Crowdfund Your Book – Get Paid BEFORE You Write It
Crowdfunding is a trending method of raising money on the Internet.
The principle is a simple one. You share your dream with the public, and they make a financial contribution to help your dream come true.
Of course, your dream must have a tangible result.
Crowdfunding has provided the capital for a wide range of tangible results. They include offbeat products like personal air conditioners and devices that turn class or meeting speech into written notes.
And they also include funding for film, video game, and app development. Even educational endeavors.
Can you use one of the crowdfunding sites to gather money to research, write and publish your book? The answer is yes.
Here’s How Crowdfunding Works
The two biggest players, Kickstarter and Indiegogo (and numerous smaller online venues) allow users to raise money for all sorts of projects, and book development (research and writing) and publication is one of them.
So, if you have an idea for a book, and are able to convince backers to support your work, then you don’t have to wait until your book is completed before you see cash.
The money will arrive in advance and you can have peace of mind to research and write at your own pace without worrying about paying your bills or repaying the money.
The process is similar for most crowdfunding sites. Good advanced planning is essential to your success.
Steps in the Process
1. Check the requirements of the crowdfunding site you intend to use. All have similar procedures, but you need to conform to the particular policies of the site you choose.
2. Determine how much money you need. Include all costs including your time at more than minimum wage and research costs including books you need to buy, phone bills or travel costs and so forth. Remember to include your overhead and anything else that’s part of your writing project.
This step requires discernment. You want to set a funding goal that meets your needs, yet at the same time is realistic and achievable.
3. Research other book projects on your crowdfunding site. You’ll see the successful ones offers rewards to those who support them.
You’ll want to offer at least 4-5 levels of rewards.
- Level 1 may be a copy of the completed book, for example.
- Level 2 may include the patron getting the book plus credit by name in the book preface.
- Level 3 may include a signed copy of the book, the credit in the preface, and a certificate of appreciation suitable for framing, or maybe something of even greater value.
You scale up the rewards as an incentive for your backers to give more.
4. Create your campaign. Tell your story. Use a video and graphics.
5. Promote your campaign. Most run from 20-30 days and during that period you must do everything you can… each day… to make people aware of your progress.
Success starts with your pre-launch plan, but determined follow-up helps ensure success.
You don’t need to beg or sell, but rather you want to inspire people to support your writing project.
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There are Funding Requirements
Keep in mind that you don’t get the money unless you reach your funding goal.
For example, Kickstarter has an all or nothing policy.
If you only raise $1,000 from a $7,500 goal, then the funds are not collected from those who make pledges on your behalf.
Kickstarter believes that this policy means less risk for backers because you can’t finish a project and deliver rewards if you only get a fraction of the money you need to accomplish the task.
All the crowdfunding sites take a percentage of the total amount of money you raise when you reach your goal or it’s over-subscribed. The fee is normally 5 percent and you need to factor that into your budget as overhead.
What are Your Odds of Success?
According to Kickstarter statistics, most successfully funded projects in the publishing category are under $10,000.
Overall, you will have about a 36 percent chance of reaching your goal according to statistics by others.
Is that low? Not necessarily. If you have a good writing project, a great appeal with incentives, and a solid network of possible backers, you can succeed.
In fact, about 10 percent of successful projects go over the goal, which means lots more funding for you.
Examples of Success
You can never tell what will attract public attention until you try.
Elan Lee and Shane Small came up with the crazy idea of a card game called “Exploding Kittens.” They set their goal at $10,000 in funding. But in less than 30 days they had $8.7 million pledged from 200,000 backers.
Author Eric Ries sought $135,000 (a huge amount) to fund his novel, A Leader’s Guide which would be made available only to people making pledges.
How much did be receive? Over $500,000 in less than 30 days. That’s Kickstarter’s most successful book writing project at the time of this video.
How Can You Make Crowdfunding Work for You
Realize that Crowdfunding is a way of bringing together people you already know. Your job is getting them excited enough to fund your writing project.
Yes, the momentum you build will attract new people, but you must start out of thinking that’s a bonus. You need momentum from your network to attract new people.
You start with mobilizing your base, which is any group you have at school, work, churches, organizations or whatever.
If you belong to the Lion’s Club community service group, for example, you want to get individuals in your local Lion’s Club to back you. Then, you want to get the other people in other Lion’s Clubs in your region to back you.
The same is true of any group you belong to.
When you get these people involved, then urge them to contact their relatives and friends about your crowdfunding campaign, and then you’re likely to reach your funding goal.
Each backer is a launchpad to another backer.
You can’t expect to succeed without preparation. You must plow the field and plant the seed before you see a harvest.
Crowdfunding may be an opportunity for you as a writer.