Why crowdfunding to self-publish your book could be a great idea

You are so excited to have finished your novel and now you want to self-publish it. Great idea but what if you don’t have the funds to invest in your book what can you do?

In our last newsletter we shared how you can get financial help towards the cost of our Bookcamp training but what if you would rather pay to have your book done for you. You could ask your parents/auntie/bank manager for the money. Maybe sell some things or search down the back of the sofa to come up with the cash. What about asking strangers to invest in your book? It may not be as weird as it sounds and could have added benefits.

Crowdfunding has been around for some time now – it’s a way for lots of individuals to back a project in return for some rewards. The money raised provides the funds to start the project. It’s a great idea and has been used by many creative folks to fund music, films, put on a show or generate funds to produce a prototype of a design. In fact there are few limits to what you could crowdfund with recently bids even paying for vet bills.

So you may now be thinking – sounds good what’s the catch! The main thing you need to have a successful crowdfunding experience is time and commitment. You need to create your project, tell people about your book and generate enough interest to encourage people to part with money in return for a reward. Here’s a quick guide to what you need to get started:

  1. Decide how much cash you will need – do you need to pay for an editor, graphics for your cover, formatting and typesetting your book and printing some copies. £1200 to £1500 is a good starting point.
  2. Think about what rewards you can offer in return for the investment. You start with small amounts and work up. Make sure that whatever you offer as a reward will not cost you more than the investment (remember to factor in any postage costs). You could start at £5 – it can be as simple as a bookmark, a postcard thanking the person. Moving up to an e-book for £10, a printed copy of your book £15, how about a dedication in your book for £50, dinner with you the author £150, a character named after you for £500. The options are only as limitless as your imagination. You decide how you want to split the rewards and how many you can offer, the more exclusive the higher the price.
  3. Decide on the crowdfunding platform to use – Kickstarter and Indiegogo are both well established. Each has its own rules about whether you can take the funds if you don’t meet your funding goal, and all charge a fee so think about what would work best for you. Or you could even help children improve their literacy by using Pubslush – a new crowdfunding platform just for books. We love this model because if fits with our idea of community and giving something back to help others.
  4. Plan your project – 30 days is the recommended time. When will this work for you? You need to be able to promote your campaign, respond to questions and send out rewards so make sure you can give it your attention. Draft in some help as back up too.
  5. Write up the details about your book, about you and why you wrote it. Imagine you are the person reading it – what would trigger you to part with some cash? Most successful funders have told their story well, produced a video and made it really compelling. This is your chance to really sell your book and you as the author.
  6. Have your social media set up to promote and respond to your campaign. Start with friends and family – ask them to help share out your campaign. Could you get your local paper involved?
  7. Plan what your next stages will be for producing your book and imagine this being a great success.

So there you have it – our brief guide to crowdfunding. But what extra benefits could you get? You have already begun to market yourself as the author of a book before it is even printed. You have readers waiting for it to arrive. Most self-published authors will agree that marketing is a learning curve and you will have already begun to market your book. Using social media to promote your campaign means you will have built up relationships with others who are keen to help you.

Crowdfunding to get books published is growing and we can understand why. With guaranteed sales, publicity about your book and the cash up front to allow you to achieve your dream we reckon it is worth the effort. What do you think?

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