The funny thing about publishing is your work is never done. Example, the publishing process in a nutshell: write, build an author platform, market, publish, market, sell books, market, sell more books, then…market some more.
Once a writer finishes a manuscript (and we all thought writing was the hard part), the real work of putting together a publishing team and marketing themselves and their book begins. And let’s face it, this part never really ends.
So, why not put more of an emphasis on marketing before publication? Crowdfunding is a growing trend that helps authors to do just that, fitting perfectly into the publishing process.
Although crowdfunding might not make publishing easier, at the very least it does make the process a bit more streamlined.
Picture a new publishing process: write, build an author platform, crowdfund, publish, market, sell books…well, you know the rest. At this point you might be wondering, how does this one extra step make a difference?
What is Crowdfunding?
Crowdfunding is, in broad terms, a way for entrepreneurs and creatives to raise funds for a project by collecting monetary pledges from a large number of people.
Reward-based crowdfunding allows the project creator to offer their supporters rewards in return for their financial pledge. By creating reward levels, project creators are able to offer various rewards at tiered monetary amounts in order to both entice and thank supporters.
In publishing terms, crowdfunding isn’t just a way to raise funds for publishing costs. Conducting a crowdfunding campaign also provides authors with many other benefits that can help to propel them to success once published.
As mentioned, a unique benefit of crowdfunding is the ability to market your book before publication. And I mean really market your book.
Prior to crowdfunding, it’s been difficult for authors—especially newer authors—to begin marketing a book before it’s published because there’s no tangible product yet.
However, a crowdfunding campaign provides a landing page to drive traffic to.
Through this landing page that authors can drive traffic to, they are also able to collect pre-orders for their upcoming book by offering their book as a reward. Pre-orders boost sales before the book is even published, which puts the author at an advantage.
We know many times selling books is a domino effect and personal recommendations are one of the most popular ways people learn about and buy books.
So, the sooner people can have the book in their hand, the sooner these recommendations and reviews can begin.
Along the same lines, crowdfunding has the unique aspect of providing shareability and discoverability. People who contribute to a crowdfunding campaign generally enjoy the fact that they took part in the discovery and creation process and tend to share this with their networks.
The shareability of a campaign can help to create buzz around the upcoming book, widen the initial audience and further the preliminary marketing efforts.
A crowdfunding campaign also allows for the author to share their own story as well as describe their upcoming book. Getting to know the “story behind the story,” if you will, helps to create a more personal connection between the author and the reader and this is something that can’t be found in the traditional marketplace.
Crowdfunding allows for discussion between the author and the readers and fosters a more collaborative creative process. Being in touch with supporters will allow authors to gauge the initial audience and see which marketing tactics worked better than others.
Having a solid foundation of support before entering the book market seems to be essential in the age of digital publishing. The market is very crowded, so authors need to strategize how their book will stand out and crowdfunding is definitely a viable solution.
A crowdfunding campaign sets up an author to be more prepared when entering the market and the more prepared, the better.
One point that shouldn’t be overlooked is that crowdfunding isn’t easy and it does require a lot of time and commitment from the author, but so does publishing, so maybe that’s why the two seem to fit together so well.
Campaigns are time sensitive, generally running 15-45 days, so authors have to be ready and willing to be consistently promoting their campaign throughout its duration. To be prepared, authors should:
- Develop enticing and realistic rewards
- Secure an “inner circle” of supporters that will pledge to their campaign the day it launches. It’s important to get the funding number up and build momentum immediately. Campaigns that are able to raise 30% of their goal in the first week are much more likely to succeed.
- Have an established network to reach out to after the initial support is complete.
- Know the audience of the book and how to get in touch.
- Create a comprehensive marketing plan for throughout the campaign.
Crowdfunding is still a newer concept, but as the publishing industry continues to evolve, it’s important for authors to educate themselves on best publishing practices and be aware of all their options.
Again, crowdfunding unfortunately doesn’t make the publishing process easier, but because a lot of the preliminary marketing work is shifted to the pre-publication phase, the process does become a bit more manageable.
For a more comprehensive overview of crowdfunding and the publishing process, join the Pubslush community use the promo code TFOI to receive The Guide: Tips To Successful Crowdfunding.
This article was originally published on The Future of Ink and is reprinted here in its entirety for our Magnolia Media Network readers.