As more and more authors are turning to crowdfunding to bring their book project to market, we asked Justine Schofield, development director of Pubslush, a global pre-publication platform, to offer some tips on how to make the most of this resource.
Crowdfunding is a tool that authors now use to raise funds, collect pre-orders and market their book before publication. The number of authors, both self-publishing and established, who want to create a more personal connection with their audiences is rising and crowdfunding is the perfect solution to create and foster this connection between authors and readers.
Deciding to crowdfund your book is a big decision. Crowdfunding is not an easy task and it takes serious commitment to conduct a successful campaign, but luckily there are a lot of resources available to help authors throughout the process. For starters, here are some ways to make sure you get everything that you need out of your crowdfunding campaign, and then some.
- Create a marketing plan.
This can be seen as the starting point for your campaign that will outline your plan of attack. Research and establish who it is that you will reach out to about your campaign, how to get in touch with them and when you will do so. Developing a marketing plan takes a lot of research and planning, but it makes effective crowdfunding not only more attainable but also more manageable. You should be able to refer to your plan throughout the campaign as a guideline and reference point.
- Research other successful campaigns.
Check out campaigns that have already had success. See what they are doing that seems effective to you and notice what you don’t like so you can avoid or improve these points on your own campaign. It also never hurts to reach out to those who have already had success. Generally, people are very open to sharing their crowdfunding experiences.
- Create really amazing and enticing rewards.
To effectively crowdfund your book, you have to offer rewards that will make supporters want to pledge their financial support. Again, research other successful campaigns to see what they offered their supporters. Although offering a copy of the book is always a great reward (hello pre-orders!), authors have the opportunity to create other rewards that supporters will love. Reward levels are your chance to get creative and generally, the more creative, the better!
- Secure “inner circle” supporters that will pledge to your campaign right away to kick it off.
Before the campaign even starts, you should secure your “inner circle,” (mom, dad, grandma, your best friend…you get it) to pledge to your campaign as soon as it starts. This way your campaign funding will be boosted above $0 and other people will see that there’s interest in your campaign out of the gate. This is an essential way to build your momentum on the first day of your campaign.
- Execute your marketing plan.
You’ve already carefully constructed your marketing plan and now it’s time to make it happen. It’s best to build your base of supporters from your own network before branching out. People in your own network are more likely to support you while your numbers may still be low. However, once you build momentum from your own network, other people in your targeted audience will see that your fan base (and book) is really impressive and will want to join in the movement.
- Thank supporters and provide updates during and after the campaign.
One of the keys to successful crowdfunding is staying in touch with your audience and keeping them informed. During the campaign, you should be thanking supporters as they pledge and asking them to spread the word to their network as well. It’s also a nice touch to send out a newsletter or email that highlights the activity and success of the campaign. After the campaign, thank supporters again for their contributions and keep them updated on the progress of the project and the fulfillment of the rewards. Showing appreciation and communicating is necessary when you are trying to build a large and loyal fan base for your book.
Crowdfunding can be really rewarding and effective when one puts thought, time, and effort into it. With these tips and a dedicated state of mind, effectively crowdfunding your book is definitely attainable.
Justine Schofield is the development director of Pubslush, a global pre-publication platform that allows authors and publishers to raise funds, collect pre-orders and tangibly market their upcoming book project. A writer at heart, Justine has received her MFA in Creative Writing from Lesley University. She has become a prominent voice in the publishing industry and an advocate for educating authors and publishers about crowdfunding. She has contributed to IBPA’s Independent magazine, Self-Publishers Monthly, Book Marketing Magazine, Business Banter and many more online publications. She tweets for @pubslush.Connect with her on LinkedIn.