Crowd-funding for Your Book Can Be Tricky

By: Ebonye Gussine Wilkins

Publishing books takes money. For many non-established authors, money does not come easily. (Making a consistent income from writing is a hard thing to do, and most people don’t do it well, but that’s another post altogether.) Many people have turned to crowd-funding in order to make the dreams of their book come true. If you only need a small amount of money to finish your project, then you’ll have much better success. But if your project requires a lot more money, it’s tricky to get it.

Using sites like Indiegogo and Kickstarter is tricky for books. There is even a platform for literary crowd-funding via the Pubslush platform. However, what most people will not tell you, is that raising money for books is really hard. While people are more than willing to buy books if it fits their needs, most people do not want to fund a book’s creation. They simply don’t think that they should. That’s a hard truth that most people won’t say. But if you have a book idea that really speaks to people (without them having to read it first), you’ll fare a lot better. Some examples are books that deal with illness in children, or overcoming illness or extreme adversity, or living with a disability. If you book doesn’t fall into a similar category, then your job will be a lot harder.

Here are some things you can do to up your chances of success on a crowd-funding platform for your book:

  • Start raising awareness early on: This means you should start raising awareness for your book months before you launch your campaign. People need to know you are working on it and they need to know what it is about. Be specific and try to connect with them where their heart is. The heart helps open the wallet.
  • Have a thorough plan: This means a LOT of social media updates, emails, and day-to-day campaigning. Sitting back and waiting for donations will absolutely not work. Running a crowd-funding campaign is a full time job. Make sure you thank your supporters publicly, answer their questions, engage them and offer incentives (not necessarily things) to encourage them to donate.
  • Work on it daily: This means you might need to update your campaign multiple times a day, for as long as the campaign runs. Be prepared for it.
  • Don’t rely on friends and family: You need people outside of your friends and family to donate (though having them kick off the project definitely helps). If you could rely on just friends and family to meet your goal, then you wouldn’t need to crowd-fund. Make sure other people (like your target audience) cares about your project: that will bring you success.
  • Be honest with yourself: If someone else presented you with your project, would you want to support it? Being critical of your own work and your approach to your project can help you identify blind spots and improve your campaign.
  • Get outside help: An extra set of eyes won’t hurt your campaign, unless you have too many pairs of eyes. Find a handful of people you trust to be honest (having them from diverse backgrounds helps too) and get their input. They might see something that you don’t, and it can help in the long-run.

Sounds like too much work? For a lot of people, it simply is too much work. But if you are willing to put in the planning that is involved, and execute the plan consistently, then you will have far better results than most people.

Have you ever crowd-funded for your book? How well did it work? Do you have any other tips to add for our readers?

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