Not long ago, Kickstarter became a household name when it became the go to place to raise money for independent artists without a corporate sponsor. Crowdfunding websites have raised money for films, music albums, and yes, even books. Now flash forward to 2014 and even mainstream artists like Kenny Loggins and Zach Braff have used the site to raise quite a bit of money for their own pet projects.
However, there is a new kind of crowdfunding popping up in the publishing world and it would be wise if authors learned the difference between the two if they want to fund a self-published book, or simply get a contract with a publisher.
In The Beginning There Was Old School Crowdfunding
Back in the day, artists would create an account on a crowdfunding site and go straight to the people thus cutting out the middle men like agents, acquisitions editors and yes, even traditional publishers. It was like a miracle from heaven for independent artists everywhere. Artists could keep their rights, retain creative control and still make money on a book. However, as with most miracles, there was a catch…
Chicken Meet Egg
Quickly, a problem arose for those with no platform. An author with very few connections often had a difficult time raising awareness let alone, funds for their project. Like it or not, most successful crowdfunding requires a promotional savvy that most authors don’t have.
This is where marketing companies and PR firms who specialize in crowdfunding promised to come to the rescue, for a price. In essence, another middle man had been born. Go figure.
Are Promotional Services Really Necessary?
If you don’t won’t to build a platform then yes. Because according to Kickstarter’s own statistics, only 43% of projects actually get funded.
I’ve seen prices for these promotional services vary dramatically from $17 to $2,991 which include anything from press releases written by a copywriter, to targeted advertising, templates for your email list (or so you can bug your family and friends), and even video tutorials. However, that’s only on the pricier side. If you want to go the cheaper route, you can get a press release (written by God knows who), a targeted Facebook ad, and a social media blast. I’ve only listed the affordable ones because I know my audience.
*Not affiliated with any of the companies mentioned*
Since there are no guarantees that this visibility will result in a successful campaign, it makes more sense to build a platform and promote the project yourself. There’s no way around this platform thing, trust me, I’ve looked into it!
Crowdfunding is a 24/7 Deal
Ask anyone who’s ever successfully funded a campaign and they’ll tell you it is a hard job that requires hands on management. Authors often promote tirelessly on social media, blog tours and even podcasts to raise awareness for their projects. So this isn’t just a set it and forget it endeavor. If your project is 30 days, then you need to be plugged in for 30 days. This money will not raise itself.
Ultimately the question you have to ask yourself is, do you have the dedication it takes to successfully raise money for a project? If not, then old school crowdfunding isn’t for you. However don’t fret, that’s not the only game in town. Next week, I’ll explain another way crowdfunding is taking over the publishing world and why it may be the new business template for publishers.