by Justine Schofield (@Pubslush)
Many authors want to create truly professional quality books, but are often stymied by the expenses involved in hiring editors, book designers, cover designers, ebook converters and all the other services you need to reach this goal.
Some of these authors have been able to reach their goals using the new tools of crowdfunding, and there are established platforms that make this process possible. One of the newest of these platforms is Pubslush, which combines crowdfunding with publishing in some interesting ways.
One of the reasons I was curious about Pubslush is that the service is completely focused on authors, so you won’t find your crowdfunding appeal running next to software developers, game makers, sneaker manufacturers and lots of other folks.
Justine Schofield, communications coordinator at Pubslush, agreed to give us the rundown on this service. Here’s her article. After you read it, I’d love to know: Have you thought about using crowdfunding, or already done so? What were your results? Tell us in the comments.
Crowdfunding is the latest buzzword, but many people still don’t know exactly what crowdfunding is. Crowdfunding is a means for artists, entrepreneurs, and businesses to raise funds and mitigate the financial risk of their creative projects or business ventures. In layman terms, it’s a way to generate financial backing from people who believe in your project: your family, friends, peers, and audience.
If you’re an author who’s thinking about self-publishing, crowdfunding provides an opportunity for you to cut out-of-pocket expenses while gauging interest in your work and connecting with the audience for your book. Crowdfunding presents a unique opportunity for authors who, like other artists, need funds to produce their work if they don’t have the backing of a publishing house.
There are many steps to conducting a successful crowdfunding campaign, but if you’re a crowdfunding newbie, here are a few tips you’ll want to know before getting started:
- The most important thing to keep in mind: crowdfunding requires a lot of work. A successful campaign requires motivation and determination. A majority of supporters of a crowdfunding campaign are generated by the crowdfunder through aggressive marketing.
- Pre-campaign planning is essential. The duration of a typical crowdfunding campaign is 30-60 days, so it’s imperative to be 100% ready to go on Day 1. Devise a detailed marketing plan before the launch of your campaign and set targets for weekly outreach. Creating weekly objectives will help you more easily manage your outreach efforts and overall goals.
- Research and know your goals. Researching the publishing process and the costs of publishing before launching your campaign is essential. The publishing process can be extensive and the costs can range drastically, depending on your publishing goals. For example, a full-scale publishing effort (hiring an editor, cover designer, formatting your book, print production, e-book distribution…the list goes on) will require much more funding than someone who simply wants to sell e-books on Amazon. To determine your funding goal (the amount you hope to raise) and your reward levels (incentives you offer for various levels of financial support), you’ll need to know your overall publishing goals. Helpful hint: keep in mind you will have to ship the rewards to your supporters, so factor in shipping costs when determining your funding goal and reward levels.
- Having a pre-existing network is key. Although marketing to your general audience is also important, a majority of the support for your campaign will come from your pre-existing network, so it’s very important to reach out to these people first. (Editor’s note: We call this network your author platform.) Take the time to send each person in your network a personal e-mail informing them about the launch of your campaign and asking them for support. Note: You have to be direct. Ask people in your network for support and provide a link to your campaign, making it as easy as possible for them to follow through.
- Keep the momentum going. If you lose interest in your campaign, what makes you think others won’t do the same? You need to have as much enthusiasm on the last day of your campaign as you did on the first day. Also, it’s very important that you continue to engage with your supporters throughout the campaign and afterward. They’ve made a financial investment in your book, so keep them updated with your progress and engaged in your process.
Authors looking to crowdfund for their books should also research the best crowdfunding platform for their campaign. Pubslush, for example, is a global crowdfunding and analytics platform for books only.
Although the nuts and bolts of Pubslush are much like other crowdfunding sites (to set up your book page you need an excerpt from your book, a summary, a video, reward levels, etc.), Pubslush’s targeted platform caters to authors and their specific needs, ensuring that writers find their audience and are not overshadowed by other types of projects.
Being a niche crowdfunding site, Pubslush also offers a variety of author-oriented features such as flex funding (meaning even if you don’t reach your funding goal, you still get to keep the money you raise as long as it surpasses $500) and market analytics of your campaign so you can know exactly who your audience is.
Researching successful crowdfunded authors is a great first step to developing your own campaign. Janna Leyde’s campaign is a great example. Her book He Never Liked Cake came out in March and is one of Pubslush’s many success stories. To learn more, Pubslush also has extensive information on everything you need to know about crowdfunding, publishing and more.
Justine Schofield is the communications coordinator of Pubslush, a global, crowdsourcing publishing platform for authors to raise funds and gauge the initial audience for new book ideas. Pubslush also operates an independent imprint that acquires books from the platform, and for every book sold, donates a children’s book to a child in need. Justine is currently enrolled at Lesley University in Cambridge, MA, earning her MFA in Creative Writing. She graduated from Emerson College in Boston, MA with a degree in Writing, Literature, and Publishing. She specializes in social media and public relations and has held various freelance editing and writing jobs, and her work has been published in many online and print publications.
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