Crowdfunding. This seems to be the buzzword in DIY venues. Have an awesome tech idea? Crowdfund it. Conjured up an epic game worthy of geekdom fame? Crowdfund it. Want to publish a book? Crowdfund it.
Write to Publish 2015 included an entire panel on book crowdfunding. Nicole McArdle, marketing director at PubSlush; Chris Morey, publisher at Dark Regions Press; Patrick McDonald, publisher of Overcup Press; Todd Sattersten, freelance publishing consultant; and Leia Weathington, graphic novelist, provided insight and advice on how crowdfunding works.
Here are some tips you might have missed at the Write to Publish conference:
Use the time before a campaign—Use it to gain supporters and begin promoting the idea of the project to your outside network. Promoting a campaign before it launches will allow supporters to familiarize themselves with the project and will give you time to answer any questions they may have. It also gives you the chance to figure out the nitty-gritty stuff, like shipping costs and taxes, and build that into your budget. Take some time to build a professional presentation. Don’t just have huge blocks of text explaining the campaign; make sure to incorporate some images of your company, your team, and your logo. A video presentation may be necessary, but keep it brief and try not to read off your notes in a monotone voice. Be happy about your campaign and portray a sense of urgency. Campaigns are usually pretty quick (thirty days, generally), so you don’t have time to lollygag around. Make sure your presentation reflects that. Another tip: use the correct verbiage. Words like “donate,” “pledge,” “sponsor,” and “fundraising” lead people to believe they’re getting nothing in return. Instead, try using phrases such as “supporting a project,” “helping to bring this book to life,” and “pre-ordering a book.”
Be creative with the rewards—Have no more than ten rewards, unless you have a stretch goal. Figure out the different tiers you’re going to have and be creative about them. Use smaller rewards first (like below the retail price of the book you’re trying to fund), then go up from there. Give the fans what they want, things related to the campaign that don’t cost you too much money. For example, if you’re promoting a book, have rewards like a signed copy, a personal inscription, or a custom dust jacket. Keep in mind, the internet loves images, so incorporate that any way you can, from original artwork to sneak peeks of the finalized covers.
Develop a creative marketing strategy—Plan your marketing strategies in advance. Go local, contact newspapers and blogs, see if any local libraries or cafes will host a book reading or book signing event. Contact the niche audience that the book targets. Podcasts are also a good way to get out there. Ask your current social media followers to vote on a reward and use the winner when you launch the campaign. Doing these things will allow you to feel more connected to your supporters and for your supporters to feel like they are part of the campaign.
To make sure you don’t miss our next conference, check out Write to Publish.