Did you know people would donate money to help publish your book?
I’m not talking about a publishing house advance. I’m talking about regular people like the grocery store clerk, other writers and your favorite coffee shop barista. These people believe in you and your project. How is this possible, you ask? It’s because of crowdfunding.
Crowdfunding is “the practice of funding a project or venture by raising monetary contributions from a large number of people, typically via the Internet.” These sites allow artists and inventors to connect with supportive people who are willing to invest in something they believe in a product as much as you do. The methodology is similar to the phone fundraising campaigns by public television stations: People give you money to work on your project. You give them stuff in return as thanks. That’s it.
Weird, right? Why would strangers believe in your work so much that they want you to succeed? That they want to read your book and help you get that published? I mean, it’s one thing to ask a friend “Can I borrow $20?” only these people aren’t necessarily intimate in your life. Since I cannot draw from my 401K, cash in my vast inheritance or withdraw from my millions in lottery winnings, I am exploring this option to get funds to hire an editor and cover artist.
After discussing experiences with others who have used various crowdfunding sites,
I chose Indiegogo for my experiment. Kickstarter was my initial choice because I had explored the site previously, but you only receive the funds if your project is completely funded. If you ask for $600 but only get $597 in pledges, all the money refunds to the backers. Indiegogo gives you the option to set up your account to keep whatever money you’ve raised minus a percentage. To me, something is better than nothing is, so that sold me. I also found more book projects on that site than on others to use as examples.
HOW TO GET STARTED
To begin a campaign, you have to do some initial research about costs and timing. How much does an editor, developer, or production house charge for their services? What company offers the best quality of materials? What is the turnaround time? Once you have that information, you’ll need to backtrack to determine an end and start date. Crowdfunding sites offer different lengths for your campaign, much like running an eBay auction. You have to set up your account, fill in project ideas, possibly make a video…and all of this takes time, so backtrack even further. Time management is important here.
WHAT WILL I OFFER?
Since I’m writing a memoir, I am looking for personal things. I can’t name a character after a backer–although if I was writing a fiction novel, I’d offer that perk–but I can offer other things like photos of me and Dad, special unpublished stories, autographed limited print editions, or even an actual letter from Dad to me.
HOW DO I FIND THESE PEOPLE?
How will I find these helpful, adventurous folks to contribute to my dream? Aside from my email list of friends and relatives, I plan to promote it on my various social media. This is where my “author’s platform” comes into play. I have a network of people who like my tweets, who read my blog, follow my boards on Pinterest, enjoy my Instagram writing photos, connect with me on LinkedIn and are Facebook friends. It’s a start.
Setting a deadline is good for motivation. Proclaiming it to the world, holding myself accountable to others is a good thing. My book is publishing on November 20, 2014, which was my Dad’s birthday, and that’s a very good thing. I have a lot to do in the next 61 days. If you want to follow my progress, check out my memoir campaign [coming soon]. I’ll continue to share my experiences here and on my personal blog, Wolf Howlings. I hope you’ll learn something along with me. It’s a bold new world out there, and you have to be bold. Just like Dad, I am bold.