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Authors: Want to be a Crowdfunding Superstar? Read this First!

 

Pubslush Crowdfunding Campaign

This is the image I used on Twitter header to promote

Pubslush Crowdfunding for Authors
(Pre-Campaign)  April 1-30, 2014

Do what you love, and the money will follow.

Follow your dreams they say!

We say: How do we do this, and still make a living?

Many authors, myself included, have limited funds when they begin writing their masterpieces. Money’s tight unless you’re independently wealthy or have a supporting spouse while following your dreams.

Crowdfunding can be a solution.

Yea, right! I hear you say. What chance do I have? I don’t know that many people.

Wasn’t there a guy who raised over $50,000 to make potato salad?

Yep. It was silly. People love silly, off-the-wall stuff. We could take a few lessons on creativity from this guy.

Okay, but I’m just an author. Not a marketing guru.

Click to Tweet: Can authors really raise funds to get their books published?

Yes!

Is it easy?

Nope.

Can it be worth the effort?

Big YES!

First Romance Novel

I’ve been plugging away on my first romance novel, “Everlasting Love,” for about a year. It’s finally in the process of being proofed and edited. Plans were to have it completed and published on the Amazon marketplace by Christmas. However, it’s taken quite a bit longer than expected. My husband had a stroke in November, and that little life detour ground writing to a halt–along with everything else.

I first considered posting the romance novel chapter by chapter on Wattpad. I wrote a blog post about that here.

The Oasis for Authors

Then, a friend mentioned Pubslush.com.

In case you haven’t heard, it’s a crowdfunding site for authors only.

So I did a little investigative work. I was shocked. Some of the most successful campaigns raised between $13,000–all the way up to $36,000. This is some serious money.

Self-publishing is the way to go if you want to retain complete control over your work. However, authors must also be serious spendthrifts. We hire proofreaders, editors, designers, not to mention promotion costs once it’s published–and pay out of our own pockets. Don’t forget ads, press releases, social media etc. The costs can add up quickly.

Crowdfunding (fundraising) could be the answer to your cash flow problem. Tweet this.

I’m going to lay out the steps to my own campaign to give other authors a helping hand. If you’re considering running a campaign, here’s a 1-2-3 plan that you can take and tweak to suit your own needs.

Something you might not want to hear?

I started working on the campaign long before it started. There’s a lot of prep behind the scenes. I’ll let you in on how I prepared.

Preparation Time

Every author crowdfunding on Pubslush has their own author/book page. You’ll need to set that up.

Here’s mine: Everlasting Love Romance Novel.

The campaign was set to begin on May 1, but I started the first of April. Some may spend more time, but this was my first experience.

To begin, I started with a planner. This keeps you organized and on track. Click here to get yours: Personal and FREE planner.

 
One Month Prior

April – Week 1

1)    Write a 250 word summary of my book. What’s it all about? Make it catchy. If you’re not sure how to do this, James Scott Bell gives us a great plan to write it in “Write from the Middle.” Get it here:

2)    Create a picture to depict my book. This is not a book cover. It’s a picture that should be pretty, eye-catching, and grab the reader’s attention.The picture you see at the top was my picture, but I added in all the other text to post on my Twitter banner page.

3)    Find 3 pics for the campaign page. Again, what’s your book about? Go back to Step 1. Find a picture that depicts your beginning, middle, and end. I have a DVD from Serif.com that has about 100,000 pictures. I picked a background and imported pictures of my hero and heroine using Laughingbird Logo Creator. I love this software. It allows anyone to become a graphic designer. Get your copy Here. There are several places that have free pictures, like: Dreamstime, StockFreeImages, or MorgueFile, to name a few.

4)    Contact a Possible Partner. I contacted NAA about rewards (My husband was struck with Wernickie’s Aphasia after the stroke), and I wanted to help spread the word. The National Aphasia Association (www.Aphasia.org) educates the public on this condition that afflicts1,000,000 Americans in the U.S. alone! I learned quite a bit from the site and wanted to help with a 10% donation after my campaign was over. I located the “Contact Us” on the site, sent a short e-mail about the book campaign, and simply asked if they wanted to jump on board with me. I only requested their help in spreading the word via social media. Once I got to the right contact, they were more than happy to help. They sent word out via their newsletter, twitter, Facebook, etc.)

