An Intro to Crowdfunding Your Book

Crowdfunding is well known as a buzzword, but many people still struggle to grasp the concept. So here’s a quick definition: crowdfunding is a means for artists, entrepreneurs, and businesses to raise funds and mitigate the financial risk of their creative projects or business ventures.

In even simpler terms, it’s a way to generate financial backing from people who believe in your project—your family, friends, peers, and audience.

If you’re a writer who’s thinking about self-publishing, crowdfunding provides an opportunity for you to diminish out-of-pocket expenses while gauging and connecting with the audience for your book. There are many steps to conducting a successful crowdfunding campaign, but if you’re a crowdfunding newbie, here are a few tips you’ll want to know before getting started.

  1. The most important thing to keep in mind: crowdfunding requires work. A successful campaign takes motivation and determination. A majority of supporters of a crowdfunding campaign are generated by the crowdfunder through aggressive marketing.
  2. Pre-campaign planning is essential. The duration of a typical crowdfunding campaign is 30–60 days, so it’s imperative that you’re 100% ready to go on day 1. Devise a detailed marketing plan before the launch of your campaign and set targets for weekly outreach. Creating weekly objectives will help you more easily manage your outreach efforts and overall goals.
  3. Research and know your goals. It is essential to know the costs of publishing before launching your campaign. The publishing process can be extensive and the costs can range drastically depending on your publishing goals. For example, a full-scale publishing effort (hiring an editor, hiring a cover designer, formatting the book, printing the book, securing ebook distribution . . . and the list goes on) will require much more funding than simply selling ebooks on Amazon. To determine your funding goal (the amount you hope to raise) and your reward levels (incentives you offer for various levels of financial support), you’ll need to know your overall publishing goals. Helpful hint: Keep in mind you will have to ship the rewards to your supporters, so factor in shipping costs when determining your funding goal and reward levels.
  4. Having a pre-existing network is key. Although marketing to your general audience is very important, a majority of the support for your campaign will come from your pre-existing network, so it’s very important to reach out to these people first. Take the time to send each person in your network a personalized email informing them of the launch of your campaign and asking them for support. Note: You have to be direct. Ask people in your network for support and provide a link to your campaign, making it as easy as possible for them to follow through.
  5. Keep the momentum going. If you lose interest in your campaign, what makes you think others won’t do the same? You need to have as much enthusiasm on the last day of your campaign as you did on the first day. Also, it’s very important that you continue to engage with your supporters during and after the campaign. They’ve made a financial investment in your book, so keep them updated with your progress.

If you’re seriously considering conducting a crowdfunding campaign, start building your audience now. Organically grow your social networks and make genuine connections so when it’s “go time” for your campaign, your network will already be in place.

Ask anyone who has conducted a crowdfunding campaign and they’ll tell you it’s hard work. You will have to market and promote your book, but in the end, you’ll have the funds you need to bring your book to life and a network of supporters who are interested in your upcoming publication.

These are a few basic tips that will help you conduct a successful crowdfunding campaign. There’s so much more information available, so if you’d like to learn more, visit Pubslush 101.

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Written by Justine Schofield, communications coordination at Pubslush. Justine Schofield is the communications coordinator of Pubslush, a global, crowdsourcing publishing platform for authors to raise funds and gauge the initial audience for new book ideas. Pubslush also operates an independent imprint that acquires books from the platform, and for every book sold, donates a children’s book to a child in need. Justine graduated from Emerson College in Boston, MA, with a degree in Writing, Literature, and Publishing and is currently enrolled at Lesley University in Cambridge, MA, earning her MFA in Creative Writing. She specializes in social media and public relations and has held various freelance editing and writing jobs, and her work has been published in many online and print publications.