Struggling to reach the limelight is common for artists, but solutions exist today for alternative routes to success. Crowdfunding is a very important one as it lets the public take a close interest in projects like books.
In fact, creative writers have a lot to gain from crowdfunding apart from money for publication. Get to know these advantages while exploring the platforms below. They’re the most helpful when it comes to books and, hopefully, an inspiration to future opportunities for authors.
Why Use Crowdfunding as a Writer?
Put simply, crowdfunding is a preorder process. Whether you only have an idea for a book or a finished manuscript, backers show their support by financing your publication in exchange for a copy, acknowledgment, and other rewards.
One downside is how tricky it is to grab people’s attention—a common issue in creative writing in general. It also takes time to reach your financial target, if you do so at all. Even though there are now lots of platforms and unique ways to crowdfund projects, you still need appeal and luck on your side.
On a positive note, crowdfunding reveals how interested consumers are in your idea. A successful campaign also leaves you with a readymade fanbase, which can quickly spread the word and boost your visibility before and when your book launches.
Crowdfunding Campaign Tips for Writers
Good planning is a key ingredient in reaching your crowdfunding campaign goals. Tailor a few popular tips to the demands of book publishing and your project should get all the backing it needs.
- Choose a platform that specializes in books or serves them well.
- Be meticulous and realistic about your funding goals.
- Know your audience and organize the campaign to target them.
- Make sure your project’s presentation is clear and attractive.
- Offer special incentives, like extra copies for backers’ friends or VIP tickets to your book launch.
- Promote the campaign frequently, cleverly, and through relevant channels.
Unbound is the go-to crowdfunding platform for self-publishing. Books are its specialty, both in fiction and nonfiction.
Its efficiency and popularity, however, make its editors quite picky. Aim for a perfect pitch, from your book’s plot and budget to your marketability as an author.
Once approved, Unbound helps you set up your campaign, promote it, and gather funds. On top of that, you get editing services to ensure your book is in top shape before it launches. Then, the platform also prints your book.
Even Bloomsbury and Cambridge University Press partner with Unbound to help with publicity. In other words, this is a high-end, if demanding, choice, where crowdfunding, self-publishing, and promotion meet to give you the best chance at success.
As a leader in the crowdfunding business, Kickstarter hasn’t neglected writers. Its publishing category welcomes all kinds of literary projects. Whether or not they reach their goals is mostly up to their creators.
Unlike Unbound, you don’t go through a review stage with Kickstarter. You just create your campaign and let it do its job. For better or worse, it’s the platform’s backers that reveal the value of each project.
The best way to make a good impression is to design your campaign as carefully as possible. A clear and detailed description is essential, and so are interesting and well-thought-out incentives. The rewards attached to pledges can make or break a Kickstarter project.
The platform often produces wonders that may have never seen the light of day otherwise, so it’s worth doing your best when using its services. Browsing through Kickstarter’s publishing projects can keep you motivated.
Indiegogo’s concept is similar to Kickstarter: you start a campaign for your book and wait for backers to fund it. However, there are two types of funding available to suit different kinds of projects as long as the goal is realistic.
You can go for a fixed amount, which means that you have to hit or exceed that threshold to keep the money. Flexible funding, on the other hand, pays you even if you don’t reach your goal on the condition that you’ll still be able to deliver on the perks you promise.
Either system can work for publishing projects. Another advantage to Indiegogo is the wide range of options you have in designing your campaign. You can really make your words, multimedia, and perks pop to convince backers that your project is worthwhile.
If you want funding for your work as a whole instead of just individual projects, consider Patreon. Basically, you create a profile about what you do and then set crowdfunding goals if and when you need them.
As a writer, for example, you can attract fans on Patreon with your short stories, video tutorials, and tiered rewards for loyal patrons. At some point, you may decide to create your own website or self-publish a poem collection.
If you can’t quite cover the cost, you can ask your patrons for help. Just set a financial goal, explain its purpose, and outline the rewards that backers can expect if you reach it. While you can have several goals at the same time, make sure not to overwhelm yourself.
Another platform dedicated to writers is Publishizer. Although less notable than Unbound or Kickstarter, it has plenty of experience in the industry and perks for authors.
Here too, you submit a book proposal and wait for approval before launching your campaign. At the end of the process, the Publishizer team will send queries to publishing houses that might be interested in the response you got from the public. You’ll get advice on what to do next, at the very least.
Keep in mind that most of the planning and promoting on this platform is your responsibility. Play your cards right, however, and you could be looking at a deal with the likes of Penguin and Hachette.
Finally, check out what GoFundMe can do for writerly causes. It’s used a lot for charities, but it can support personal projects too, especially inspiring ones. A memoir or meaningful history book, for example, could attract plenty of support.
This crowdfunding platform is more about helping than rewarding each other, so the user experience is quite pleasant and less complicated. Even so, you still need to set up a good campaign that tells people what the project’s about and why they should invest.
Authors who love a sense of community and write with purpose may find that GoFundMe is the perfect way to gather resources and reach the right audiences.
Understand Your Options as an Author
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