Crowdfunding your book isn’t rocket science, however, it requires a real commitment in time and effort. Crowdfunding is an amazing tool for authors to professionally publish their work, and it’s a great way to build publicity leading up to your book launch, however, the most successful authors don’t expect crowd-funding to magically happen for their book – they make crowdfunding happen with these ten tips.
1. Set a realistic funding goal. The starting point of a crowd-funding campaign is to identify your minimum funding goal. The key word is ‘minimum’. Most trade fiction and non-fiction books can be professionally self-published for $5000-$10,000. Cookbooks, children’s books and art books can be much higher. Campaigns with a realistic funding goal enjoy a much higher chance of success
2. Offer unique reader rewards. The most common pattern between runaway success stories in crowd-funding books, is that their authors offer readers awesome, unique rewards. Having their name credited inside the book, hanging out with you online or offline, attending a real world book launch event, and receiving valuable coaching or consulting from you, are surefire ways to get backers for your campaign.
3. Have a marketing plan before you launch. The number one mistake authors make when using crowd-funding is to expect to be ‘discovered’ and have thousands of people flocking to give you their hard earned money. This isn’t the case. The majority of successful campaigns have a marketing plan in place, including a prebuilt platform of mailing list subscribers, Twitter followers or prearranged guest posts.
4. Explain your book in one sentence. Most bestselling books can be summarised in one sentence. Behind every great book is one great idea, and you should be able to convey this one great idea in your single sentence pitch. It allows you to easily explain your book to friends and backers, and it allows backers to easily explain your book to their friends.
5. Invest in your front cover. There is a good reason we require authors to provide a great-looking front cover: it drastically improved the chances of a successful crowdfunding campaign. A great looking cover inspires trust, makes the book seem more “real”, and attracts attention when shared across social media channels. Hire a professional designer or invest money in a 99designs cover design contest.
6. Create a short video. A video has a single goal: to build trust. Of the people who visit your crowd-funding campaign and don’t know you, a genuine video of you explaining your book is the most effective way to build trust and inspire them to support your crowdfunding campaign. It doesn’t need to be professionally edited, a short, one minute video recorded on your laptop or computer is good enough.
7. Have a strong story to share. When it comes to crowdfunding your book, people need to share in your vision. People need to be convinced that you’re the right person to be writing this book, and the most powerful way to convince them is with a well crafted, genuine story. Share the series of events that lead you to write your book, and readers will believe in you and your book.
8. Polish your chapter outline. A great way to convince readers that your book is worth pre ordering, is to offer a polished chapter outline. A well-structured table of contents with an accompanying paragraph to describe what will be inside, captures the imaginations of readers and makes them want your book to be published – and results in them pre ordering your book.
9. Craft a great author bio. People need to know who you are, what you’ve done, and why you do what you do. Great authors get their writing published in other places, share highlights from their career, and leave readers feeling that you have a strong sense of purpose.
10. Get your book out there! By far, the single most common characteristic of crowdfunding campaigns for books is that their authors believe in their work, and get out there by sharing their work with the world. They are prepared to spend time crafting their marketing plan, and dedicate their limited time in executing it with the 30 days or so they have. Great authors experiment constantly with new ways of getting their work out there.
The Startup Success workshop is presented by Guy Vincent, Founder and CEO of Publishizer, the crowdfunding platform for authors. Guy has run Startup Writer Workshops in New York, Singapore, Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and Bali – and has given talks at the Ubud Writer’s Festival, Asia Professional Speakers, PechaKucha and Creative Mornings.
If I could include one other tip. Build your community before embarking on your campaign. Doing it on the run is thwart with danger.