Week 2

1)    Work on video or trailer. I wrote this down for Week 2, but didn’t actually get to it until a few days before the start of the campaign. I have a laptop with a webcam, so I used a small microphone plugged into my laptop, hit record, and taped and retaped numerous times. I had to actually let a few hours lapse between takes or my laptop would have gone through the window! I wanted to keep it short. It ended up at about one minute thirty seconds.

2)    Set up Pinterest board. I set up a Pinterest board for my campaign, and posted all the pics of the characters in my book, and the pics from the Pubslush site. Those pictures led people back to the campaign. Pinterest Board here.

Week 3

1)    Set up Author Q &A. You can set up as many questions as you like, but I wanted to keep it simple. I chose four questions: Why did you write the book? Who are your favorite authors? What will you do with the funds you raise? How will you know I found you through NAA?

2)    Blog Post. I wrote a post leading up to the campaign. You can see it here.

3)    Scoop. Scooped the blog post onto Scoop.it content curation platform to get the word out here.

Week 4

1)    Choose excerpt from book. Pick your best work from the book, and make sure it ends on a cliffhanger or stunner so people will want to read more!

2)    Posts on all social media sites to announce the upcoming campaign. I do mean ALL: Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, About.me (spotlight), Linked in. Use only your active social networks.

3)    Paid FB/twitter ads? I began debating whether I wanted to use paid ads on Facebook or Twitter. I didn’t have much in the budget, so it had to be cheap!

Week 5

1)     Final Touches on campaign page (Tweaks to this and that to make it pop!)

2)    Compile list of friends to e-mail (I e-mailed about 100 friends that I knew wouldn’t get upset. I kindly asked them to spread the word for me. Hoping they’d contribute. *Wink, Wink*

3)    Spotlight on About.me page

4)    Compile rewards (bookmark, inspirational print, FL postcards)

5)    Length of Campaign. Do you want to run a 30 day or 60 day campaign?

Approval

Once all these things have been decided and the page is complete, then Pubslush will have to approve your page and your rewards. You can do everything on your own, but if you pay a mere $25, you will get some help from their amazing Author Coordinator, Sara Mendelson. She will have several chats with you to alleviate concerns and help you come up with some great rewards. Now, on to the campaign!

 Do you think you’d like to try crowdfunding to raise funds for your book? Why or why not?

Leave me a comment and let me know!

 

PenelopeBTR2tiny

Penelope Silvers is founder of PhilosBooks.com,
where Independent Authors are introduced to the World!
She is a freelance writer, publisher, and radio host of
Penelope’s Book Chat on Blog Talk Radio.

 

 

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Crowdfunding. Can it Work for Authors and their Books? Surprising Answer!

crowdfunding

Crowdfunding. Can It Work for Authors?

Crowdfunding.

What image does this word bring to mind?

A struggling musician who’s written a fantastic new song, but is too poor to cut a CD? Or maybe a talented artist with empty pockets who can’t paint their first portrait because they can’t afford the tube of paint? How about a family who lost their home because of a medical emergency and now can’t feed their kids? It could be all of these and more.

crowd·fund·ing
ˈkroudˌfəndiNG/
noun
noun: crowdfunding; noun: crowd-funding
  1. 1.
    the practice of funding a project or venture by raising many small amounts of money from a large number of people, typically via the Internet.
    “musicians, filmmakers, and artists have successfully raised funds and fostered awareness through crowdfunding”

Crowdfunding can also be a resource for authors. Didn’t know you could raise funds for a book? Well, let me be your white mouse in this lab experiment.

 

Taking the Plunge

May 1, 2014. I’m taking the plunge.

I’m dipping my toe in and diving headfirst into the unknown waters of fundraising for my new book. I’m sure a lot of people will be scratching their heads at this point and asking:

  • Why would you want to do something like that?
  • Can’t you self-publish for almost zip, nada, nothing?
  • What are the funds going to be used for?

