Can Self-published Authors Benefit from Crowdfunding?

Crowdfunding for Books

Can Self-published Authors Benefit from Crowdfunding?

Crowdfunding is a new topic of interest for self-published authors and one that is garnering more and more attention. A recent question posed by a first-time author about crowdfunding generated quite a lot of interest and conversation.

Most authors were unaware of how crowdfunding could benefit a self-published author and if there was a need. I have personally never used crowdfunding, although I have heard of several authors who have done so with rewarding results.

So What is Crowdfunding for Authors?
Crowdfunding is a platform for authors to raise funds for their eBook, book or writing projects. This is quite a new phenomenon for authors and has shown to be a successful way of raising money for other artists such as musicians.

How Does it Work?
You post your project (eBook you are writing) and generate financial backing from various groups. These people could be; your friends, family members or colleagues who believe your eBook could be a winner.

Example Crowdfunding sites for Authors Include:

  1. Kickstarter
  2. Publush
  3. Indiegogo

Before Pursuing Crowdfunding – Here are a Few Questions You Must Answer:

1. Do You Have an Existing Platform to Draw Upon?
Have you already established a significant following? Do you have 10,000 followers who may want to invest in your project? If you have a well-established following on your blog or social media account then you will likely have a little more success in getting people to invest. No platform will likely mean no interest.

2. Who Would Want to Invest in Your eBook?
There have been reported cases where authors have obtained financing from people outside of their network but this is rare. Only if you have had previous success would people be willing to invest their money in you.  And if you have had previous success then why would you want to source financing when you can self-publish an eBook for a very low cost?

3. How is Your eBook Different from the Millions of Others?
Every author that wants to succeed must stand out from the crowd. You must publish a unique and compelling story or provide unique information that will solve someone’s problem. If you can do this and are catering to a niche audience then you may be able to generate some interest from niche groups or companies.

4. Do You Want to Ask People for Money?
Asking friends or family for money is always a very difficult task on many fronts. Family and money is not always a good mix. In saying that, they may want to invest knowing that there may not be a return on their investment. You just don’t want to destroy some friendships. You must be willing to ask for money as that is what crowdfunding is.

5. Are You Willing to Stake Your Reputation on it?
If you receive financial backing from people then you have a duty to follow through and promote your eBook and do all you can to ensure you give it the best chance of becoming a best-seller.

There are no guarantees your eBook will succeed, but you must deliver on your guarantee to do your best. If you ask for money and your eBook fails and then you go on to publish future best-sellers without the help from investors then I imagine they will be a little upset, so you need to keep this in mind.

6. How Will You Promote Your eBook?
Ok, so you can write and believe you may just have a best-seller, but how will you market and promote your eBook so it reaches your target audience?

As an investor I would want to know what you are going to do once your eBook has been published. This is where already having a large following and successful platform will help you to convince the investor.

Having a marketing plan will only install further confidence in your investors. You need a plan and then be able to show how you will carry it out. Visit our eBook Marketing department for help on this.

If you have had success with crowdfunding then we would love to hear from you so we can share your success story and help other authors who wish to pursue this funding option.

Update – Recent News Story: Spanish Pentian and their Crowdfunding Model.

After writing this post I came across this news about Pentian.

Spanish digital publisher Pentian has created an online platform that combines full-service self-publishing with crowd funding. Pentian’s platform provides authors with the opportunity to present their projects to the public and then invites backers to pledge financial support.

In return they receive potential financial rewards once the books sell. Due to Pentian’s growth in Spain, they are now expanding into the United States.

Unlike their more well-known Crowdfunding counterpart in Kickstarter, Pentian puts a cap on the amount of money raised. So when the total amount of money required to produce the book has been reached Pentian will no longer accept any more donations and they will commence the production of the book.

This model is a well-crafted one that gets others to put up the money to produce the book and then Pentian collects the money to produce the book. This is a unique way for a publisher and author not to foot the bill. Just how much return is provided to the backers and what the author actually receives is something that needs more investigation.