Crowdfunding For Authors: How to Get Started

For many writers, being published is a life-long dream. But, the idea of having to spend thousands of dollars to do so makes the dream seem unobtainable. There’s good news. In this day and age there is a wonderful tool known as crowdfunding that can help you get the funds that you need to publish your book. There are several crowdfunding websites, Kickstarter being the most popular, but they all essentially work the same.

1. You set up a project that you need funded. 2. You supply information about that project so that funders know what they are buying into. 3. You have a limited time to raise the funds. 4. You promote your project.

5. Your time ends and you have either raised the funds or not.

Sounds simple, right? Well, in many ways it is, but just like making any other sale and promoting on any other form of social media there is an art to it. Feeling overwhelmed? Take a deep breath. You don’t have to be an expert. You do, however, have to be willing to promote your message, do your research, and most difficult of all, ask for money.

Since Kickstarter is the most popular crowdfunding website out there, that’s what we will be discussing here today. But, keep in mind that most of these principles apply to any crowd \funding website that you use. So, how do you get started?

Determine how much money you need. This is the time to be honest with yourself. You don’t want to be greedy, but you need to be realistic. Sit down and determine, really, how much it will cost to publish your book. Add 20% to that for unexpected costs. Then add 10% to that to cover the cost of launching your project, as both Kickstarter and Amazon take a cut. Does that number seem high? Don’t freak out, there have been campaigns that have raised over $1,000,000. If your message is one that the world needs to hear, people will support you.

Create a video. This is what will often make or break a campaign. Remember, you are asking people to invest in something that doesn’t fully exist yet. Make sure that your video is of good quality and that it isn’t boring. You want to communicate your message in the quickest, most entertaining way possible. This is a time when it would be worth the extra money to hire a professional. You could even include that cost in your overall project goal.

Be present on social media. The only way that you are going to successfully get the word out for your campaign is through a social media presence. You have to have an established platform to be able to convince people to buy into your project. The good news is that you need to have a social media presence to be able to sell your book once it is published, so now is as good a time as any to get started. Check out our blogs on social media, Facebook, Twitter, and author websites. These are your best social media platforms on which to sell your message.

Back at least one project. Kickstarter requires that you back at least one project before you start your own. This is a really good strategy. The more projects you back the more you will be able to see what works and what doesn’t. Especially in your category of publishing. This is the time to do your research.

Set up a project. Visit Kickstarter’s website and click on “start.” You will be prompted to “Start a project.” Click that button and get started. It’s that simple.

There are several do’s and do not’s to keep in mind when using Kickstarter. Thomas Umststattd and Susan Bearman have some good advice on these. You can also check out our blog on how to earn more money with Kickstarter.

When everything is said and done the most important thing to remember is that you have a message that the world needs to hear. You are the creator of that message. You are the best person to sell that message. You shouldn’t fear marketing or fundraising for your book, because you are the perfect person for the job.

What is your favorite crowdfunded project that you have seen/backed? Share with us in the comments section below.