Crowdfunding a book is not an easy task. It requires a lot of research, planning, and preparation.
Then, you deal with people’s misconceptions and misunderstandings about your goals (most people think you’re begging).
Worse yet, your well-meaning friends and family reassure you that they’ll “buy it when it’s available on Amazon,” even though you both know they won’t.
So, before you start your crowdfunding journey, here are 5 things crowdfunding authors want you to know:
#1 It’s difficult to educate people on your reasons for crowdfunding your book
Elisavet Arkolaki at Maltamum.com was shocked at how difficult it was to educate her readers on the time-sensitive nature of crowdfunding.
When the clock is ticking and the stakes are high, you have to educate your audience well in advance of your campaign launch so that everyone is on board.
Additional resources: Book Pre-launch Audience Education: Why it’s so important
Elisavet’s behind-the-scenes look at her Kickstarter campaign
#2 It’s hard to be heard on social media these days
Lindsay Achtman was surprised to discover that even posting 2x/day on her social media pages wasn’t enough to move the needle in pledges to her Kickstarter campaign.
“I need to be posting in multiple groups, at least 10 per day, to get the engagement I wanted. I had a lot of luck posting in garage sale sites (on Facebook)!”
Additional resource: The Secret to Marketing Your Book Without Annoying People
#3 Most people are confused about Kickstarter vs. GoFundMe
Rebecca Hamer says that most of her friends and family confused her Kickstarter campaign as a charity fundraiser.
“Most people had no idea how crowdfunding and Kickstarter worked. They thought it was a charity thing… I had to educate my audience on Kickstarter…”
It’s important to make clear in your audience education efforts what crowdfunding is and how it works.
Rebecca Yee Peters also struggled with the pre-order vs. donate concept during her fixed funding IndieGoGo campaign.
“Most people kept saying in posts “Donate to Rebecca’s movie.’ Even after I kept telling them it’s not a donation. People also don’t seem to realize what “all or nothing’ means. Even at 10% funded, everyone is like “you’re doing well!” I say every time “No, I don’t get to keep that money.”
Tip: Be sure to create multiple visuals explaining your goals, the process, and how they can support you. Feel free to borrow the text from the images below.
Giving thanks to the authors is always appreciated if you use these resources—share our books on social media, buy our books, or recommend them to a friend.
#4 You can’t always rely on friends and family to support your campaign
Some authors have very generous friends and family patrons who go above and beyond (AND WE LOVE AND APPRECIATE YOU), however, some authors do not.
For those who don’t have friends and family who are interested in our books, we must rely on connecting with strangers to pre-order our books.
Connecting with strangers requires more touch points (getting the same message in front of the same people before your deadline), more time, and convincing copy.
Jennifer Senne discovered how difficult it can be to make these genuine connections during her IndieGoGo campaign and warns other authors not to rely solely on friends and family.
Not only is it difficult to convince strangers to pre-order your book, they often cancel their pledges at the last minute, which is extra gutting when you’re running an all-or-nothing campaign.
Additional resources: What Actually Motivates Someone to Support a Crowdfunding Campaign
#5 External press doesn’t usually convert into new backers
Getting external validation (bloggers, news articles, radio features, etc.,) is GREAT social proof that your book is well-received by people outside of your friends and family network but frustratingly, doesn’t always translate into new backers.
Elisavet Arkolaki explains,
“My press coverage was great but it did not lead to sales as I expected it would (0 conversion rate). I proceeded to use the press features as proof that I was doing something noteworthy.”
Sheri Wall had a disappointing outcome with the social media influencers for her IndieGoGo campaign and said,
“I had three influencers with large email lists who said they’d share my campaign with their followers. Not one of them actually included the campaign in an email.”
Tip: Use customized links via bit.ly or Kickstarter/IndieGoGo itself to track backers coming from various sources and evaluate your return on investment.