What Analyzing 100 Crowdfunding Campaigns Tells Us About Author Incentives

Note: This is a guest post from Publishizer’s Head of Growth, Lee Constantine. For more on the ins and outs of crowdfunding you can follow Lee’s work on Medium.

We tracked every transaction on Publishizer, and curated our top 100 bonuses (or perks) by gross total. See the list. Our data tells us fiction books are not as likely to make the top 100, but when they do – data on price, copies sold, and readers are similar to nonfiction.

Here’s what the top 100 in gross total funds have in common:

Disclaimer: Data does not take into account the size of individual authors email lists, level of influence, or persistence and commitment to promotion. Data is not necessarily indicative of book sales on other platforms.

1. Lots of readers preorder one copy at about $20

The average book on Amazon sells about 50 copies. But if you make your crowdfunding campaign personal and exclusive to your early readers, then reaching 200 should be very doable. 200 appears to be a magic number as many in the top 100 gross total bonuses have at least this many readers preordering a single copy at $20 or $25.

2. A small group of readers preorder a mid-priced package (about $500)

This bonus is most often about support for your campaign rather that just buying your book. I’ve seen this most often taken by patrons or sponsors of your book. The copies they receive are basically used as gifts for friends, family and colleagues.

3. 1 reader preorders a high priced package (>$1,500)

Selling 50 copy bundles of your book is one of the most common strategies in crowdfunding. But why would someone buy 50, 100 or even 200 copies of your book? This package is more about the incentives you can offer on top of the book(s) i.e. a personal coaching session, exclusive invite to a launch party, access to private communities or Facebook groups, workshops or retreat, or even keynote speaking.

4. Whether you make the $20 copy a print version or an ebook doesn’t make a significant difference

If you’re going to price your book, consider what sells enough copies to reach your funding goal. For both fiction and non-fiction, the $20 pricing points works very well. Remember, this is a crowdfunding campaign so typical book buying logic is not centered around the lowest price.

It’s also about readers supporting your campaign. Which also means ebook vs. print copy may not be significant, which is the case for several authors in the top 100 list.

5. Increasing the price of the book to $25 (instead of $20) drops readership by about 27% and total funds by about 23%. 

While people will often give some extra money to support your book crowdfunding campaign, there appears to be a cap what they’ll give per copy. Increasing the price by just $5 may drop readership and total funds significantly.

However, there are exceptions to every piece of data. As is the case in the next point.

6. Selling out of your $20 package helps sell your next bonus tier at $25.

Demand and traction clearly have an affect on price. If your crowdfunding campaign hasn’t sold too many copies, then getting people to buy at $25 may be difficult. However, the opposite is also true. Showing that you’ve gained enough support for the book, will increase likelihood of obtaining more readers.

Once you obtained about 100 readers at the $20 price and show that it has sold out, then you’re very likely to get buy-in from additional readers at a new $25 tier.

7. Lowering the price of the book to under $10 increases number of readers and copies sold by at least 30%, but decreases total funds by about 50%. 

This one seems like common knowledge. Lower prices increase readers, but it takes away from your real goal in crowdfunding: funds. Both readers and funds are important aspects of running a successful campaign, but increasing one at the cost of the other is not usually the smartest strategy.

For instance, you may argue that certain fiction genres sell better at $10 or less (Romance novel usually goes for $8–10). But in crowdfunding, you are reaching out to friends, family and colleagues. Your inner circle or network of contacts is far different than the typical market, which means you need to price your book higher to ensure you gain enough funds in order to meet or exceed publishing costs.

 

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.