Author, Helen Young, is crowdfunding her novel, Breakfast in Bogotá with publishers, Unbound, but what is crowdfunding and where on earth should you begin? Here, she explains…
Crowdfunding is a fantastic route to publication. Unlike traditional publishers, Unbound provides a platform for authors and readers to get the books they want to read into print.
Readers pledge an amount (approx. £10-£20) via the book’s crowdfunding page and once the author has enough pledges, the book is put into production. Those who have pledged, get their name in the supporters’ list inside the book and a copy sent to them on publication day.
Considering crowdfunding your novel? Here are 5 things I’ve learnt:
1. Tell your story through film. This is by far the most important part of your campaign. Translate your campaign into video-form by boiling down your narrative to its essential elements. What is it really about? What are you asking readers to buy in to? The answers to these questions will be fundamental to the campaign’s success. You can read a lot online about video length and structure but this is essential I reckon: The Psychology of Persuasion (Robert Cialdini, 1984).
2. Don’t apologise for asking for money. The only time you’ve ever asked for money is your birthday or Christmas, right? You need to find a way to be ok with asking those you care about (and hope to retain relationships with) for campaign funds. Yes, people are very, very nice when it comes to your creativity, however, do remember that you have a product to sell here (a wonderful creative product that almost killed you in the creation, but a product none-the-less). When pitching your idea to people, make sure to tell them what return they’ll get for their investment.
3. Pool your resources. It would be wonderful if you had a gazillion social media follows but you don’t, you have five (kidding), you have enough, but not necessarily enough to get you over the finish line. What to do? Approach friends/family members whose reach exceeds, or, is as good as your own. Think of this as your extended marketplace. Those I have asked to help me with this had brilliant ideas and brought in pledges from places I’d never have thought of.
4. Practice good time management. Whatever daily ritual you applied to getting your novel written, apply it now and then some. Now is not the time to drop your balls and leave the circus. So, get back up onto that high rope and focus. I do a little of what I need to on the days I’m busy, and a lot on the days I’m not. You really can’t afford to stop until your campaign is funded. You really can’t afford to stop, full-stop.
5. Manage your expectations. Crowdfunding is a wonderful thing, but, like anything, it’s 98% hard work and 2% luck (as to how quickly your campaign funds). If you have all the followers in the world or a big celebrity endorsement, then yes, you may fund your project sharpish. But, don’t judge your own success by the success of others. Decide not to care about that. Focus on your own campaign and on walking yourself over that finish line. Remember that the most satisfying things in life are the ones you had to sweat to achieve.
Most of all, good luck!
Helen's campaign is crowdfunding now at https://unbound.com/books/breakfast-in-bogota/