After successfully crowdfunding my book on Kickstarter and helping other indie authors find success on IndieGoGo and Kickstarter platforms, I fully believe that more indie authors can successfully crowdfund their books with some research and strategic planning.
The average book on Kickstarter and IndieGoGo raises $5k, but my clients raise above average levels ranging from $7k-$27k USD. (You’ll find my client portfolio here.)
Here are my reasons why you should consider crowdfunding:
#1 Proof of Concept
Erin Nelsen Parekh Kickstarted her debut children’s board book and felt that the crowdfunding process proved her book was worth creating. “Going through the crowdfunding process really made me feel like the entire project was vetted.”
If you can get more than 150 people to pre-order your book based on a sales page and campaign video, then you have a really strong message that resonates with people. Chances are good that you should create your book.
If you can’t raise the necessary funds to make your book a reality (i.e., your campaign doesn’t successfully fund), then it means that you need to reevaluate your idea, your audience, or your marketing efforts. Something is flawed and a failed crowdfunding project doesn’t mean your idea isn’t valuable, it just means you need to rework your approach.
Crowdfunding in a do-or-die scenario is a really good test of your book’s concept and will undoubtedly improve your future marketing efforts.
#2 Expand and engage your audience
When I launched the Kickstarter campaign for Knocked Up Abroad Again, I only had a newsletter size of 140 people and a Facebook page around 700. That was it. Scary, right?
Traditionally markers said that I wouldn’t reach my $10k goal with those numbers and normally, they’d be right. The difference is that crowdfunding isn’t like traditional marketing campaigns.
Crowdfunding forces you to create valuable content that people will want to share with their friends and family—organically—and those articles, videos, and images all have the link to your campaign on them.
Fortunately, I had the help of a team of 5-8 contributors who developed their own blogs, videos, and graphics to share with their networks. Crowdfunding is truly a team effort that undoubtedly results in expanding your audience.
One of the best parts about crowdfunding is that you engage your audience. As the creator, you provide them an inside peek into the development process of your book. They are along with you on the ride and are excited to share your concept.
This type of audience engagement is rare during the development process. Normally, writers will create a book and release it on a launch date.
Not many readers get the chance to influence a book during its development and that’s what keeps people coming back to platforms like Kickstarter and IndieGoGo.
#3 Condense 3-6 months of marketing efforts into 30 days
This condensed marketing effort really takes a lot of strategic planning and development. You can’t just throw up a campaign page and expect the backers to support your project.
All of the marketing efforts that other authors spend over the course of the year are condensed into a very short timeframe. This can be exhausting, which is why all crowdfunding campaigns should end after 35 days or so.
During your crowdfunding campaign, you’ll write press releases, create videos, reach out to bloggers, social media influencers, and hopefully, get the attention of a few news outlets.
Stacy Bauer made a few appearances on her local TV news station during her Kickstarter campaign for her children’s book.
Erin Parekh’s campaign link was retweeted twice by Neil Gaiman out to his 2.72M followers.
You’re not supposed to be able to sustain this level of a marketing media blitz longer than 30 days, so please, don’t try.
#4 Your book is funded
The best part about crowdfunding your book is that aside from your marketing budget during the crowdfunding campaign, your wallets aren’t entirely empty.
Many indie authors struggle with finding the thousands of dollars necessary to hire a quality editor, illustrator, and cover designer. As a result, their books aren’t as well made and don’t sell as well.
Crowdfunding offers a unique proposition to readers that basically says, “Invest in this idea and you’ll get a much better product than you could’ve if I did this on my own dime.”
Believe me, people will invest a few extra books if it means they get a better book plus a few extras.
Tired of reading and want the video version of this blog instead?
Watch me reiterate the points above (and more) in the video below.