I’m a crowdfunding consultant for authors so why one earth would I discourage someone from crowdfunding their book?
Well, crowdfunding on Kickstarter and IndieGoGo is NOT right for everyone. I make that clear in just about every video, blog, and interview I create.
Here’s a list of 10 reasons why you should NOT CROWDFUND your book.
If after reading this, you’re still like, “Nah, I could do it…” then by all means, proceed.
#1 It's a ton of work
I’m not sure who is crowdfunding thousands of dollars without doing months of preparation beforehand, but it certainly isn’t many people I know personally.
Garnering a lot of attention and then converting that attention into pledges takes a ton of effort. Don’t underestimate how much work is involved in a 30-day campaign. You’re looking at 60-120 days of work from the beginning concept to fulfilling the rewards.
#2 Everyone is watching
People can see exactly how many pledges you get every day of your campaign. If you don’t like that kind of transparency or to have your marketing actions under a microscope like that, then crowdfunding might not be right for you.
#3 It's harder than ever to get noticed
Social media is noisy and now crowdfunding platforms are getting “crowded” with more and more commercial products.
In order to stand out from the pack, you need to develop your audience, educate them, and deliver what they want day after day.
#4 Ads don't really work
For whatever reason, Facebook ads don’t convert for Kickstarter and IndieGoGo campaigns for books. They just don’t. Readers want books NOW and they want to start reading right away. It takes a special stranger who is willing click on an unknown link and then give a stranger money for their book.
#5 PR experts don't want your money
Most authors are launching campaigns between $5k-$10k. It’s not worth a marketing expert’s time and effort to take 15% of that total amount to help you. They are more interested in the >$500k-$1M campaigns.
I’ve been turned down three times by PR experts because my Kickstarter goal amount wasn’t high enough to get their attention.
#6 Readers don't usually browse crowdfunding sites to find new books
I’m doing my best to change this with my Top 10 lists every week, but it’s no secret that Kickstarter is still dominated by the gaming sector.
I try to get readers in the habit of scouting Kickstarter and IndieGoGo to support indie authors and illustrators, but it’s going to take time before people start to realize that there are great books on these platforms.
Kickstarter authors have to bring readers to the platform which means that it doesn’t really matter where (Kickstarter or IndieGoGo) you launch because leveraging traffic on the platform is unlikely unless you’re in STEM.
#7 Crowdfunding is stressful
Writing articles, press releases, getting reader reviews, and doing podcast interviews are all things you’ll need to do for your traditional book launch anyway, but you can do it with a fraction of the stress involved with crowdfunding.
#8 Without early traction, you're somewhat dead in the water
Unlike traditional marketing efforts where it doesn’t matter when the sales come in, so long as they come in by the deadline, crowdfunding is the exact opposite.
You need a BIG launch day and then a pretty large Days 2-4 in order to make it to your goal at the end of 30 days. If your readers don’t know that (i.e., you didn’t educate them or they never read your emails) and you don’t keep the pressure on, you’re more likely to fail.
I’ve seen people pull it off in the end but not without serious hustle and stress.
#9 People think you're begging for money
You have to do a ton of reader education to let them know how much value they are getting for their money.
Readers are not donating to your book, they are getting the book AND MORE in exchange for their pledge.
#10 Public failure is never fun
Failing can occur in many ways—setting too high of a goal, pricing rewards incorrectly, running a successful campaign but not delivering in time, running a successful campaign but underestimating shipping costs, and even more scenarios (you get the idea).
Nobody likes to fail and nobody likes to fail in front of people but that often happens with around 70% of all crowdfunding campaigns. Ouch!
How are you feeling?
Do you still want to crowdfund your book?