By Justine Schofield –
Self-publishing continues to gain traction and popularity as more and more established and aspiring authors choose to forge their own path in the publishing industry. At the same time, new technologies are making it seem almost effortless to upload a book and showcase it to the world—or, at least to whoever might find it on Amazon. The evolving publishing landscape has created an industry in which authors are much more likely to publish before they’re ready.
If an author is serious about being successful, one of the biggest mistakes they can make is entering the book market with no plan or platform. Simply writing and uploading a book to Amazon isn’t enough to make a splash in the current book market, which is why it’s important for authors to develop a marketing plan that begins before publication.
Crowdfunding is quickly becoming one of the steps authors choose to take in the pre-publication phase of their marketing efforts. People are able to raise funds for a creative project or business venture by collecting many small financial pledges from a large group of people. Conducting a crowdfunding campaign fits seamlessly into the publishing process as a way for authors to not only have the funds to publish or market their books, but also to collect pre-orders, drive traffic to their book and receive reader data.
Campaign creators are able to devise reward tiers that aim to incentivize their audience to pledge financial support to their project. Rewards should be cost-effective for the campaign creator, but also provide value to the supporter. This means that every supporter receives something in exchange for their financial pledge, so authors shouldn’t be weary that they’re asking people for money.
Through the reward-based model, authors are able to offer their book as a reward, which essentially allows them to collect pre-orders through their crowdfunding campaign. This presents not only a way for authors to gauge their audience, but also get a head start on book sales and encouraging reader reviews.
Conducting a crowdfunding campaign also provides authors with a tangible way to market their book before publication. It can be difficult to promote a product that doesn’t yet exist, but a crowdfunding campaign serves as a landing page for readers to learn more about the author and their upcoming book. Even if an author doesn’t need funding, there is a great promotional opportunity that comes along with conducting a crowdfunding campaign.
Lastly, this tool can help to forge a direct connection between authors and their readers. Authors don’t have access to their readers through marketplaces such as Amazon and traditional bookstores, but through a crowdfunding campaign, authors are able to engage with their supporters and can also receive data on who their supporters are and where they came from. Engagement is key to building a readership community and market analytics from campaign supporters will help authors focus future marketing efforts.
Being an author is no longer about writing and publishing. Authors need to be business-minded and cultivate their writing into a platform. Being familiar with industry and market trends and also knowing what tools are available to help them engage with their audience are the keys to success. Crowdfunding may only be one step in the publishing process, but it’s quickly becoming one that shouldn’t be overlooked.
BIO: Justine Schofield is the development director of Pubslush, a global crowdfunding platform only for books. Authors can raise funds and gauge initial market viability for their book projects. A graduate of Emerson College in Boston, she is currently pursuing her MFA in Creative Writing at Lesley University. Justine has become a prominent voice in the publishing industry and an advocate for educating authors and publishers about crowdfunding. She has contributed to IBPA’s Independent magazine, Self-Publishers Monthly, Book Marketing Magazine, Business Banter and many more online publications. She has spoken on panel discussions about crowdfunding for authors and continues to foster the growth and development of crowdfunding within the publishing process. She tweets for @pubslush. Connect with her on LinkedIn.