Why I’m Crowdfunding My Book, and So Should You
This is a guest post by Rusty Pang, one of my elite mastermind members, and a soon-to-be author of his first book. The other day during one of our calls, the topic of crowdfunding came up. I know a number of authors who've crowd funded their books, Seth Godin among them, and I can't say I'm a fan of the idea. To me, (Ellory), the purpose of a crowdfunding campaign is to raise funds for a concept, not a finished product.
So, when the topic of me (Ellory), using a platform like Kickstarter to “fund” my book Exit Strategy, which is almost entirely written already, I was opposed to the idea. However, as Rusty began explaining some of the community-building aspects of hosting a crowdfunding campaign, I slowly began to change my mind. To help me understand the benefits of crowd sourcing a project like a book, I asked Rusty to write a post to convince me that it's a good idea. I hope you find Rusty's words as enlightening as I have. In the comments below, I'd love to hear your thoughts! If you would like to guest post on my blog, click here!
Have you heard people talking about crowdfunding? Are you an author who has a great idea that needs to get into the public? Why not crowdfund the book?
In today’s market, there is no better solution than inviting the public to join your journey.
Here are six reasons why authors should crowd fund their next book.
1. Crowdfunding grows or creates an audience
A tribe is a group of people connected to one another, connected to a leader, and connected to an idea.
– Seth Godin
What better way to create or inspire an audience than through a book?
Crowdfunding by its very nature requires an audience to know, like, and trust you before they will give you that first dollar. Therefore, as an author markets the ideas of the book, they are moving a curious crowd closer to the trust continuum.
People who can communicate a prospect’s pain points better than they can is powerful; when that is matched with a compelling solution, the results are a tribe with cash. Crowdfunding is not the only way to grow an audience, but it’s hot one right now. Use it.
2. Crowdfunding validates the value
Have you wondered if the content of your book is of value to your customers?
Crowdfunding answers this easily; either the project gets funded or it doesn't. And, I will add it validates your ability to market it.
Even the greatest book doesn't sell itself. You do. Or more precisely, the funnel systems you implement validate its value. Customers will not exchange their money for your content unless they feel like the trade increases their value. This trade scenario is hard to face because it requires you to accept the possibility that your book is not as good as you think it is…yet.
Too many authors don’t write their books with the customer in mind. They write their books because it feeds their ego or accomplishes something else like establishing authority.
It is okay to write a book for yourself, but let’s not kid ourselves. But, writing a book to establish yourself as a thought leader in a niche is very different from selling copies.
3. Crowdfunding is all about collaboration
Crowdfunding has a participatory element built into it. Campaign backers get to feel like they are a part of something bigger than themselves. In a way, they participate in the risk and the gain. They are like shadows to you. You did the work of writing and marketing the book, but they will share in the joy of a successful campaign. Embrace it.
4. Crowdfunding lowers risk to both the author and audience
Your backers commit to funding the project when it is fully funded, but it costs them nothing until it is or if it isn’t.
For example, if you determine that you'll need $12,000 to sell 1,000 books, each backer does not pay a dime unless $12,000 worth of backers supports the campaign. Backers have no risk and all the gain.
As the author, you did not have to pay $12,000 to print and publish 1,000 books that won't sell. You also do not risk anything except your time and pride. But, at least an unfunded campaign doesn’t come with a debt.
5. Crowdfunding creates exclusivity
It is common for campaign creators to give exclusive rewards to the people who support their crowdfunding project. These “backers” may receive your book before anyone else or get access to higher rewards otherwise not available to the public.
For example, John Lee Dumas funded his Freedom Journal in Kickstarter to the tune of $453,803. One of his rewards levels included an hour keynote for $10k. He normally charges more than that, so if you wanted him to speak at your event, you could book him for a discount.
I’m not saying you need to do the exact same reward, but your bonuses should reflect some level of exclusivity and/or appreciation. Usually, that appreciation comes with a discount or additional benefits available only to campaign backers.
6. Crowdfunding gives you control
Regardless of whether you self-publish or go with a traditional publisher, a successful campaign usually indicates that your book has value which means you're in control if or when negotiating terms with a publisher. Or, if you self-publish, you can have the money to publish the book how you want to.
Traditional book publishers don’t market the books of new authors. That is the dirty little secret.
Many people feel like a publisher will market the book for them, but it is not how it works in the industry. All the hard work in book publishing is in the marketing, and a successful campaign means you’ve already done the hard work. So, crowdfund your book to do for yourself what a publisher won't.
Earn the trust and attention of your customers through crowdfunding. It will come with all the trust, attention, and money necessary to ensure your book is a success.
What are your thoughts on crowdfunding? What projects have you backed?