Crowdfunding enables entrepreneurs and business savvy creatives to launch their projects or ideas with the help of financial backing from the crowd. Though crowdfunding is a relatively new concept, the industry is growing rapidly. According to crowdfunding trends and statistics presented by Crowd Mapped, crowdfunding raised $5.1 billion at the close of 2013, up from $2.66 billion in 2012 and $1.47 billion in 2011.
Artists and entrepreneurs alike are learning the benefits of conducting a crowdfunding campaign and authors are no exception. Because of the evolutionary nature of the publishing industry and the imminent shift in power from publishers to authors brought on by the rise of digital and self-publishing, crowdfunding is becoming an increasingly popular business tool and both authors and publishers can reap the benefits.
So, what are the benefits? By conducting a successful crowdfunding campaign authors can:
Raise funds for publishing costs.
The most obvious benefit of crowdfunding is that it presents a way for authors to fund their publishing projects. Publishing can be expensive and crowdfunding allows an author to use their network and audience to contribute to the publishing costs upfront, rather than relying on sales to reimburse the costs of publishing. Having funding makes self-publishing less risky and also can help an author create a higher quality book.
Reward-based crowdfunding allows authors to create tiered rewards to both thank and entice their audience to support at various monetary levels. The most obvious reward an author can offer to their supporters is their book, so crowdfunding essentially provides a platform to facilitate a pre-order campaign to a wider audience of people.
Author branding. When creating rewards, authors must devise a range of levels that will appeal to everyone in their network and audience. Authors are forced to think about what other services or items of value they can offer supporters. Creating reward levels can help authors to build their brand by determining what else they have to offer their audience.
Talk about and drive traffic to a book before it’s published.
To be successful, authors must begin marketing their book well in advance of publication. Authors should be getting readers excited for their book before it’s available for purchase, but talking about a book that hasn’t been published yet can be difficult. A crowdfunding campaign provides a landing page an author can drive traffic to before their book is published that encompasses who they are as an author and their upcoming book.
Gather important market analytics and reader information.
A crowdfunding campaign can provide authors with valuable insight to their audience. Market analytics such as age, gender and geographic location and knowing where their supporters came from (Twitter, email, newsletter blast, etc.) will help authors to cater future marketing and promotional efforts. By receiving supporter information authors are able to build and maintain a reader database.
Crowdfunding is becoming a natural step in the publishing process and offers a lot of benefits that can help launch authors to success in the book market. However, as with any book marketing plan, conducting a campaign requires a lot of time and effort. Crowdfunding is a great fit for both up and coming and established authors, but having a developed author platform, a strong network and a targeted pitch are vital first steps to success in crowdfunding and publishing. Learn more and see if crowdfunding right for you and you could join successful crowdfunding authors Seth Godin, Angela Miller and Janna Leyde.
Justine Schofield is the development director of Pubslush, a global crowdfunding platform for the literary world that provides a way to raise funds and tangibly pre-market books and literary-based projects. A graduate of Emerson College in Boston, she is currently pursuing her MFA in Creative Writing at Lesley University. Justine has become 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 has spoken on panel discussions about crowdfunding for authors and continues to foster the growth and development of crowdfunding within the publishing process. She tweets for @pubslush. Connect with her on LinkedIn.