The Basics of Crowd Funding Your Book
Posted On: 2013-10-30
by: Mercedes Tabano

October
30, 2013
One of the things people overlook about self-publishing is that is does have startup expenses. Graphic designers, illustrators, editors, ISBNs, book shepherds, marketing, and more all cost money.

So what is an indie writer supposed to do? The answer could lie in crowd funding. The recent translation of Moby Dick, known as Emoji Dick, was a completely crowd funded work. The creator of this book has often said that without the help of crowd funding, this book never would have happened.

What Is Crowd Funding?

Though venture capitalists have been doing a version of it for centuries, individual crowd funding is a relatively new concept. This is where individuals give money towards an idea. If enough individuals give money, then the idea becomes a reality.

This is different than traditional stock options, because even though these individuals often get a reward, the rights to the resulting product belongs to you alone. In other words, if you write book and get the production costs crowd funded, your benefactors might receive an autographed copy of the book, but you are the one that gets to keep all the royalties.

How Crowd Funding Works

Let's say you have a book that's going to cost $1,000 to bring to market. Instead of raiding your savings, you could put a campaign on a site like KickStarter. You write up a description of the idea, decide what gifts people will receive, and explain why you need the money. Then you share it with your network.

Writing Your Descriptions

When it comes to writing your descriptions, it's important to stay positive. People on crowd funding websites like to give to make the world better through your product. They want to feel good about it, but they don't want to donate to charity. Telling a hardship story or asking for 'help' is a sure way to not be funded.

Instead, focus on how awesome your book will be and why the world needs a book like this. Talk about the many people it will benefit. Once people get excited about your book, they'll be happy to donate money.

Setting Your Goal

On crowd funding sites, you can ask for any amount, from $100 all the way up to several million. The catch is that you often have to reach your entire amount in order to get any money at all. That's why it's best to set a realistic goal. You can always go over your goal, but not under it. You also need to set the goal high enough that the crowd funding site can take its share and still leave you with enough money to fund the project.

How The Money Comes In

Much of the success of crowd funding comes from it's easy to use donor levels. A person can donate as little as $5, or tens of thousands of collars. You actually set the levels yourself, with a number of available 'spots' available for each level. Once those spot are filled, then the donor will have to choose a different level. Common levels include $5, $10, $25, $50, and $100. Most sites will let you do any amount you want in $5 increments. The reason for the limits is because each donor level comes with a thank you gift.

What Kind Of Gifts Should You Offer?

Though crowd funders are generous people, they do expect a token of appreciation, like a gift. This is the same philosophy non-profits use when they give out certificates like 'donor of the year.'

The gift should be related to your book. For example, your donor could be thanked publicly in your book, given a free copy, an autographed copy, a color copy, or a version that's special in some other way. When deciding on your thank you gifts, don't forget to have different gifts for donors who gave more money. Additionally, there should be an extra special gift for the largest donor.

I once saw a graphic designer who had a donor level of $10,000. There was only one of these spots available. For this price, he would come to your workplace and teach your entire staff about the basics of design. This spot was snapped up the very first day because of the gift involved.

Books, magazines, movies, even inventions have all found the money they need through crowd funding websites. With the right gifts, the right description, and the right project, you will have all you need to fund as many books as you choose.

Until Next Time,
Mercedes Tabano

Mercedes Tabano II is a writer, ghostwriter and an indie author who helps others publish. Her free book, "Royalty Free Images for Books And Blogs" gives you 15 places to get free and legal images under a variety of licenses. It can be downloaded here.