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CROWDFUNDING BOOKS

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CROWDFUNDING BOOKS


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WHY CROWDFUND BOOKS? I am lucky to have one of the best jobs in the world. As a book designer for over 20 years, I’ve been fortunate to work on over 1,000 books with publishers and authors of all sizes and genres. A large part of my time is spent working with publishers to better understand what their readers want: reviewing books with authors, marketing and editorial staff, distributors, even surveys to gauge if a book is on target. Last year, I was designer for a successful crowdfunded book (over $150,000 in 30 days by 2330 backers). Beyond the publisher’s financial success, I saw a level of engagement and participation from buyers that inspired me. It made me want to learn about crowdfunding books, because I believe this model can help to create books that readers truly want.


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WHY CROWDFUND BOOKS?


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WHY CROWDFUND BOOKS? Do you want your book to be read? Most authors will say: “Of course! What a silly question.” However, I’ve met many authors who write what they want, without first considering if their book is what a reader wants. Because I work with publishers of all sizes, I have learned the advantage of considering a book for both it’s message and marketability from the start. An author has the curse of knowledge, forever being too close to their writing to see a book without the lens of a creator. Crowdfunding requires you to see beyond your role as creator. To succeed it takes planning and honesty, you must be both a judge and cheerleader for your book.


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WHY CROWDFUND BOOKS? Authors today must “sell” their books. I started designing books during the 90s self-publishing boom. A time when authors were excited by technology allowing almost anyone to produce and print books. However, there were not as many options for authors to sell books directly. I empathized with self-publishers who had concerns spending thousands on books that may never reach readers. Independent publishers have better options today. Ebooks, digital and print-on-demand provide more affordable options to market test books before spending $10,000+ on printing. Crowdfunding books is another leap in technology that can support authors to reach their audience. It takes planning and a willingness to listen to what readers want.


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WHY CROWDFUND BOOKS? Crowdfunding books isn’t really a new movement, in fact it’s retro. Charles Dickens pioneered the serial publication of narrative fiction. A form of rolling fundraising with a populist feedback loop, which became the dominant Victorian mode for novel publication. This format allowed Dickens to evaluate his audience’s reaction, and he often modified his plot and character development based on feedback.


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CROWDFUNDING BOOKS In many flavors today and growing…


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CROWDFUNDING BOOKS Kickstarter is the most popular platform for creative projects, including publishing. While an open platform, they review projects before launch to ensure they’re in line with their rules. They take 5% of funds collected, in addition to 3-5% payment processing fees. If the project doesn’t meet its goal, the funds are returned to supporters. Since launching in 2009, Kickstarter has seen $70m pledged to projects in the site’s publishing category. In recent years they have seen the number of successful books-related projects more than double, from 735 in 2011 to 2064 in 2014.


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CROWDFUNDING BOOKS Indiegogo is a fundraising platform for any idea, not just creative projects. While they feature book projects, they don’t have a designated “publishing” category like Kickstarter. Indiegogo doesn’t use a review process before projects go live. They do offer “flexible” funding so creators can keep any money raised (4% fee if the goal is hit, 9% if not), or the same “fixed” for the Kickstarter approach at 5% fee. They also have a 3-5% payment processing fee. Research suggested analytics with Indiegogo are not as powerful as Kickstarter. So tracking funder sources is not as automated.


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CROWDFUNDING BOOKS Pubslush is a crowdfunding platform devoted exclusively to books for authors to “prove their talent and market viability.” Pubslush also offers services for pre-order campaigns, distribution, community pages, and allows funders to donate to a literacy foundation. They take 4% of funds raised, in addition to a 3.5% payment processing fee.


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CROWDFUNDING BOOKS Unbound reviews all submissions before launching a crowdfunding campaign for a book. After a pledge goal is met, Unbound also acts as a traditional publisher, offering editorial, design, printing, marketing and traditional publicity, and distribution services. They are based out of the UK, with UK physical distribution into bookstores through Penguin Random House UK. They pay authors 50% of net profit on all books sold. According to their terms, they “usually own the worldwide or English language rights, but this can vary on a project by project basis as this can be negotiated in the contract.”


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CROWDFUNDING BOOKS Inkshares acts as a traditional publisher once books succeed in their funding goals. They produce, print the initial print run, and handle national physical and digital distribution into bookstores and other retailers, plus a team of marketers to generate awareness. Includes a rewards system for readers who refer books to friends or help fund books that go on to sell thousands of copies. Authors receive 50% of gross revenue on physical books and 70% of gross revenue on digital books. Authors grant Inkshares nonexclusive rights, meaning an author can publish elsewhere if they so choose.


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CROWDFUNDING BOOKS Projects by category—559 in Publishing


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YOUR “WOW” STORY THE NEED (Problem) BELIEFS (Why?) PRODUCT (Solution)


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CROWDFUNDING BOOKS Stretch can be more content. Just remember the overall printing costs to you.


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CROWDFUNDING BOOKS Think of stretch goals that are fun, and easy (and low cost) to deliver, like a video of you saying thank you, or jumping for joy!


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CROWDFUNDING BOOKS 21-Draw Video


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PRE-CAMPAIGN Your manuscript should be finished and completed a full content edit. If you are a first time author it will be valuable to have reviews from readers and provide samples of your book to instill confidence and build trust. If you have authored other books, be sure to share that in your campaign. Trust in your ability to complete your book as promised to backers is essential to your success. Author platform with a following of supporters. Your success will rely on your core supporters and fans. They will be the ones to seed support early in your campaign and that show of support will lend credibility and confidence to backers who do not know you.


