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


Crowdfunding. Can It Work for Authors?


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.

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!


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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The digital truths traditional publishers don’t want to hear – The Guardian (blog)

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The Guardian (blog) The digital truths traditional publishers don’t want to hear
“Digital book distribution is available to anyone who wants it.”

Penelope‘s insight:


I was interested to read insights by Barry Eisler, best-selling traditional and now-self-published author. He asked the question, “The choices are good for writers, so why are legacy publishers so angry?”

Book distribution via paper publishing has been in existence forever, until the introduction of Amazon Kindle in 2007. Has it only been 6 years?  The writer could hire out everything EXCEPT distribution. Now the tables have  clearly turned. The writer has the world at his or her fingertips.

 85% of a writer’s revenues were turned over to the book distributor for an entire publishing package. A writer can now take 70% of the profits their self-published book between $2.99-$9.99 on Amazon.

 Traditional publishers are scrambling. Who’s in the driver’s seat now?

 ***This review was written by Penelope Silvers for her curated content on “Writing for Kindle”***

 Link to the full article: http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/booksblog/2013/apr/29/digital-truths-traditional-publishers


See on www.guardian.co.uk

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Ebook anxieties increase as Publishing Revolution Rolls On

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“Amazon’s bid for rights to sell secondhand ebooks adds another layer of complexity to a world where the certainties of print culture are dissolving.”

Penelope‘s insight:


Secondhand ebooks? Could a patent owned by Amazon ruin authors’ livelihoods? Is this dangerous for publishers? A very interesting article in the ever-changing world of publishing.

This much is known: the patent is for an “electronic marketplace for used digital objects”, where “when the user no longer desires to retain the right to access the now-used digital content, the user may move the used digital content to another user’s personalized data store when permissible and the used digital content is deleted from the originating user’s personalized data store.”

 This news bears watching–for the future of all indie digital publishers.

 ***This review was written by Penelope Silvers for her curated content on “Writing for Kindle”***

 Link to the full article: http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2013/apr/24/ebook-publishing-amazon

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Less the New More in Book Publishing? | Digital Book World

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[Article provided by News and Experts] In Book Publishing, Less Is The New More.

Penelope‘s insight:


Many accomplished authors are going to cringe at subject of this article, but it is a fact. LESS is truly the new MORE in Book Publishing.

The Amazon Kindle Singles Program is wildly popular, and authors are clamoring to get a 20-50 page book featured on this heavily promoted platform. Amazon itself is pushing these tiny books, and if authors don’t get on board and have some shorts offered in addition to their 500 page books, they will be mightily disappointed.

Adults these days definitely have ADHD from overload of rapid fire information. They feel that they just don’t have the time to devote to a behemoth of a novel. Sad, but true.

 ***This review was written by Penelope Silvers for her curated content on “Writing for Kindle”***

 Link to the full article: http://www.digitalbookworld.com/2013/less-the-new-more-in-book-publishing/


See on www.digitalbookworld.com

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How to (Really) Make $1,000,000 Selling E-Books – Real-World Case Studies

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Who will be the JK Rowling of self-publishing? Better still: who will be the legions who make an extra $1,000-$1,000,000 per year?

Penelope‘s insight:


Do indie authors have even the remotest of chances to become the next $1,000,000 success story? The answer is YES! This guest post on the blog of Tim Ferriss of the “4 Hour Body” and “4 Hour Work Week” has a wealth of information on selling ebooks in this new age of publishing.

Here’s a preview of what you will learn:

 o Why did best-selling Author Barry Eisler turn down a $500,000 offer from his publisher in favor of publishing his own books?

 o Why is Amazon now selling more ebooks than printed books?

 o How can you figure out what niche to choose in to publish your book?

 o How do you go about creating your ebook?

 o What about formatting and designing a cover?

 o What to do about marketing and promotion of your ebook?

 o What is the best price point for your ebook?

If you’ve given up writing an ebook for fear of the competition, read this article and start your planning today. The soon you get started, the sooner you could also have a successful book topping the Amazon charts. 

 ***This review was written by Penelope Silvers for her curated content on “Writing for Kindle”***

Link to the original article: http://www.fourhourworkweek.com/blog/2013/04/04/how-to-make-1000000-selling-e-books-tactics-and-case-studies/

See on www.fourhourworkweek.com

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4 Ways to Immediately Improve Your Book Marketing Efforts | Jane Friedman

See on Scoop.itEBook Promotion and Marketing

Penelope‘s insight:


If other authors are like myself, they are always keeping their ears perked up for any creative ways to improve their marketing efforts. It’s a constant and ongoing effort–but one that must be done if we are to see any sales of our books. Another great article by Jane Friedman, and some new ideas to ponder:

1) Use your WEBSITE for hard selling – People don’t normally buy from BUY MY BOOK!! posts. Use social media for relationship building.

2) Brainstorm your MEANINGFUL relationships – Divide the list into 3 groups (Groups A-C) and send different announcements to each one. NOTE: Very few authors do this one.

