Let’s face it. To have the best chance at successfully self-publishing your book it will cost some money. Crowdfunding is a term often thrown around but can it really help with your publishing efforts?
Crowdfunding has become a popular tool in publishing and beyond, allowing individuals to fund a wide range of projects without having to market the idea to a small group of wealthy investors or a large company. Finding the right companies or investors to pitch your idea to, and getting the opportunity to do so, can itself be a time consuming and challenging process.
Traditionally, if ideas don’t appeal at the right time to the right investors, it can sink an endeavor for good. Crowdfunding allows you to quickly market your idea to a broad pool of potential backers, who can choose to make a small contribution.
By using a crowdfunding platform like Kickstarter, Indiegogo, or Publaunch, you can reach thousands of potential investors almost instantly.
Crowdfunding for Self-Publishers
For self-publishers, crowdfunding is another in a series of game changing developments in the last decade, most of which have involved the internet and digital platforms. Self-publishing services have allowed authors to bypass traditional publishers, earning more of their own royalties and allowing them more control of their own project from start to finish.
Online booksellers such as Amazon provide a globally available, digital platform to sell books without going through traditional, local booksellers. E-books and print on demand publishing allows books to be made available without the need for large scale-printing or keeping an inventory. Crowdfunding has had a similar effect on the funding end of the publishing process.
So how does Crowdfunding Work?
Normally, you will offer rewards for backers to encourage them to invest, such as a copy of the finished product, or even signed copies. Backers also earn an insider view of the creative process, and will often enjoy just being involved.
For authors, the method allows you to start raising funds from the beginning of your process, through to the release of your book. Usually, the service does not cost money, although many platforms will take a percentage of the funds raised if the campaign is successful.
Crowdfunding platforms allow the author to retain 100 percent of the ownership rights to a project, although you will have a responsibility to use the funds appropriately, and to deliver a product eventually.
Stand Out from the Crowd
Try to give your project a twist, something to help it stand out from the crowd of other projects and earn the attention of potential backers. You will have to get a lot of people to back your idea to make enough to publish your book.
Authors have several options for crowdfunding platforms, and the list is ever expanding.
One of the most popular options, Kickstarter, has raised more than one billion dollars for over 7 million projects since it was launched in 2009, including over 77,000 creative projects. 44 percent of these projects reach their fundraising goals. Thousands of publishing projects have been launched on Kickstarter.
With substantial traffic to the site, Kickstarter offers a great level of organic exposure. There is an easy to use dashboard, and easily available support if you run into problems. All projects must go through an approval process through the site, which takes 5 percent of the funds raised as well as payment processing fees between 3 and 5 percent.
Indiegogo was launched in 2008, and is geared toward a broader range of projects and causes than Kickstarter, including charitable causes and startups, in addition to creative projects. With an overall success rate of 34 percent, Indiegogo also pays out projects that only partially reached their goal, which they call flexible funding. Partially funded projects will incur a 9 percent fee instead of the standard 4 percent, however. Like Kickstarter, fees include a 3 to 5 percent processing fee. Projects do not need to be approved by the site.
Publaunch is a platform specifically for literature publishing, offering a dedicated crowdfunding site for authors, publishers, and literary endeavors. This allows you to target a more specific audience for your work, which can greatly increase the likelihood of getting your book funded.
Fees at Publaunch are 5 percent, in addition to processing fees.
If you’re wondering if you can really raise enough through crowdfunding for a high-quality publishing process, you might be surprised by how successful these campaigns can be. It is not uncommon to raise between 1500 and 10,000+ dollars. One book, Seth Godin’s The Icarus Deception, raised 287,342 dollars before it was even written. It all depends on how excited you can get people about your idea.
There are obvious benefits, such as unhindered control over your own work, and the chance to promote your book while you raise money. Without one investor or publisher spending a lot at one time, you don’t need to convince any one person to take a big risk on your book. But you will need a lot of backers – this is why a great idea that makes people want to get involved is still the key to making crowdfunding work for you.