Crowdfunding is changing the face of many industries and self-publishing is no different. People with an audience, people with a cause, and people with an idea are all finding success through crowdfunding websites like Kickstarter, Indie GoGo, and GoFundMe.
I’ve been asked a often, “Liz, should I consider using something like Kickstarter to pay to have my book published?” And, really, there’s no easy answer to that question. But, over the course of the next several weeks, I’m going to try to help you answer that question!
For today’s installment, you’ll need to ask yourself some questions:
- Do you have an audience? – There are times when a crowdfunding project will go viral and a never-known-person will see wild success, but that’s the exception and not the rule. If you don’t already have an audience – one willing to financially back your campaign and be an ambassador for your project – you need to rethink your desire to crowdfund.
- Do you have a cause? – In lieu of an audience, you may have a cause. Something so important that the creation of your project will, in turn, create an audience. If you’ve got that Big Idea, hold tight and start doing the research necessary to plot out your campaign.
- Do you have an idea? – Yes, clearly, if you’re thinking of self-publishing a book you have an idea, but is it a unique idea? Is it a book unlike any other? Is it revolutionary? Be honest with yourself when you answer this question. Taking the time to do the research now will prevent a lot of heartache later on. Really dig into your genre and your scene before committing to a crowdfunding campaign because, if it’s already been done, you’ll not find success.
However, there’s more to it than that! You also need to invest yourself in understanding the world of books. Specifically, books like the one you’d like to publish.
- Know if similar books have been published. Do your part to search from your own desk. Check out Amazon and Goodreads, search by title, subject, and BISAC… and then, with some information in your arsenal, head to the library to meet with a librarian who can help you research this question in detail.
- Be realistic about your costs. This is not a time to guess about costs for printing or copyediting. You need to invest yourself in your project by doing detailed profit and loss analysis and understanding just how much every element of your self-publishing endeavor will cost. The last thing you want is a successful campaign that costs major dollars out of your own project because of underestimated expenses.
- Analyze all self-publishing crowdfunding projects. Sites like Kicktraq make this easy! Do some searches using keywords like “publishing,” “self-publishing,” and “book.” Compare their success rates with their funding amounts, number of backers, duration of campaign, and the social media followings of the people behind the project. How do your goals stack up? If you’re feeling especially ambitious, reach out to some of the successes and failures and see if they’d be willing to share some of their insights.
If you take the time to do these things, you’ll be ready to move onto the next step of crowdfunding your self-publishing book: designing your campaign.