Crowdfunding a writing project has its own success factors to consider, ideally in advance of undertaking the project. Fortunately, crowdfunding has been around now for enough years that we can start to see trends in the success and failure rates.
Unlike publishing a book through a traditional house, books that are good candidates for crowdfunding tend to have one of two factors working in their favor.
• the author already has an extensive social network in place
• the topic of the book is timely or aligns with organizations that would likely support it
There is simple logic involved with both of these factors. For the first, given that crowdfunding is generally accomplished online, it makes perfect sense that social media plays a significant part in a successful campaign. Therefore, a writer with 1,000+ Facebook friends has a higher chance of running a successful campaign than someone with zero presence on social media. Someone with name recognition (an already published author, an artist crowdfunding for a book to document their art project, etc) also vastly increases their chances of reaching their crowdfunding goal.
In the second scenario, a new author with a book project that touches on a topic of timely importance should seriously consider leveraging public interest in the topic. For example, my children’s chapter book “B in the World” told an anti-bullying story about a young gender nonconforming child. The public interest in this topic naturally led me to contact human rights organizations, local school districts and parents organizations, regional centers for disenfranchised youth and centers that support issues surrounding gender inequity for GLBT youth. Although there’s a lot of legwork (and social media work) involved, this is generally a win-win situation for everyone involved.
If neither of these two factors apply in your situation, think again. Sometimes, building up a social media platform first is a smart move before undertaking a crowdfunding project. Similarly, look for any and all connections your book may have to public interest and organizations—really, the first step any good book marketer should take anyway. In the end, crowdfunding a book may be more nuanced than it appears at first glance.