The answers in order: I’m crazy…Yes!…A Quality Product.

Let’s take apart the questions one at a time.

 

Why Crowdfunding?

I’ve been self-publishing since 2012. I spent about a year studying everything I could get into my hands and feast my eyes on. I used to be the tentative type to obtain my master’s degree in a subject before I did any embarking. I’ve since changed my ways out of sheer necessity. Perfectionists don’t get much accomplished.

I’ve brainstormed, written, proofread, edited, formatted, uploaded, cover created, promoted, and everything else in between. I know the process. I know how much time it takes to write, prepare and promote to put out a quality product. It’s time intensive–not impossible—but also not so simple. Anyone can publish on the cheap, and that’s the way I’ve done it. No one is going to buffalo me, because I’ve traveled down this lonely highway.

I’m also only one person.

The costs can be very minimal. You can write a book in MS Word, slap a cover together, and upload to Amazon.

But do you want to sell it?

My newest book is quite different from the other seven I’ve published. For one, it’s my first fiction book. Second, it’s a romance novel. This is a new, exhilarating and quite scary experience for me.

 

Self-Publishing is Awesome!

I’m a lover of self-publishing. What control! What freedom! Publish what you want, when you want, how much you want!

The upside is also the downside. That is: You are the CEO of your self-publishing domain. You are writer, proofreader, editor, formatter, cover designer, publisher, and your very own PR guy or gal.

This is where the crowdfunding part steps in. To make funds available for a final polished product and the promotion of that product.

According to Forbes.com, these are the top 10 crowdfunding platforms: Kickstarter.com, Indigogo.com, Crowdfunder, RocketHub, Crowdrise, Somolend, Appbackr, AngelList, Invested.in, and Quirky. These sites are used for financing personal and cause-related campaigns such as that for the bullied bus monitor, which raised over $700,000 on Indigogo.com. However successful these sites may be to raise dollars for anything and everything, they don’t cater especially to authors.

Now there is a one who does.

 

Crowdfunding for Authors

Welcome Pubslush.com.

Hellen and Amanda Barbara are mother/daughter founders. Based in New York City, Pubslush is a global, crowdfunding and analytics platform only for books. This platform allows authors to raise money, gauge the initial audience for new book ideas, and allow readers to pledge their financial support to bring books to life. Pubslush is entirely about giving: giving an opportunity to authors, giving a voice to readers, and giving books to children without access to literature.

It is a platform specifically for authors. Nothing else.

If you’re not quite sure if it could work for you, take a look at some very successful campaigns on the site. Successful campaigns.

Pubslush is different in that it focuses on authors. It offers flex-funding, which means you keep the money as long as it surpasses $500. If you need help, the Author Assist program costs $25 at the low end. Pubslush takes 4 percent, plus third-party processing fees. It also donates one children’s book to a child in need for every book sold through their platform. You can also choose your own charity, which I have done. Pubslush was founded in 2011 as a press (with crowdfunding), but its emphasis shifted to crowdfunding (with a press) in August 2012. It is the only platform that keeps your page up and links a “buy” button to your completed book for sale.

 

Revolutionary Publishing Platform

Publishing as it stands now is a guessing game. Pubslush’s goal is to introduce readers into the publishing equation and provide authors with the tools (access to capital, audience demographics, freelance publishing professionals) they need to be successful.

You are welcome to follow me on this journey. I’ll be blogging weekly about the process, to help other authors navigate the murky waters of crowdfunding. In the next blog post, I’ll also introduce the national organization that I’ve chosen to be the recipient of 10% of funds raised.

May 1 is the day I dive in. After all, shouldn’t authors be paid for their work just like a plumber, baker, and candlestick maker? 😉

Couldn’t resist. Just had to throw that last one in.

Do you think you could put yourself on the line to raise funds for your book? Why or why not?

Leave me a comment and let me know!

PenelopeBTR2tiny

Penelope Silvers is founder of PhilosBooks.com,
where Independent Authors are introduced to the World!
She is a freelance writer, publisher, and radio host of
Penelope’s Book Chat on Blog Talk Radio.

 

 

 

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