Do you want to learn more about crowdfunding and what it needs to start a successful campaign? Lisa Ferland shares some insights to help you deciding if crowdfunding your book is something for you.
Crowdfund Your Book and Reach More Readers
Crowdfunding is becoming a very popular way for authors to fund their writing and self-publishing activities. The definition of crowdfunding is sourcing small amounts of money from a large group of people to fund the creation and delivery of a project or product.
Many authors are using crowdfunding platforms like Kickstarter and IndieGoGo to fund and launch their self-published books but even traditionally published authors like Seth Godin and (insert more) are using the platforms to deliver extra rewards to their readers that are otherwise unavailable via retailers like Amazon.
Crowdfunding your book is a great way to give your readers something extra and special in addition to your book.
Crowdfunding backers have reported that they really enjoy the behind-the-scenes and interactive nature of crowdfunding.
For crowdfunding authors, this process is often very stressful and requires a lot of planning in advance.
Four Tips Before You Try Crowdfunding Your Book
Here are some things you should know if you want to see if crowdfunding your book is right for you:
1. Build your audience
You can’t crowdfund without a crowd. What makes crowdfunding an author’s first book difficult is that often the author has not built a large enough audience to support a crowdfunding campaign. Building an audience before the book exists is a difficult task for anyone.
It’s essential to find the right messaging to get people interested enough in your ideas and the future potential of your book to convince them to pull out their credit cards and give you their money.
Focus on building your audience and engaging with them consistently. You not only need to build your audience before you launch your crowdfunding campaign, you also need to educate them on what crowdfunding is and how it works.
2. Educate your audience
Both Kickstarter and IndieGoGo have been around for over 10 years, so it’s easy to assume that everyone is familiar with crowdfunding. However, a recent Kickstarter study showed that only 36% of the US population has heard of Kickstarter and even fewer have backed crowdfunding projects. Perhaps even fewer people have had a positive experience with crowdfunding.
Approximately 75% of crowdfunding projects fail. It is likely that members of your audience are not convinced that supporting a crowdfunding campaign is worth their time or money. Your job is to convince them otherwise by earning their trust with ongoing communication and transparency.
You’ll want to have your audience fully engaged and on board with taking action on launch day at least 30 days in advance of your launch. An audience who is super excited and can’t wait to back and share your project is one that will help you reach your goals.
3. Get over being uncomfortable
It’s important that you are very confident during your campaign. Nobody wants to give their money to someone who is insecure or unsure of themselves.
On some level, you’re asking people for money to fund your project. You’re admitting that you need funds to get this project off the ground and that can be a very uncomfortable place to be.
It’s important to remember that you’re not asking for donations or a handout. You’re taking pre-orders and collecting funds in advance so that you can deliver the best book possible.
That said, there will be people who simply don’t get it and will think that you’re begging for money.
“Fortunate favors the bold”
if you embrace an attitude of, “I’m going to put myself out there in ways I never thought possible,” you’ll be amazed at the response. Reach out to that best-selling author and see if you can send them an advanced copy of the book for a reader blurb/testimonial. Pitch your essays to large outlets to get more press coverage for your campaign. Don’t be afraid to ask for support.
4. Dedicate full-time attention to your campaign
I’ve only seen authors fail when they underestimate the amount of work involved in a crowdfunding campaign. Crowdfunding is time-limited high-stakes marketing. If you’re not familiar with marketing, then you’ll want to educate yourself on the basics before getting too far. The stakes are high because the best campaigns remove the risk from the backers and place it all on the creator. People shouldn’t have any hesitation whatsoever on backing your project. Your campaign copy and messaging should be very convincing that these readers need your book in their lives.
Finding the messages that work and delivering all of your content in a way that engages the most people possible is what takes the most time.
Be sure to dedicate full-time attention to your campaign during your campaign. If you play your cards correctly, you can sit back and relax after you launch. Why? Because you will have done all of the work leading up to the campaign that aligns your audience and gets them to take action on launch day.
Pro tip: if anyone makes a crowdfunding campaign look easy, know that they put in countless hours into building and educating their audience before they launched. There is no such thing as a free lunch.
Crowdfunding is a Crucible
Crowdfunding is a great way to learn what your audience wants, test out new marketing techniques, and deliver the best book you can create, but it’s not the right approach for everyone.
Due to the time-limited nature of a crowdfunding campaign, authors feel the stress in ways that regular marketing campaigns don’t induce.
However, the marketing skills you’ll learn, the audience insights you’ll gain, and the habits you’ll develop by stepping outside of your comfort zone will serve you well throughout the rest of your writing career.
Lisa Ferland is a crowdfunding consultant for authors and offers tons of resources on her website https://lisaferland.com. She is available for 1:1 crowdfunding coaching and offers self-paced online courses to help more authors succeed at launching and crowdfunding their books.