For the creative writer, there is perhaps no more satisfying feeling in the world than finishing a manuscript. You’ve poured endless amounts of time, creativity and soul into these pages, and you’re keen to share the ideas with the world.
While writing a book is certainly not easy, many writers are surprised to find that getting a book published is much more challenging and laborious than putting pen to paper.
In the competitive world of traditional publishing, many fantastic books go unrecognized and unpublished. But it doesn’t have to be this way.
Chances are, you’re like the many authors out there who don’t have a huge amount of disposable income to spend on a high-quality, self-published novel. Costs can easily reach $10,000 for editing alone, while an original, bespoke cover can cost upwards of $15,000.
However, before you give up and throw your manuscript in the trash, know that there is another path forward, one that has helped hundreds of writers to kickstart their careers: crowdfunding your book.
Get your crowdfunding strategy right, and you’ll be well on your way to making a career out of writing.
How Does Crowdfunding Work for Authors?
Crowdfunding is an increasingly popular practice in which individuals or groups fund a project or venture through internet donations received over the internet. Typically, a large number of people will contribute a small amount to a project. It’s very much a game of strength in numbers.
There are three elements to crowdfunding:
- The creator: The author (you), who is looking for funding to get their novel published.
- The supporter: The donators on the crowdfunding platform who choose to donate to your cause.
- The platform: The website where the exchanges between creator and supporter take place.
For writers, crowdfunding involves determining how much money you will need to self-publish your book. You then share this amount on a crowdfunding platform. On your dedicated page, you’ll also explain what your book is about, why people should donate and what they’ll get in return – such as a signed copy of your book or other reward.
When you hit your goal total, the platform releases your funds to you, and you can start the self-publishing process. ebook
The Benefits of Crowdfunding
Crowdfunding unlocks a range of unique opportunities for authors, beyond financial gain. Benefits include:
- Building a loyal fanbase, invested in the journey of your book.
- Gaining deep insights into your target audience.
- Creating buzz around your novel before it’s published; it’s free marketing!
- Collecting pre-orders.
- Building your personal brand as an author, which is excellent if you plan to write multiple novels.
Six Steps to Success
So, by now, you’re probably keen to go down the crowdfunding route. Maybe you’ve even already set up your Fundly account. To make sure your campaign is a success, here’s seven essential steps to follow:
- Know the Numbers and Set Specific Goals
Give your funders an accurate, specific total with details on what your desired amount will cover. Consider things like writing software, professional editing, cover art design, and other expenses like marketing tactics, funding and advertising.
Listing out the cost for each of these factors will build trust with your audience, so they don’t think you’re trying to scam them. Do you research for each aspect of the publishing process, too. Prices vary greatly, and while we don’t recommend going for the cheapest option out there, a book that costs $100,000 to publish may raise suspicion about your intentions.
- Start With What You Know
You’ll be surprised by how much support friends, families and acquaintances will offer you for your artistic endeavors. To start with, reach out to those close to you and let them know about your crowdfunding page. These people are likely to be your earliest supporters.
Don’t be afraid of asking people you know to share your page and spread the world on social media. This will help you to create buzz and reach new audiences organically.
- Get Social
Another great way to spread the word about your crowdfunding page is through social media. Many writers take to Instagram, Twitter and Facebook, using hashtags and community-based pages to raise their profile.
For example, Fundly enables you to integrate your donation form into Facebook. This means you can raise donations directly within Facebook – no links or redirects – for a seamless experience.
- Make Donating a Win-Win
While some people will donate to your campaign simply because they want to, many people need to be enticed. Some great tactics to use include:
- Listing individuals’ names on your website if they donate $10
- Sending a hardback copy of the novel to people who donate $25
- Publishing the names of people who donated over $50
- Giving a special signed copy to those who give $75 and over, along with publishing their names in the book
This strategy will make your donors feel part of something, and excited to receive their first copy of your novel.
- Keep Your Funders in the Know About Your Journey
Starting a blog is a great way to build connections with your readers. You can keep them informed about critical milestones in your fundraising journey and the publishing process. Blogs are also a great place to share news about events and new novels. To publicize your blog, use a mixture of direct mail and social media.
- Express Your Thanks
When you reach your total, it’s crucial to follow up on the promises you made to your donors and offer them sincere appreciation for their support and help. You can do this, again, through your blog and direct mail system. This follow-up is also a great way to share news about your upcoming publishing date.
Don’t Let Your Masterpiece Gather Dust!
While it can be daunting to take a leap onto the internet and start a crowdfund, the payout can be enormous. Crowdfunding is truly an amazing way not only to self-publish your book, but to engage with fans, build a sense of community and create anticipation for your future novels.