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Crowdfunding for Authors: Unlock the Power to Write & Launch Your Book

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Today’s guest post is by Charmaine Hammond and Victoria Bennett, who help authors boost their books through crowdfunding efforts. Authors who are considering this type of fundraising will appreciate their tips for running a successful campaign. How much money do you need? It depends on your marketing and book printing requirements.


We’ve all read books that shaped our lives or positively impacted us. Many people dream about writing a book, and making an impact with their message. However, many authors struggle with bringing their book to life. Two common reasons for this are 1) not having the funds to write and launch their book in a way that aligns with their goals, and 2) getting overwhelmed by the prospects of building a community of readers and champions and leveraging other people’s audiences.

That’s where crowdfunding comes in—one solution to address both issues.

Understanding the power of crowdfunding for authors​


Crowdfunding for authors is more than just a financial tool—it’s about community building. At its core, crowdfunding allows authors to gather small amounts of money from their audience, tapping into the power of collective funding. It’s not just about the money to develop, publish, and launch your book but also about rallying a dedicated community of readers.

Who is crowdfunding for?​

  • Authors who are expanding and diversifying: Authors with a published book might want to diversify. This includes translating the text into other languages, launching a new edition, or producing accompanying materials like journals or coaching programs.
  • Launching a book: Authors gearing up to release their book can use crowdfunding to support their launch process.
  • Aspiring authors: New authors looking to venture into the world of writing can give their dreams a jumpstart.
  • Content creators: This also extends to content creators and entrepreneurs looking to monetize their content in various formats.

Whether you’re a fiction, nonfiction, or children’s book author, crowdfunding can help with all genres of writing.

What it takes to have a successful campaign​


One of the best strategies for crowdfunding success is the plan! We recommend a 90-day plan, which allows the necessary time to develop your strategy, build and warm your crowd, create your landing page to build your database of current and potential readers, and record a compelling video.

Passion is another ingredient to success. Your belief in and passion for your book is the fuel that drives your campaign and keeps it going. It is also what inspires others to get involved and support your campaign.

You do NOT have to have an extensive database or substantial social media following. Many of our Crowdfunding for Author clients start with small or inactive lists and minimal social media communities. Your crowdfund will help you build this as you go.

Another essential foundation for successful crowdfunding success is to be clear on your budget and your campaign objectives. This will help you make the right decisions along the way.

Setting realistic expectations: How much can you raise?​


The possibilities with crowdfunding can seem overwhelming, but authors often ask the magic question: how much can one raise? The figures vary, but authors typically target between $7,500 and $12,000. These funds potentially cover editing, publishing, marketing, launches, book tours, translations, and other associated costs. Remember, the key is to combine creativity with a well-planned strategy.

Many authors use rewards-based crowdfunds, meaning that your backers (people who contribute to/support your campaign) receive perks for supporting your campaign. For example, we often see authors offer:

  • a $5-$10 perk simply to support the campaign.
  • for a $35 perk, the backer receives one of your book’s first copies and the Kindle version.
  • for a $75 perk, perhaps the backer receives three books (one to keep and two to gift to others), along with a personalized thank you video and a shout-out on social media.
  • or even $250 for a virtual coffee and chat with the author, three copies of the book, a bookmark sent in the mail, and a $10 coffee card.

We recommend authors should have no more than seven perks. Confused minds never buy.

The dual benefit: Money and community​


Building a community of readers can take a great deal of work. This is often an area of struggle for writers.

While the financial advantage of crowdfunding is evident, it offers an equally significant intangible benefit. As authors embark on their crowdfunding journey, they also cultivate a community of readers who are invested in their success. This community, or “crowd,” often becomes the source of an author’s most ardent supporters and promoters.

Choosing the right platform: An essential decision​


With many platforms like Kickstarter, Indiegogo, FundRazr, and Crowdfundr, making a choice can be overwhelming. It’s crucial to research thoroughly, as some platforms allow authors to keep partial funds raised, while others operate on an all-or-nothing model. The key is to align the platform’s features with your goals. Most authors lean toward reward campaigns, where backers receive rewards like books. Managing a campaign requires commitment, so be prepared to dedicate time to ensure its success.

One helpful tip is to visit other author campaign pages on the different platforms. This will help you learn the various approaches that authors take, how they build community through their campaign, the types of updates they share on the campaign page, and the way they stay connected with those who supported the campaign. This research is also helpful in sparking ideas about perks (for reward campaigns).

Publishers and crowdfunding: Should you go solo?​


While some publishers and hybrid publishers integrate crowdfunding into their model, this shouldn’t be the sole deciding factor for an author. The most crucial aspect if you are seeking a publisher to work with is finding a publisher that aligns with your goals and the vision for your book. Managing your own crowdfunding campaign can often offer more control, allowing for personalized rewards and a direct relationship with backers. But it does require a plan (we recommend allowing 90 days for the plan and implementation zone and 30–45 days for the actual campaign) and some work (e.g., a couple of hours each week).

Crowdfunding success spotlight: Carrie West​


To better understand the power of crowdfunding, look no further than Carrie West, a participant in our Crowdfunding for Authors program. Carrie met her initial goal and expanded her campaign with a stretch goal. She effectively tapped into audiences beyond her immediate circle, garnering support from more than 75 backers. Carrie did not have an extensive database or social media following when she began her crowdfunding process. Her campaign video and regular updates serve as excellent examples for aspiring crowdfunders.

Check out her journey here.

Embrace the world of crowdfunding​


Crowdfunding offers authors the potential to fund your literary dreams, expand your community, and build a devoted readership. So, are you ready to leverage the power of the crowd? Learn more about crowdfunding for authors and access your FREE downloadable resources here.

Additionally, to download a list of the top ten most common mistakes that authors make with crowdfunding, visit this link.


Charmaine Hammond, co-founder of Raise a Dream, is an eleven-times best-selling author, a professional speaker, and the creator of the Your Book as a Business Program. She has helped authors launch their books, learn how to engage sponsors, and build communities of readers and clients.

Victoria Bennett is the force behind The Crowdfunding Hub, an online community supporting anyone interested in running a crowdfunding campaign. She is a seasoned crowdfunding and marketing strategist. She boasts a stellar track record, having been a part of campaigns that raised a collective $20 million.

Together, they developed and lead the Crowdfunding for Authors program.
 
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