It’s an exciting project to publish a book, satisfying and meaningful. Something of a legacy that you will leave behind at the end of your life. But for many people it’s such a struggle to get the book published that they give up, never to see their creation in print.
Finding a traditional publishing deal is getting harder and harder in Australia because it’s such a small industry and the self-publishing industry is gaining traction. Even well-established writers are turning to self-publishing because they want more control over their intellectual property.
Publishing in itself isn’t rocket science. If you do your homework you can manage it yourself quite easily but the money might be a hurdle. This is when crowdfunding is worth investigating.
What is Crowdfunding?
Essentially it’s raising money online via a platform for a project or venture. It’s an alternative to a bank loan or grant where you either have to pay the money back or provide very detailed reports on how you spent the money. Some platforms are simply a way of collecting money (donations) while others encourage you to give people something in return for their donation.
There are many crowdfunding platforms on the market. Just google it and a dozen or more will show up. Most have support for your project in terms of setting up and advice on your offering and most will take a commission from the money you raise.
We have successfully run five campaigns through Pozible with a culminative value of $25,000 AUST and one campaign that didn’t make our targets. We use Pozible simply because it’s worked in the past and we are familiar with it but there are most likely equal or better options. Check out a past project here.
Let’s look at the reasons that crowdfunding is worth the trouble:
Crowdfunding Will Make You Clear on Your Project
The biggest mistake that people make when publishing a book is to not be clear on what it’s about. Seems simple enough but often people try to put a whole life of experience into a non-fiction book or a novel has so much going on that they don’t know how to tell you what it is in a sentence or two.
Creating a crowdfunding campaign will make you get clear on the book because you need to set the project up in such a way that people want to give you money. This means that you are essentially starting your marketing, which is really great practice for you going forward.
Crowdfunding Will Show You If Your Book has Selling Power
The one project that didn’t succeed for us was what we thought a cute little mindfulness book with photos of our seeing eye dog as a puppy. Seemed like a natural easy sell. We had lots of great supporters of course but it didn’t get the huge traction that we expected and didn’t reach the modest target that we set. We took this as a sign that the book might not sell well and we shelved the idea.
Putting your (future) book out into your community is a great way to test the market. You might have a really great band of followers who’ll support whatever you do but you’ll be able to see if it might have life after you’ve exhausted those awesome people. It might not succeed here and you might think it’s not worth it or you might learn what you can change to make it more commercial.
You Can Raise the Funds to Publish
This is the ultimate goal with crowdfunding. When researching the platform that you want to use, look at the length of time that a campaign might run for and whether you have to raise your target in order to get the money. If you do, I suggest that you make your target smaller than you need to. The good thing about having a target that you MUST achieve, is that you can tell your supporters that you must get it and get their help to get you over the line.
If you feel that crowdfunding is too big a task to undertake, simply setting up your book for presales is a good option. Once you have a cover designed and a blurb to go with it, you can start selling it before the book is actually written. Make sure you tell buyers that it is a presell and a timeline for when they can expect it to be in their hands. This is a great way to make you accountable and finish you book in a timely manner.