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CAMPAIGN STEPS Build funding support (your author platform, social media is key) Crowdfunding platform choice (Length 30-40 days) Campaign budget (don’t forget shipping and fees) Project page (your “wow” story) Video (be personal, tell your story, ask for support) Text (story and campaign details) Budget (be realistic, aim for break even) Schedule (be honest, share potential delays) Rewards & stretch goals (prepare these ahead, to boost support during the middle “dip”) Funding Book production Delivery & Follow up (prep fans for next book)


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FUNDING SUPPORT ENGAGE/BUILD YOUR TRIBE: An author following is critical to crowdfunding success. Up to 30% of your campaign funding will come from your network. Your own website: use a self-hosted domain. For authors this is most likely your name AuthorName.com. E-newsletters/Subscriber base: recommend MailChimp (good integrations with CF platforms). Build your e-newsletter via blog posts, make subscription easy (upper right signup). Do this legally, as double-optin. Avoid being marked as spam at all costs—you loose trust and will be flagged by service providers Social Media: Find out where your audience is and interact. “Social” is before “Me” in Social Media. Try to follow a principle of 80/20 or 80/10/10. Facebook and twitter are easily connected with platforms, but find where your audience is and connect. Spread sheet from the Ultimate Crowdfunding Course for Authors


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FUNDING SUPPORT CORE You and your team LEVEL 1 Your family, friends & fans LEVEL 2 Friends-of-friends & new supporters LEVEL 3 The crowd


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FUNDING SUPPORT Spread sheet from the Ultimate Crowdfunding Course for Authors


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FUNDING SUPPORT L.Y. MARLOW Award-winning Author and Founder Saving Promise Broadway Books, 2010 (Random House). L.Y. started the Saving Promise movement to end domestic violence based on her award-winning book, Color Me Butterfly. ColorMeButterfly.com Broadway Books, April 2014 (Random House).


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FUNDING SUPPORT


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YOUR AUDIENCE Learn more: see my course on Tactical Social Media for Writers www.slideshare.net/Shannon_Bodie/presentations


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YOUR TIME & ENERGY Be realistic about what you can do yourself, consider hiring out what you don’t have time to do well. Learn more: see my course on Tactical Social Media for Writers www.slideshare.net/Shannon_Bodie/presentations


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BUDGETS Budget: Make a budget that is realistic about who will support you and also what you will need to deliver your books. Research recommends having your goal at breakeven, so the funding level is kept low, but you can cover costs after funding (production, shipping, processing fees). Spread sheet from the Ultimate Crowdfunding Course for Authors


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BUDGETS Spread sheet from the Ultimate Crowdfunding Course for Authors


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BUDGETS Spread sheet from the Ultimate Crowdfunding Course for Authors


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TRACKING SUPPORT Spread sheet from the Ultimate Crowdfunding Course for Authors


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CROWDFUNDING SUPPORT A Review of platforms offering more support to authors: If Kickstarter and Indiegogo are more work than you want to take on, there are models to ease the amount of work:


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CROWDFUNDING BOOKS Pubslush is a crowdfunding platform devoted exclusively to books for authors to “prove their talent and market viability.” Pubslush also offers services for pre-order campaigns, distribution, community pages, and allows funders to donate to a literacy foundation. They take 4% of funds raised, in addition to a 3.5% payment processing fee.


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CROWDFUNDING BOOKS Unbound reviews all submissions before launching a crowdfunding campaign for a book. After a pledge goal is met, Unbound also acts as a traditional publisher, offering editorial, design, printing, marketing and traditional publicity, and distribution services. They are based out of the UK, with UK physical distribution into bookstores through Penguin Random House UK. They pay authors 50% of net profit on all books sold. According to their terms, they “usually own the worldwide or English language rights, but this can vary on a project by project basis as this can be negotiated in the contract.”


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CROWDFUNDING BOOKS Inkshares acts as a traditional publisher once books succeed in their funding goals. They produce, print the initial print run, and handle national physical and digital distribution into bookstores and other retailers, plus a team of marketers to generate awareness. Includes a rewards system for readers who refer books to friends or help fund books that go on to sell thousands of copies. Authors receive 50% of gross revenue on physical books and 70% of gross revenue on digital books. Authors grant Inkshares nonexclusive rights, meaning an author can publish elsewhere if they so choose.


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CROWDFUNDING BOOKS BONUS! Many steps to successfully crowdfund your book, work no matter how you decide to publish… So you can plan for crowdfunding, then choose to: Sell to a publisher who’s impressed by your nimble skills at developing a strong manuscript and author platform. Publish independently because you have the support and just won the lottery, so what the heck… Crowdfund with gusto—I’ve got this—let’s roll!


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RESOURCES: Ultimate Crowdfunding Course for Authors, author Mary DeMuth and crowdfunding coach Thomas Umstattd. NPR.org, Women's Comics are Surfing the Crowd TheGuardian.com, Kickstarting a books revolution: the literary crowdfunding boom, Marta Bausells, Friday, 5 June 2015 Forbes, Crowdfunding Authors' Books Could Save Publishing JaneFriedman.com, What You Need to Know About Crowdfunded Publishing, Matt Kaye, March 31, 2015 Source illustrations from 123RF.com Please note: I have included examples of books for research purposes, not all of these examples are my design work. You can view my design portfolio at BookWiseDesign.com CROWDFUNDING BOOKS


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