with rewards at various levels as incentives.

The Campaign:

The more well-thought out and the better designed the campaign, the greater the chance of success. To raise funds through a successful campaign, it's not enough to simply ask for money. As in book promotion, a well-designed campaign will explain to the potential funder what is the project, why you need the money, and what you are offering to funders.

Ask these types of questions of your project:
Why should it exist? What need are you filling? What issue are you illuminating?

Setting funding goal: How much money needs to be raised? Add to this amount the particular platform's processing fee to the total. Set reward tiers & themes. Bear in mind the rewards delivered digitally are easier to fulfil than those that need physical delivery. 30-40% will come from direct connections 

What are you tapping into:

Higher human emotions
Higher human ideals

Pitch video

This is an effective way to communicate the concept and the appeal for funders of your project. Explanation, meaning, story. What is the context? Why does the story need to be told? What is the impact?

Funder becomes the 'hero' of the project. Be interesting, be authentic. Put time into being creative.

Be direct with the call to action. "I need your money for this project.", "Please give money for this project.", "We need you to give and share about this project."

Pitfalls to avoid:

Being too long winded. Your message needs to get across simply and quickly. If the message is overly long and complicated, the audience's attention will be lost, and with it, the donations. Unclear, Vague, Being inauthentic.

Create a pitch page:

Spreading the word
Facebook page
Facebook ads
Impressions or clicks?

Newsletters — sign up via MailChimp http://mailchimp.com/, Campaign Manager  http://campaignmanager.ca/

Social Media
Existing personal and professional networks
Mainstream media

It's Go Time! What to do at launch.

What to share? The stories of the campaign are the entertaining and exciting aspects of crowdfunding.

  • Quotes from funders

  • Behind the scenes activities and stories.

  • Shareable content

  • Endorsements

  • Continue to release updates during production.

Just because you have an engaged audience doesn't give carte blanche to be continually seeking their attention. Minimum weekly updates, maximum twice on fundraising platform. Postings on social media can be much more frequent, as appropriate for each respective platform. For example, posting on Twitter is typically higher number than on Facebook.

The final days of the campaign are the most critical times.

Post-campaign: It's not over.

Don't forget your funders. After envisioning, building, sustaining, and completing a successful campaign, it might be tempting to rest on the laurels of a job well done and relax. The work isn't quite over though. The trust and confidence given by your investors needs to be preserved by fulfilling rewards right away.

Be genuine.
Be interesting.
Be generous.

TEDxVictoria - Victoria Westcott: Crowdfunding 101:

Popular Crowdfunding Platforms:

Kickstarter - http://www.kickstarter.com/ Kickstarter is a creative projects funding platform. To use this platform, a US bank account is needed for depositing the funds after the campaign, and the campaign must reach the stated goal to be funded.

IndieGoGo.com - http://www.indiegogo.com/ To use IndieGoGo as the crowdfunding platform, a PayPal account is needed to be funded. IndieGoGo provides options of fixed or flexible funding, which means that there is an option to get funded even if the campaign does not reach the targeted goal.

RocketHub - http://www.rockethub.com/

Campaign Examples:

Smaller goals: (1000 - 3500)

by Jon Suk & Rasanga Weerasinghe