Crowdfunding for authors is difficult. It’s a process that takes planning, commitment, and perseverance.
But, with great challenge comes great opportunity.
A successful crowdfunding campaign has significant advantages for authors. These advantages stretch far beyond just the opportunity to raise money. Not only can crowdfunding act as a sales/audience accelerator, but it is an increasingly viable gateway for publishers to pick up authors.
We’ve isolated three major forces that make crowdfunding for authors a compelling choice:
Crowdfunding for Authors Will Help Defray Costs:
Any author who has considered self-publishing their book knows that it is an expensive endeavor. To get a book from manuscript to bookshelf takes an investment in editing, cover design, formatting, and printing. As an estimation, an author with a ~70,000 word fiction novel with no pictures can expect to spend upwards of $4,000 to get a final product.
Depending on the complexity of the book (color, length, pictures/diagrams, and cover choice) these costs can escalate dramatically. (For those interested in a line-by-line cost breakdown – check out our post analyzing each element of self-publishing costs.)
Crowdfunding allows authors to pre-sell their book and raise this money up front. A successful campaign allows the author to collect cash and get their book to market without spending any of their money out of pocket.
Crowdfunding Accelerates Authors’ Audience and Sales Growth
Plain and simple, selling a book via crowdfunding is easier than selling a book that is already in production. This has important implications that authors need to take advantage of.
Crowdfunding Let’s Authors Get Initial Sales Faster:
Buyers are more receptive to crowdfunding because we all share an innate human desire to be involved. Crowdfunding is unique, because buyers don’t just get a copy of a book, they get to be part of the reason the book exists. This is critically important. When authors crowdfund their book, they are giving their backers a chance to be a part of it.
Further, crowdfunding creates a sense of urgency that doesn’t exist with regular book sales. There is an inherent time limit to a crowdfunding campaign. This compels people to act now. Fighting people’s urge to “wait until later” is much easier with limited availability than it is when people feel like they can pick it up on Amazon whenever they want.
An Authors’ Crowdfunding Audience is an Engine for Future Book Sales:
The success of the initial commercial launch is what determines the sales trajectory of almost any product. Books are no different. Authors who want their books to climb the rankings, get more shelf-space, and achieve the critical mass necessary for success need momentum on launch day.
Crowdfunding pre-sales for your book becomes a crucial engine to drive this success. Your chances of success look much different when you already come to market with a few hundred raving fans. These early supporters will get your book five-star reviews, recommended to friends, and picked up in book clubs. An author that comes to market after a successful crowdfunding campaign has a distinct advantage. They will already have hundreds of people talking about and sharing their book on their behalf.
Taken together, a successful crowdfunding campaign provides authors with a greater chance at achieving the escape velocity required for a successful book launch.
Crowdfunding for Authors Can Lead to a Legitimate Publisher
Publishers pick up books that they believe will be profitable. Unknown authors face a difficult proposition in convincing publishers that they are a sound economic investment.
However, this conversation is quite different if an author comes to the table showing that they already have a base of hundreds of eager backers. All things equal, a publisher will choose the author that can demonstrate they have an audience of paying customers.
Further, several crowdfunding platforms exist that are changing the author/publisher equation. Specifically, there are platforms that act as your “agent”. Using matching algorithms, these platforms pair authors to potential publishers.
In addition, other publishing platforms exist that allow authors to “try out” for publication. If an author can demonstrate a successful campaign, the publisher will pick them up and publish their book.
(For those interested in a full breakdown of each crowdfunding platform, check out our blog that details the pros and cons of the major crowdfunding players.)
Please note, a successful crowdfunding campaign does not guarantee a publishing deal. However, it can provide a more direct route than the traditional process of obtaining an agent and submitting hundreds of query letters.
We believe that crowdfunding for authors presents a fantastic opportunity. Not only can crowdfunding for authors enhance future sales, but it can also defray a significant up-front investment. Given the ever evolving publishing landscape will continue to make crowdfunding for authors an opportunity with expanding potential.
If crowdfunding is right for you then please check out our other blog posts. We help authors navigate through everything that comes next. This includes everything from choosing the right platform to running a successful campaign!
Our goal is to provide the best free material that authors can find on crowdfunding. But if you want our premium content, then definitely check out our eBook Funded. We put together a step by step guide to help authors earn thousands of dollars and get their book published. So, if you want to learn everything from how to get your first 100 paying customers to how to create the perfect pitch video and how to get a publisher – then we would be thrilled if you checked it out.