There are many good reasons to undertake a crowdfunding campaign in publishing, but it’s safe to say that most of them will not result in high financial paybacks for the author. Now, I don’t know you or your writing project, so they might, but for the majority of writers who choose to crowd fund, the rewards are much more personal and often intangible.
So Step 1 in my opinion is deciding why a particular project you may be working on is a good candidate for crowd funding. Here are some questions you may want to consider regarding your project before moving ahead. Considering these criteria in advance will save you many headaches in the long run.
Have you done your homework?
You wouldn’t start a draft of your next book without doing some preparation, right? Whether it’s researching, outlining, or fact-checking, the skills you use in writing need to now be parlayed into preparing to self-publish. Depending on your goals, here are some starters:
- talk to booksellers about your project
- build your support base and author presence
- spend time on crowd funding sites, and contribute to several projects
- look at the design and layout of books similar to yours
What do you want to accomplish?
This is probably the most personal criteria. Pre-determining what you would need to achieve to deem your own crowdfunding project a success. In many cases, these yardsticks will not be financial, but setting them in advance will save you from being caught up in the “comparison game” since it’s far too easy to find other projects that seem more “successful” than your own. So, ask yourself, would you consider your project a success if you:
- made progress on building a platform as an author or tested your platform as an author
- tested out the various ways you feel most comfortable engaging with your readers on different social media platforms
- learned more than you ever wanted to know about book production, book marketing and publishing services first-hand
- fulfilled a personal goal to bring your project into the world
Are you setting realistic goals?
Crowdfunding a book project has a better than average rate of success, but there are many other factors to consider before you hit the “Publish” button. Consider the following before starting out:
- put together a team, which statistically achieves more success in crowd funding ventures?
- fundraise for the lowest possible amount—you can always up the ante if the campaign takes off
- decide if you are willing to subside unanticipated costs, because trust me, they will appear
- sometimes a successful project creates a life of its own—decide on your own criteria of success, so you’ll know when it’s time to move on
Next post, we’ll consider different crowdfunding models and take a look at how writing projects fare within those models.