By Justine Schofield, Development Director of Pubslush
You might already know this, but I’m going to say it anyway. Publishing a book is hard. If you didn’t already know this, I’m not sure if I should apologize or say ‘you’re welcome.’ There’s a lot that goes into publishing. Not only do you have to write the book (and we all thought that was the hard part!), now, as an author, you have to build a platform, establish your audience, market both yourself and your book and, if you’re self-publishing, compile a publishing team to produce the book. Phew.
Don’t worry, it’s not all as intimidating as it sounds, and there are a lot of very helpful tools available to authors to help them publish more successfully. One emerging trend in the industry is crowdfunding. If you’re unfamiliar with the term, crowdfunding is a way for entrepreneurs and creatives to raise funds and awareness for upcoming or potential projects. By collecting many smaller financial pledges from a large number of people through online platforms, crowdfunding has helped millions of people bring projects to life through the support of the crowd.
The market is over saturated with millions of books published every year, so it’s important for authors to stand out from the crowd with high-quality books and well-planned marketing efforts. Crowdfunding not only provides a solution to the financial burden of publishing, but other aspects of the process, as well. Let’s take a look at how crowdfunding can help an author to publish more successfully.
Advanced funds = higher quality books. This is the basis of crowdfunding in that it allows those without funds to publish. And for those with funds, it allows them to publish higher-quality products. Receiving funding in advance of publication, rather than trying recoup hard earned dollars through book sales, gives independent authors the ability to publish books that can compete in the mainstream market.
Did someone say rewards? Crowdfunding is reward-based. This means the supporters of a campaign receive something in return for their financial pledge. In addition to exclusive goodies and offers, most campaigns offer the final product which, of course for an author, is his/her book. By offering the upcoming book as a reward, authors are essentially able to jumpstart the sales of their books.
Brand development in a brand new way. If an author is serious about success, he must treat his book like a business…and every business needs a brand. A store that has a little bit for everyone, rather than a specific focus, won’t have a solid customer base. The same is true in the book market. Authors need to determine what they’re offering to their readers and how to best showcase their brand in an enticing way. By creating reward levels, authors formulate what else they have to offer their readers in addition to their book, which helps to create and define their brand.
Market now, smile later. It’s crucial that marketing efforts for a book start well before the book is published. Marketing an upcoming product isn’t easy, but a crowdfunding campaign provides a platform to drive traffic to and connect with potential readers. Crowdfunding helps authors establish a marathon marketing plan, rather than a sprint, so to speak, and helps to spread the marketing efforts out over time, as opposed to weighing down on the author come publication time.
Know thy readers, know thyself. Okay, this one may be a little too philosophical, but knowing who the audience is for a book is essential in order to effectively market. A crowdfunding campaign provides market analytics and reader data for campaign supporters so an author can be better informed for future marketing efforts.
Crowdfunding should generally take place 3-6 months before a book is published and can provide a lot of valuable insight for an author on the road to publication. Conducting a successful campaign does require a lot of planning and determination, but then again so does writing and selling a book. If you’re an author, crowdfunding is worth the work. Your book deserves to be in the hands of readers, so start with the first step to success.
For more information about how to crowdfund successfully, sign up to join the Pubslush community using the promo code SMITH to receive The Guide: Tips To Successful Crowdfunding.
Justine Schofield is the development director of Pubslush, a global a pre-publication platform that allows authors and publishers to raise funds, collect pre-orders and tangibly market their upcoming book project. A writer at heart, Justine received her MFA in Creative Writing from Lesley University. A prominent voice in the publishing industry and an advocate for educating authors and publishers about crowdfunding, she has contributed to IBPA’s Independent magazine, Self-Publishers Monthly, Book Marketing Magazine, Business Banter and many more online publications. She tweets for @pubslush.