Need financial help producing a book? Ask the world to help you pay for it. Authors are realizing that with all the online tools, it’s not that hard to publish a book any more. The latest trend affecting book publishing isn’t an electronic device but a phenomenon known as crowd funding. Crowd funding involves anonymous people (in most cases large numbers of them) coming together online to donate or invest small amounts of money to bring a project or product to life.
For authors, small and large publishers and pretty much anyone else, this presents a unique opportunity to knock down financial barriers and reduce financial risk. Authors can raise money for editing, printing and publishing, cover design, book tours or the entire publishing process. Instead of going out of pocket, self-publishers can raise money on sites like Kickstarter, Indiegogo, Crowdfunding.com and dozens of other sites.
Who Uses these platforms?
You’d think crowdfunding was a resource only for those with no other financing options available to get their project off the ground. There are actually many different kinds and sizes of publishing professionals and entities across the spectrum that use it to fund their projects.
For example some established authors have used it to cover expenses and (in some cases) their entire publishing and printing experience. The revolution that is the internet isn’t just for those starting out. It has become an effective fundraising tool for seasoned professionals.
Platforms to Use
Authors might find a lot of unrecognizable funding sites out there and it’s best to stick with the well-established ones. Some of the most recognizable are:
Here are a few more that you can check out. Kickstarter has been a notable entity in this space with (at the time of this writing) over 6,000 successful publishing projects funded and over 47 million dollars raised with the average project in the 1-2,000 dollar range. If you go with Kickstarter, be sure you have a solid focus and be prepared that your project may not get approved.
Indiegogo on the other hand is a bit more liberal in the kinds of projects it allows on the site. Everything from donation campaigns to new product aspirations are welcome. Other sites like Crowdfunding.com have investor-based funding models where the people putting in cash are expecting some kind of return. As with anything, read the fine print before you get your project going.
What Can Authors and Publishers Use Crowd Funding For?
The sky is the limit. Publishers and individual authors have used crowd funding for virtually every aspect of the publishing process from printing and distribution to cover design to editing work. The size and resources available to any given person or company can vary so not all users leverage it the same way.
Self-publishers for example tend to do a lot of the work on their own. They may have an idea of what they want to do to market their title but need a professional editor to square things away before they go off promoting their book. Conversely, a small publisher may need to raise funds for a book tour or perhaps to produce a professional trailer. Still others may have a polished manuscript but need to generate funds for editing, printing, marketing and distribution.
Despite what publishers are using crowd funding for, the phenomenon is changing the publishing landscape just like eBooks are having an impact on printing. Authors no longer only have the option of shopping their manuscript around and praying that a publisher will extend an advance. They can take it right to the readers to see if their work will be well received.
Publishers (mainly the smaller ones) can reduce some of the risk they take on by choosing a new author and their work to promote. They can let the market tell them with real dollars how worthy and successful (or not) a title is before they spend a dime promoting it.
Have you used or looked into crowd funding before? Did it work out for you? Join in the conversation by commenting below.