3) Brainstorm the GATEKEEPERS to your readers – Example: Fitness blogs would be the gatekeeper to your readers if you write exercise books. Can you write a guest post? Contribute in some way?

4) Invest in professional DESIGN and PRESENTATION – This one goes without saying, but one that unfortunately gets left in the dust. Your books are your business–your store. Do people want to come through your front door? Make sure you have: Professional website, book covers, author photo, business cards, tweet avatar, facebook page, etc.

Incorporate these tips into your ebook promotion and marketing, and you will tap into some areas that may bring new readers your way.

 ***This review was written by Penelope Silvers for her curated content on “Ebook Promotion and Marketing”***

 Link to the original article: http://janefriedman.com/2012/05/18/4-ways-to-immediately-improve-your-book-marketing-efforts/

See on janefriedman.com

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5 Things Beginners Need to Know About E-Book Publishing | Jane Friedman

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Penelope‘s insight:


Let’s head back to the basics for new students to the ebook publishing market. There are a few tips that will at least bring you up to speed with the self-publishing lingo that you may hear tossed about. These 5 things have remained fairly constant and will give you a head start on your own “Writing for Kindle” or other platforms.

1) Ebook publishing and DISTRIBUTION SERVICES (Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing, Barnes & Noble Nook, Smashwords, etc.) are NONEXCLUSIVE and do not take any rights to your work. You can take it up and down, revise/update and change your price at any time)

2) There are SINGLE/MULTIPLE distribution services, which can be used in tandem (Smashwords, Bookbaby, FastPencil will distribute to multiple e-reading devices. Amazon’s KDP (Kindle) is a single-device publishing service.

3) Successful ebooks require excellent COVER DESIGN (Prices for novels typically run from .99 to 2.99)

4) Amazon royalties favor PRICING between $2.99-$9.99 (70% royalty at the 2.99-9.99, and 30% above 9.99)

5) Calibre is a free EBOOK CONVERSION SOFTWARE widely used to output ebook files from many types of sources. I personally like software called KBG (Kindle Book Generator) that will create a PDF of your book and all files necessary to publish to all platforms) Resource #3 on http://PhilosBooks.com/Resources


***This review was written by Penelope Silvers for her curated content on “Writing for Kindle”***


Link to the original article:http://janefriedman.com/2011/08/09/5-things-beginners-need-to-know-about-e-book-publishing/

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Digital Publishing and Indie Authors | What to expect in 2013?

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“Publishing in the digital age has taken on a brave new face. It’s precocious, it’s brazen, it’s sassy and it’s independent.”

Penelope‘s insight:


2013 is a brand new year for authors! What should they expect? 

o Ebooks are cheaper to produce

o Social Media allows authors to create a following

o Promotions (allows authors to bring their books to target markets)

o Indie Authors can earn more (60-70% vs. the 30%)

 For the entire article and more great news for authors, visit the original article.


***This review was written by Penelope Silvers for her curated content on “Writing for Kindle”***

 Link to the original article: http://marketingforromancewriters.com/digital-publishing-2013/

See on marketingforromancewriters.com

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George Will: The art of good writing – STLtoday.com

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George Will: The art of good writing STLtoday.com You will not want to skip anything in William Zinsser’s short essays written for the American Scholar magazine’s website and now collected in “The Writer Who Stayed,” a book that begins with him…


Penelope‘s insight:


On writing from Elmore Leonard, “I leave out parts that people skip.” Take note all indie authors and self-publishers wanting to make their own special noise on the Kindle marketplace.

Our “endlessly supple” English language will, William Zinsser says, “do anything you ask it to do, if you treat it well. Try it and see.” Try Zinsser’s short essays for the American Scholar magazine’s website and now collected in “The Writer Who Stayed,” a book that begins with him wondering why “every year student writing is a little more disheveled.”

I find it a shame that newspapers had to “dumb down” the articles to read at six grade levels. The ebook marketplace is getting fierce, but as the cream “also rises”, the best, brightest and superbly written books will rise to the top of the heap. I still have faith.


***This review was written by Penelope Silvers for her curated content on “Writing for Kindle”***

 Link to the original article: http://www.stltoday.com/news/opinion/columns/george-will/george-will-the-art-of-good-writing/article_7d165c9d-fadf-56f5-ad1d-a07169cfbf26.html






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Bookstore Survival: Can we help?

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Joanna’s Morning Links post today included a link to a Mike Shatzkin article about the future of Barnes & Noble.”

Penelope‘s insight: 

Is the lesson of: “Price your books cheaply” that we have learned from Amazon, going to contribute to the further demise of bookstores as we know them?W

hat does this mean for publishers, authors and major retail booksellers? We’ve already seen Borders book stores shut down. Is it because they can’t compete with the .99 cent ebooks provided by Amazon?

It will be very telling in the next few years if there are more casualties of brick-and-mortar stores. We still need quality places to meet and read those books–whether printed or digital.

 *****This review was written by Penelope Silvers for her curated content on “Writing for Kindle”*****

 Link to the original article: http://www.teleread.com/books/bookstore-survival-can-we-help



See on www.teleread.com

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