Want to learn more about funding your book? Check out the links below.
“No word is more intimidating for new writers than ‘platform.’ And, nothing is more important to have before a Kickstarter project than a platform.”
“If you’re one of over 80% of Americans who aspire to write a book before they die, today is your day—to crowd-fund your first masterpiece. Crowd-funding, like crowd-sourcing, is the art of drawing a large group of people together to contribute to a common goal, in this case to raise money for a work of fiction or non-fiction.”
“To me, there seemed to be three keys to a successful Kickstarter campaign: Set a realistic goal, not too high, not too low…Offer good rewards…Use video to promote.”
“Kickstarter is a crowd funding website that lets you attract backers for a creative project. These backers help fund your project by pre-ordering it. That project can be a book, movie, or piece of software, but not a Hawaiian vacation. The idea is that you raise money ahead of time so you can work on the project. Authors are using this to attract traditional publishers and to self-publish a book.”
Funding Your Book
How to Get the Most Bang for Your Buck
If you’re like most authors, your writing happens in the evenings and on the weekends when you’re not at your day job, the housework is done, and the family is otherwise occupied. Writing a book takes time—time that many of us don’t have in the average day. And then, even when the manuscript is complete, there are still so many steps to getting the book edited, published, marketed, and into the hands of readers.
While you may not be able to buy time, you can seek out some extra funding for your book. This can help you take a day or two off work here and there, pay for some of the costs of self-publishing, and connect you to new people and opportunities. So where do you start?
According to an article in Forbes, the top three crowd-funding sites are Kickstarter, Indiegogo, and Crowdfunder. Kickstarter is probably the site you are most familiar with—it’s been around for a while, has helped fund some very popular projects (such as the Veronica Mars movie), and is dedicated to helping creative artists. It even has an entire section dedicated to publishing, which you can find here.
Kickstarter notes that over 50 million dollars has been pledged to publishing, and almost 5,300 projects have been successfully funded. However, not all projects meet their goals, and there are a few things to keep in mind if you decide to go the crowd-funding route.
First, figure out exactly what you need to make your book successful. As I mentioned in my article last month (“What Publishing Really Costs”), most people need at least a thousand dollars to cover all the costs of publishing a book. But do you need extra money for research? To create an interactive ebook? Lay out your full publishing plan and see where the dollars fall.
Second, check out the resources in the sidebar. Those articles have best and worst practices for sites like Kickstarter, including setting reasonable goals, finding fun and innovative ways to promote your book (through your own websites, videos, etc.), and making sure you’re targeting the right audience with a book they really want.
Third, create your campaign and stick with it. Connect with your backers and have some fun! Even if you don’t reach your goal, you will be able to create new friends and contacts within the realm of publishing. And who knows—some people have even gone on to get traditional publishing deals out of successful crowd-funded campaigns.
Think your project qualifies for a grant? Grants often go to writers with a strong track record and/or a book that will have a significant impact on a community (large or small). In her article “Where to Find Writing Grants,” Gigi Rosenberg suggests to “Start your search small and local by investigating grant opportunities in your own town, region and state. Peruse the websites of your town’s art council and your state’s arts commission.”
Her article lists several helpful resources, including the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies, the New York Foundation for the Arts’ Source, and Poets & Writers as jumping off points for your grant search.
The ALA has a list of nearly 100 different grants. You can see the full list here: ALA Grants. Not all of these are for authors, but you might find yourself falling into one of these categories for writing or other book-related pursuits.
Awards, Retreats, and More
If you’re not interested in crowd-funding or grants, there are still plenty of ways to find a little extra money for your passion project. Enter your (edited!) book for book awards that have a cash prize or an award with prestige that will help sell your book. Apply for a scholarship for a writers’ retreat and get away from the day-to-day duties that keep your from your writing. Team up with other writers in your area to sponsor events and sell books. Work with a publishing services firm that can take care of your needs within your budget. Find acquaintances or connections who can help you cut costs (if your former college roommate is now a PR superstar, ask for some advice!).
There are dozens of ways to get more bang for your buck—you just need to find what works for you and your project.
Jillian Bergsma Manning is a contributing editor for Independent Publisher. She graduated from the University of Michigan with a degree in English. She welcomes any questions or comments on her articles at jbergsma (at) bookpublishing.com. Follow her at @LillianJaine.