How Crowdfunding Is Changing The World Of Publishing

Sun, 18 May 2014

The publishing world has always been somewhat ruthless on the aspirations of first time authors looking to get their first book or novel printed and onto the shelves of bookstores. The increasing interest in celebrity penned autobiographies and popular fiction has grown especially during these uncertain economic times. The advent of self-publishing gives authors the opportunity to put the publishing process into their own hands, but can be costly not to mention the time needed to market the finished book. However crowdfunding offers authors the opportunity to raise funds to meet the costs of getting the books published and enable effective marketing through the power of social media.

Crowdfunding: A Brief Explanation

Crowdfunding is a means by which any project or business can seek donations from the public through the internet. A call for funding is placed, usually through a dedicated crowdfunding platform, with a target amount to be collected within a certain time. In return, donors are offered rewards which can now include equity share in the venture. This is all dependent on if the target amount is reached by the deadline and if it is not then any money pledged is returned to the owner.

Whilst the concept of crowdfunding dates back as far as the erection of New York's Statue of Liberty, it has grown into an industry in its own right, with new crowdfunding platforms being established. Some platforms even specialize in certain fields, like publishing, and are becoming more competitive by offering unique promotional services and resources.

Some Important Points About Crowdfunding

Looking to crowdfunding that debut publication is like any other form of investment in that it is a gamble and much of it is dependent on that all important well crafted pitch to potential investors. Like any presentation it is important to be clear and concise as to what the book will be about, and the cost involved leading to a target figure to be proposed. However crowdfunding is very much an interactive process and requires the author's constant involvement in promoting the campaign. It is important to consider the following:
  • Laying the foundations using immediate contacts such as family and friends is vital. If they are convinced they will cascade this to their friends and contacts. This is the most important test as if authors cannot convince those closest to them to donate then it will be even harder to attract donors from the public.
  • The target sum needed must also factor in the percentage to be paid to the crowdfunding platform and the cost of rewards, as well as publication and marketing costs. Allow enough time to raise the necessary funds, usually between 30 and 90 days.
  • Whilst crowdfunding is largely a Web 2.0 tool heavily influenced through social media, it is important to build interest through local media such as newspapers and radio. Send out press releases and be ready for interviews if asked.
  • Social media though is the most vital tool in the success of crowdfunding. Unless the project owner has experience connecting with hundreds or even thousands of poeple then using social media to promote their book could prove difficult. Set up accounts in advance and start posting updates to build a strong following.

Yet the most important task, one that needs careful consideration is selecting an appropriate crowdfunding platform. With so many to choose from, it's important to undertake careful research.

It's so important that I'll devote my next article to that very topic.